NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Grant Park 220
If you are looking for an action-packed way to consume sports on the weekend, 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, though!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes takes a look at the best bets of the weekend in his betting guide.
With all of this in mind, let's preview the Grant Park 220 at the Chicago Street Course on FanDuel.
|Practice||Saturday, July 1st
1:30 p.m. EST
|Qualifying||Saturday, July 1st
2:30 p.m. EST
This is a cool weekend for NASCAR, marking the first time they'll race on live streets of a city like other open-wheel tours have across America. It could be a disaster for daily fantasy, but it's fine.
We don't really know how the 2.14-mile configuration on the roadways of Chicago will race with heavy stock cars. Even in other open-wheel series, these types of tracks have tight, pinching corners with minimal run-off room, and this weekend's configuration is no exception.
If you add in some of the uncompetitive racing on road courses already in 2023, this weekend's actual on-track product might not be great, and there could be plenty of wrecks and variance.
We also think tires should have some impact on the worn roadways of "The Windy City" -- but likely not enough to be worth giving up your spot on track.
General Lineup Strategy
With a 100-lap distance (and 10.0 FanDuel points available for laps led), this is a pretty standard road course from that perspective.
I am entering this weekend expecting to lean more on a "stack the back" approach than I would at a traditional road course. Some of the aforementioned tight corners will produce wrecks; I just can't visualize that ending any other way. Fast cars and favorites to win will be collected in those.
Because this is a totally new, unique layout, a driver or two might be well ahead of everyone else, and that may require bloating exposure toward them. I could absolutely see a chaos-filled race happening behind one or two lead drivers that have the course mastered early.
With no more cautions at the end of stages on road courses, we saw a far greater concentration of laps led in Sonoma. Martin Truex Jr. led 51 of 110 laps. That could be even further skewed this weekend.
Ideally, I'll want to target drivers with a good road course history that are starting deeper in the field in cash and single-entry formats. I'll come for the high floor and stay for the potential upside they can figure out this circuit the fastest.
Below are my pre-qualifying rankings for each driver based on equipment, track history, recent form, and overall talent level -- in that order. Only drivers with a win probability above 0% in Jim Sannes' win simulations or a top-20 finish this season were included.
MLT Rank is the driver's weighted average median lap time ranking at the relevant sample of similar race tracks to this weekend as a great indicator of overall speed. The prior races in the sample (with weight percentage) this week are:
2023 Austin (Spring) - 50%
2023 Sonoma (Spring) - 50%
For dominator viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale to potentially lead laps and win the race if they start upfront. A "10" is among the favorites to win the race, and a "0" has no realistic chance of leading the race at any point.
For flex play viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale of potentially finishing inside the top 15 spots. These drivers will be better daily fantasy plays the further back in the field they start for optimal place-differential points.
The tight turns on this course are most similar to the two road courses we've already been to, so that helps forecast this otherwise unforecastable race.
With that said, I feel most confident in Tyler Reddick ($12,500) despite another Sonoma event filled with issues. Reddick has won three of the past five road courses overall, and I'd most closely put this track's comparison to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin. He won there this spring.
However, I don't even trust Reddick at a baseline as much as A.J. Allmendinger ($11,500). Formerly of the ChampCar Endurance Series, Allmendinger has a ton of street racing experience, and the visuals and braking points are something that will give him an edge over everyone in the field. He won at Indianapolis back in 2021, too.
Chase Elliott ($14,000) missed the COTA race, so his median blend has suffered from that penalty, but he's still a player at any road course these days. I wouldn't personally call him the favorite at his salary, but he needs a win to lock into the playoffs in excellent equipment, so I don't think it's ridiculous by any means.
Jim's stuff -- rightfully -- loves Michael McDowell ($9,500) following a top-10 average running position at Sonoma, and McDowell also has ChampCar experience from 2004. It would not surprise me if he was a quick learner of this new course.
I'm not quite willing to buy into Martin Truex Jr. ($13,000) on non-original NASCAR road courses; the bulk of his success has come at either Sonoma or Watkins Glen, which have been the two road courses on the schedule his entire career dating back to 2005. At new circuits added since 2020, he has just one top-five finish.
Talent can help on new formats, so generational talents like Kyle Larson ($13,000), Ross Chastain ($12,000), Kyle Busch ($11,000), and Joey Logano ($7,500) are all guys where it wouldn't be surprising to see them make early progress in practice. I tend to lean on those guys in a high-variance race filled with unknowns because of their insane car control.
The value bin isn't bad. Chris Buescher ($9,000) should be a factor on Sunday; he's scored a top-10 finish in seven straight races on a road course. Daniel Suarez ($10,000) and Christopher Bell ($8,200) are the other unnamed road course winners since the start of 2021 to this point.
Toyota showed greatly improved speed at Sonoma, including Denny Hamlin ($8,500) leading most of the first stage. Ty Gibbs ($7,200) has exceptional history on road courses in the Xfinity Series, too.
In that same vein, Austin Cindric ($6,800) was a five-time Xfinity Series winner on road courses, and this unknown track could help him overcome a 2023 season where he's just been down on speed. Ford teammates Ryan Blaney ($7,000), Brad Keselowski ($6,500), and Chase Briscoe ($6,000) have also been regulars in the top 10 on road courses over the past two seasons while carrying tiny salaries.