FREE NASCAR DFS Cup Series Daytona 2 Breakdown, Cheat Sheet, and Core Plays

Welcome to Run Pure Sports’ FREE NASCAR DFS breakdown, setting the stage for an exhilarating night at the iconic Daytona International Speedway. If you’re like me, you’re eagerly awaiting some Super Speedway thrills after two weeks of boring ass road course races. With tonight’s showdown serving as the final opportunity for drivers to secure a spot in the 2023 playoffs, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Ever since NASCAR repositioned this race as the season finale, the drama has been off the charts, culminating in another wild race in last year’s event. Now, following two nearly caution-free races on the road courses, you can bet these drivers can’t wait to tear some shit up.

It’s Daytona Day, and it promises to be nothing short of glorious. Strap in as we delve into the slate strategy—aiming to position you atop the DraftKings leaderboard when the smoke finally clears after the checkered flag has waved.


Daytona and chaos goes together like Darlington and slide jobs. The racing is so tight at Daytona, and the stakes are always incredibly high. With drivers stacked and packed literally inches from each other, one minor mistake, can result in major problems for the entire field.

When looking at the last 11 races at Daytona, we see that they’re averaging 16 cars per race not finishing the race, with only 13 cars finishing on the lead lap. There’s no reason a car shouldn’t finish on the lead lap at Daytona unless they were involved in some type of incident on the track. The carnage meter gets kicked up even a little more at the 400 mile night race. Per @nascarman_rr on Twitter, in the last 10 years of this race, we are averaging 30 cars involved in some sort of incident. Last year’s race here was the most chaotic ever, with 86.5% of the cars involved in an incident.

This type of chaos makes DFS strategy a bit of a dart throw. It’s often not just about playing the fastest cars, the best drivers, or those with a good history or track position.

The key is survival. With the high level of attrition that takes place at this race, you just need to get six guys through all the carnage clean to put up a big score and have a big day in GPPs. It doesn’t matter who those drivers were or where they started – if they cross the line on the last lap facing forward, they’re likely to have a great DK score in comparison to all the low-scoring drivers riddled throughout the field.

However, there’s some good news for cash game players. Cash games can be quite profitable and relatively easy to navigate at Daytona. OK, Stop me if you heard this before…  STACK THE BACK. Concept is simple, target drivers starting in the back of the field. This raises the floor of your lineup and decreases the risk of negative points in the event of a wreck. Additionally, some of these drivers have significant upside potential and can carry your cash lineup across the finish line. Even though ownership might be there in cash, fading any big-named drivers starting in and around the top 20 is your edge, Hamlin and Chase are a couple guys that come to mind in tonight’s slate. You allow the field to make those mistakes while creating opportunities for your lineup to leap frog those line ups if/when those drivers find trouble.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 06: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident following the checkered flag during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Many will argue that Super Speedway racing has changed with the Next Gen car. While yes, it might be more difficult to race from the back to the front than the past, carnage is still way up and the back of the field still reigns supreme. When looking at the Top 8 DK scorers in the 3 Next Gen era Daytona races, we see that 70% of those scores came from drivers starting 20th or worse, and 50% came from drivers starting 31st or worse. Those 12 drivers starting 31st or worse didn’t only finish inside the Top 8 in DK scoring, all of them finished inside the Top 6. This range accounted for the Top 2 scorers on Draftkings in each of the last 3 Daytona races. At least 3 of the Top 4 DK scores in each race also came from this range and this range swept the Top 4 DK scores in this race last year.

With all the unpredictability surrounding today’s race, the one thing that we can predict is where the field will go. It’s no secret that tonight’s race is likely to be carnage field and it’s common knowledge that targeting position differential is the ideal strategy. With salary not normally being an issue when constructing line ups, it makes it very easy to jam in the higher priced PD options, and that’s exactly what the field does. You don’t need an opto to tell you the chalk today, the higher the salary of a driver and the further back they start, the higher their ownership will be.

Given the unpredictable nature of the race, it’s essential to differentiate your lineup from the rest of the field. Picking and choosing what chalk, if any, to eat will be key. Sure, getting drivers through the carnage is important, but if  you are fortunate enough to get drivers through the carnage today, they might as well not be drivers that everyone else has also.

