NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: 2020 Season Opener at Daytona

It's time to shake the rust off your fantasy prowess, unless of course you've been playing one of those other sports in the off season. That's okay, we won't hold it against you. NASCAR Fantasy Fusion is here to turn you into an epic Fantasy NASCAR guru. 

The Daytona 500 isn't the best race for fantasy players, but it sure is a fun race to watch. Focus on some key drivers who know how to draft and you get their buddies as an added plus. Of course, there's also a good chance that a new name or rookie driver will defy all the statistics and run away with the win. Enjoy and good luck!

Drivers with Most Top 10s in the Last Five Years:
By Race
Joey Logano - 6
Denny Hamlin - 5
All with 3: Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Michael McDowell, Ryan Blaney,  and Ryan Newman

By Track
Both with 7: Joey Logano and Ryan Newman
Both with 6: Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin
Both with 5: Kurt Busch and Michael McDowell
All with 4:  Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Ty Dillon

Last Year's Race Winner: Denny Hamlin

The Likely Suspects:  Can't wait to get this season started, and we start with a pick 'em and pray race. My Daytona elites are: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon, Michael McDowell, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Ty Dillon.

My 2 Cents:  My no-brainer pick is Denny Hamlin. My next choices are Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. I'll round out my fantasy team with Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon.

Second-Look Driver: The first Second-Look Driver of the season is Michael McDowell. Michael finished last year's race in fifth place. In his last 13 races at Daytona he scored three top fives and five top 10s. In the 2018 Daytona 500, he finished ninth.

My Final Four: Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Michael McDowell

Points to Ponder:
  • The pole position is the most prolific starting position in the Daytona 500 field, producing more winners (nine) than any other position.
  • 16 of the 61 Daytona 500s (26.23%) have been won from the front row, nine from the pole position and seven from the second-place position.
  • Nine different manufacturers have won the Daytona 500, led by Chevrolet with 24 victories, followed by Ford (15), Dodge (four), Plymouth (four), Buick (three), Mercury (three), Oldsmobile (three), Pontiac (three) and Toyota (two).
  • The Wood Brothers have won 15 races at Daytona, more than any other organization.
  • Among active drivers, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson are tied for most wins with two each. 
  • Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes in the Daytona 500 with three.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in Daytona 500 top-five finishes with seven. Johnson is tied with NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen for ninth-most all time.
  • Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch lead all active drivers in Daytona 500 top-10 finishes with eight each.
  • Among active drivers, Ryan Blaney has led the most laps in a single Daytona 500, with 118 laps in 2018.
If you are planning Driver Group Game, remember to make your final picks on Sunday, February 16th, at 2:30 p.m. ET. Enjoy the race!  

Carol D’Agostino wields fantasy-racing superpowers. Each week, Carol researches statistics and combs through her personal racing notes to provide fans with fantasy racing advice at NASCAR Fantasy Fusion, a column she has written for Skirts & Scuffs since October 2011. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway, and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. This year she joins the NASCAR Expert Picks panel at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet

When she isn’t crunching numbers, you’ll find Carol in business meetings or hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat.  
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: 2020 Season Opener at Daytona NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: 2020 Season Opener at Daytona Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, February 14, 2020 Rating: 5