Superspeedway racing returns to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this weekend with the second trip of the year to Daytona International Speedway. The 2.5-mile track will host Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400, and while the race can be an unpredictable headache for fantasy owners, it is also a golden opportunity to save driver allocations in the Fantasy Live and Driver Group Game contests and a an opportunity to gain a lot of ground on the competition in all fantasy leagues.
Thanks to the pack racing at the superspeedways, multi-car wrecks are the norm and attrition is high. More importantly, attrition is high among all drivers, and even the biggest names are lucky to crack the Top 10 in 50 percent of their superspeedway starts. Yes, big names like Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski tend to reach victory lane more often than not, but history says you don’t need a bunch of big names to post a big point total in your fantasy leagues at the superspeedways.
This trend has continued in 2019. In the Daytona 500 for example, Matt DiBenedetto led the most laps while Michael McDowell finish in the Top 5 and Ross Chastain picked up a Top 10. At Talladega in April, rookies Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric logged Top 5s, Brendan Gaughan ended up in the Top 10, and Corey LaJoie finished 11th.
You just don’t need a lineup full of big names to post a big point total at superspeedways like Daytona, so why risk wasting starts from these drivers? Load up on sleepers for Saturday night’s race, and even if some of them wreck, you compounded a bad race by burning valuable starts from the top fantasy options.
1. Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske
Logano has been on another level in terms of consistency at the superspeedways. His seven Top 10s in the last 10 races are the most in the series, and he has six Top 5s in the last seven races, including a pair of fourth-place finishes this year. I’ll be using him as my Group A option in the Driver Group Game.
2. Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing
He notched his second Daytona 500 to open the year, and Hamlin has scored the fourth-most driver points over the last 10 superspeedway races. During that same stretch, he has led double-digit laps five. Hamlin owns the second-best driver rating at Daytona, and he is one of the best bets to be mixing it up at the front of the pack Saturday night.
3. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., #17 Fastenal/Fifth Third Bank, Roush Fenway Racing
His checkers-or-wreckers attitude at the superspeedways may anger some of his competitors, but it has worked out well for Stenhouse. He has scored the second-most points over the last 10 superspeedway races, and he is the only driver with multiple wins in that span. Stenhouse has also led laps in eight of those 10 starts, leading 16 laps in each of the first two races of 2019. I recommend using him in all season-long formats this weekend.
4. Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite/Discount Tires, Team Penske
Keselowski has been in a bit of funk at the superspeedways, finishing outside the Top 10 in the last six races. However, he has led laps in four of those starts, leading 20-plus twice, and he still leads all active drivers with six superspeedway wins. At a track that is chaotic to begin with, I don’t mind taking a chance on Keselowski’s upside.
5. Kyle Busch, #18 M&M’s, Joe Gibbs Racing
He can run hot and cold at the superspeedways, but with a second-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a Top 10 at Talladega so far this season, Busch currently rolling. He also owns the best driver rating at Daytona, so you know he is going to have a strong car. I’ll be saving him for another week for Fantasy Live and the DGG, but I expect Busch to be a factor for the win.