1) Joey Logano (Starting – 11th)
Daytona Fantasy Spin – Joey Logano is an elite plate racer who should be on your short list of favorites. He drives smart/aggressive and knows how to position himself up front when it matters. Since 2016 at plate tracks minus the three races he’s wrecked he’s finished in the top 6 every race and has a 3.7 average finish. Earlier this year at Talladega, the other restrictor plate track he raced his way to victory lane which marked his 4th win on this track type. Between the combined plate races in 2018 Logano is one of just two drivers who have finished in the top ten both races. At Daytona in recent races Logano has thrived and on Saturday night I would look for him to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Daytona Track History – Joey Logano has excelled at Daytona. He won the 2015 Daytona 500 and in 4 of the last 6 races he’s finished between 4th to 6th. Earlier this year he was impressive and finished 4th despite getting caught speeding on pit road with 30 laps to go while running in 2nd. Additionally, he earned the 2nd best driver rating and finished 3rd in Stage #2. Last summer, Logano appeared to have a strong car, but he was taken out in the lap #70 “Big One” which relegated him to a 35th place finish. At the time of his wreck he was running around 10th. In Stage #1 he finished 5th. In February 2017 at Daytona, Logano was very strong. He won the Clash, and in the Daytona 500 he was a contender. When the checkered flag waved he finished 6th, earned the 6th best driver rating and led 16 laps. At the end he had one of the fastest cars but nobody would help him. In the two races prior to that he had results of 4th and 6th.
DraftKings $10,700 / FanDuel $11,800
2) Brad Keselowski (Starting – 3rd)
Daytona Fantasy Spin – Brad Keselowski is one of the premiere restrictor plate racers and on Saturday night he’ll be tough to beat. He’s an elite drafting talent and is also a recent winner (Summer 2016). One factor I like about Keselowski is that he’ll have a great car underneath him. Penske builds the best plate cars and he’ll likely have standout speed and have great handling. I will note Keselowski certainly isn’t the safest option out there. Since 2015 minus his win all of his other results are 20th or worse. I think he’s due for some good luck and on Saturday night if he has an incident free race I think he’ll finish very well, and potentially compete for the win.
Daytona Track History – In this years Daytona 500, Keselowski had a great car but finished 32nd. On lap 101 he was battling Chase Elliott for 2nd but they both ended up wrecking because of contact. One lap prior to crashing he was in 2nd. “Performance Wise” prior to wrecking I think it’s clear he was top five good. Last summer, Keselowski easily looked top ten good but finished a misleading 31st after wrecking. In the race he earned the 5th best driver rating, led a race high 35 laps and won Stage #1. At the end of Stage #2 he was just outside the top ten. In the 2017 Daytona 500 he had a good car but finished 27th. His race wasn’t incident free. He had a slow pit stop and was involved in a wreck. Prior to his problems starting, he collected stage points in stage #1, finishing 4th. In summer 2016 Keselowski was the class of the field. He finished 1st, led 115 laps and had the best driver rating by a wide margin.
DraftKings $11,000 / FanDuel $12,200
3) Denny Hamlin (Starting – 17th)
Daytona Fantasy Spin – Denny Hamlin will be tough to beat at Daytona. He’s a former winner who’s performed at an extremely high-level. In 6 of the last 9 races at this “Wild Card” track he’s finished in the top six. In this years Daytona 500 he had a great car, and I don’t see why he won’t run well again. On Saturday night if Hamlin has an incident free race I would look for him to finish in the top five and be a threat to win.
Daytona Track History – Daytona has been a great track for Denny Hamlin and since 2014 he’s arguably been the best. Over the last nine races among drivers who competed in 3 or more races he has the best average finish (8.6), best average running position (11.2), best driver rating and has led the most laps (170). In this years Daytona 500, he had a very strong performance. He finished 3rd, earned the 4th best driver rating, and finished 10th in Stage #2. Last summer, Hamlin had a good car but finished an asterisk mark 24th after spinning with 3 laps to go. At the time of his incident he was running around 10th. In the race he led 16 laps and finished 2nd in Stage #2. In the 2017 Daytona 500 he had a good car but finished 17th after getting damage in a wreck that took away his level of competitiveness. In summer 2016 he also finished 17th. Performance wise he was easily top ten good, but at the end of the race he decided to get “racy” (get out of line and try to make moves) and that dropped him in the running order. With 9 laps to go he was running in 6th. In the 2016 Daytona 500 he inched Truex Jr. at the finish line for the win. Additionally, he earned the best driver rating, led 95 laps and had a 4th place average running position. In 2015 at Daytona he had results of 3rd and 4th. In 2014 he finished 2nd and 6th.
DraftKings $10,300 / FanDuel $11,500