Thursday, July 5, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Clint Bowyer - 5
All with 3 - Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, and Michael McDowell
Both with 2 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Denny Hamlin 

By Track
Clint Bowyer - 6
All with 5 -  Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Austin Dillon
All with 4 - Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, and Michael McDowell
Brad Keselowski - 3

Recent Pole Winners:  
2017 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2016 Greg Biffle

Last Year's Race Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Likely Suspects: Here are my go-tos for Daytona restrictor-plate racing: Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Michael McDowell, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Joey Logano.

My 2 Cents: Fantasy picking for restrictor-plate races feels like going on vacation. You can plan a little, but the best outcomes usually happen when you go with the flow. My no-brainer pick this week is a tie between Clint Bowyer and Bubba Wallace Jr. My next picks are the Ryans - Blaney and Newman - and Austin Dillon. I will complete my team with Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Michael McDowell.

My Final Four: Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, and Bubba Wallace Jr.

Second-Look Driver:  This week's second-look driver is Paul Menard. Paul was last week’s pole winner at Chicagoland. He earned a pole at Daytona back in 2008. He runs fairly well at Daytona. In 22 starts, he has completed 3,675 of 3,916 laps (93.8%) and led 68 laps. Menard has earned two Top 5s and six Top 10s.  Last week's second-look driver was Clint Bowyer. Clint finished and started in the same spot -- fifth place, and led 21 laps.

Points to Ponder:
  • The Wood Brothers have the most wins at Daytona in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 15, followed by Hendrick Motorsports with 14.
  • The first starting position is the most prolific starting position in the field, producing more winners (nine) than any other starting position in the July race at Daytona International Speedway.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in Daytona wins with three. Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick are the only other two active drivers with multiple Daytona wins (two each).
  • Eight active drivers are tied with a single series July race win at Daytona – Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.   
  • Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch lead all active drivers in runner-up finishes in the July Daytona race with three each.
  • Kurt Busch leads all active series drivers in Top 5s in the July Daytona race with seven as well as Top 10s with nine.
  • Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson lead all active series drivers in Daytona poles with two each.
  • Only three active drivers have posted a pole for the Daytona July race: Kevin Harvick (2002), Paul Menard (2008), and Kyle Busch (2013).
  • Bubba Wallace and Vic Parsons lead the series in average finishing position at Daytona with an 8.5 in two starts each.
  • Austin Dillon leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Daytona in the July race with a 13.75. 
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, July 6th, and your final picks by 2:30 p.m. EDT on race day Saturday, July 7th.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

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