The Cup Series competed for the first time on the Daytona Road Course last August. Pit strategy played a major part of the race. Some teams short-pitted before the end of the Stages to gain track position for the final run to the checkered flag. The strategies really jumbled up the field and brought some drivers who are not typically good road courses drivers to the front. The best drivers were able to show their strength at the end of the race. Chase Elliott beat out a hard charging Denny Hamlin to win his fifth road course race.
The Cup Series also competed at the Daytona Road Course in the Busch Clash race in early February. Most of the same drivers, who dominated the first race, ran well in the Busch Clash (Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney). Kyle Busch had a flat tire early in the race last August, but he showed how fast he can be on the Daytona Road Course by sneaking into Victory Lane when Elliott and Blaney wrecked in the final turn of the Busch Clash race.
Here are the Race Rewinds from the two races:
Race Rewind Daytona Road Course: Go Bowling 235 (2020)
– The 10 drivers who looked the best in the race: Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Erik Jones, Michael McDowell and Kyle Busch
Race Rewind Daytona Road Course: Busch Clash 2021
Results from Daytona Road Course Race Last August
– Martin Truex Jr. entered the race at Daytona as one of the favorites last year. He won 4 races on the road courses in his career. The No. 19 car was really fast last year at the Daytona Road Course. Truex started 3rd and he ran the first Stage in the top 10. Truex was penalized for speeding on pit road and he lost a lot of track position. He was able to race through the field and finish 3rd. Truex had the 3rd-best car in the race (Behind Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin)
– Kyle Busch was considered a favorite for the Daytona Road Course race last year because he competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race last year. Busch was fast. The No. 18 car started 4th. He ran the early part of the race in the top 5 but Busch had a tire go down on lap 60. Busch smacked the wall and had a lot of damage. He ended up finishing 37th.
– Denny Hamlin was the only driver who could compete with Chase Elliott. Hamlin was trying to sweep the races at Daytona last year and he came very close. The No. 11 car started 2nd and he was running 2nd in Stage 1 when he rubbed fenders with Martin Truex Jr. Hamlin had to pit and gave up Stage points in the first Stage. Hamlin rebounded to win Stage 2, led 16 laps (2nd most), had a 5.02 average running position (2nd best) and finished 2nd.
– Christopher Bell had a rough rookie season on the road courses. He finished 24th at the Charlotte Roval and did not have much more success at Daytona. Bell started 21st, did not score any Stage points, had a 15.42 average running position (14th best) and finished 21st. Joe Gibbs Racing had a strong stable of cars at the road courses last year so it will be interesting to see how Bell performs with his new team.
– Brad Keselowski has not had a lot of success on the road course over the last three seasons. Keselowski has a 14th-place average finishing position in his last 10 road course races. Keselowski started 17th and he did not score any Stage points or lead any laps. The No. 2 car had a 14.85 average running position (12th best) and finished 13th. This is not the best track to use Keselowski in fantasy NASCAR.
– Joey Logano had two good races at the road courses last year. He finished 2nd at the Charlotte Road Course. He was also good at the Daytona Road Course. The No. 22 car started 9th, finished 2nd in Stage 1, led 1 lap, had a 12.23 average running position (8th best) and finished 9th. Crew Chief Paul Wolfe left Logano on the track with old tires and the strategy kept the No. 22 car up front for most of the race. Logano’s top-10 finish was a result of pit strategy and not a dominant car.
– Ryan Blaney has become a good road course driver. He has finished 4 of his last 5 road course races in the top-8, including a win at the Charlotte Roval in 2018. Blaney started 31st and he slowly made his way to the front. Blaney finished 3rd in Stage 2 but he had a tire go down at the end of the race. Blaney finished 31st but his car had top-10 speed.
– Matt DiBenedetto entered the race at the Daytona Road Course as the top sleeper pick last year because he finished 4th at Sonoma and 6th at Watkins while driving for Leavine Family Racing in 2019. DiBenedetto had some success in his Wood Brothers Ford. He finished 22nd at the Charlotte Roval. The No. 21 car started 15th at the Daytona Road Course. DiBenedetto finished 5th in Stage 1, had a 15.26 average running position (13th best) and finished 9th. He should be a decent sleeper pick again this week.
– Kevin Harvick has been good but not great on the road courses since his win at Sonoma in 2017. His average finishing position over the last two seasons on road courses is 9.4. Harvick started on the pole at the Daytona Road Course last year. He did not lead any laps. Harvick finished 8th in Stage 2, had a 17.94 average running position (17th best) and finished 17th. There are better tracks to use Harvick at.
– Chase Briscoe did not compete in the Cup Series race at the Daytona Road Course last year but he had some success in the Xfinity Series. He won at the Indianapolis Road Course. He ran up front but crashed out of the Xfinity Series race at the Daytona Road Course. Briscoe will have a fast car this week. Clint Bowyer started 12th and finished 6th in the No. 14 car last year at Daytona.
– Aric Almirola has not been very good at the road courses since he joined Stewart-Haas Racing. His average starting position is 15.3 and his average finishing position is 16.1. The No. 10 car started 6th and Almirola immediately fell back in the field. He did not score any Stage points, had a 15.91 average running position (16th best) and finished 24th. It is tough to get excited about Almirola this week.
