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Driver Recommendations for 2011 Daytona 500

Posted by chadmusselman on February 13, 2011

Most sports have a pre-season to allow the athletes to get into “game shape” and ready for the grind of a long season.  It seems that everyone has their own way to analyze how well a player will do (and if they want them on their fantasy team) based on their pre-season performances.  If a proven veteran does poorly in the pre-season, it’s no big deal because they might be experimenting with new techniques.  If a young player does poorly people may think it’s an indicator of struggles to come.

NASCAR doesn’t have a true pre-season, but the Bud Shootout and Gatorade Duels coming up pretty much act as one.  The Shootout was last night and the field was limited to the top drivers in NASCAR.  One bad thing about the Shootout and Duels is that since they are at Daytona with the restrictor plate it’s hard to get a true gauge of how well some of the drivers will do the rest of the season.  Hopefully it gives us a good indicator of who will perform well in the 500 so you can know who to put on your fantasy NASCAR team.

Reminder of how recommendations are made:
All recommendations are based on the rules of Chad’s Fantasy NASCAR. I’ll select one chaser, and an alternate chaser. Then I pick three other drivers that did not make the chase last season, one of them being a dark horse. In order to be a dark horse the driver must be 16th or worse in the point standings. For the first 5 races of the season I’ll use the standings from 2010 to pick the dark horse.

This Weeks’ Recommendations:

Chaser: Kevin Harvick
Harvick has done well in Daytona recently collecting three top ten finishes in the last four races.  He also has the 4th best average finish at the track among active drivers (14.5).  For his career Harvick has won here twice with 5 top five and 8 top ten finishes in 19 races.  Last season Harvick proved that he’s one of the best drivers on the circuit and deserves some respect.  So much that you should probably have him on your fantasy team this week.

Alternate Chaser: Tony Stewart
We all know that Stewart could win any race he’s in.  He had a relatively quiet 2010 season.  I have a feeling 2011 will be more exciting for him.  Stewart has finished in the top ten in half the races he’s entered at Daytona.  That’s a pretty good ratio for this track given that someone can go from 1st to 25th in less than a lap.  Three wins at the track also make him a good candidate to be on your fantasy NASCAR team.  He should be able to collect some points for you.

Juan Montoya
You wouldn’t think of putting someone best known as an F1 and Indy Car driver on your Fantasy NASCAR team for the Daytona 500, but Montoya deserves a close look.  He has performed well at Daytona recently.  He collected his two top ten finishes at the track in 2009 and 2010.  There are a lot of drivers t who can’t say they have done that.  (Trust me I looked.)  Montoya probably won’t be on most people’s fantasy team, so take a chance early in the season and he could get you a lot of points others will miss.

Kasey Kahne
At one point in his career Kahne had a run of 4 consecutive top ten finishes at Daytona.  Then he had 3 straight of 15th or worse.  In last season’s  July race he pulled off a 2nd place finish.  Is Kahne poised to have another run of top ten finishes at Daytona?  Yes, I think he is.  He’s in a one year contract with Red Bull Racing, so I’m sure he’s going to go out and give it his all, having a lot of fun along the way.  There’s really no pressure on him to do great, so Kahne should be able to relax and enjoy a top 10 finish.

Dark Horse: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Daytona has helped make Dale Earnhardt Jr’s career.  He has 2 wins, 8 top five and 13 top ten finishes in 22 career races at the track.  His 14.4 place average finish is 3rd best among active drivers.  There’s no doubt Earnhardt Jr. knows how to get around the track.  He finished 2nd and 4th in the races here last season.  Add to that the fact that he’s racing with Jeff Gordon’s team and cars from the 2010 season.  Now you know that he has great equipment behind him too.  If Earnhardt Jr. can stay focused throughout the race, look for him to be in the front contending for the win.

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2 Responses to “Driver Recommendations for 2011 Daytona 500”

  1. Joel said

    I think we can agree to disagree. I don’t think the 1-year stint with Red Bull is going to benefit Kahne. After all, he was the only car to blow an engine last night, but we’ll see how the rest of the week pans out starting with qualifying today. And I think the EGR car to make the bigger impact this week is the #1, not the #42. Not based on last night, but on the new track condition. McMurray may have to go to a backup car, but that car did finish 2nd last night.

    I’m not a fantasy player, just a long-time NASCAR fan (since the mid-70’s). And my dogs (both female) are named Jamie and Kasey. 😉

  2. […] Fantasy NASCAR . I’ll select one chaser, and an alternate chaser Continued here: Driver Recommendations for 2011 Daytona 500 « Chad's Fantasy NASCAR Share and […]

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