Coke Zero 400 Fantasy NASCAR Picks and Analysis for DraftKings


Jul 6, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers wreck going into turn three on lap 97 during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Fantasy NASCAR Analysis

Welcome back to FantasyCPR’s coverage of the 2015 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona to be held on Sunday evening, July 5th with a Green Flag time of 8:19 p.m. EST. Whether you are a fantasy racing player or just a NASCAR fan, let us be your one stop shop for all the information you need to prepare you for NASCAR races in the 2015 season. Go to our Fantasy NASCAR Hub at and bookmark it!

SEE ALSO: Coke Zero 400 Preview

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NASCAR: Denny Hamlin not the big winner at Pocono
NASCAR: Denny Hamlin not the big winner at Pocono /

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  • Our weekly coverage will typically consist of 4 articles a week: 1) A fantasy recap from the previous race that includes driver scores and our prediction results; 2) A race preview mid-week prior to the race; 3) A comprehensive fantasy analysis after the first practice & qualifying that will include the starting grid; and 4) Our expert driver picks released after the final practice.  To stay updated and get the posts as they are published, bookmark our site as well as follow us on Twitter!

    Our fantasy coverage and predictions are unique compared to other outlets as it takes in the cars ‘ and drivers’ current performance over the weekend instead of just their historical statistics coming in. For DraftKings, this is crucial as starting position and in-race performance are important factors in fantasy scoring. This approach (vice releasing driver picks early in the week) leads to more accurate and successful predictions as you can see in our weekly Fantasy Recaps.

    NOTE: The coverage this week is slightly different from normal since Qualifying is not until Saturday and there is no practice session after Qualifying.

    Next: The Field: Race Entrants with DraftKings Salaries

    Jul 6, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Race Entrants in order of DraftKings Salary NOTE: Salary difference from last race in parentheses

    1. #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr., Nationwide Stars & Stripes Chevrolet for $12,300 (+$1,000)
    2. #48 Jimmie Johnson, Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet for $11,800 (-$1,300)
    3. #24 Jeff Gordon, Axalta Chevrolet for $11,700 (+$400)
    4. #4 Kevin Harvick, Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet for $11,600 (-$2,300)
    5. #41 Kurt Busch, Haas Automation Chevrolet for $11,400 (-$1,000)
    6. #5 Kasey Kahne, Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet for $11,300 (+$600)
    7. #78 Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Chevrolet for $11,300 (+$100)
    8. #20 Matt Kenseth, DEWALT Made In USA Toyota for $11,200 (+$300)
    9. #22 Joey Logano, Shell Pennzoil Ford for $11,200 (-$100)
    10. #11 Denny Hamlin, FedEx Ground Toyota for $11,100 (+$100)
    11. #2 Brad Keselowski, Alliance Truck Parts Ford for $10,900 (-$600)
    12. #18 Kyle Busch, Interstate Batteries Toyota for $10,800 (+$100)
    13. #19 Carl Edwards, Subway Toyota for $10,700 (+$200)
    14. #14 Tony Stewart, Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for $10,300 (+$900)
    15. #1 Jamie McMurray, McDonald’s Chevrolet for $10,200 (+$100)
    16. #15 Clint Bowyer, 5-hour Energy Toyota for $10,100 (+$1,200)
    17. #42 Kyle Larson, Coca-Cola Chevrolet for $9,800 (-$200)
    18. #16 Greg Biffle, OrthoCheez-It Ford for $9,700 (+$500)
    19. #31 Ryan Newman, Grainger Chevrolet for $9,700 (+$100)
    20.  #55 David Ragan, Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota for $9,600 (+$1,000)
    21. #3 Austin Dillon, Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for $9,600 (+$800)
    22. #27 Paul Menard, Nibco/Menards Chevrolet for $9,500  (+$300)
    23.  #47 AJ Allmendinger, Kroger Chevrolet for $9,300 (+$1,000)
    24. #43 Aric Almirola, Smithfield Ford for $9,200 (+$1,000)
    25. #10 Danica Patrick, GoDaddy Chevrolet for $9,200 (+$1,000)
    26.  #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Fifth Third Bank Ford for $9,100 (+$1,000)
    27. #21 Ryan Blaney, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford for $9,000 (N/A)
    28.  #13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet SS for $8,700 (+$1,100)
    29.  #6 Trevor Bayne, AdvoCare Ford for $8,600 (+$800)
    30.  #9 Sam Hornish Jr., Twisted Tea Ford for $7,900 (+$300)
    31.  #38 David Gilliland, Florida Lottery Ford for $7,700 (+$300)
    32.  #51 Justin Allgaier, TradeMark Nitrogen Chevrolet for $7,500 (+$100)
    33.  #40 Landon Cassill, TBA Chevrolet for $7,400 (+$100)
    34.  #83 Matt DiBenedetto, Dustless Blasting Toyota for $7,400 (+$200)
    35.  #23 J.J. Yeley, Dr. Pepper Toyota for $7,300 (+$100)
    36.  #35 Cole Whitt, Speed Stick Ford for $7,300 (+$200)
    37.  #98 Josh Wise, TBA Ford for $7,200 (-)
    38.  #26 Jeb Burton, Maxim Toyota for $7,200 (+$100)
    39.  #34 Brett Moffitt, CSX Play It Safe Chevrolet for $7,100 (N/A)
    40.  #7 Alex Bowman, Golden Corral Chevrolet for $7,100 (-)
    41.  #62 Brendan Gaughan, TBA Chevrolet for $7,000 (N/A)
    42.  #32 Bobby Labonte, C&J Energy Services Ford for $7,000 (-)
    43. #95 Michael McDowell, KLOVE Radio Ford for $7,000 (-$300)
    44. #46 Michael Annett, Pilot Flying J Chevrolet for $7,000 (-$100)
    45. #33 Brian Scott, TBA Chrevolet for $7,000 (N/A)

    Next: Coke Zero 400 Fantasy Strategy

    Feb 22, 2015; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; General view of the front stretch following the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Coke Zero 400/Daytona Fantasy Strategy: Although my race picks will not be released until after the Qualifying sessions on Saturday, here is a sneak peek at some of the trends that will factor into my selections. This also gives fantasy players some foundations to base their own fantasy research on.

