Fantasy NASCAR Preview #27: Michael McDowell




2019 FANTASY NASCAR RANK: 28TH        


2019 RECAP: Michael McDowell made a statement to open the 2019 season. He finished fifth in the Daytona 500 and it tied for his best finish of the season (McDowell also finished fifth at Talladega). McDowell proved he was going to be a good Fantasy NASCAR pick on the Superspeedways. McDowell has a road course racing background so it was no surprise that he had fantasy value at Sonoma, Watkins and the Charlotte Roval. The No. 34 team was a better pick in DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) than he was in season-long games (Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game). That will not change in 2020.


2020 Preview: The No. 34 team did not make many changes for the 2020 season. Drew Blickensdefer will once again serve as the crew chief and the chassis will be provided by Roush Fenway Racing. Front Row Motorsports will scale back from three teams to two cars in 2020. McDowell said in an interview with SiriusXM Radio that the reduction in cars will allow the team to be more focused and they will have more inventory to build more competitive cars. McDowell will take on a leadership role as he will have rookie John Hunter Nemechek as his new teammate. McDowell said he is looking forward to working with JHN and teaching him how to be a Cup Series driver.

McDowell should have similar fantasy value as to what he had in 2019. The No. 34 car will be a great pick whenever the series competes on the Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega). McDowell will also be worth a spot on your team on the road courses. He also has a history of running well at the large, flat tracks in Indianapolis and Pocono (Mostly because the draft comes into play more at these two large tracks).



Michael McDowell only had one finish in the top 20 on the intermediate tracks in 2019. He qualified 15th and finished 15th at Texas. His average starting position on the intermediate tracks was 18.6 and his average finishing position was 23.7. That is not good for season-long games and the negative place differential points are not good for DFS contests either. I do not plan to use McDowell at the intermediate tracks in 2020 unless he puts together a string of solid finishes at Atlanta, Las Vegas, Homestead and Texas to begin the season. I do not expect that to happen though. (Michael McDowell ranked 29th in fantasy points scored on the intermediate tracks in 2019)



Michael McDowell scored the 11th-most fantasy points on the Superspeedways in 2019, but that number is misleading. McDowell finished fifth at Daytona and Talladega, but a 40th-place finish in the April race at Talladega hurt his season long value at these tracks. If McDowell could have avoided the wreck on lap 10 at Talladega he would have easily been a top-five driver on the Superspeedways. Daytona ranks as his best track. He has finished the last two Daytona 500s in the top 10. McDowell will be a good pick for both DFS and season-long games at Daytona and Talladega in 2020. (Michael McDowell ranked 11th in fantasy points scored on the Superspeedways in 2019)


FLAT TRACK VALUE (Richmond / Phoenix / Martinsville / Loudon)

Michael McDowell was one of the worst drivers at the flat tracks in the spring in 2019. He finished 36th at Phoenix, 31st at Martinsville, 36th at Richmond to begin the season. Front Row Racing signed an alliance with Roush Fenway Racing in May and it helped the team improve at the flat tracks. McDowell finished 21st at Richmond in the fall, 23rd at Martinsville and 17th at Loudon. You would think the Phoenix, Arizona native would be better at his home track but ISM Raceway ranks as one of his worst tracks. There are better choices for your fantasy team at the flat tracks in 2020. (Michael McDowell ranked 31st in fantasy points scored on the flat tracks in 2019)


STEEP TRACK VALUE (Bristol / Dover / Darlington)

Michael McDowell struggled to finish in the top 25 at the steep tracks in 2019. He finished 28th and 37th at Bristol, 24th in both races at Dover and 38th at Darlington. One of the problems with McDowell is that he qualified well at these tracks. That hurt his DFS value because he scored negative place differential points in each of these races. It is hard to get excited about using McDowell in your fantasy lineups at the flat tracks. You can find better drivers for your team in 2020. (Michael McDowell ranked 30th in fantasy points scored on the steep tracks in 2019)


ROAD COURSE TRACK VALUE (Sonoma / Watkins Glen / Roval)

Michael McDowell spent a lot of time early in his career racing in the NASCAR Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series. The techniques that he learned in that series has made McDowell a good sleeper pick in the Cup Series when they compete on the road courses. McDowell finished 12th at the Charlotte Roval and 16th at Watkins Glen. He had a 14.8 average running position at Sonoma but finished 25th. McDowell will be a good driver to use in the Driver Group Game to save allocations at the Road Courses. He will also be a good pick for your DFS contest too. (Michael McDowell ranked 20th in fantasy points scored on the road courses in 2019)


Best Tracks to for Michael McDowell: 1) Daytona, 2) Charlotte Roval, 3) Watkins Glen, 4) Sonoma, 5) Pocono



*Stats from

* Team Information from


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