NASCAR DFS 101 – The Basics

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Sergio Balatan

NASCAR DFS Writer.NFL Fan, Detroit Lions Fan and NFL DFS DraftKings player.
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The Superbowl of NASCAR, the Daytona 500 is only a few days away. This also means that NASCAR Daily Fantasy Racing comes alive in DraftKings. Like any DFS sport like football or basketball, NASCAR DFS on DraftKings has GPP Tournaments and Cash games such as head to heads, Double Ups, and 50/50’s. Let’s review some basics for DFS NASCAR, as well as some other basic facts about the NASCAR Monster Energy series.

NASCAR DFS DraftKings

1. The NASCAR Monster Energy Season: There are 40 Drivers in each NASCAR race. The NASCAR season runs for 36 races, one race a week. The first 26 races make up the regular season, and the last 10 races are set for the playoffs, where 16 drivers qualify for a four round playoff. The season runs from late February to late November.

2. Salary Cap-Based Team: Like every other DFS game on DraftKings, you have a salary cap to work with. You have a team of 6 drivers and a budget of $50,000, where the best drivers have the highest salary. Drivers will have fluctuating salary values on a weekly basis depending on their latest performance and driver rating, as well as the race track location. Some drivers dominate certain tracks, and their salary for that week will reflect their past track history and performance.

3. DraftKings DFS Point System: There are only 4 scoring categories in DFS NASCAR.

Checkered Flag Finish Points – The First Place winner of the race gets 43 points for 1st place and a 3 point bonus for a total of 46 points. 2nd Place gets 42 points, 3rd Place gets 41 points….39th Place gets 5 points, and 40th Place gets 4 points.

Place Differential – This is the difference between a driver’s Finish Position minus the driver’s Starting Position. For example, if the Pole Winner, who starts in the 1st position, finishes 2nd overall, then his/her place differential will be minus 1. If a driver starts in the 20th position and finishes 10th, then his place differential will be plus 10. If you know that a good driver had a bad qualifying session and is starting 35th, then it would be advantageous to put him/her in your lineup as the driver would have place differential upside.

Fastest Laps – For each lap, NASCAR tracks each driver’s speed, and DraftKings awards 0.5 Points for a driver’s fastest lap. The drivers with the best cars on any given race day can dominate this category. In the final race last year at Homestead, Carl Edwards had 47 fastest laps to earn 23.5 DFS fastest laps points.

Laps Lead – A driver is awarded 0.25 points for each lap(s) lead. This is a category where a driver can rack up huge points if he/she dominates a race by leading the most laps.

4. Research What Drivers Dominate Certain Tracks: The unique quality of any auto racing circuit is that each week, drivers compete at a completely different track, with a different configuration, and differing track length. Certain drivers are a specialist at certain tracks or track types(like road races or 2-mile ovals). It is up to the DFS player to research which drivers perform their best at the specific track to create the optimal DFS lineup. For example, the upcoming Daytona 500 is a restrictor plate race(a restrictor plate limits a car’s top speed) and drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski traditionally perform well. Kevin Harvick dominates at Phoenix International Raceway with not only wins, but laps lead during the past few years at this track. Kurt Busch performs well at road races at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International. One should research Wins, Top 5 finishes, Top 10 finishes, and Laps Lead to determine a driver’s dominance or futility at any given race track.

A quick way to see who the best drivers are in any given race is to look at the Vegas Odds for that week.

5. Latest Performance and Momentum: In addition to past history of winning, Top 5 finishes, and laps lead at tracks, I would also look at a driver’s performance in the past 4 races as the season progresses. NASCAR drivers tend to have hot streaks and slumps throughout the 36 race year. Pick the drivers with momentum in your lineups, and fade the drivers who are struggling to compete, even if it is Jimmie Johnson or Kyle Busch.

6. Play Small Amounts to Start: For any beginner in DFS, it is best to start small in cash games and GPP’s to get a good feel for the rules, the point systems, and driver’s performances. One generally accepted betting strategy is the 80/20 rule, where you commit 80% of your weekly bankroll to Cash Games(higher probability of winning) versus 20% to GPP’s(large tournaments with a lower probability of winning). This money management system will help you survive the ups and downs of Daily Fantasy Sports.

I would advise playing a few 50/50’s, a couple of Double Ups, and a single entry GPP, all for $1 or $2 to start. By starting small, you will be able to keep your bankroll as you are learning the NASCAR DFS nuances. If you get the hang of it and keep winning, slowly increase your bankroll to commit to higher stake games.

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Sergio Balatan

NASCAR DFS Writer. NFL Fan, Detroit Lions Fan and NFL DFS DraftKings player.

Sergio Balatan

NASCAR DFS Writer. NFL Fan, Detroit Lions Fan and NFL DFS DraftKings player.

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