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NASCAR DFS: Daytona 500 Picks

The Daytona 500 and the 2024 NASCAR season kick off on Sunday! The biggest race of the year is bound to bring in casual DFS players. DraftKings is running their annual Millionaire Maker and FanDuel has some solid contests as well. This race is loaded from top-to-bottom with big names. The Fords were the talk of the town Wednesday. During the mid-week qualifying session, Joey Logano and Michael McDowell earned the honor of starting on the front row in their new Ford Mustang Dark Horse models. Toyota then stole their thunder Thursday night. Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell each won their respective Duel to earn the right to start P3 and P4 for this race. Now it’s time to examine how the starting order played out for everyone else. Here are the top NASCAR DFS picks for the Daytona 500!

In case you missed it, the Daytona 500 Preview went live earlier this week. A lot of those drivers will transfer over to this article. The way the Duels played out Thursday night left a lot of “chalk” starting deeper in the field so get ready for heavily duplicated lineups in Cash games. But for Tournaments, we have some clear leverage spots to take advantage of. In this style of race, drivers starting deeper in the field will carry more ownership. Drivers closer to the front? They’ll likely carry less. The danger and risk of going backward and losing position differential points can be costly.

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Daytona 500 Picks: The Top 10

  1. Joey Logano (#22 Team Penske)
  2. Michael McDowell (#34 Front Row Motorsports)
  3. Tyler Reddick (#45 23XI Racing)
  4. Christopher Bell (#20 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  5. Chase Elliot (#9 Hendrick Motorsports)
  6. Austin Cindric (#2 Team Penske)
  7. Alex Bowman (#48 Hendrick Motorsports)
  8. Denny Hamlin (#11 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  9. Carson Hocevar (#77 Spire Motorsports)
  10. John Hunter Nemechek (#42 Legacy Motor Club)

We have four Toyotas in the top 10. Five if you consider Erik Jones is just outside starting P11. We also have three Fords and three Chevys. But the three Chevys (Elliott, Bowman, and Hocevar) are all lined up on the inside to start. If playing Cash games, it’s hard to play any of these drivers with confidence. However, one or two can crack your lineup for Tournaments. It’s very risky to go out and play Logano and/or McDowell in too many lineups just because if they do wreck out at some point, you’re looking at too many negative points that take you out of contention for a takedown. And while Denny Hamlin has won this race three times, don’t be surprised if he drops to the rear of the field early on. He understands the importance of simply being in contention at the end.

The Bottom 10

  1. Todd Gilliland (#38 Front Row Motorsports)
  2. Ryan Blaney (#12 Team Penske)
  3. Austin Dillon (#3 Richard Childress Racing)
  4. Kyle Busch (#8 Richard Childress Racing)
  5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (#47 JTG Daugherty Racing)
  6. Riley Herbst (#15 Rick Ware Racing)
  7. Daniel Hemric (#31 Kaulig Racing)
  8. Noah Gragson (#10 Stewart-Haas Racing)
  9. Anthony Alfredo (#62 Beard Motorsports)
  10. David Ragan (#60 RFK Racing)

As a special treat just for this race, here’s the bottom 10. These 10 drivers should garner plenty of exposure. Some of them won’t, however. The biggest names to garner ownership will be Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. But there are potential gems with each of the bottom five drivers. Riley Herbst and David Ragan are great Daytona 500 picks for this race. They offer position differential and they’re cheap. They’ve also had success in this style of racing. Daniel Hemric may not be a talented driver, but he might be a leverage piece out of these 10 drivers. Noah Gragson is an interesting option as he will have plenty of teammates and manufacturer partners to work with. Most Cash games lineups will likely feature at least four drivers from this group.

Which Value-Priced Daytona 500 Picks Got A Points Movement Bump?


  • Ryan Preece – $6,800; Starting P25
  • Josh Berry – $6,600; Starting P30
  • David Ragan – $6,500; Starting P40
  • Noah Gragson – $6,300; Starting P38
  • Daniel Hemric – $5,300; Starting P37
  • Anthony Alfredo – $5,200; Starting P39
  • Riley Herbst – $5,100; Starting P36


  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – $8,000; Starting P35
  • Austin Dillon – $7,000; Starting P33
  • Josh Berry – $6,500; Starting P30
  • Ryan Preece – $6,200; Starting P25
  • J. Allmendinger – $6,000; Starting P28
  • Daniel Hemric – $5,800; Starting P37
  • Noah Gragson – $5,800; Starting P38
  • Corey LaJoie – $5,700; Starting P29
  • Todd Gilliland – $5,000; Starting P31
  • David Ragan – $4,500; Starting P40