    More from FanSided

    1. This race is on 4-turn, 2.5 mile, paved Tri-Oval track (160 laps, 400 miles) at Daytona International Speedway.

    2. Strongly consider drivers that have a good history on restrictor-plate courses, both here at Daytona and at Talladega Superspeedway. DraftKings is keeping salaries relatively consistent with salaries on conventional racetracks so it may be wise to target lower-priced drivers that are good in this unique race-type that limits horsepower and evens out the field.

    3. Take special note of how drivers and teams did this year at the Daytona 500. However, remember that the group qualifying that took place in February for the Daytona 500 was scraped for the 2015 Coke Zero 400 in favor of the normal NASCAR single fastest lap, knockout format.

    4. Leaders in average finish among active drivers: 1) Dale Earnhart Jr. (12.4), Kevin Harvick (14.1), Clint Bower (14.4), Jeff Gordon (15.0), and Tony Stewart (15.4).

    5. These restrictor-plate races can be very unpredictable and multiple wrecks are normal which wreak havoc to the field due to the pack driving exhibited here.

    6. The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (eight) than any other starting position in the July race at Daytona International Speedway.

    7. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in starts (22) & poles (2) at the July Daytona race.

    8. The Coke Zero 400 can turn into a strategy race in which drivers/teams cooperate to drive in of several lines to draft and pass other lines of cars.

    Next: Preliminary Fantasy Picks prior to Qualifying

    May 1, 2015; Talladega, AL, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) during practice for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    My Pre-Qualifying Favorites: As we know, qualify order is extremely important in DraftKings scoring, but here are my favorites based solely on historical data.

    #41 Kevin Harvick ($11,600): 12 Top 10s in 28 Daytona starts. 2nd in 2015 Daytona 500. Salary is way down for this race.

    #24 Jeff Gordon ($11,300): Winningest Cup Driver (6) here; Needs a win and has teammates that can help.

    #15 Clint Bowyer ($10,100): Driver Rating of 84.0, 10th-best among current drivers; Has a 4th and a 9th place finishes in last two July Daytona races.

    #16 Greg Biffle ($9,700): Good rankings among active drivers: Avg. Running Position of 17.1 (10th); Driver Rating of 81.8 (12th); 85 Fastest Laps Run (3rd).

    #38 David Gilliland ($7,700): Very good restrictor-plate track racer; Won pole here in July 2014; 11th in 2015 Daytona 500 and 20th in 2015 GEICO 500.

    I will release my final DraftKings Picks on Saturday after Qualifying.

    Next: General NASCAR Strategy for DraftKings Contests

    General DraftKings Strategy: The next thing to consider while filling out your teams is the DraftKings scoring system. DraftKings owners will draft a team of 5 drivers with a $50,000 Salary Cap. Scoring will be based on several factors including a driver’s Finishing Position, Place Differential, Fastest Laps, Laps Led, and Pass Differential. Please refer to the Daily Fantasy NASCAR Strategy Guide by DraftKings that breaks down the specific rules anintcalculations that govern these contests.

    More from DraftKings

    The salaries used are set weekly for each contest before qualifying and practice and are based on the overall strength of each driver/team/car for that particular race. The calculations that DraftKings use to determine drivers’ salaries are based on a driver’s ability to score fantasy points and as such consider all the five aforementioned factors. Since NASCAR is a new Daily Fantasy game, DraftKings has made it easier for players to understand the scoring system by listing a driver’s Fantasy Points Per Race (FPPR) next to a driver’s salary that shows a driver’s performance to date (including 2015 races that did not have DK contests). The following are some of the factors that determine a driver’s salary and something that a fantasy player should look at:

    1. A Driver and/or Team’s current level of speed and performance this season.
    2. A Driver and/or Team’s history at that specific track and race.
    3. A Driver and/or Team’s history at similar tracks and races.

    Next: Why Wait Until After Practice/Qualifying to Make Picks?

    Because the DraftKings salaries are set prior to qualifying and practice, there are many things that can change a driver’s relative fantasy value before the race starts. Some things to consider:

    1. Qualifying and practice speed are a good (but not the only) indicator of a driver’s projected performance and factor largely in a driver’s potential to maximize points in the Finish Position, Fastest Laps, and Laps Led categories.
    2. The DraftKings points system is unique and emphasizes both in-race performance as well as finishing position. So it is paramount to target at least some drivers that start further back in the field yet can compete as a top-performing car. This will get you points in the Place Differential and Pass Differential categories.
    3. Considering a Driver’s Pit Crew proficiency is also important as drivers with fast cars can earn more points in the Pass Differential category during green flag racing due to lost track position during pit stops.

    SEE MORE NASCAR COVERAGE: 5 Drivers to Watch Down the Stretch

    We will be back on Saturday evening with our Quaker State 400 Fantasy Picks!

    If you haven’t joined DraftKings yet and want to play in their exciting contests, use this link to sign up and you will earn a bonus with a minimum deposit of just $5.  DraftKings will even match your initial deposit up to $600.

    Next: 2015 Coke Zero 400 Final Fantasy Picks