NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Season ender at Daytona

Oh boy! Now, this race should really be interesting. It's not only the last race of the regular season which will determine who is in and who is out of the Playoffs, but did you know that four of the last six Daytona winners got their first Cup Series win here? In fact, a total of 22 different drivers have posted their first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona International Speedway. Just ask William Byron, who earned his first Cup Series win at last season’s August race, earning his spot in the 2020 Playoffs.

This Week's Pick Strategy: Think Wood Brothers and Hendrick Motorsports, the best in the business here are Daytona with 15 wins each. Of course, those drivers on the bubble or desperados needing a win to get in the Playoffs will be pretty motivated as well!
Drivers with Most Top 10s in the Last Five Years:
By Race
Both with 3 - Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher
All with 2: AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Michael McDowell, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Erik Jones, and William Byron

By Track
All with 5: Chris Buescher, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman
All with 4: Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, and Ryan Blaney
All with 3: Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Matt DiBenedetto

Last Year's Race Winner: William Byron

No-Brainer Pick: Denny Hamlin

My Final Four: Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, William Byron and Michael McDowell

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Bubba Wallace. At Daytona, Bubba has two Top 5s, two Top 10s with an average finish of 15.125, second-best in the Cup Series.
Last week's second-look driver William Byron had a great race at Michigan. He started 18th on the grid, lead 18 laps and raced in the front of the field on multiple occasions, ultimately crossing the finish line in second – a track-best result. “We overall had a really good car. The Axalta Chevrolet was extremely fast. I definitely know we can bring that to the Playoffs. It stinks to finish second, but feel like we had a really good car to go to battle with,” William said.

Points to Ponder:
  • Denny Hamlin (Feb. 2016, Feb. 2019, Feb. 2020) leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in Daytona wins with three. 
  • Nine of the 62 summer Daytona International Speedway races (14.5%) in the NASCAR Cup Series have been won from the pole or first starting position.
  • The Wood Brothers and Hendrick Motorsports are tied for the most wins at Daytona in the NASCAR Cup Series with 15 victories each; both have done it with seven different winning drivers. 
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Daytona with four. Three of these second-place finishes came in the summer race.
  • Kurt Busch leads all active Cup Series drivers in Top 5 finishes at Daytona with 13; seven of these came in the summer race. Kurt also leads all active drivers in Top 10s at Daytona with 18; 10 of these came in the summer race.
  • Justin Haley leads the NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Daytona with a 7.0 in two starts.
  • William Byron leads the series in average finishing position at Daytona in the summer race with a 11.667 in three summer Daytona race starts. 

If you are playing Driver Group Game, remember to make your final picks on Saturday, August 28th at 7 p.m. ET.  Enjoy the race! 

Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 15 years. She launched NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.

When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat, or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Season ender at Daytona NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Season ender at Daytona Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, August 27, 2021 Rating: 5