Aric Almirola – Aric Almirola is an attractive fantasy NASCAR option at Daytona. He nearly won this years Daytona 500 and he’s proven himself to be a consistent performer. Since his 2014 Daytona win he’s finished in the top fifteen in 6 of the 7 races. Over his last four Daytona races he has a 10.5 average finish and a 15.5 average running position. In this years Daytona 500 he nearly raced his way to victory lane, but was wrecked on the last lap while leading. Over the last segment of the race he consistently ran near 10th, but near the very end he climbed up to the front. Last summer at Daytona he missed the race due to injury. In last year’s Daytona 500 I would describe him as a “driver survivor.” He avoided trouble and essentially by default he finished well. When the checkered flag waved he finished 4th, earned the 10th best driver rating and had a 16th place average running position. In summer 2016 he had a solid afternoon and dodged the carnage. In the race he finished 15th and had a 15th place average running position. In the 2016 Daytona 500 he finished 12th. At Talladega earlier this year he finished 7th.
Paul Menard – Paul Menard is a solid restrictor plate driver who’ll be a quality fantasy option. At Daytona over the last three races he has 3 top tens, a 4.7 average finish and the 5th best driver rating. Earlier this year at Daytona he had a very strong car. He finished 6th, earned the 7th best driver rating, had a 10th place average running position, finished 9th in Stage #1 and 2nd in Stage #2. For much of the race he was Ryan Blaney’s wing man. Last year at Daytona, Menard had a great season and swept the top five. Last July when the checkered flag waved he finished 3rd and earned the 12th best driver rating. In last years Daytona 500 he finished 5th, earned the 8th best driver rating and had a 17th place average running position. I would think of him more as a “driver survivor” than as a strong performer from the race.
Chase Elliott – Don’t overlook Chase Elliott at Daytona. His track record is nothing to brag about (27.6 average finish), but he’s been very competitive. I really think he’s developed a knack for racing at Daytona despite his track record. Earlier this year he had a great car but finished 33rd after wrecking in the lap 101 “Big One.” At the time of his wreck he was battling for 2nd. Also it should be noted prior to the Daytona 500 he won his Duel 150. Last summer at Daytona, Elliott had a pretty good race and easily looked top ten good but on lap 95 while he was running in the top ten he spun into the grass and damaged his car. When the checkered flag waved he finished 22nd. In the 2017 Daytona 500 he was impressive. In the race he started on the pole, won his Duel 150, and was leading until he stumbled on fuel with 3 laps to go. When the checkered flag waved he finished 14th, earned the 7th best driver rating and led 39 laps.