Daily Fantasy NASCAR Track Preview: Go Bowling at The Glen

The starting order for Sunday's Cup Series race in Watkins Glen meshes perfectly with our optimal NASCAR DFS strategy. What do we need to know before filling out lineups?

A two-week break in the middle of the season was always going to be a bummer.

With the NASCAR Cup Series hitting pause for the past two weeks so that NBC could cover the Olympics, we've been getting itchy. I mean, can you imagine a full 20 days between NFL main slates? It's torture.

It was all made worse because of how well Watkins Glen was set up.

With no qualifying for this week's Go Bowling at The Glen, we've known who will start where since the checkered flag flew in New Hampshire. It just so happens that said starting order meshes perfectly with our optimal strategy for this race, especially among the value plays.

Finally, our anticipation is over.

Let's dig into what we need to know about Sunday's race from a DFS perspective and outline why this sets up for a blissful lineup-building experience.

Back to Targeting Place-Differential

With all the road courses on the schedule thus far, we know what to do in a race of this length. It's time to stack the back, baby.

Sunday's race is just 90 laps long. That leaves 9.0 FanDuel points for laps led, a much smaller number than usual. That increases the relative importance of place-differential points if you're hunting for upside.

That's how we want to play things in a vacuum. It doesn't always work out that way, though, with the starting order set by an algorithm. If all the fast cars are starting up front, we miss out on finishing points by loading up on place-differential candidates.

We don't have that issue this week.

Of the top seven drivers in my model, three are starting outside the top 10. These are drivers with the upside to win, and they can scoop some place-differential along the way, too. Among value options, we've got a handful starting in the back half of the field who could absolutely push for a top-10.

That doesn't mean we have to completely forgo the front, though. The six most likely winners in my simulations will all start within the top 11 spots. If we strictly gun for place-differential, we're likely not going to have the winner in our lineup. That's why we can -- once again -- turn to the assumption game.

Here, we pick an assumed winner -- regardless of where they're starting -- and plug them into our lineup. The 43 points for a win likely lock them into the perfect lineup, and we'll get at least some points for laps led to boot. That's a big boost for us and one we don't want to miss out on.

We saw this type of plan in action back at the Daytona roval. That was another race where plenty of viable options were starting further back with the assumed winner toward the front. Here's the perfect lineup from that race.

Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
A.J. Allmendinger$12,000 34th2
Joey Logano$10,700 11th10
Alex Bowman$9,000 36th0
Kurt Busch$9,000 17th2
Christopher Bell$7,600 12th5

Christopher Bell won the race from 12th and was in the perfect lineup. Joey Logano got 40 points for finishing second and made it, too. The other three all started 17th or lower with two drivers outside the top 30. We should view this as a borderline template for the week, even if our assumed winner will cost us a pretty penny more than what Bell did.

The Logano angle there is in play, too. We have wiggle room for a second stud who isn't all the way in the back, especially with contenders like Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, William Byron, and Kurt Busch all starting outside the top 10. Even if those drivers don't win, the finishing points for a top-five run combined with the extra place-differential juice they'd get is worth a look. So although the assumption game specifies one winner, it's fully acceptable to jam in a second contender in the teens, as well.

Our creed always for road courses is to pick an assumed winner and then accept place differential where we can find it. That's true this week, too, except the potential place-differential outlets are more abundant than usual. It sets up as a week where we get a stud or two who we think can win and then take advantage of the drivers starting lower than where they're expected to finish.