This is it… The race Saturday night is the last chance for the Cup Series drivers to secure a spot in the 2020 playoffs. The races at Daytona are always wild, but this could be the craziest race we have ever seen on this high-bank Superspeedway. There is a lot on the line so I expect more bumping and banging than we usually see at this track. It should be fun to watch. The Coke Zero 400 can be seen Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Race Rewind at Daytona: Daytona 500 (2020)
Here are my picks for the Coke Zero 400 …
Driver Group Game A Picks
Joey Logano (Start): Joey Logano is one of the best drivers at Daytona and he needs something to kick start his seen before the playoffs begin. I would not be surprised to see the Team Penske Racing cars line up and dominate a large portion of this race. I will save Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott for the more predictable tracks and roll the dice with Logano Saturday night.
Denny Hamlin (Bench): Denny Hamlin is a good pick any time the cars compete at Daytona but for some reason he is a lot better in February than he is in the summer. Hamlin has won the last two Daytona 500’s but he has finished 26th, 38th and 24th in his last three Coke Zero 400’s. I will save Hamlin for the more predictable tracks.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Joey Logano 2) Denny Hamlin 3) Kyle Busch 4) Brad Keselowski 5) Kevin Harvick 6) Chase Elliott 7) Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game B Picks
Ryan Newman (Start): Ryan Newman was involved in a horrific crash at Daytona in February. I am not concerned that Newman will be gun-shy this week. Newman said, “I had that race won so I look at it as… this track owes me one now.” Newman has been one of the most consistent drivers at Daytona. He has finished 9th, 5th, 14th, 8th, 8th and 5th at Daytona since 2016. That is the best average finishing position of any driver in the field Saturday night.
Chris Buescher (Start): You cannot have too many Fords in your lineup Saturday night. The Roush-Yates engines have an advantage over the field and Chris Buescher has taken advantage of his speed at this track. Buescher finished 3rd in the Daytona 500. It wasn’t the only race he had success at in Daytona. Buescher finished 17th last year and 5th in both races in 2018. This is a great opportunity to use Buescher and save your allocations with your other drivers.
Aric Almirola (Start if you can): I am out of allocations with Aric Almirola but if you have the ability to use the No. 10 car, Almirola needs to be in your lineup. He is either the luckiest driver in the series or the best at avoiding the wrecks on the Superspeedways. Almirola has finished 3rd, 22nd, 4th, 7th and 9th in his last five races on the Superspeedways. He is a great pick this week.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Bench): Do you trust Ricky Stenhouse Jr.? He is going to run up front and Stenhouse will likely win a Stage and score some Stage points. He has a habit of crashing in the final Stage though and that does not help your team. Stenhouse is a better pick at Talladega than he is at Daytona but he is still worth a spot in your lineup if you are feeling lucky Saturday night.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Aric Almirola 2) Ryan Blaney 3) Ryan Newman 4) Chris Buescher 5) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 6) Alex Bowman 7) Jimmie Johnson 8) Erik Jones 9) Matt DiBenedetto 10) Kurt Busch
Driver Group Game C Picks
Michael McDowell (Start): I will have another Ford in my lineup this week in Group C. Michael McDowell is having one of his best seasons in the Cup Series. He has also had a lot of success at Daytona. McDowell finished 14th, 13th, 5th, 26th, 9th and 4th in his 6 races at the track (11.8 average finishing position). I will gladly take a top-12 finish from McDowell Saturday night.
John H. Nemechek (Bench): They say the apple does not fall far from the tree. That is true with the Nemecheks. Joe Nemechek was always good at the Superspeedways and his son (John Hunter Nemechek) is pretty good too. Nemechek finished 11th in the Daytona 500 and backed it up with an 8th place finish at Talladega. This is a great race to use the rookie in your lineups.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Michael McDowell 2) John H. Nemechek 3) Ty Dillon 4) Bubba Wallace 5) Tyler Reddick
Driver Group Game Team
Good luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Pro
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
If you like Fantasy NASCAR, LIKE my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook