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DFS NASCAR: Coke Zero 400 Preview
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Restrictor plate racing is back as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400. Keep in mind that Daytona is known for having big wrecks that will take out any driver at any time. Drivers starting further back are very likely to survive wrecks and therefore score a lot of points from Place Differential. All it takes for a lineup to fail is for one driver to be involved in a crash. This sort of adversity can be challenged by employing a lot of lineups with a wide range of drivers.

TOP PRICED PICKS

Brad Keselowski ($10,400 on DraftKings) is the defending winner of this event. In 16 starts at Daytona, Keselowski has one win and four Top 10 finishes. In his last five starts at the site, Keselowski has the second-most Laps Led at 118, the fourth-best Average Running Position of 13.6, and the eighth-best Driver Rating of 87.1. Keselowski starts third and was second in first practice. Based on practice speeds, Keselowski will finish around his starting position. It’s better to look for cheaper options since Keselowski’s salary is high and will leave little cap flexibility.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($10,300) will be making his final start at Daytona. In 35 starts at the site, Earnhardt has four wins, 19 Top 10 finishes, and 601 Laps Led, which is the most of active drivers. In his last five Daytona starts, Earnhardt has the best ARP of 9.7, the third-most Laps in the Top 15 at 638, and the best DR of 107.5. Earnhardt starts first and was the fastest in final practice. Expect Earnhardt to be competitive for the win, leading a lot of laps in the process.

Joey Logano ($10,000) has finished sixth or better in four of the last five races at Daytona. In 17 starts at the site, Logano has one win and seven Top 10 finishes. In his last five Daytona starts, Logano has the best Average Finishing position of 7.8, the fifth-most Laps Led at 53, the third-most Fastest Laps at 33, and the third-best DR of 98.5. Logano will start seventh and was 10th in final practice. Logano has favorable history at Daytona recently and his practice speeds indicate a finish around his starting position.

Denny Hamlin ($9,900) has finished in the Top 5 three times in the last five races. In 23 starts at Daytona, Hamlin has one win, seven Top 10 finishes, and 369 Laps Led, which is third of active drivers. Since 2015, Hamlin has the second-best AFP of 8.4, the most Laps in the Top 15 at 713, and the second-best DR of 99.3. Denny Hamlin starts 18th and was 13th in first practice. Based on history and practice speeds, Hamlin will finish just outside the Top 10, ahead of his starting position.

Daytona is not one of Martin Truex Jr’s. ($9,700) strongest tracks, but he will be a great pick to earn a lot of points from PD due to his starting position of 25th and recent momentum. Truex is one of two drivers with 11 Top 10 finishes this season. In 24 starts at Daytona, Truex has three Top 10 finishes. In the last three seasons at the site, Truex has the eighth-most Fastest Laps at 584, the ninth-best ARP of 14.8, and the fifth-best DR of 90.6..

Kyle Busch ($9,600) has finished in the Top 10 in the last three races in 2017. In 24 starts, Kyle Busch has one win, eight Top 10 finishes, and 382 Laps Led, which is second of active drivers. In his last four Daytona starts, Kyle Busch has the sixth-best AFP of 15.0, the sixth-most Laps Led at 53, and the ninth-best DR of 87.0. Kyle Busch starts 16th and was fastest in first practice. As showcased by his practice speeds, Kyle Busch will be highly competitive and finish in the Top 5.

Kevin Harvick ($9,500) scored his first win of the season last week at Sonoma. In 32 starts at Daytona, Harvick has two wins, 14 Top 10 finishes, and 229 Laps Led, which is seventh of active drivers. In the last five Daytona races, Harvick has the fifth-best AFP of 14.2, the ninth-most Quality Passes (Passes of cars in the Top 15 under green flag conditions) with 926, and the sixth-best DR of 90.5. Harvick starts fifth and was third in first practice. Look for Harvick to finish slightly above his starting position as suggested by his practice speeds.

Can Kyle Larson ($9,200) secure his first ever win on a Superspeedway? Based on history, Larson will not accomplish that feat, but he will still finish in the Top 15 and is a very good play as marked by his practice speeds. In seven starts at Daytona, Larson has two Top 10 finishes. In his last five starts at the site, Larson has the sixth-most Green Flag Passes at 1,493 and has a DR of 86.7, which is 10th of active drivers. Larson will start 21st and was 14th in final practice.

Kurt Busch ($9,100) is looking to sweep the Cup Series at Daytona after winning the Daytona 500 earlier this year. In 32 starts at Daytona, Kurt Busch has one win, 17 Top 10 finishes, and 291 Laps Led, which is fifth of active drivers. Since 2015 at Daytona, Kurt Busch has the third-best AFP of 9.8, the third-best ARP of 12.8, and the fourth-best DR of 91.3. Kurt Busch will start 15th and was 10th in first practice. Based on practice speeds, Kurt Busch will finish inside the Top 10, gaining a few points from PD.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,000) has been involved in accidents during the last two Daytona races. In 32 starts at the site, Johnson has three wins, 14 Top 10 finishes, and 285 Laps Led, which is sixth of active drivers. Since 2015 at Daytona, Johnson has the sixth-best ARP of 16.8, the ninth-most Green Flag Passes with 1,457, and the seventh-best DR of 89.8. Johnson starts 12th and was third in final practice. Johnson’s practice speeds designate a finish inside the Top 10 while scoring a few points from PD.

MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS

Out of all the options at the $8,000 range, Matt Kenseth ($8,700) has the smallest chance of losing points from PD since he starts the furthest back in 13th. In 35 starts at Daytona, Kenseth has two wins, 14 Top 10 finishes, and 362 Laps Led, which is fourth of active drivers. Kenseth was 13th in final practice. Expect Kenseth to finish around his starting position as indicated by practice speeds.

Chase Elliott ($8,600) will start on the front row for the second consecutive Daytona race. In three starts at Daytona, Elliott has 42 Laps Led, which is ninth of active drivers, and a top finish of 14th. Elliott has finished in the Top 5 in three of the last four races this season and was seventh in final practice. Based on practice speeds, Elliott will finish in the Top 10, behind his starting position, making him lose some points based on PD.

One of the better choices for Daytona this week is Austin Dillon ($7,900). In eight starts at Daytona, Austin Dillon has five Top 10 finishes and an AFP of 12.6, which is best of active drivers. Austin Dillon has finished in the Top 10 in three of the last four Daytona races. Austin Dillon starts 19th and was eighth in first practice, so expect him to finish around the Top 10, ahead of his starting positon.

Paul Menard ($7,300) starts 24th, the furthest back of all drivers in the $7,000 range. In 20 starts at Daytona, Menard has four Top 10 finishes including a career-best finish of fifth in this year’s Daytona 500. Menard was 15th in final practice. Based on practice speeds, Menard will finish in the Top 15, obtaining a good amount of points from PD.

BARGAIN VALUES

Ryan Newman ($6,700) starts 22nd and was 28th in first practice. In 31 starts, Newman has one win and seven Top 10 finishes. Newman has finished with a positive PD in three of the past four Daytona races. Newman will finish inside the Top 20, ahead of his starting position, by avoiding crashes.

Ty Dillon ($6,400) will be one of the best bargains to pick this week. Ty Dillon starts 34th and was 11th in first practice. In three starts at Daytona, Ty Dillon has finished 30th or better. Ty Dillon’s practice speeds signal that he will finish a lot better than his starting position, in the Top 20.

David Ragan ($5,200) is a former Daytona winner. Ragan has three Top 20 finishes in three of his last five starts at DIS. Ragan starts 30th and was 21st in first practice, indicating that he will finish around the Top 20, allowing him to earn a solid number of points based on PD.

TOP DRIVERS IN EACH PRICE RANGE FOR COKE ZERO 400 POWERED BY COCA-COLA – BASED ON COMBINATION OF PROJECTED PERFORMANCE AND VALUE

$10,000 – Plus Range

1: Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($10,300) – Earnhardt was the fastest in final practice and starts first. Expect him to lead a lot of laps and be competitive for the win.

2: Joey Logano ($10,000) – Logano starts seventh, the furthest back of all drivers in this price range. His practice speeds are indicative of a finish at least around his starting position.

3: Brad Keselowski ($10,400) – Keselowski starts third and was second in first practice. Keselowski is the most expensive driver and he will finish around his starting position.

$9,000 – Plus Range

1: Martin Truex Jr. ($9,700) – Daytona is one of Truex’s weaker tracks, but his 25th starting position is the furthest back of all drivers in this price range. Truex also has recent momentum, so he will collect a favorable amount of points from PD.

2: Kyle Larson ($9,200) – Larson starts 21st and was 14th in final practice. Larson will move up to the Top 15 and gain some points from PD.

3: Kyle Busch ($9,600) – Kyle Busch starts 16th and was fastest in first practice. Kyle Busch will easily finish in the Top 5 based on practice speeds.

$8,000 – Plus Range

1: Matt Kenseth ($8,700) – Kenseth starts the furthest back of all drivers in this price range in 13th. He has the lowest risk of losing PD points and his practice speeds imply that he will finish around his starting position.

2: Ryan Blaney ($8,500) – Blaney starts ninth and was the runner-up in the Daytona 500 this year. Blaney was fifth in first practice, and he will finish just outside the Top 5 based on practice speeds.

3: Chase Elliott ($8,600) – Elliott starts second and was seventh in final practice. Elliott will finish slightly below his starting position and lead at least a few laps.

$7,000 – Plus Range

1: Paul Menard ($7,300) – Menard starts 24th, the furthest back of all drivers in this price range and was 15th in final practice. As designated by his practice speeds, Menard will finish in the Top 15 and earn a favorable amount of points from PD.

2: Austin Dillon ($7,900) – Austin Dillon starts 19th and was eighth in first practice. Austin Dillon’s practice speed points to a finish in the Top 10, gaining a good amount of points from PD.

3: Trevor Bayne ($7,700) – Bayne starts 14th and was in the Top 10 in both practice sessions. Expect Bayne to finish slightly ahead of his starting position.

Below $7,000 Range

1: Ty Dillon ($6,400) – Ty Dillon starts 34th and was 11th in first practice. Ty Dillon will finish in the Top 20 without issue, earning plenty of points from PD.

2: David Ragan ($5,100) – Ragan is a former Daytona winner that was 21st in first practice. Considering that he starts 30th, he will finish just outside the Top 20, improving on his starting position.

3: Ryan Newman ($6,800) – Newman starts 22nd and was 28th in first practice. Newman will finish in the Top 20.

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