You won’t normally see this many names in the value-priced section. Obviously, there are drivers listed that we’ve already touched on. And truthfully, there are plenty that were left out. Salary is largely irrelevant for the Daytona 500 picks. You can comfortably build lineups and leave plenty of salary on the table. Ownership should be concentrated on a lot of these plays. However, Ryan Preece jumps off the page as a driver I want to be overweight on. He was mentioned in the Daytona 500 preview and he qualified P25. He offers position differential and won’t be as popular as the drivers starting outside the top 30. As mentioned earlier this week he’s a boom-or-bust play. He has three top-eight finishes here. But he also has five results outside the top 20. Tread carefully with Preece.

Which Higher-Priced Drivers Got A Similar Bump?

  • Ryan Blaney – Starting P32
  • Kyle Busch – Starting P34
  • Bubba Wallace – Starting P24
  • Martin Truex Jr. – Starting P27

I won’t dwell on the drivers in this section too much. We’ve already discussed how Blaney and Busch will be popular in all formats. Bubba Wallace and Martin Truex Jr. are worth discussing. Bubba made the Daytona 500 preview and has come close to winning this race on two previous occasions. In the draft, he tends to move up well and loves this style of racing. MTJ isn’t as noteworthy on superspeedways. However, the Toyotas overall looked solid during the Duels. They drafted well and MTJ was able to move up well during his Duel. Unfortunately, he just didn’t have a strong finish. But Bubba, MTJ, and even Jimmie Johnson and/or Ty Gibbs make for a reasonable Toyota stack.

Daytona 500 Picks


  • Chris Buescher – $8,800; Starting P19
  • Bubba Wallace – $8,500; Starting P24
  • Martin Truex Jr. – $8,200; Starting P27
  • Ryan Preece – $6,800; Starting P25
  • David Ragan – $6,500; Starting P40
  • Riley Herbst – $5,100; Starting P36

There may be an argument that this is a borderline Cash game lineup. Ultimately, I’d still leave it just for Tournaments. It may not have much win equity upfront. However, it still has some safer position differential options and some potential contrarian plays. I’ve already professed enough love for Preece in this race. But Chris Buescher, a winner at Daytona last Summer, is paired nicely with teammate David Ragan. We also run the small Toyota stack with Bubba and MTJ. Perhaps the pivot could be Riley Herbst. This lineup leaves $6,100 so you could easily move off Herbst to any other driver.


  • Denny Hamlin – $13,000; Starting P8
  • Kyle Busch – $10,500; Starting P34
  • Bubba Wallace – $9,800; Starting P24
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – $8,000; Starting P35
  • Austin Dillon – $7,000; Starting P33

Because of FanDuel’s different scoring from DraftKings, we take an altered approach with this lineup. DraftKings rewards 0.25 points per lap led, and 0.45 points per fastest lap. FanDuel rewards just 0.1 points per lap led and 0.1 points per lap completed. DraftKings offers 1.0 +/- points per position gained gained/lost while FanDuel offers 0.5 points. And overall, there are more points available the higher you finish. FanDuel’s scoring has been criticized plenty. But overall, you want to nail the winner in addition to getting drivers that move up through the field. This lineup features three winners of this race. We also have Bubba Wallace and Kyle Busch. Wallace pairs well with Hamlin. Busch pairs well with teammate, Austin Dillon, and Stenhouse stacks nicely with Chevys. Overall, it’s a lineup that offers PD upside and drivers that can finish well and potentially win.

White Flag Thoughts Before You Go

While we do preview the top drivers and strategies with these Daytona 500 picks, perhaps the best pick is to be mindful of your bankroll. This race lends itself to carnage. You can spend hours running simulations, generating projections, and examining expected ownership. But the “big one” doesn’t play favorites. Nobody is safe from wrecking out in this race. So, it essentially becomes a lottery ticket. The NASCAR DFS season is a marathon. We have over 35 weeks to play. The Daytona 500 usually turns casual DFS players off after just one race. Next week is Atlanta, a track that can similarly be frustrating with its variance. Perhaps you find some single-entry Cash games to play on Sunday. Or find a low-dollar contest you can max enter. Don’t blow your bankroll on just one race. Best of luck and enjoy the Daytona 500 this weekend!

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