One way to be different, instead of going with the popular, high-priced PD options, target the lower-priced, less sexy drivers with similar or better upside, and in less crowded ownership. This approach will increase your chances of a big score if your drivers make it through the chaos. Back markers can also be a great source of low owned upside without risking a huge negative swing if they wreck. Landon Cassill, B.J. McLeod, Cody Ware, and David Ragan made some people a TON of money in this race last year!

Another route you could go to find leverage, which is my least favorite, is by targeting drivers starting inside the Top 10. It’s usually very easy to find drivers at sub 15% ownership in this start range. Drivers in this range have accounted for 5, Top 8 DK scores in the 3 Next Gen races at Daytona. However, none of these drivers finished better than 5th in DK scoring. This range also carries more risk, as if a driver in this range finds the carnage, they will most likely result in a negative score. When targeting drivers in this range, we want drivers who we predict will be running towards the front of the pack. The closer to the front a driver is running, the less chance they have at getting in the big one.

The last final tip I have on roster construction for you when building for today is to leave salary on the table. Builds for Super Speedways can leave north of $5k on the table. If you are using all of your salary, you are doing it wrong tonight.

Finally, if all else fails, you can test your luck with the always popular, “Wheel of Winners”! That’s right, just follow the link below and spin the wheel to make a line up or two for tonight. I have only included drivers starting 20th and back on the Wheel. Spin till you get 6 different drivers! Good luck!


Cheat Sheet

Below is my Cheat Sheet for tonight’s Cup Series race from Daytona. Data is from all 6 Next Gen races at Daytona and Talladega. It’s a wildcard type race, so you can make an argument for anyone. I have went ahead and high lighted in blue the drivers that I think will be amongst the highest owned on the slate. Drivers highlighted in purple are drivers that I think make solid pivots off the chalk options.

Core Plays

Top 4 Pivots

Given the nature of tonight’s race, I’m not going to waste your time with a big write up covering the why on every driver I like today. Instead, I’m just going to give you my 4 favorite pivot plays on the slate tonight that will hopefully help you find some leverage in tonight’s slate. You can make your own guess on what chalk is going to run into issues.

Ross Chastain

Ross might slide a bit under the radar tonight with the other PD plays priced around him. Chastain has already proven he has what it takes to get it done on a Super Speedway. In the next gen era, when he keeps it clean, he is going to be in contention. Of his 4 incident-free races in the next gen era on super speedways, he has a 1st, a 4th and a 9th place finish. He ain’t afraid to hang his melons out the window when the race on the line either.

Eric Jones

Jones might also go over looked form P24 with so many cheaper options starting way further back than him. I honestly think that this whole range goes under owned. Jones is another driver that just has a knack for this style of racing and he knows how to find his way to the front when the laps get low. He does have a win here back in 2018, along with two Top 5′ and 2 Top 5’s at Dega. He too has 4, incident free races in the next gen era on super speedways, he fished 6th in 3 out of 4 of those races.

Austin Dillon

Here we have another former Daytona winner sitting poised to go under-owned from the back half of the field. RCR always brings fast race cars to the Super Speedways. Dillon won this race last year, and yes, I know most of the field wrecked in the rain, but he still went out and backed it up when the series returned to Talladega later in the season with a 2nd place finish. Dillon has had some solid runs on the big Super Speedways this season, but has wrecked out of both races. His team mate Busch, who I also love today, got the win at Talladega this season and was about a lap away from winning the 500.

Back Markers

If you are expecting chaos, and we are, then you can definitely look to find some leverage from those back marker drivers at the bottom of the DK pricing starting towards the back of the field. Salary is not an issue today, so people generally don’t dip too far down into this range when building line ups. When playing these guys, the last thing you want to see in the race is them actually racing in the pack. You want them riding at the very tail of the field in hopes they drive around all the carnage while putting up a big score in the process. Those back-marker drivers today are Yeley, T. Dillon, Poole and McLeod. And yes, I know I cheated and gave 4 guys as this pivot option.


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