The High Line – Cup Series – Daytona 500 – Daytona International Speedway – February 19, 2024


The NASCAR season officially kicks off in the Cup Series with the Daytona 500, America’s race and the biggest spectacle of the NASCAR season. As we know anytime the cars hit Daytona, or really any superspeedway, there is a great deal of unpredictability and virtually anyone has a chance to win. The drivers will go 200 laps, 500 miles on Monday afternoon after weather delayed the official start of the Cup season. Daytona is a 2.5-mile tri-oval that is heavily banked. The asphalt track banks 31 degrees in the turns and 18 degrees in the tri-oval and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of walking on the track you’d know that it is quite a climb up from the infield to the wall surrounding the track. The major factor or factors we have to deal with at Daytona is “the big one(s)”. The big one is a massive wreck that typically takes out anywhere from a quarter to one-third of the field. A wreck like this typically happens once, if not multiple times due to the style of racing required to run on a superspeedway, commonly known as pack racing. When cars are racing at a superspeedway in order to get around the track as quickly as possible we’ll see one, two, and sometimes even three lines form with cars drafting one another mere inches away from each other. If a car gets out of the draft they lose momentum and quickly lose positions on the track. The big one happens when a driver tries to make a move, gets too aggressive, or simply loses control of the car pushing 200 miles per hour. When a bunch of cars are so close to one another in most cases that one or two cars that have the mishap will take out the majority of cars around them.


The most basic, elementary strategy when rostering drivers at Daytona is finding adequate or even just somewhat adequate drivers in decent equipment that are starting in the back, even more so than we would normally want to do searching for PD points. Typically these crashes I touched on will take out multiple cars that are front-running. Hypothetically this will give the drivers towards the back time to adjust and avoid the mayhem on the way by. This is often the type of trend we see in these races. When building lineups you might end up seeing a couple or even a few drivers that are head-scratchers and a hefty amount of salary left over. Don’t worry about those two situations because of the propensity of these races to be chaotic. The unpredictability of Daytona is what makes you hang onto the edge of your seat until the very end. In this specific situation there are a ton of great options starting towards the back of the field ranging from very good superspeedway racers, former 500 winners, guys who’ve come close and everything in between. Buckle up!

Most comparable tracks: Talladega Superspeedway (only difference is how much wider it is than Daytona)

*Note: all pricing is DraftKings focused

Drivers to Target

Kyle Busch ($9,700, Starting 34th)

2023 #8 Richard Childress Racing paint schemes – Jayski's NASCAR Silly Season Site

Kyle Busch has had a historic career and has essentially checked off every box there is to check off for a NASCAR competitor. The one accomplishment that has eluded him to this point is “Daytona 500 Champion”. In Busch’s last three 500’s he’s finished 19th, 6th, and 14th. Overall in the Cup Series at Daytona (they run two races per season here with the latter being the Coke Zero 400) Busch has one win, eight top-five’s and 12 top-10’s. One of these years KB is gonna win this race and I wouldn’t put it past him to get it done today. He’ll be a popular PD play.

Denny Hamlin $10,000, Starting 8th)

On the opposite side of the spectrum from KB is Denny Hamlin who’s no stranger to winning this race. In fact, Hamlin has won three of the last five Daytona 500’s. The driver of the 11 car doesn’t fit the narrative of “stack the back” but he does line up as a GPP play that will be incredibly. Underowned. Admittedly I will not have much Hamlin exposure in DFS but you have to consider him based on his recent success. If you’re in a state in which Sportsbooks are active do not hesitate to consider a wager or wagers on Denny finishing top-10, top-five, or even winning what would be his fourth 500.

Austin Dillon ($7,300, Starting 33rd)

Another PD play that will be in my core is 2014 Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon who has won twice on the famed track of Daytona, most recently two seasons ago in August at the Coke Zero 400. Overall in 21 races at Daytona, Dillon has nine top 10’s and starting back at 33rd, there is plenty of room for place differential. Dillon will be a popular PD play although he’s wrecked out of the last two races here.

Ross Chastain ($8,100, Starting 21st)

Chastain falls in right on the line in the starting grid of where we start looking towards the back in cash games and single entry tournaments. However at 21st Chastain offers enough PD upside and has the characteristics to win at this track while avoiding a lot of the heavy ownership. Chastain finished 9th in last years 500 after starting 23rd.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($8,000, Starting 35th)

Stenhouse is one of the better superspeedway racers out there and the proof is evident just in his success here at Daytona. Ricky has won at this track twice, including winning the 500 last season. In 2022 Stenhouse was leading the 500 with seven laps to go before catching a bad side-draft with Bubba Wallace, getting spun around and wrecking out of the race en route to a 28th-place finish. When Stenhouse won this race last season he started 31st so where he starts today doesn’t scare me at all. He will be popular.

Also consider:

Ryan Blaney ($9,809, Starting 32nd)

  • Could be the most popular driver today, one of the better superspeedway racers in the field.

Noah Gragson ($6,300), Starting 38th

  • Great value here and nowhere to go except forward for Gragson, a young aggressive racer in great equipment.

Bubba Wallace ($8,500, Starting 24th)

  • Finished this race second twice, good GPP play.


Corey LaJoie ($6,000, Starting 29th) – GPP play

David Ragan ($6,500, Starting 40th) – Cash play

Core Drivers

Ryan Blaney

Kyle Busch

Austin Dillon