Daytona Coke Zero 400 Scouting Report
by Ryan Rantz, Special To NASCAR news, fantasy racing advice and statistics On Pit Row
Ryan is an avid Fantasy Racer and is a student of this aspect of the sport. You can find me on twitter at twitter.com/ifantasyrace, and yes I do my own tweets.June 29, 2011 7:17 am UTC 1 Comment
How to make an informed pick for the Daytona Coke Zero 400:
1) Focus on studying drivers summer Daytona stats. The July race is completely different from the season opening Daytona 500. The Daytona 500 is far more unpredictable, but in the summer race some drivers really stand out among their peers.
Before you say, “But Ryan they repaved the track, handling shouldn’t be an issue”. My response to that is expect to hear on the broadcast 1) how hot it is and 2) how much the track has weathered since February in the Florida heat. Daytona is a narrow track and because of this handling will still be the key regardless of the repaving.
2) Since handling will be a key to winning this race it’s important to study happy hour. When you study happy hour at restrictor plate tracks you want to go by what you hear, not by what drivers practice speeds are.
3) When it comes to plate tracks and other tracks where DNF’s can be abundant I want to pick drivers who have positive momentum on their side. Picking drivers who are in the midst of slumps just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Drivers who are performing poorly at the time often turn into “DNF Magnets” at this style of track.
4) Qualifying isn’t that important at plate tracks. Having a driver start up front is nice, but it’s really not important this week.
Drivers to watch in the Daytona Coke Zero 400:
Carl Edwards – Finished second in this years Daytona 500. His average finish in the summer Daytona race over the last four years is 4th.
Kurt Busch – Over the last month he’s been as good as anyone. In the last five summer Daytona races he hasn’t finished worse than 7th and he has a 4.4 average finish.
Kevin Harvick – He’s as safe as it gets on plate tracks. He blew up in the Daytona 500 this year but don’t let that scare you away. Kevin Harvick is the defending champion of this race.
Tony Stewart – Stewart’s won the summer race multiple times. His most recent win was in 2009. Kyle Busch was blocking him and was wrecked. I pity the driver who blocks him this Saturday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – He’s gonna win a race one of these days right? Why not Daytona. Last season he finished 2nd and 4th at this 2.5 mile track. If qualifying points matter to you don’t forget he won the pole for the Daytona 500.
Matt Kenseth – Former Daytona 500 winner who typically performs better in the summer race. In the summer Daytona races going back to 2005 he’s finished in the top fifteen every race and has an average finish of 7.5. Also don’t discount Roush’s engine cooling advantage at Daytona.
Kyle Busch – Do you like taking risks that can pay off big in fantasy NASCAR? If the answer is yes take Kyle Busch. He has one win and has been close several times. When I say he’s come close I mean getting crashed out at the end. Since his 2008 win things haven’t come easy for this Busch at Daytona. In this years Daytona 500 he finished 8th which is his only top ten since his win.
VegasInsider.com odds to win the Daytona Coke Zero 400:
Kevin Harvick 6/1, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8/1, Kyle Busch 8/1, Carl Edwards 8/1, Jimmie Johnson 8/1, Jeff Gordon 10/1, Kurt Busch 10/1, Tony Stewart 14/1, Clint Bowyer 14/1