WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (Insert The Nature Boy Ric Flair) It’s Daytona 500 time folks! Known as The Great American Race and the Super Bowl of NASCAR, it’s clearly the biggest race of the year for the Cup series until the Championship race in November. It’s also one of the wildest races of the year as there are a bunch of crashes over the course of the 200-lap race. Since 2013, there’s been a 26-percent DNF (Did Not Finish) rate in this race meaning just over a quarter of the drivers that have started, haven’t finished in the last seven years.

This is a 2.5-mile track and one of the most banked tracks in the Cup series as the turns are tilted at 31 degrees from the apron to the outer wall and the Tri-Oval (or front stretch) is at 19 degrees of banking. All of that has the cars consistently gaining speed until the top out at about 204-205 mph heading into Turn 1. This track is also known as a Plate Track because of the aero setup that is used to keep horsepower and speeds down but force the cars to race in one big pack for much of the race and thus increasing the crash potential throughout the race. So strategy for this race literally comes down to having the most drivers avoiding the big wrecks as possible, and while that sounds like a simple statement, pulling it off can be tougher than you think.

If you take a look through the Track Breakdown or listen to the Podcast or even (if you have it) listen to my hit on the Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM on Friday, you’ll have seen that data that shows how you can avoid the lineup taking-down crashes in this race. Typically having one or two drivers that are starting in the top-12 spots in your lineups and then filling it in with drivers starting much further back in the pack, and avoiding the middle of the pack drivers, is a great way to finish in the money at a race like this. Just to prove that, look at the average points scored by starting position at the last five Daytona 500s and where they rank in DraftKings and FanDuel.

Average Points by Starting Spot

Starting Position Avg. DK Pts. Rank Avg. FD Pts. Rank Starting Position Avg. DK Pts. Rank Avg. FD Pts. Rank
1 7.90 35 27.94 34 21 33.55 13 44.78 12
2 25.55 21 41.64 16 22 31.85 15 43.48 15
3 17.00 31 34.34 29 23 3.60 38 19.60 39
4 22.63 24 40.15 18 24 18.44 30 31.95 32
5 38.00 9 52.58 4 25 25.70 20 39.22 21
6 2.65 39 23.86 37 26 42.75 3 50.22 5
7 4.90 36 25.68 36 27 41.05 6 49.96 6
8 19.30 27 36.22 24 28 36.70 10 44.10 14
9 15.00 33 32.16 30 29 22.25 25 35.84 27
10 38.90 8 53.26 2 30 41.60 5 49.02 7
11 34.55 12 47.14 9 31 31.25 16 39.82 19
12 -1.50 40 20.88 38 32 19.00 28 28.60 33
13 30.10 17 45.52 11 33 35.55 11 44.44 13
14 24.30 22 41.24 17 34 39.90 7 45.78 10
15 9.30 34 26.58 35 35 32.35 14 39.32 20
16 18.95 29 35.88 26 36 48.65 2 53.02 3
17 3.95 37 17.84 40 37 29.45 19 37.44 23
18 15.40 32 31.96 31 38 58.95 1 61.00 1
19 23.30 23 38.72 22 39 42.60 4 47.44 8
20 19.85 26 35.30 28 40 30.10 17 36.00 25

As you can plainly see, stacking the lineup from back to front is the best way to win this week which is the opposite of what we usually do in most of the other races.

*A caveat for this week, and almost only this week, you can play anyone in the field even if they’re not in the playbook, but the guys in the playbook are just the strongest plays of the week

(Max 3)