Every time Daytona rolls around I get this terrible feeling in my stomach as if I’m walking down a plank thinking of the unexpected.
I’m a NASCAR fantasy manager like most of you out there and scenarios start running through my mind about the big one at Daytona.
Well, the best way to deal with Daytona and all “wild card” races on the schedule is to forget about the what ifs and concentrate on fielding the best possible winning score card.
Dale Earnhardt Jr always comes to mind when we’re talking Daytona or any other restrictor plate race, and with good reason. Jr. has the best average finish of 8.6 among all active drivers the past five years at Daytona, and he won the Daytona 500 earlier this year. He also has the third best driver rating among all active drivers to go along with the third most laps led at Daytona. You see what I’m getting at, here? He’s worth the money in any fantasy league game.
Tony Stewart doesn’t have the stats that Dale Jr. has, but when it comes to the Coke Zero 400, he’s exceptional. Between 2005 – 2012, Stewart has won the July race four times. His led the most laps among all active drivers and has the fourth best driver rating at Daytona. His fantasy price should be good enough to punch his ticket.
Matt Kenseth has the best average start for Daytona at 8.7, but has never won the Coke Zero 400. He ranks second in driver ratings for Daytona.
Austin Dillon won the pole for the Daytona 500 earlier this year and finished 20th. He’s a good choice for the bargain buy driver that could get you good points.
Another driver who should be a bargain buy is Bobby Labonte; he has top ten stats with an average finish of 16.7. His a great replacement to rest Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon.
The reason I mention the drivers above besides their stats, with the exception of Labonte, is because they like to run up front and if they run up front, you have a chance at avoiding the big one.
Chevrolet has won four out of the last five Coke Zero 400s. David Ragan gave Ford a win in 2011.
There are 44 entries for the Coke Zero 400. Joe Nemechek is the only entry that must qualify to race on Saturday night.
Here’s the top 10 Power Rankings for Daytona, including rookies and part-timers for the past five years:
10 Joey Logano- 2 top 5s and 3 top 10s, average finish 17.6.
9 Denny Hamlin- 2 top 5s and 2 top 10s, average finish 17.3.
8 Bobby Labonte- 1 top 5 and 2 top 10s, average finish 16.6.
7 Carl Edwards- 1 top 5 and 5 top 10s, average finish 16.3.
6 Kevin Harvick- 1 win, 2 top 5s and 5 top 10s, average finish 16.1.
5 Matt Kenseth- 1 win, 3 top 5s and 5 top 10s, average finish 15.4.
4 Greg Biffle- 2 top 5s and 4 top 10s, average finish 14.6.
3 Ricky Stenhouse Jr- 1 top 10, average finish 12.5.
2 Reed Sorenson- 1 top 10, average finish 12.0.
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr- 1 win, 5 top 5s and 6 top 10s.
Power Rankings are based on the last five years unless otherwise mention. Remember, it’s a Saturday Night Special on TNT. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thank you for stopping in. @JoeIcemanNieves