For a second straight year, Ford comes into the Daytona 500 with a lot of bravado. The Daytona Duels were won by Ford drivers Joey Logano and Aric Almirola this week. In the opening Duel, Logano’s No. 22 Penske car led 25 of 60 caution-free laps. Four separate Ford drivers have now won four straight Duel races.
There are multiple strategies a player can go with when deciphering what lineups they should choose. The most talked about one is selecting drivers that can offer those juicy place differential points. A driver like Kyle Busch for example will be starting 36th. This strategy can often lead to big scores, as Busch could easily finish in the top 10, resulting in a huge points day. However, it is important to note that this strategy is not without risk, as Busch could just as easily have an accident or mechanical issue and finish outside the top 30.
The significance of the draft cannot be underestimated. Due to the ability to move from the back to the front on top of plenty of wrecked cars throughout the race, it’s not uncommon for drivers who start 30th to challenge for a late-race victory. The Fords have been known for their teamwork over the years when it comes to surviving through Daytona. They have set up their factory drivers to take advantage in opportune situations. In the last two Daytona races, Austin Cindric and Michael McDowell respectively have both come away with a victory.
What’s more, you’ll need to be careful when picking drivers that are starting the race in the top five positions. It is easy to ruin your team’s day in an instant by choosing a driver who starts up front and ends up crashing out. This weekend, make sure to have a range of driver combinations locked in. Once the big one hits, you will want to be fully prepared.
This week, the Money Train delves into the NASCAR DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Daytona, FL. The selections are broken down between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK). Best of luck to everyone with lineups this weekend.
Denny Hamlin (DK 10,300, 12,500 FD)
After four consecutive Daytona 500 appearances, Hamlin had two wins and two top-five finishes coming into last year’s event. It was only a matter of time before Hamlin ran out of miracles. Due to a multi-car wreck in stage 1, he finished out the race 37th. He’ll be looking to make up for last year’s disappointment. He starts 18th on Sunday, which is excellent value for a driver with as much success at this Superspeedway as Hamlin.
As previously stated, Hamlin did not take advantage of the final practice run to demonstrate what his Toyota was capable of. This is unlikely to be a factor, but it would have been nice to see him out there. If Hamlin avoids major collisions, he should be able to challenge those Fords in the closing laps.
Brad Keselowski (DK 8,800, 9,500 FD)
Perhaps one of the most talented Superspeedway drivers who never won a Daytona 500. Keselowski has come close here before, most recently leading 76 laps in last year’s 500 race. Keselowski would follow up a strong Duel race with an excellent final practice session. He topped the speed chart in his No. 6 Ford, reaching 191.201 mph over the course of 14 laps. Even with a fourth-place starting position, he’s worth a pick because the RFK driver will have both the speed and the assistance that will allow him to make some serious noise when it counts.
Chase Briscoe (DK 7,400, 6,200 FD)
Briscoe’s resume is still very limited, but he did have a fantastic Daytona debut in 2022, finishing third. He had difficulties after a solid start to his Cup career, the Phoenix victory notwithstanding. By the final race of September, however, he had begun to turn up the heat, finishing in the top ten five times in the final seven races. Briscoe will be heavy chalk on Sunday, running in a Ford and starting 30th, but don’t let that deter you. Otherwise, you might be kicking yourself if he makes an impact. At this price, you can’t go wrong with sprinkling him on a few Ford stacks.
Michael McDowell (DK 6,500, 7,000 FD)
McDowell has proven to be one of the most reliable picks for the Daytona 500. In the past, he has consistently worked well with the Fords, which has proven to be very beneficial. In the last six 500 events, he’s been able to garner four top ten finishes, including his unexpected victory two years ago. It hurts his place differential value to start in 11th, but at the price and considering how well he has done on this Superspeedway, he is well worth adding on certain rosters.
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