NASCAR DFS: Coke Zero 400 Picks

NASCAR DFS: Coke Zero 400 Picks

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

COKE ZERO 400

Location: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Course: Daytona International Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 160

Race Preview

The stars of NASCAR Sprint Cup head back to Daytona for the traditional kick off of the second half of the season, the Coke Zero 400. The Coke Zero 400 is Daytona's night race and the cooler temperatures can mean closer racing, as cars don't lose as much grip as they do under the hot Florida sun. Restrictor-plate racing is the order of the day and being able to work through the draft will be the key to winning Sunday's event. The draft requires an aerodynamically efficient car to preserve tires and of course plenty of horsepower. We saw in February that once a strong car gets in front of the field they can be a challenge to pass. That same scenario may play out again this week. Qualifying isn't as important at this track as most others, and the winner could come from just about anywhere in the field.

Key Stats at Daytona International Speedway

Races: 136
Winngers from pole: 25
Winners from top-5 starters: 72
Winners from top-10 starters: 106
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 9
Fastest race: 183.295 mph

Last 10 Daytona Winners:

2015 spring – Joey Logano
2014 fall – Aric Almirola
2014 spring – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2013 fall – Jimmie Johnson
2013 spring – Jimmie Johnson
2012 fall – Tony Stewart
2012 spring – Matt Kenseth
2011 fall – David Ragan
2011 spring – Trevor Bayne
2010 fall – Kevin Harvick

Although Sonoma Raceway and Daytona couldn't be more dissimilar, both tracks tend to favor certain driving styles. There is a unique skill set needed to consistently succeed in the draft-style racing of the superspeedways, and teams spend countless hours massaging their aerodynamics for these races. Through recent history we've seen Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing consistently among the favorites at Daytona, but teams like Penske Racing have started to make their mark as well. Drivers and teams will search for the edge of a chassis setup that enables them to preserve grip throughout a fuel run while not compromising ultimate speed.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $12,300
Jimmie Johnson - $11,800
Kevin Harvick - $11,600

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Brad Keselowski - $10,900
Kyle Busch - $10,800
Carl Edwards - $10,700
Jamie McMurray - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kyle Larson - $9,800
Ryan Newman - $9,700
Paul Menard - $9,500

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

A.J. Allmendinger - $9,300
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $9,100
Casey Mears - $8,700
Sam Hornish Jr. - $7,900

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $11,800
Brad Keselowski - $10,900
Paul Menard - $9,500
Danica Patrick - $9,200
Sam Hornish Jr. - $7,900

Three career wins at Daytona and just one finish outside of the top 5 at the track in his last five starts at the track make Johnson a relatively safe option for lineups this week. Keselowski has had his ups and downs at Daytona, but his teammate won at the track in February and the No. 2 can be strong in the draft. Menard has endured some misfortune at Daytona in recent history, but drives for one of the strongest teams on these types of tracks. He also led 29 laps in last year's Dayton 500. Patrick has had a tough run of things in 2015, but she continues to learn on the restrictor-plate tracks. If she can avoid trouble she has the capability of scoring a top finish, while Hornish's best finish of the season of the season was at Talladega.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $12,300
Carl Edwards - $10,700
Aric Almirola - $9,200
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $9,100
Casey Mears - $8,700

If you're willing to pay the premium for Earnhardt at a restrictor-plate track, he is the best option on the board. Edwards has never won at Daytona, but is one of the better drivers in the draft and has made strides with Joe Gibbs Racing since the Daytona 500. Almirola pulled off the surprise win in this race last season, while Stenhouse could also pull off an upset if he has the opportunity. Both are risky options, but offer significant upside potential at tracks like this. Lastly, Mears has finished in the top 10 at Daytona in each of his last four starts at the track, which makes him one of the best values.

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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