NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Pennzoil 400
If you are looking for an action-packed way to replace the NFL in the world of daily fantasy, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers that crash out of the race is a must, of course!
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Every week, in addition to this helper, we have a betting guide to discuss the smartest places to lay money for this weekend's race, and our Heat Check Podcast with Jim Sannes gives you insight to how he is approaching this slate. We also have a track preview and driver preview to dive deeper into this weekend's action.
The second race of the season takes place Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. The bumpy, 1.5-mile oval was one of the more successful races of the season for the cup aero package, as in the fall race, two cars that started worse than 20th led 100 or more laps. The ability to pass quickly makes for great action, and that should be no different in this race. The starting lineup for this race was set due to last year's points because of rain, but the series did squeeze in a first and second practice session on Friday.
Here's a DFS breakdown of this weekend's Pennzoil 400 slate on FanDuel:
Higher Priced Drivers
Kevin Harvick ($13,500): This slate presents two distinct challenges -- we have no sample size at all with this exact aero package at normal, 1.5-mile tracks, and with qualifying washed out, there really are minimal opportunities for enormous, obvious place differential. Therefore, when in doubt, it might be best to lean on historical data, and the data absolutely points to Kevin Harvick being a factor in this one. Harvick has led a series-high 363 laps in the last four events here, and he posted three top-fives and one race that saw him fail to finish due to an accident. Harvick also has flashed speed this weekend, leading the second practice in the 10-lap average.
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,500): Truex Jr. is the defending winner at this track, and he has five straight top-10 finishes in Vegas, winning two of those events and leading laps in four of them. The concerning thing for Truex is that he -- like all Toyotas this weekend -- seems to be behind in speed. MTJ posted just 14th and 11th in the two practice sessions, but perhaps that could be Truex's team tuning his car more toward the area of downforce and in-race speed. He will look to continue to dominate 1.5-mile tracks after posting a 7.71 average finish at them the last two years.
Ryan Blaney ($10,500): The Penske Racing driver might be a horse for the course this weekend, as Blaney has finished fifth in three of the last four races at this track. He starts 10th, which significantly limits his place-differential upside, but he could be primed to improve upon that with Todd Gordon now atop his pit-box. Gordon won the spring Las Vegas race last year with Joey Logano and led over 100 laps again in the fall. Gordon will try to tune Blaney's machine at one of his statistically superior race tracks.
Lower Priced Drivers
Jimmie Johnson ($8,400): The buy early move of the 2020 cup season could be to be bullish on the speed of Chevrolet, which starts from their lead team at Hendrick Motorsports. Their practice times have been very encouraging this weekend, and the four-time Las Vegas Motor Speedway winner is no exception. Johnson posted eighth and second on the 10-lap average charts in the two sessions, which is incredibly positive data for Johnson. Johnson's raw speed saw him start in the top 10 seven times at intermediate tracks in 2019, but he posted only four top-10 showings to back that up.
Aric Almirola ($8,300): Practice times point to a strong race for Aric Almirola, who won the first practice session and was third in the other. Almirola is teammates with Kevin Harvick, which should help him dial in a similar setup, and he has run incredibly well at this track recently, posting five straight top-15 finishes. Even with the fast speeds, Almirola probably will not contend for a win in this event, but he rolls off where he finished last year in points, which will be a modest 14th.
Tyler Reddick ($6,200): The place to find pass-differential edge is with drivers who switched teams entering 2020, usually with a stronger driver in the seat. While that certainly applies to Chris Buescher ($7,300), as well, no team upgraded in driver talent more than RCR's number 8 team, which now houses back-to-back Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick. Reddick is primed to help improve RCR's performance as a whole, and his results in the Xfinity series indicate he should run very well on 1.5-mile tracks. Reddick won the September event at LVMS, and he has a good chance of improving upon his deep 26th starting position on Sunday.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.A