NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: NASCAR All-Star Race
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 as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
There are plenty of places in the United States suffering a heat wave, but none hotter than on top of the number-five pit box in NASCAR's Cup Series. Kyle Larson was dominant again Sunday at his home track in Sonoma, leading 57 of 90 laps and winning both stages again en route to his second straight victory. Larson has now won seven of nine stages in the past four races. This week, he puts down his quest for a championship to lead NASCAR's best drivers into All-Star Weekend. This year's event will take place at Texas Motor Speedway, and this fast, bumpy, 1.5-mile oval has been a source of wild racing since it was repaved in 2017, which resulted in speed increasing significantly.
With no practice or qualifying for the event, the starting lineup for this race was set through a totally random draw. Somehow, that random draw ended on Kyle Larson starting on his third straight pole -- although this time, not on merit -- with Kyle Busch to his outside on Row 1.
With that in mind, let's preview the NASCAR All-Star Race in Fort Worth, TX on FanDuel.
Kyle Larson ($13,500): Down to +350 on FanDuel Sportsbook, Larson does not present a lot of value in betting markets, but in DFS, he's the highest-salaried driver by only $500 -- which makes him easy to love given his run of dominant form. Larson has led 68.8% of the laps in the last four races (651 of 946), finishing either first or second in each of those four events. Larson has also led more than 100 laps at each of the past four 1.5-mile tracks in the 550-horsepower package used at larger intermediate ovals. The excellent form makes him an obvious choice to win Sunday, but if you are looking for a reason to fade, the multiple inverts in the All-Star race format should mix Larson into traffic and keep him from leading all the laps this weekend -- maybe.
Denny Hamlin ($12,500): Outside of Larson's absurd form on this style of track, the general strategy in a short race with a weird format should be closer to back stacking, like Talladega or Daytona. Hamlin starts 16th -- second-to-last of drivers in the FanDuel player pool -- which offers him big-time place-differential upside. Hamlin has struggled with luck in the Lone Star State, with finishes of 20th or worse in four of his last six races in Texas, but he does have a 2019 win at Texas mixed into the sample. Hamlin's best 2021 work has come on shorter tracks, but he has still led 84 laps on 1.5-mile tracks this year.
Ryan Blaney ($10,500): Blaney starts last among all drivers in the FanDuel player pool (any transfers from the open race will not be scored). Behind Larson, that arguably makes the Penske driver the most valuable DFS play in the field, but it is not solely just on his 17th starting spot. Blaney led 150 laps and won both stages last July at Texas before pit strategy dropped him through the field late, and he followed that up with a fourth-place finish in the September event, as well. Blaney also is one of four winners on 1.5-mile tracks in 2021, as he was victorious back at Atlanta in April, which gives him a strong chance to run well in addition to his "golden ticket" starting spot.
Brad Keselowski ($9,000): It makes sense to play Larson, Blaney, and Hamlin all together, but Keselowski is an interesting tournament pivot at just $9,000. Keselowski has been the strongest Penske car at 550-horsepower tracks this year, leading 171 laps between the five races so far. Keselowski has some place differential upside from ninth, and his Texas record has been serviceable, with five top-12 finishes in eight races (and the three exceptions were all DNFs or issues that caused him to finish 30th or worse). Keselowski is a fun way to differentiate and could have a great finish Sunday.
Alex Bowman ($8,000): Hendrick Motorsports has been the class of the field at nearly any format of track thus far in 2021. One of its strongest cars starting 15th should carry the highest (or second-highest, behind Larson) draft percentage of the night. Bowman starts 15th as a two-time winner in 2021, which gives him the low-salary access to place differential in a very strong machine. In this package, Bowman led 43 laps and finished fifth in the September Texas event last fall, and Bowman also came in fifth in the most recent 1.5-mile event this year in May at Charlotte. The lone negative is that he'll be chalky.
Kurt Busch ($5,500): Busch is probably the only viable threat for a top-five finish who is salaried below $8,000. He offers some place differential, but he is enduring the worst season of his career at Chip Ganassi Racing. While Busch has just three top-10 finishes in 2021, one was last week at Sonoma. The big enigma around Busch's tumultuous 2021 is that he was so strong in this similar package at 1.5-mile tracks last year, with nine top-10 finishes on tracks that used them. But this season, Busch has had a mechanical issue or penalty in four of the five such events. Busch has great track history at Texas, with nine-straight top-10 finishes entering this exhibition event, and using his low salary can help you load up on the studs you want.
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.