DFS NASCAR: Busch Clash

DFS NASCAR: Busch Clash

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Busch Clash

Location: Daytona, Fla.
Course: Daytona International Speedway Road Course
Format: 3.61-mile road course
Laps: 35

Race Preview

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series kicks off Tuesday night under the lights at Daytona International Speedway with the traditional Busch Clash exhibition race. This season the non-points race will take place on Daytona's infield road course for the first time. Starting positions will be determined by a random draw, which could be pivotal in determining the winner. Drivers and teams will have 35 laps to race with one scheduled caution period at lap 15. 

Erik Jones won the 2020 Busch Clash on the oval, but this year's race promises to be something completely different. The 21 eligible drivers were determined by 2020 pole winners, stage winners, race winners, playoff drivers, as well as past Daytona 500 pole and race winners. Chase Elliott won the last race on the Daytona road course and has four consecutive road course wins heading into Tuesday night's season premiere.

Key Stats at Daytona Road Course

  • Number of races: 1
  • Winners from pole: 0
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 0
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 1
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
  • Fastest race: 89.39 mph

Previous 10 Busch Clash Winners

2020 - Erik Jones
2019 - Jimmie Johnson
2018 - Brad Keselowski
2017 - Joey Logano
2016 - Denny Hamlin
2015 - Matt Kenseth
2014 - Denny Hamlin
2013 - Kevin Harvick
2012 - Kyle Busch
2011 - Kurt Busch

Fantasy players should take past Busch Clash winners with a grain of salt. This season's exhibition race will be completely different than anything we've seen in this race in the past. Looking back to last year's visit to the Daytona road course we know that passing was a challenge. Elliott led 34 of 65 laps to win from the seventh starting position. Denny Hamlin led 16 laps and started and finished second. The Clash's shorter race distance could throw out some interesting pit and tire strategies to keep track of with a guaranteed caution period at lap 15. Teams will likely work backward from lap 35 to the caution period to determine what their best pit strategy will be. The final stage will be a stretch for teams to make it on one tank of fuel, but a caution period would open the window to do just that. The race could come down to which team can be fastest on pit road. Ryan Blaney will lead the field to the green flag after a random draw set the starting order.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Chase Elliott - $10,500
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,000
Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Kevin Harvick - $9,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Kyle Busch - $8,900
Ryan Blaney - $8,600
Brad Keselowski - $8,400
Joey Logano - $8,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Alex Bowman - $7,900
William Byron - $7,700
Kurt Busch - $7,400
Erik Jones - $7,200

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Matt DiBenedetto - $6,900
Chris Buescher - $5,900
Ryan Newman - $5,600
Ty Dillon - $5,500

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Kevin Harvick - $9,200
Joey Logano - $8,100
William Byron - $7,700
Cole Custer - $5,800
Ryan Newman - $5,600

Hamlin's (DK $9,600, FD $12,000) lone road course victory came at Watkins Glen in 2016. He has been a regular feature in the top 10 and top five at these tracks, however. Last year, he finished second to Elliott on this track and led 16 laps, and will start third Tuesday night. Kevin Harvick (DK $9,200, FD $11,500) has two career road course victories. He raced to a 17th-place finish on this track last season despite starting from pole, however. Road courses are a format at which this team needs to improve in 2021 to replicate their success from a year ago. Joey Logano (DK $8,100, FD $8,500) won at Watkins Glen in 2015 and finished second on Charlotte's road course last season. He enters Tuesday's race with three consecutive top-10 road-course finishes, including ninth-place at Daytona last summer. This is the season William Byron (DK $7,700, FD $9,500) could make his future in the sport. He has a new teammate in Kyle Larson and a defending champion next door in Elliott. Byron finished sixth, eighth and sixth in his last three road course races, which could suggest he is a good value for fantasy rosters at this week's price. Cole Custer (DK $5,800, FD $7,000) ran in the middle of the pack at Daytona last summer and finished 22nd. He scored a top-10 later in the season at Charlotte, though. His ninth-place finish in that race was his best on the two road courses the series raced on last season. Veteran Ryan Newman (DK $5,600, FD $7,500) has runner-up finishes at Watkins Glen and Sonoma on his Cup Series resume but no road course wins. He struggled on the two rovals last season and will use Tuesday's exhibition to make sure he improves on the courses in 2021.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Chase Elliott - $10,500
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,000
Kyle Busch - $8,900
Matt DiBenedetto - $6,900
Chris Buescher - $5,900
Ty Dillon - $5,500

Elliott (DK $10,500, FD $13,000) is on a run of four consecutive road course victories. He won NASCAR's only race on this circuit last season, leading 34 of 65 total laps. Elliott has proven himself to be the master of road courses, and this exhibition race falls right into his wheelhouse. He starts Tuesday night's race in seventh position, which is where he started when he won here last season, too. Martin Truex Jr. (DK $10,000, FD $12,500) has won at both Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has been one of the best on road courses and will be hoping to do better than his third-place finish on this track last season. Last season was a difficult one for Kyle Busch (DK $8,900, FD $10,500), but he eventually snagged that elusive victory to end the season with some solace. Like teammate Truex, Busch has four previous road course wins. His last was in 2015, however. Last year he finished 30th and 37th in the two road course races on the schedule. He led one lap at this track before crashing out back in August. Matt DiBenedetto (DK $6,900, FD $7,500) is entering a contract season with Wood Brothers Racing. Austin Cindric will take over the ride full time in 2022, which means DiBenedetto finds himself racing for his future all over again. His best road course finish was a fourth-place run at Sonoma in 2019. He finished in the top 10 in both road course races that season. Chris Buescher (DK $5,900, FD $7,000) vaulted from 21st starting position to finish sixth on Daytona's road course last season. That was a career high on the road courses for him. Making the debut of the new 23XI Racing team will be Ty Dillon (DK $5,500, FD $7,000) instead of full-time driver Bubba Wallace. Dillon is taking a part-time schedule for 2021 while Wallace is not eligible to race in this year's Clash. Dillon's best finish is 15th on Charlotte's road course from last season. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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