It’s the final race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series regular season. It’s the last chance for several drivers to lock themselves into the playoffs. And it’ll all go down at Daytona International Speedway. Daytona is the World Center of Racing. We kicked off the season here for the Daytona 500. It only makes sense to once again end the regular season here. This race will be exciting and a little unpredictable. As mentioned earlier this week in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 Preview, it’s a race where even the smaller teams have a chance to win. But we should also expect drivers locked into the playoffs to help teammates win. This is a big race where teammate and manufacturer correlation comes into play. So here are this week’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 picks for Saturday night’s race.
As has been the case for superspeedways, there was no practice session for this race. It just wasn’t necessary. Nobody wants to go out and risk wrecking their car over practice. When building NASCAR DFS lineups for this race, do not worry about salary. You should leave money on the table. Most DFS players will try to spend every dollar they can. We don’t need to do that for Daytona. For Cash games, you’ll likely want to target drivers starting outside the top 25. Truthfully you could also just play the six drivers starting in the last three rows. For Tournaments, you’ll need to get creative. You shouldn’t start more than one driver starting in the top ten. But nailing the drivers starting in the teens that finish top five will be crucial and as always everyone starting outside the top 20 is live in Tournaments.
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Picks: The Top Ten
- Chase Briscoe (#14 Stewart-Haas Racing)
- Aric Almirola (#10 Stewart-Haas Racing)
- Harrison Burton (#21 Wood Brothers Racing)
- Bubba Wallace (#23 23XI Racing)
- Ty Gibbs (#54 Joe Gibbs Racing)
- Riley Herbst (#36 Front Row Motorsports)
- Kyle Larson (#5 Hendrick Motorsports)
- Ryan Blaney (#12 Team Penske)
- Ryan Preece (#41 Stewart-Haas Racing)
- Kevin Harvick (#4 Stewart-Haas Racing)
I mentioned earlier in the week that the Fords have the aerodynamic advantage for this race. And as fate would have it, seven Fords qualified in the top ten and nine in the top 12. All of Stewart-Haas Racing made it to the top ten in qualifying. Unfortunately, as fast as these cars are, and as good as they’ll be in the draft, we can’t load up on too many of them. We’ll want PD and if these drivers wreck, we’ll want drivers starting behind them who should move up either through wrecks or through pit strategy. Briscoe and Almirola have a decent chance to lead laps early. But we shouldn’t be building NASCAR DFS lineups for this race trying to target laps led. Those points are useless if the dominator wrecks.
Which Value-Priced Coke Zero Sugar 400 Picks Got A Points Movement Bump?
- Michael McDowell – P39, $7,800
- Alex Bowman – P31, $7,600
- Corey LaJoie – P37, $6,200
- Todd Gilliland – P35, $5,900
- JJ Yeley – P33, $5,100
- Ty Dillon – P30, $5,000
- Alex Bowman – P31, $9,000
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – P32, $7,500
- Michael McDowell – P39, $6,200
- Corey LaJoie – P37, $5,000
- Todd Gilliland – P35, $4,800
I specifically listed six DraftKings drivers and five FanDuel drivers because these are what the NASCAR DFS cash game lineups could look like Saturday night. This is the “stack the back” strategy you’ll see trending on social media. These drivers start deep in the field and if one or two of them wreck, they aren’t hurting you as much as say the polesitter would by wrecking. Some of these drivers will be very popular. McDowell and Stenhouse each won the Daytona 500 in the last three years. Corey LaJoie is great in this style of racing and should move up. Even guys like Yeley, Dillon, and Gilliland are good plate racing drivers. If stacking the back, these are the drivers to consider.
Which Higher-Priced Picks Got A Similar Bump?
- Chase Elliott – P23
- Denny Hamlin – P19
- Kyle Busch – P18
- William Byron – P27
Chase Elliott is in do-or-die mode. He needs to win to get into the playoffs. Teammate William Byron did it a couple years ago at Daytona. Austin Dillon did it last year. It can be done. But there are other drivers that need a win too. Ownership will be juiced on all of these drivers. Elliott needs a win and has PD on his side. Hamlin has won the Daytona 500 three times. Kyle Busch just won Talladega in the Spring. William Byron has won in a variety of races in his career and he starts outside the top 25. Perhaps it’s wiser to be underweight on these drivers and hope that they get caught in a wreck. Time will tell.
Coke Zero Sugar 400 Picks
- Joey Logano – $9,800; Starting P14
- Daniel Suarez – $8,400; Starting P22
- Alex Bowman – $7,600; Starting P31
- Austin Cindric – $7,300; Starting P16
- Todd Gilliland – $5,900; Starting P35
- Ty Dillon – $5,000; Starting P30
This is a very sound Tournament lineup. It takes some risks but has upside without playing a ton of the popular options. Logano and Cindric correlate because Cindric needs a win to make the playoffs and Logano can help his teammate get there. I wrote earlier in the week about how Suarez will be a lower-owned driver with upside. Sure, I’m playing a popular Alex Bowman, but he needs a win as well. And Gilliland and Dillon are deep-field value plays that race well in the draft. I laid off the expensive and cheap chalk plays but still built a different lineup that leaves $6,000 on the table. There is plenty of wiggle room if you choose to make pivots.
- Denny Hamlin – $13,000; Starting P19
- Bubba Wallace – $8,500; Starting P4
- Daniel Suarez – $6,500; Starting P22
- Michael McDowell – $6,200; Starting P39
- Erik Jones – $5,500; Starting P24
I took a different approach with this build. If you couldn’t tell, Daniel Suarez is one of my favorite plays. But we took the same correlation approach and applied it to Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace. Denny Hamlin owns Bubba’s car and he’s made it clear his priority is getting Wallace into the playoffs. And Bubba is a great superspeedway racer. I’m eating some chalk by taking the safety net of McDowell but he’s the only driver in this lineup starting outside the top 25. This is not a Cash game lineup by any means. FanDuel is all about nailing the winner as well as getting drivers to finish in the top ten. There is PD and correlation with this build and it leaves over $10,000 on the table.
White Flag Thoughts Before You Go
By now I’ve given you some tips and strategies when constructing your lineups. That applies to both Cash games and Tournaments. Teams will be working together in this race and drivers without wins will get help to lock their spot in the playoffs. We’ve touched on the chalk, both cheap and expensive. It’s wise to leave money on the table. And don’t forget the tip earlier in the week to fade Kyle Larson. Perhaps it’s also worth mentioning to manage your bankroll. These races are exciting to watch but they’re so tilting. I personally only make three-to-ten lineups for DraftKings and FanDuel while playing light. The contests are getting weaker and some of the payout structures are awful. So be mindful of your bankroll when constructing your winning NASCAR DFS lineups for the Coke Zero Sugar 400!