The third restrictor plate race of the season is this weekend, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams are set to run 400 miles in the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday night. The number of miles is significant this weekend because this year’s first Daytona race, as well as the first Talladega race, were both 500 miles in length. In those two races, we saw the Stages allow teams to come up with a wide variety of strategy options in order to contend for the win at the end, and you should expect nothing less here on Saturday night. We’re almost at the midpoint of the 2017 season and that means we should see another shift in team performance. It happens every year, so don’t be afraid to go with some outside-of-the-box picks in Fantasy NASCAR this weekend!
This weekend at Daytona, we had the same practice and qualifying schedule that we had at Sonoma, just a day earlier, as there were two practice sessions on Thursday followed by qualifying (and only qualifying) on Friday. The practice speeds from those two sessions can be found here: Practice #1 — Happy Hour, and, as always, our practice notes can be found here: Practice #1 — Happy Hour. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is on the pole for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 and the full starting lineup can be found by clicking here.
Final Top 25 Ranking For The Daytona 2 Coke Zero 400
1. Brad Keselowski – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $10,400 – Yahoo! A Group
Brad Keselowski may be the defending winner of the Coke Zero 400 but you have to take that result with a grain of salt. Overall, BK has been very hit or miss here at Daytona, with four top 10s in his sixteen career starts here (25%) compared to ten finishes of 20th or worse. As you probably know, though, history doesn’t mean a lot at restrictor plate tracks, especially for a driver (and team) like Brad Keselowski and the #2 crew. Momentum-wise, BK has five single-digit finishes in the last eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, and is coming off of a career-best finish at Sonoma last weekend. It wouldn’t really be all that surprising to see Keselowski make it back-to-back Coke Zero 400 wins on Saturday night.
2. Kevin Harvick – Starts 5th – DraftKings Price: $9,500 – Yahoo! A Group
Fresh of his first win of the 2017 season, don’t be surprised if Kevin Harvick is a factor once again this weekend at Daytona. The Fords were the strongest cars off the truck this weekend, and that speed should carry on into the race on Saturday night as well. Harvick is a previous winner of the July race here at Daytona and has finished inside the top 5 in three of his last five starts at this track. He also led the most laps in this year’s Daytona 500 (50) and wound up leading for 15 laps at Talladega back in May before ending up 23rd at the checkered flag. My biggest issue with Harvick is that he’s one of those drivers that tends to hang out at the back of the pack, and that’s not a strategy I prefer my Fantasy NASCAR drivers to take. However, with the addition of the Stages this year, Harvick seems to be more aggressive, and should be here on Saturday night as well.
3. Kyle Busch – Starts 16th – DraftKings Price: $9,600 – Yahoo! A Group
This #18 team notched another top 5 finish at Sonoma last weekend and should have a very good car to contend with here at Daytona in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400. Kyle Busch is as hit or miss as they come at this track, but over the last year and a half, he has had a car capable of winning whenever we stopped at Daytona. Rowdy finished 2nd and 3rd in the two Daytona races last year and then wound up 38th in this year’s Great American Race after getting caught up in a wreck. Still, the #18 Toyota has led at least 16 laps in each of the last three races here at Daytona, and Busch came home 3rd at Talladega back in May. Joe Gibbs Racing could very well get its first win of 2017 here on Saturday night, and if that happens, it’s going to be either Kyle Busch or Denny Hamlin in victory lane.