We continue to get closer to the Daytona 500 to kick off the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series, so now is a good time for a look at the fantasy NASCAR driver profiles. Those of you signing up for fantasy NASCAR leagues or planning to play NASCAR DFS can also check out our overall primer to help you prepare for the season. And if podcasts are your thing, here is a great one from In-Between (IBT) Media on Fantrax.
I find it helpful to have a short overview of each driver to get behind the wheel this season. Last year, I did this by comparing NASCAR drivers to baseball teams, but I thought this season I would try a more straightforward approach.
The profiles are broken down by car model and then racing teams with a look at the driver’s best track types. We’ll start with the Chevrolets, the car model that makes up half the field.
Fantasy NASCAR Chevrolet Driver Profiles
Alex Bowman – #48 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 16th
- Best Race Type: Short Tracks, Road Courses
Bowman has seven career wins, including at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2022. He missed time last season with a concussion. In 2021, he won Richmond, Pocono, and Martinsville, all short tracks.
William Byron – #24 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 6th
- Best Race Type: Intermediate Tracks (2.5-mile, 1-mile)
Byron won twice early in 2022, struggled in the middle of the season, but finished consistently and made it through two playoff knockout rounds. He is a strong sleeper pick for those in draft-and-hold leagues. With one year of Next Gen cars under his belt, his trajectory is upwards for 2023.
Chase Elliott – #9 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 4th
- Best Race Type: Pick one. He has an average finish of higher than 10 on road courses, dirt tracks, and 2-mile intermediate tracks.
Won five races in 2022 and had 20 finishes in the Top 10, which has been his average for the past three seasons. Won the Cup Series Championship in 2020. Should be a Top 3 pick in season-long draft-and-hold leagues.
Kyle Larson – #5 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 7th
- Best Race Type: Intermediate tracks (1-mile, 2-mile, 2.5-mile)
After a completely dominant 2021 season that resulted in a Cup Series Championship, Larson struggled with the Next Gen car a bit. Won three races in 2022 and had 19 finishes in the Top 10. Always a high-odds driver to win the whole thing.
Richard Childress Racing
Kyle Busch – #8 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 13th
- Best Race Type: He averages a Top 15 or better finish at all track types except Superspeedways
It may take some getting used to seeing Kyle Busch in a Chevrolet after 15 seasons driving Toyotas for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch has two Cup Series Championships – 2015 and 2019. He has 60 career wins, which is tied for the most among active drivers, and is in ninth place all-time.
Austin Dillon – #3 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 11th
- Best Race Type: Intermediate Tracks (2-mile), Superspeedways
Has four career NASCAR Cup Series wins, including Daytona in 2018. Gains Kyle Busch as a teammate, which should benefit the veteran racer immensely. While not an odds-on favorite to win it all, he has made the playoffs five times. Dillon is a very quiet sleeper pick for fantasy leagues.
Ross Chastain – #1 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: Second
- Best Race Type: Superspeedway (1.5 miles), Road Courses
Chastain won two races (Circuit of the Americas and Talladega) and had 21 Top-10 finishes in 2022. He is a bit of a wild card driver, known for pulling off miracle finishes and boneheaded moves. Definitely not Denny Hamlin’s favorite guy.
Daniel Suarez – #99 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 10th
- Best Race Type: Dirt Tracks, 2.5-mile intermediate tracks
Won his first NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma in 2022. Displayed some consistency down the stretch to nab 13 finishes in the Top 10. Most likely will have some regression in 2023, but not enough to steer clear of him (and his mid-range salary) from week to week.
AJ Allmendinger – #16 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: N/A
- Best Race Type: Road Courses
Allmendinger is one of those known as a “Road Ringer.” His two career wins came at Watkins Glen in 2014 and at Indy Road Course in 2021. In season-long leagues, he is an easy one to hold until the road courses come along.
Justin Haley – #31 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 22nd
- Best Race Type: Dirt Tracks, Superspeedways
Finished 2022 with four Top 10 finishes. Has four Xfinity wins, all on Superspeedways. Had an impressive finish to the season in regard to consistency and is another must-play on dirt tracks.
Ty Dillon – #77 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 29th
- Best Race Type: Superspeedways, Dirt Tracks
Dillon switched racing teams following a 2022 season that saw him finish with only one Top 10 finish. Might be most usable as a cheap fantasy option at dirt tracks and Talladega.
Corey LaJoie – #7 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 31st
- Best Race Type: Superspeedways
Has zero wins but has finished in the Top 10 at Daytona twice. Had an average finish in 2022 of 24th place but can be a good lineup filler on Superspeedways, given what is usually a barrel bottom salary.
Front Row Motorsports
Todd Gilliland – #38 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 28th
- Best Race Type: Dirt Tracks
Finished in the Top 10 at the Indianapolis road course in 2022 – his first Top 10 finish. Jumped from the Truck Series to the Cup Series, which is an uncommon move and offers a steep learning curve. Lots of changes to his team should continue the struggles with an occasional flash of potential in 2023.
Legacy Motor Club
Noah Gragson – #42 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: N/A
- Best Race Type: Superspeedways, Intermediate Tracks
A 2023 rookie, Gragson filled in for Alex Bowman last season when the latter was out with a concussion. An accomplished Xfinity and Truck Series driver, he has won at Daytona, Bristol, Darlington, Richmond, and Martinsville at those levels.
Erik Jones – #43 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 18th
- Best Race Type: 2-mile intermediate tracks, road courses
Won one race in 2022 and had 13 finishes in the Top 10. Had an impressive season showing improvement in many areas, and returns with the same crew chief.
Live Fast Motorsports
B.J. McLeod – #78 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: N/A
- Best Race Type: Superspeedways
McLeod drove in 29 races and is a co-owner of Live Fast Motorsports. He will drive full-time this season, which is the team’s first driving Chevrolets.
JTG Daugherty Racing
Ricky Stenhouse – #47 Chevrolet
- 2022 Finish: 26th
- Best Race Type: Dirt tracks, Superspeedways
Five finishes in the Top 10 in 2022. Won Rookie of the Year in 2013 and won both Talladega and Daytona in 2017. Has a new crew chief this year, which typically gets a little dicey the first season. Often drives with a “devil may care” attitude. (Kyle Busch once called him Wrecky Spinhouse.)
Come back tomorrow for a look at the Fords and Toyotas, and we’ll have you covered from all angles regarding the Daytona 500 heading into the weekend.
Kelly Kirby covers fantasy NASCAR, fantasy hockey, and other random things at Fantrax. For more of her work, check out her archive and follow her on Twitter at @thewonkypenguin.