DFS NASCAR: Daytona 500

DFS NASCAR: Daytona 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Daytona 500

Location: Daytona, Fla.
Course: Daytona International Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 200

Race Preview

The NASCAR Cup Series returns in 2022 with a brand new generation of car on its biggest stage at Daytona International Speedway. Kyle Larson grabbed his first series championship last fall at Phoenix and will start the official 2022 season on pole in the Daytona 500. His teammate Alex Bowman will start alongside on the front row. They'll have to hold back the Ford machines to win on Sunday, though. Brad Keselowski won the first qualifying duel race in his first visit to Daytona as part team owner of RFK Racing. His new team swept the qualifying races with Chris Buescher taking the second victory. Ford took seven of the top 10 starting spots with defending Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell lining up sixth. Ryan Blaney, another Ford driver, was the last to win at Daytona with his victory last fall. He will start seventh. 

Key Stats at Daytona International Speedway

  • Number of races: 149
  • Winners from pole: 26
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 74
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 113
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 12
  • Fastest race: 183.295 mph

Previous 10 Daytona Winners

2021 fall - Ryan Blaney
2021 spring - Michael McDowell
2020 fall - William Byron
2020 spring - Denny Hamlin
2019 fall - Justin Haley
2019 spring - Denny Hamlin
2018 fall - Erik Jones
2018 spring - Austin Dillon
2017 fall - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2017 spring - Kurt Busch

Fantasy players likely have a lot of questions heading into the first race of the season. The new car makes the playing field a little more even across the field early on, but teams will quickly develop their settings and processes. Ford seems to have the early advantage, though the Chevrolet teams will have learned from their mistakes and are bound to close the gap on Sunday. Some aspects will remain similar to prior years, however. Expect groups of Fords, Chevrolets and Toyotas to coordinate their visits to pit road as they work to keep other manufacturers from breaking their group apart. The leader is likely to control much of the race, but as drivers get more comfortable, we should expect more aggressive moves. The biggest risk this week with the new car may be losing the draft. That feature may break the field into smaller packs, which means drivers staying as close together from nose to tail will be what everyone aims for until the final laps as the jockey for the win.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Denny Hamlin - $10,500
Chase Elliott - $10,400
Kyle Larson - $10,200
Ryan Blaney - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Joey Logano - $9,800
Kyle Busch - $9,600
William Byron - $9,400
Kevin Harvick - $9,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Alex Bowman - $8,600
Austin Dillon - $8,400
Bubba Wallace - $8,300
Brad Keselowski - $8,200

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Chris Buescher - $7,800
Austin Cindric - $7,500
Michael McDowell - $7,200
Harrison Burton - $6,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Ryan Blaney - $10,000
Kyle Busch - $9,600
Austin Dillon - $8,400
Brad Keselowski - $8,200
Austin Cindric - $7,500
Harrison Burton - $6,200

Team Penske's Blaney (DK $10,000, FD $12,500) may be considered a contender for this season's championship as well as this week's Daytona 500. The Ford driver lines up seventh on Sunday and won at the track last August. Kyle Busch (DK $9,600, FD $10,500) snagged a second-place finish in the Busch Clash in Los Angeles in this new car, and he'll aim for his first Daytona 500 win this week. He will start 10th and has one prior win at the track. Austin Dillon (DK $8,400, FD $8,200) won the Daytona 500 in 2018. He and Richard Childress Racing are usually among the fastest in the field at this track, and he has led laps three of his last five Daytona starts. Keselowski (DK $8,200, FD $11,000) visited Victory Lane Thursday in his qualifying race and is aiming for his first Daytona 500 victory. He has one prior win at the track from 2016, but he crashed out of four of the last five there. Rookie Austin Cindric (DK $7,500, FD $7,700) steps into the car vacated by Keselowski for his first full-time Cup Series effort. He finished 15th in last year's Daytona 500 after starting 39th. Like Cindric, Harrison Burton (DK $6,200, FD $6,500) is another Xfinity Series veteran stepping into full-time Cup competition in 2022. He was fastest in the final practice ahead of Sunday's big race.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $9,800
Kurt Busch - $9,000
Bubba Wallace - $8,300
Chris Buescher - $7,800
Tyler Reddick - $7,700
Michael McDowell - $7,200

Joey Logano (DK $9,800, FD $13,000) will start Sunday's race in a backup car after crashing while trying to hold the lead in his qualifying race. He said he is confident in his backup car and he won this race in 2015. Kurt Busch (DK $9,000, FD $10,000) joins 23XI Racing for 2022 and will start Sunday's race 17th. He has been one of the better competitors at the superspeedways and will be in a Toyota for the first time this season. He won the Daytona 500 in 2017 and finished 12th last year. Bubba Wallace (DK $8,300, FD $9,700) is another familiar name at the front at the superspeedways. He scored his first series win at Talladega Superspeedway last season and has three top-fives from nine Daytona starts. Thursday's second qualifying race was won by Buescher (DK $7,800, FD $7,000). He has proven to be capable in the draft and has three top-fives and five top-10s from 12 Daytona starts. This season could be a breakout year for Tyler Reddick (DK $7,700, FD $8,700). This will be his third season with Richard Childress Racing. He made the season-ending playoffs last year and was the fifth-place finisher in last season's Daytona 500. Selecting defending Daytona 500 winner McDowell (DK $7,200, FD $4,500) should be a smart move. He is at his best on superspeedways and has been quick all weekend. He starts sixth Sunday, as he goes for back-to-back Daytona 500 wins.

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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