Fantasy NASCAR Picks- GEICO 500 at Talladega (FREE)

Pearce breaks down his picks for this weekend’s race below!

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Now back to the great analysis from Pearce!



There are a multiple strategies for daily fantasy NASCAR plate racing (Daytona and Talladega). A red flag should have just went up. Multiple strategies? That means none are very effective or reliable. There is no point in dancing around it, you’re going to need to get lucky this weekend. The honest truth is that in fantasy NASCAR you need to get lucky every week. At least one of your drivers is going to catch a break.

Last week, If you had Truex, you almost won a gpp until an overtime pitstop cost him over 30 fantasy points and shifted the entire contest. If you overlooked Ryan Blaney at Bristol, you were toast, but then he wrecked into a lap car. Maybe you had Denny Hamlin at Bristol, he was in first place towards the end of the race, but a bad pit gun caused a loose wheel. How about Kevin Harvick at Texas. A loose wheel penalty was not called against him, but a lesser violation was called on Blaney. You always need some luck, but in plate racing you need extreme luck.

Picking six drivers that can finish the race seems easy enough, but it’s not. With the combination of stages and the low downforce package, the plate races have led to a dizzying amount of  wrecks. During this year’s Daytona Speedweeks, a record amount of wreck were set. Bone for tuna.


  • Pick cars that don’t wreck at plate tracks. Look at the plate track history, and find drivers with low DNF% (did not finish).
  • Pick car that don’t wreck and finish inside the top 20 (look at top 20%).
  • Pick cars that don’t wreck and earn top 10s (look at top 10 %). You will notice that the percentages are low. Even the best drivers finish outside of the top 10 half of the time.

Only 19 drivers finish inside the top 20 more than half of the time. Some of those averages are hard to trust because Bubba, Gray Gaulding, and Suarez only have a handful of races. They’re also hard to to trust because they are hard to trust. It’s Bubba, Gray Gaulding, and Suarez.

  • Pick drivers that are starting in the back. If they survive, then they score a bunch of points. If they wreck, they don’t score a lot negative place differential points. You can still cash when these drivers wreck. If you play drivers in the front, then you cap your point totals and lower your floor.
  • Pick drivers in the back and one lap leader. Typically, the optimal lineup has five drivers with 20 plus place differential points and the driver that finishes inside the top 10 and scores 10 laps led points. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s six place differential plays. It all depends on how the wrecks unfold, and that’s impossible to predict.

Xfinity Strategy

Let’s look at the past probable optimals.

Daytona 2018

driverfinish(+/-)FastLedtotalavg posratingfinish15 %start
Kaz Grala40231.5064.52268.7423.827
Garrett Smithley392010.560.52270.4523.125
Tyler Reddick46832.7559.751096.91869
Jeff Green332020552759.51120.331
Ryan Reed411210.7554.751387.1369.915
Elliott Sadler42910.552.59103.8284.611
  • This was a wreckfest.
  • The best starting position is 9th and two in the teens.
  • 3 drivers started 25th or deeper
  • Green will jump out to Xfinity DFS players, but this is a track where he will run all of the laps, and show that his car is not that bad after all. He just cannot afford to race every week. His car is completely a plate track only operation. We see this in the Cup series. Gaughan only runs plate tracks, but starting and parking in the Cup series in not financially viable.
  • No one really led laps because the lap leader got taken out. Five of the top 6 earned a top 5.
  • My initial takeaway is that I don’t have to blindly take cars in the back. I don’t want anything to do with top 10 starters, but at the end of the day, I want cars that can earn a top 10 if not a top 5.


Daytona Summer 2017

StartDriveravgFinish(+/-)fin ptfastledtotaltop 15%ratingStartFinish
33David Starr285283910687.767.1335
21Dakoda Armstrong17318413.5062.536.583.4213
34Joey Gase26102434105910.659.43410
37J.J. Yeley221324311.5056.514.469.73713
3William Byron12124617.2556.2564.4116.931
31B.J. McLeod2811203310545.862.13111
  • All punts from the back
  • Jr Motorsports lap leader and winner


Talladega 2017

StartDriveravgFinish(+/-)fin ptfastledtotaltop 15%ratingStartFinish
23Aric Almirola8122460.53.2571.7576.1107.1231
40Jeff Green131030341.54.57063.790.24010
14Elliott Sadler1621242405841.696.2142
21Michael Annett10714373.51.55673.599.5217
19Matt Tifft1761338305441.686.8196
31J.J. Yeley1511203310545473.23111
  • The best starting position is 15th
  • Four drivers are from the bigger operations. The minimum place differential was 12 points.
  • Four drivers started between 14th and 23rd.
  • Jeff Green ran 63.7% of his laps inside the top 15. That’s impressive. He started 40th and did not stay in the back. He led 18 laps!
  • Two Jr Motorsports cars in the optimal lineup again.


Daytona Spring 2017

StartDriveravgFinish(+/-)fin ptfastledtotaltop 15%ratingStartFinish
35Joey Gase177283700655479.5357
16Austin Dillon63134116.7561.7591.1124163
25Scott Lagasse, Jr.1761938306037.181.4256
34Harrison Rhodes151024341.5059.568.676.73410
18Brendan Gaughan651339045695.2103.5185
26Garrett Smithley17818361.5055.530.773.2268
  • Cup driver leads most laps.
  • Four drivers starting 25th or worse.
  • Double digit place differential points combined with top 10s. That seems like a rule.
  • 23 of 24 optimal cars have earned at least 8 place differential points and finished at least 13th. My rule of thumb this week is 10 place differential points and a top 10 finish


Talladega 2016

StartDriveravgFinish(+/-)fin ptfastledtotaltop 15%ratingStartFinish
34Jeremy Clements17430401.51.7573.253183.4344
18Justin Allgaier1021642206082.8102.9182
35Garrett Smithley201223321.5056.519.863.23512
9Elliott Sadler6184610.2555.2594121.491
11Brennan Poole1238412.5152.566.4100.3113
20Justin Marks1911933304530.282.12011
  • Two Jr Motorsports cars
  • Smithley again
  • Top 10s and at least 10 place differential points
  • Laps led is a small portion of optimal points. It’s all about finishing position and place differential.

I am leaning towards two plans. Just take cars in the back or take half from the back and half decent cars that can earn a top 10 and 10 place differential points. JRM is the prefered team (good cars and a ton of experience).

Hang out with me before the green flag drops in the FanVice Premium NASCAR Slack channel where I will be answering questions.

Good Luck! ~ Pearce