Determining a driver’s worth to a fantasy team is a two-part process. A record of previous successes or failures is all players have at their disposal before the weekend begins and for some races, that is adequate. Additional data is always welcome, however.
Very little is truly predictive at Daytona, but as the weekend progresses, a picture forms. Separately, a driver’s starting position, practice speeds and record will not help determine a favorite for the Daytona 500, but collectively, they are important. For the Daytona 500, qualification races are crucial to a driver’s handicap.
Kevin Harvick’s stock made a huge advance in the opening events of Speedweeks. He has been able to put his car anywhere he wants, and once he has had the lead, it has been impossible to draft past. He won both The Sprint Unlimited and his Duel at Daytona after starting outside the top 10 in both events.
Greg Biffle was a perfect wingman to Harvick in those races. He rode along patiently to finish second without a wrinkle on his fenders. If the two can manage to hook up again in the 500, they will be unbeatable.
Fantasy players looking for a penny stock will be happy to note that Austin Dillon raced his way into the 500. He did not make a lot of noise, but that is precisely what one wants from a rookie. He tucked in the draft and finished third in his Duel.
Luck is unpredictable, but also unavoidable. Carl Edwards seemed to be an innocent bystander when Denny Hamlin spun into the side of his Ford in the first Duel. But was that actually the case? Edwards has been aggressive in the draft and often finds himself in harm’s way, which could be critical on Sunday.
Perhaps because of his involvement in a practice crash before The Sprint Unlimited, Matt Kenseth is finding it difficult to attract drafting partners. This is one race that cannot be won with individual effort and without a good friend. His odds of winning are diminished.
A limited schedule for the Wood Brothers and few opportunities to practice pit stops put Trevor Bayne in traffic in his Duel. Being in the wrong place when a four-car crash erupted hurt his odds of becoming the top sleeper for the Daytona 500.
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