NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Quaker State 400
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, 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 who crash out of the race is a must, of course!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
The 4th of July weekend's new home had a fairly popular debut, as the first Road America race since 1956 was won by NASCAR's defending champion and most popular driver last Sunday in Chase Elliott. That was Elliott's 2nd win of 2021 -- both on road courses -- and he will look to hold off his teammate Kyle Larson and 35 other entrants at the second race of 2021 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This 1.5-mile track has as severe of tire wear that a track can hold, which is among the reasons it will be repaved for a new configuration starting in 2022.
A returning track means a return to the normal weekend procedure with no practice or qualifying. The starting lineup was set through the qualifying procedure factoring in last week's finishing position, last week's fastest laps, and overall owner points. That formula awarded Chase Elliott the pole for this weekend, and Kyle Busch will start outside of Row 1.
With all of this in mind, let's preview the Quaker State 400 on FanDuel.
Kyle Larson ($14,500): Starting this slate with anyone besides Larson would be foolish. Larson absolutely vanquished the fun in the spring event here, as he led 269 of the 325 laps in March before ultimately fading on his final set of tires to lose the lead. He still was virtually unchallenged for over 250 green flag laps to start the event, and starting sixth, the championship favorite should have quick access to the front again.
Larson's numbers in the 550-horsepower package are all around absurd, but the most telling might be his six top-five average running positions in seven races using the package this year. His lone exception was at Pocono two weeks ago, where he rallied to finish second anyway.
Chase Elliott ($13,500): If Elliott or any of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates want to gain ground on the fastest machine in their stable, this weekend has to be a launching point. The group has largely been successful, winning 10 of the 20 races, but Larson has led over 100 laps six times this season, with only one of the other three drivers achieving that feat -- and just once.
Elliott will start from the pole at his home track thanks to his win on Sunday, but Elliott's success at Charlotte in May at the last 1.5-mile track could be a sign that he can break through and dominate at this configuration. Elliott led only five laps but had a top-three average running position for the event behind Larson. If he can dial the balance in correctly, it could be a team car that is the only one capable of derailing the dominant 1.5-mile king.
Others to Consider: Kyle Busch ($13,000), Brad Keselowski ($12,000)
William Byron ($11,500): The only driver besides Larson at Hendrick Motorsports to lead over 100 laps this year was Byron, who led 102 in a dominant win at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February. That 1.5-mile configuration with heavy tire wear is a close comparison to Atlanta, which plays to Byron's hand assuredly -- but not more so than his recent form.
Byron has found the front quite often recently, leading in five of the past six races -- and the one exception came accompanied by a top-three average running position. Byron turned in a solid afternoon at Atlanta in March with two laps led and a top-10 average running position.
Especially with his team having so much recent speed, he joins Elliott in at least having the same equipment as Larson to dethrone him, and therefore has as solid an argument as either. He also actually offers place differential -- unlike his teammates -- from the 19th starting spot.
Alex Bowman ($11,000): That is correct! It is a Hendrick Motorsports sweep of the helper through two sections, and a lot of that has to do with their 1-2-3-5 finish at the last 1.5-mile track at Charlotte in May, as well as Larson's year-long dominance on the format elevating the entire program.
Bowman actually was the highest finishing Hendrick driver besides Larson at Atlanta in March, as he came home with a third-place finish and a top-five averaging running position. Bowman has excelled this year in all packages on tracks with heavy tire wear. Besides Atlanta, he finished inside the top-10 at Homestead and won at Richmond as well.
The equipment is optimal, and he joins his teammate, Byron, with place-differential upside behind that fast car. He starts 17th.
Others to Consider: Kevin Harvick ($11,700), Ryan Blaney ($10,500)
Chris Buescher ($7,300): The overall dominance of Hendrick Motorsports and the really difficult starting positions assigned to drivers in the $7,500 to $9,500 tier make it incredibly easy to turn to a "stars and scrubs" format this weekend. There are, thankfully, plenty of great options close to the punting tier of drivers who ran poorly on last week's road course that are much better fits on ovals.
One of those is Buescher, who particularly has enjoyed 1.5-mile tracks this year. Three of his four top-10 finishes this season have come on the format, and his season-high in laps led (57) came at Homestead as well.
Buescher finished 7th with a top-15 average running position at Atlanta in March, and duplicating those results at this salary from 18th starting spot more than satisfies value.
Daniel Suarez ($6,500): Suarez starts 27th with three top-10 finishes to his name this season, which likely would elevate his popularity on that very basic merit. However, Suarez is far and away the best value option this weekend given his results on 1.5-mile tracks in this package, tracks with tire wear, and his optimal pit strategy.
Suarez has three top-15 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks this season, yet his best efforts have come on tracks like Bristol with heavy tire wear, where he finished 4th. This salary is actually absurd for someone that had a streak of five straight top-15 finishes entering last weekend's race, but largely, he has started too close to the front to use in DFS outside of tournaments.
That is not the case this weekend, and his popularity is well worth it.
Others to Consider: Austin Dillon ($8,000), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,000), Bubba Wallace ($5,500), Michael McDowell ($5,000)
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.