NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: O'Reilly Auto Parts 253

If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers who crash out of the race is a must, of course!

numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown and track preview. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed the Daytona 500 on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.

Last week's Daytona 500 ended with a surprise late-night winner and a wad of sheet-metal in Turn 3. After Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski collided, it was Front Row Motorsports' Michael McDowell who earned a shocking first career win. That win locks McDowell into his first appearance in NASCAR's playoffs, and it sets up the veteran for a great starting position at the second race of the season -- which is still at Daytona! This week, NASCAR's best tackle Daytona's 3.81-mile road configuration, which is the same configuration that was run for February 9th's Busch Clash exhibition event.

The starting lineup for this event was set through NASCAR's weighted formula, which includes last race's finish, the fastest lap in that race, and current points position. That formula put defending series champion Chase Elliott on the pole for Sunday, and Daytona 500 champion Michael McDowell will start alongside him. Pit stalls were selected in the same order as the starting lineup.

With that, let's preview the O'Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona Road Course on FanDuel.

High-Salaried Drivers

Chase Elliott ($14,000): Elliott crashed in the final turn of the Busch Clash, but that was a play to win a meaningless exhibition event. In terms of races that pay out points, no driver has been more dominant on road courses than pole-sitter Elliott, who leads all drivers in driver rating (126.4) and laps led (231) on road courses in the last eight total events. Elliott has parlayed those strong performances into trophies, notching wins in five of those same eight events. There are plenty of great options starting closer to the rear of the field who offer place-differential points, but it is impossible to ignore the odds-on-favorite to win Sunday's race (+190).

Ryan Blaney ($12,700): Eleven days ago, it was Ryan Blaney who Elliott took out to hand the Busch Clash win to Kyle Busch. Blaney had an eventful evening, one that saw him start at the back twice due to penalty, but he once again proved his merit as one of NASCAR's best road racers. Blaney has a top-five finish in four of the last seven points-paying road course events, which includes a 2018 win at the Charlotte ROVAL. Starting 27th, Blaney has even higher pass-differential upside than Martin Truex Jr. ($13,500), and the three of these drivers -- Elliott, Blaney and Truex -- have won the last eight road course events. In cash games, Truex (starting 19th) and Blaney are an optimal pairing since both are starting so deep in the field.

Mid-Salaried Drivers

Alex Bowman ($9,000): Starting 36th, Alex Bowman doesn't need to do too much to be worth his weight in gold. Bowman's floor is incredibly high from that deep in the field, but his ceiling is interesting, too, given his road course prowess early in his Cup career. Bowman actually has nine straight top-15 finishes on road courses, which includes two top-five efforts at the Charlotte ROVAL. Last time the Cup Series ran a points event on the Daytona Road Course, Bowman ascended from 27th to record a solid 12th-place finish, and a similar effort would make him a strong candidate for the optimal lineup on Sunday.

Chase Briscoe ($8,700): With Briscoe making his first career Cup start on a road course, there is nothing but anecdotal evidence inside the conversation around him this weekend, but it remains a conversation worth having. Briscoe is a two-time winner in his Xfinity Series career on road courses, including last July in Indianapolis, and he led 78 of a total of 227 available Xfinity Series road course laps in 2020 -- and it could have been more if Briscoe did not find trouble due to wet weather in two events. He has shown to be a tremendous road course racer in his young career. Starting 18th, Briscoe offers upside at a modest salary as long as his skills translate to NASCAR's top level.

Low-Salaried Drivers

Matt DiBenedetto ($8,300): DiBenedetto's Daytona 500 lasted just a few laps, and there could be worse races for him to bounce back than a road course. DiBenedetto has found the top-15 in five of the last six road course events, and that includes a 15th-place finish at this track last August. Since switching teams, DiBenedetto has not showcased the race-winning speed he had with Toyota on these track types, but his poor effort last week means he rolls off 32nd on Sunday. Similar to Alex Bowman, Matty D is easy to like as he is more than capable of a top-15 showing from his deep starting spot.

Chris Buescher ($6,000): Buescher was in fourth with less than 10 laps to go in the Busch Clash and was spun out -- not that the memory is vivid related to my own personal daily fantasy results. His positioning before the accident is indicative of the ultimate truth that Buescher is still one of the most consistent road course racers in the sport. Including that 16th-place finish in the Busch Clash, Buescher now has an overall streak of 11 straight races with a top-20 finish on road course -- which dates all the way back to 2017. Starting 30th on the grid and with a nice track record on road courses, Buescher stands out among the low-salary value options.

Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.