The Cup Series has had plenty of track time to dial in the Gen-7 car for its debut in the Daytona 500. The teams had four practices, qualifying and the Duel Races to get ready for Sunday’s race. That also gives us plenty of time to figure out which drivers are the best for our Driver Group Game lineups.
Here is my starting lineup for the Daytona 500…
Driver Group Game A Drivers
Ryan Blaney (9): I was all set to use Denny Hamlin as my starting driver in Group A but he did not look like the typical Dominating Denny at Daytona in the Duel Race. The driver who did look good was Blaney. He is quickly becoming the best Superspeedway driver in the sport. Blaney won the last race at Daytona and he is my pick to win the Daytona 500 Sunday.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Ryan Blaney 2) Chase Elliott 3) Denny Hamlin 4) Kyle Larson 5) Kyle Busch 6) Kevin Harvick 7) Martin Truex Jr.
Driver Group Game B Drivers
Chris Buescher (9): Buescher was my sleeper pick heading into the Daytona 500 this year but he is not a secret anymore. He looked awesome on his way to Victory Lane in the Duel Race Thursday night. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone though…. He finished five of the seven races between 2017 and 2020 in the top-10 at Daytona. Buescher starts fourth. He should score a lot of Stage Points and have a good chance to finish in the top-10 Sunday.
Bubba Wallace Jr. (9): I would love to stack all Fords in my lineups since their cars look so good in the draft, but I want to save my allocations with Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola looked lost in the Duel Race. I will take a chance with a Toyota and go with Wallace. He finished second in the last race at Daytona and fifth in 2020. Wallace has only finished outside the top-17 once in his nine trips t o Daytona. I will take a chance with Wallace Sunday.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Brad Keselowski 2) Chris Buescher 3) Joey Logano 4) Bubba Wallace Jr. 5) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 6) William Byron 7) Austin Dillon 8) Christopher Bell 9) Alex Bowman 10) Kurt Busch
Driver Group Game C Drivers
Michael McDowell (9): You almost have to take a chance with the 2021 Daytona 500 Champion and see if McDowell can do it again. McDowell will be one of the highest owned drivers in your league, so if he crashes it will not hurt you much. McDowell has been awesome in the Daytona 500. His last six finishes in the Daytona 500 are 1st, 14th, 5th, 9th, 15th and 15th. He also finished second in his Duel Race Thursday. It would not surprise me if McDowell won again Sunday.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Michael McDowell 2) Austin Cindric 3) Erik Jones 4) Harrison Burton 5) Ty Dillon
Driver Group Game Team
*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info…
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