The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona for the Coke Zero 400. NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet is here to help you sort through the chaos of what promises to be a very exciting race.
When: Saturday, July 2; 8:05 p.m./et.
The Track: Daytona InternationalSpeedway
Daytona International Raceway is a 2.5-mile tri-oval with extreme 31 degree banking on the corners. The intense banking allows drivers to run wide-open nearly the entire way around the track. In an effort to promote safety NASCAR has made all Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona restrictor-plate races. The plate on the engine limits air-intake thus reducing horsepower and slowing top-end speeds.
Key to Race: ANOTHER RESTRICTOR PLATE CRAP SHOOT
This weekend’s race is the second trip to Daytona this season and the third of four races on restrictor plate tracks. As with all restrictor plate races 34 or so drivers have a legitimate opportunity to win. Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 earlier this year and Toyota took four of the top five places. We won’t be afraid to go heavily Toyota again, but as is the case with all restrictor plate races we advise selecting a few drivers that you might never use any other weekend. Folks like Jamie McMurray (four career restrictor plate wins) and David Ragan (two career restrictor plate wins) are a terrific value.
41 cars will attempt to qualify for 40 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won the Daytona 500 as well as the Sprint Unlimited earlier this year. He will be great again this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has four career wins at Daytona and is everyone’s favorite to take the checkers again. He will work very hard to get him his fifth win at the track.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has driven well in most restrictor-plate races. He should finish inside the top five this weekend.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. Truex finished second in the 500 this spring. He is always a great pick at Daytona.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick is a two-time winner at Daytona and is always a threat to win restrictor-plate races. He will be great again this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson swept both races at Daytona in 2013 and finished in the top five in both races at Daytona last year.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano won last year’s 500 and finished sixth in this year. He is a good choice to take the checkers once again this weekend.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won last year’s Sprint Unlimited, the 2011 Daytona 500, and the 2009 Daytona 500. He also started from the front row this spring and is one of our favorites to take the checkers on Saturday.
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards is a solid restrictor-plate driver and was great at Daytona this spring. He is a top 10 choice.
No. 24 Chase Elliott: Chase led 27 laps and finished fifth at Talladega this year. He is a good option.
11 to 20
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has struggled the past three Daytona races, but he won at Talladega this year. He will just miss the top 10 this visit to the Sunshine State.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch ran a decent race at Daytona this spring. He will flirt with the top 10 once again.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman used his veteran savvy to notch an 11th place finish during the 500. He is a decent pick.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished 13th at Daytona earlier his year. He is a good option as a third driver.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray won the 2010 Daytona 500 and looked fast during the Sprint Unlimited. He is a sleeper choice this weekend.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson notched a seventh place finish during the Daytona 500. He is a good option.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle was terrible at Daytona earlier this year. He isn’t much of an option this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: It was great to see Smoke return to victory lane. He is now racing for wins and immediately becomes an interesting option.
No. 27 Paul Menard usually drives very well at Daytona. He is a nice deep option.
21 to 30
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 43 Aric Almirola
No. 21 Ryan Blaney
No. 6 Trevor Bayne
No. 47 AJ Allmendinger
No. 10 Danica Patrick
No. 7 Regan Smith
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 38 Landon Cassill
No. 13 Casey Mears
No. 44 Brian Scott
No. 15 Clint Bowyer
No. 23 David Ragan
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 34 Chris Buescher
No. 83 Matt Dibenedetto
No. 32 Bobby Labonte
No. 35 David Gilliland
No. 55 Reed Sorenson
No. 98 Cole Whitt
No. 30 Josh Wise
My NASCAR LIVE Team for this Week:
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Denny Hamlin
B. Ryan Newman
C. Regan Smith