Welcome back, everyone, to the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider. This weekend, NASCAR runs Saturday night at the historic Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400. Now, before you just go and revisit your successful Daytona 500 team, keep in mind these are two completely different animals. This weekend’s event is much hotter, slicker, held at night and 100 miles shorter. Many drivers have significantly different success levels in both events. So to see who you want to run with and which former multiple championship driver you need to avoid, read on in this week’s edition of the Fantasy Insider.
This week’s studs are Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Stewart has won this event three times and has posted top-10 runs in five of the last six races. Besides, it’s summertime, and we all know how well Tony runs from June on out.
Meanwhile, Chad Knaus decided after the Coca-Cola 600 to quit screwing around, and the result has been four straight top-six runs, including two straight wins for Johnson. Couple that with five top 10s in eight July Daytona races, and Johnson also ranks up there as a sure thing this Saturday.
Who Will Carry You
This week’s trio of cheap dates are Jamie McMurray, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler. Sadler has run very well throughout his career at Daytona, posting 14 top-20 runs and a career finishing average of 17th. Plus, he’s 28th in points, so he’s worth the return you’re gonna get on your investment. His teammate Allmendinger is a bit pricier, sitting 21st in points, but he’s put together six consecutive runs of 14th or better and finished 17th in this race last year. The ‘Dinger has shown he’s a top-20 driver week in and week out, and this Saturday night should be no different.
McMurray lands in this section for two reasons. One, he’s won two of the last three plate races and three total, plus he has a second-place effort and a win in this event. The second reason is that he NEEDS a good run. He’s sitting 17th in points and has two straight top-20 finishes to build on. If he’s gonna make a serious run at the Chase, it has to start now. Look for him to run smart and come home inside the top 15.
Who Will Bury You
Believe it or not, you are going to want to steer clear of Jeff Gordon this weekend. In the last 10 plate races, Jeff has posted zero top-10 finishes, and eight of those runs ended up outside the top 20. For what you are paying to have him on your team, he’s not worth the risk.
Well, for all of you who play Frontstretch’s Game of Tomorrow, unless you pick the winner in all five groups, I beat you. I took four of the five groups, with only Sadler beating Sam Hornish Jr. keeping me from a clean sweep! That makes two weeks in a row I have picked four top-10 drivers, and my worst pick still posted a top 20 – not too shabby. Good luck topping me this week!
So there you go, all the stats and insight you need to go out and set a great lineup again this week. Check back next Thursday to see if we kept our (or at least my) momentum going and to preview another Saturday night race, this time in Joliet, Illinois.
See you next Thursday!