NASCAR Daytona 500

Welcome back to another exciting season of NASCAR action here at Fanvice.com. There have been a few changes since we last met and a few of them will be crucial to the actual race but will not affect the DraftKings point system in any way, shape or form. The biggest change is that NASCAR has decided to go to a three-segment format for every race with the top 10 finishers in each of the first two segments earning points while the end of the race will feature the most points rewarded to the drivers that have the best finish. NASCAR is also awarding playoff points and championship points for each and every race. For example, if a driver wins stage one he or she will receive 10 points towards making the championship while earning one playoff point. If a driver wins the race they will receive 40 playoff points and five playoff points. The playoff points will be awarded throughout the season and will only be used if a driver qualifies for the playoffs. There are no more bonus points for most laps lead or for leading a lap. Like any other change in any sport it is going to take a couple of weeks to digest before we fully get the hang of the new rules.

Besides the big rule changes there have been some other noteworthy changes as well. Sprint has seen their NASCAR contract expire last year which has prompted the powers that be to move to a more younger and possibly more hip sponsor to name the senior circuit after. If you haven’t watched any of the Daytona events so far you didn’t notice that Monster Energy Drinks are now the main sponsor of the series. All drivers will be vying for the coveted Monster Energy Cup. That doesn’t sound right especially when it used to be so simple back in the day when it was called ‘The Winston Cup’. I guess it’s about time to take a look at some of the driver’s that could earn you points over at DraftKings in Sunday’s contests. Saturday’s last practice showed the Fords being able to draft well while the Chevrolet’s being a little behind in that department.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – $10,600

There’s a reason that Earnhardt is the highest salaried driver this week as he has notched two wins and six top ten finishes in his last ten starts here at the two and a half mile track. The biggest question is how will he fare in his return to competitive racing after being on the shelf for the last seven months. Oh yes, we do know that he ran the second fastest qualifying speed to put him on the front row. We also know that he was edged out by Denny Hamiln in the closing stages of the second race of the Can Am Duels that were run Thursday night. All indications seem that Earnhardt should be poised to win his third Daytona 500.

Jimmie Johnson – $10,300 and Denny Hamlin – $9,600

These two drivers are right up there with Earnhardt in terms of having the most top five finishes in their last ten starts at this track. Each have five top five finishes over that time frame but as you can see their prices are a little steep. Hamlin has looked very fast this week by posting the sixth fastest qualifying time but bumped his starting position to fourth by winning his Cam Am Duel. Johnson may make the better play here as even though he starts from the rear of the field, his ‘starting position’ for DFS purposes will be from the24th slot on the grid. With the race being three stages Johnson will have plenty of time to not only get through the field but have a few free opportunities to make adjustments along the way. Kevin Harvick – $9,700 could also be added to this group as he has five top ten finishes in his last ten starts while starting from the fifth position on the grid.

Austin Dillon – $8,200

Dillon will look to continue his success as he tries to crack the top five for the second time in the eight races he has started here at Daytona. His finishes of seventh, ninth and seventh in the last three races here would indicate that he very may well be closer than we think to winning the Daytona 500. He has also finished on the lead lap in every start but his first back in the winter of 2013. Dillon will start from the tenth spot when the green flag drops on the field Sunday afternoon.

Clint Bowyer – $7,800

Now that Bowyer is done his one year stint with HScott Motorsports it’s on to bigger and better things as the 36 year old replaces the retired Tony Stewart behind the wheel of the Mobil 1 Ford. Bowyer will join Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick in the Stewart Haas Racing stable which not only gives him a better edge to compete, he also has team mates around him the can help him on and off the track. For those of you who were not into NASCAR a few years back Bowyer had finished in the top ten four times from 2007 to 2013 in terms of where the championship was concerned. Look for Bowyer to get back on track with better equipment as he starts from the sixth spot in Sunday’s race.

Michael McDowell – $5,800

To get a few of the higher priced drivers one needs to find a few diamonds in the rough. McDowell just may be this diamond. In the eight starts he has had here at Daytona he has finished in the top ten three times. Last year he started 39th and ended up finishing 15th in the 500 while in the summer he had taken the green flag in 37th place and took the checkered flag in 10th place. He has busted out twice in those eight starts but he has finished every lap in the last four starts he has made here in Florida. He will start the K-Love Radio Chevrolet from the 22nd spot on the grid when the green flag drops at 2pm EST on Sunday afternoon.

That will do it for the preview of the first race of the 2017 NASCAR season. It seems just like yesterday that Jimmie Johnson took home the hardware as we get set to do it all o0ver again. As always, Follow me on Twitter @elctrceye and good luck in your contests this Sunday