– Cole Custer was not expected to run well at the Road Courses last year because it is typically tough for rookies to finish up front at these tracks. Custer was decent though. He finished 9th at the Charlotte Roval. The No. 41 car started 26th and used pit strategy to finish 9th in Stage 1. Custer had a 22.02 average running position (24th best) and finished 22nd.
– Chase Elliott is the best driver on the road courses and it is not even close. Elliott has won the last 4 road course races in the Cup Series. He could have easily won 6 of the last 7 road course races if he did not have engine problems while leading the race at Sonoma in 2019. Elliott started 7th at the Daytona Road Course last year. He won Stage 1, finished 7th in Stage 2, lead a race-high 34 laps, had a race-best 3.17 average running position and went to Victory Lane. Elliott has finished 1st or 2nd in 5 of the last 8 Stages on the road courses. The No. 9 car should have a great chance to win this week.
– Kyle Larson did not compete in the Cup Series race at the Daytona Road Course. He may be a bit behind the competition since he did not drive the Cup Series car at this track last year but Larson has competed in 3 of the 24 Hours of Daytona races. That includes a win on the Daytona Road Course in 2015 24 Hours of Daytona race. Larson will be driving for Jimmie Johnson’s team this week. Johnson finished 4th at the Daytona Road Course race last year so the car should have a good setup.
– William Byron is quickly becoming a good driver on the road courses. Hendrick Motorsports brought in Max Papis and Jeff Gordon to work with their drivers and it is paying off. Byron has finished 6th, 8th and 6th in his last 3 road course races. The No. 24 car started 13th, finished 7th in Stage 1, 4th in Stage 2, had a 12.77 average running position (9th best) and finished 8th. This is a good race to take a chance with Byron.
– Alex Bowman has really improved at the road courses. He finished 2nd at the Charlotte Roval in 2019. The No. 88 car started 27th and made his way through the field. Bowman was running 11th when he had a tire go down at the end of Stage 2. Bowman lost a lot of track position but was able to make most of it up. He finished 12th in the race.
– Kurt Busch typically runs in the top 10 on the road courses. The No. 1 car started 8th at the Daytona Road Course last year. Busch finished 9th in Stage 2, did not lead any laps, had a 8.92 average running position (6th best) but the team used pit strategy to steal some track position. Busch stayed out while others pitted for fresh tires. He needed a caution and did not get it. Busch finished 14th but his car had top-10 speed.
– Ross Chastain did not compete in the Cup Series race at the Daytona Road Course last year. He does have 5 starts in the Cup Series on road courses with a 27.6 average finishing position. Chastain crashed out of the Xfinity Series race at the Daytona Road Course last year. He will be driving the No. 42 car this week. Matt Kenseth finished 26th in the No. 42 car at the Daytona Road Course last year.
– Ryan Newman is not very good on the road courses. His average starting position is 20.4 and his average finishing position is 20.8 in his last 10 road course races. Newman started 19th, did not score any Stage points, had a 24.38 average running position (28th best) and used pit strategy to finish 14th. Newman is a better gamble in DFS if he starts deep in the field than he is in season-long leagues.
– Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is not a good fantasy pick at the road courses. His average starting position is 22.1 and his average finishing position is 21.5 in his last 10 road course races. At least he is averaging 1 place differential point per race. He had one of his best races at the Daytona Road Course last year. Stenhouse started 25th. He used pit strategy to finish 5th in Stage 2, had an 18.22 average running position (19th best) and finished 16th. Stenhouse is worth a gamble in DFS if he starts deep in the field.
– Chris Buescher said he learned a lot about road course racing when he was a teammate with A.J. Allmendinger. The No. 17 car started 21st at the Daytona Road Course last year. Buescher did not score any Stage points but his car got better throughout the race. His 5th-place finish was a career-best on the road courses. Buescher is a good sleeper pick this week. His average finishing position in his last 5 road course races is 14th.
– Austin Dillon did not compete in the race at the Daytona Road Course last year because he tested positive for Covid. Kaz Grala drove the wheels off the No. 3 car. Grala started last because of the driver change rule. He slowly made his way through the field and finished 7th. Richard Childress Racing would be better off putting Grala back in the car again this week because Dillon has a 24.8 average finishing position in his last 10 road course races.
– Tyler Reddick had two decent races on the road courses last year. Reddick finished 12th at the Charlotte Roval. He was not as good at the Daytona Road Course. The No. 8 car started 18th, did not score any Stage points, had a 23.38 average running position (27th best) and finished 18th. Not great, but not horrible.
– Erik Jones had two good races on the road courses last year. Jones finished 3rd at the Charlotte Roval. He started 20th in the Daytona Road Course race. He quickly made his way through the field and finished 6th in Stage 1. Jones spent most of the day running right outside the top 10. His average running position was 13.05 (10th best). Jones finished 11th in the race. He has the talent to run in the top 10 but will his Richard Petty Car have the speed to get him into the top 10 this week. It is going to be tough for him.
– Bubba Wallace looks like a fish out of water at the road courses. He has 8 starts in the Cup Series on the road courses. His average starting position is 28.5 and his average finishing position is 26.8. Wallace started 19th, did not score any Stage points, had a 20.37 average running position (22nd best) and finished 25th at Daytona last year. Maybe his Joe Gibbs Racing alliance will give him the speed to finish just inside the top 20 this week.
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