Left Turns: Coke Zero Sugar 400 @ Daytona

Pennzoil 400

Track: Daytona International Speedway

Type:  Superspeedway (2.5 miles)

Time: Saturday, 7:30 pm EST on NBCS

Keys to this race:

This year has been one of change this NASCAR season. This week is no different as this will not only be the last Daytona race on 4th of July weekend, but also the first time that this track will not be using a restrictor plate in a long time. They will be running the same package here as they did in Talladega earlier this season. Daytona races differently in February for the 500 than it does for the 400 in July. The July race is obviously hotter and that causes the cars to have issues gripping the track. That will cause the drivers to trend more to single file driving and, even with this new package, will lead to pack racing.

Looking at what we will need here to win money this week, I’m looking only at the July Daytona races from the last couple years to get a feel for how drivers handle the course. I’m evaluating Talladega from earlier this season to evaluate the package. I’ll look at practice times for fast cars. Qualifying was rained out so starting positions are based on Owner Points. As always, I take stock in current form because if a driver is driving well, they are worth looking at. Another thing to think about here is that this is Daytona. Daytona is notorious for wrecks. This race probably won’t be any different. Consider this when deciding your lineups and contest selection.

I think you need to pick the winner here to make some good money and then combine drivers with faster cars from further back to finish out your roster. You may want to consider some team stacking or some model stacking as that seems to happen on this track quite a bit. It’s not necessarily a dominator race, but the winner will help.

Weather by Chris Rothar

Daytona Beach Fla.

Afternoon and evening storms start to clear out around race time. There will be some drying to do. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 70’s with cloudy skies and light winds.

Note: They started the Xfinity race after 10PM last night. More than likely they will do the same here if necessary.

The Dominators

12k+ guys (FD) 10k+ guys (DK), listed in order as I like them.

Denny Hamlin

Denny will be starting in Daytona from the 6 spot, and this bodes well for him in this race. while his first practice speeds ranked him 27th, he turned it around on his second practice with the 2nd best speed for the weekend. Hamlin does have 2 wins in Daytona in the last 5 years, albeit from the spring races, but he does have a 3rd place and a 6th place finish in the summer races. in plain speak – he can race here. The last couple of races here have brought some crashes (also his last race in Talladega), but he’s started from further back in the pack for those races. It wouldn’t surprise me if he pulls this one off to sweep the races here this season.

Joey Logano

Logano is the points leader this season so far, so he will be sitting on the pole in this race. He had some bad luck here last season, but driving with this package in Talladega earned him an 8th place finish and he led a bunch of laps in that race as well. He’s also no stranger to winning here as he has a win here and 4 top 5 finishes overall. He’s one of the better pack racers in the circuit right now, and he has had a top 5 finish in over half of the races this season so far. If Logano doesn’t crash, he should be good for a top finish here.

The Contenders

8-12k guys (FD) / 7-10k guys (DK), listed in order as I like them.

Alex Bowman

Bowman won his first NASCAR race last week. You know that he’d love to make that happen again here in Daytona. Fortunately for him he has been racing really well in the last 10 weeks of the season. He finished 2nd in Talladega with this package in April. He’s in a zone, and with him starting in 9th, I think it’s possible that he could move up and lead some laps here at a minimum and a top 5 finish is in his sights.

William Byron

Talking about guys who have been on impressive runs, Byron has been doing it and even though he doesn’t have a win yet, he’s definitely getting closer and closer! His current form is one of the best for a driver in this price range with an 8th place average running position in 3 of the last 5 races. He went from last to first last week in less than 100 laps. I’m assuming his car will have some of that speed this week. Starting from the 10th spot should allow him to make his way to the front for some lead laps if that speed is still there!

Jimmie Johnson

I like Jimmie’s starting position of 14th here. I think it has him close enough to the front to move his way up, and hopefully keep him out of an accident. Daytona hasn’t been the kindest track to many drivers, but he does have a 2nd and a 12th place finish here in recent summer races at Daytona. I think he will be low owned as his overall Daytona history isn’t great but with his practice speeds (4th & 13th) I think he can make his way to the top 5 baring an crash.

The Pack

Your low – mid tier priced players on both sites, listed in order as I like them. Use as needed.

Ryan Newman

Newman has been quietly good over the last 10 races of the season with five top 10 finishes. Overall in Daytona and Talladega he has six top 10 finishes in 8 most recent races, with a +17 PD in 2 of them. He’ll be starting from the middle of the pack in the 18th spot, and if he survives any of the crashing, I anticipate a top 10 finish for him in this race as well.

Chris Buescher

Buescher is showing geat speed so far this week with a 3rd and 12th fastest cars in the practice rounds. Put him starting in the 22nd position, and we have a recipe to hopefully see him move up some spots in Daytona. He finished 5th here last year and 10th the year before. He’s been consistent as of late with 6 top 20 finishes in his last 6 races. He’s one of my favorite drivers to look at in this price range.

Brendan Gaughan

Gaughan is a PD machine in these types of races. He drove to a +4 at Daytona last year, +21 PD in Talladega and a +25 here in 2017. He’s managed to avoid any wrecks and been able to finish all of these races. Since he’ll be starting in 39th in this race, I’m willing to try that again. He also has some decent speed coming into the race, with a 23rd fastest car in the second practice. I think he will carry some decent ownership.

The Yellow Flags

These are your deep punts – use with caution! They will help you fit the high priced drivers, but may not do much more.  I don’t see a need to use any of these drivers on FanDuel to make your lineups.

Ryan Preece

Ross Chastain

Matt DiBenedetto

NASCAR not your thing? Do you like other DFS sports? Check out our MLB HR Predictor. One of the many great tools we have here at Top Flight Fantasy Sports.