NASCAR at Dover DraftKings Picks: DFS Strategy for Saturday’s Drydene 311
Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Elliott.
Dover International Speedway plays host to the NASCAR Cup Series’ final double-header of the 2020 season. The one-mile concrete oval can be action-packed, commonly featuring wrecks and passing. This should be especially true with the Cup Series reverting to a lower downforce package after a failed attempt at a higher downforce package in 2019.
Because of this, we’ll want to lean on Dover performances from 2018 rather than 2019. Additionally, performance at other steep tracks such as Bristol, Homestead and Darlington is also predictive of performance at Dover.
NASCAR at Dover DraftKings Dominator DFS Picks
Chase Elliott ($10,000) – Elliott starts on the pole thanks to NASCAR’s new formula for setting the starting lineup, and he’s a prime candidate to dominate this race. Dover is one of Elliott’s best tracks, with six top-five finishes in eight races, including a win in 2018. Elliott also has a fourth and a second at Darlington and Homestead, respectively. He was on his way to another top-two finish at the second Darlington race before being taken out by Kyle Busch with a handful of laps remaining. Elliott will likely be highly owned, but he’s definitely the top dominator candidate.
Kevin Harvick ($11,400) – Harvick may be the race favorite solely based off his performance in 2018. He won five of the six stages at the two Dover races combined. Harvick led over 200 laps in each race, while picking up one win and one sixth place finish. A win and a third-place finish at Darlington this year also beef up his stats at the steep tracks.
Martin Truex, Jr. ($11,000) – Truex has three career wins at Dover and should be regarded as one of the favorite to dominate on Sunday. He starts third and has quietly racked up five straight third-place finishes, so he and his team are in good form. You should definitely have some exposure to Truex in tournaments, but I prefer Harvick and Elliott. In 2018, Truex led zero total laps at Dover and only had averaged 19.5 fastest laps per Dover race. That won’t get the job done at his price tag.
NASCAR at Dover DraftKings Value DFS Picks
Austin Dillon ($8700) – Dillon has been cleared to race after self-reporting a positive COVID-19 test last week. Because he missed the race at Daytona, he’ll be relegated to a 32nd-place starting position. That makes him prime place differential material. He’s a must-play in cash games and should be highly owned in tournaments. One word of caution: Dover is not one of his better tracks, but he did have better success during the lower downforce years than the higher downforce years.
Tyler Reddick ($7100) – Reddick and steep tracks go hand-in-hand. His fourth and seventh at Homestead and Darlington, respectively, are two of his three best results in the Cup Series. Additionally, Reddick claimed three wins in 2.5 seasons in the XFINITY Series., and he also has a Dover win in the Truck Series. His reduced price tag makes him attractive as he rolls off from 16th place.
John Hunter Nemechek ($6500) – Nemechek is a solid cash game play due to his 31st-place starting position, and I definitely recommend him in cash game formats. However, his lack of Dover performance across the NASCAR XFINITY and Truck Series suggests that his upside may be capped to around an 18th-place finish. He’ll need around a 21st-place finish to reach 5x value to put him on the verge of the winning lineup.
Nemechek’s deep starting position will boost his ownership, but if his ceiling is barely scratching the optimal lineup, he’ll be over-owned relative to his probability of winning you the big payday. There are other drivers that could outscore him at far lower ownership, such as…
Ricky Stenhouse Jr ($6200) – There are a lot of great steep track drivers starting 14th through 21st, including Matt DiBenedetto, Reddick, Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, and Cole Custer. But Stenhouse comes in at least $900 cheaper than all of them and is no Dover slouch himself.
Stenhouse needs a 16th-place finish to reach 5x value. He’s scored 16th or better in 47% of his Cup starts at the track. That rate increases to 64% if we limit the sample to only his 11 incident-free races. If we normalize Stenhouse’s incident-free Dover results to his season-long points result, Stenhouse averages seven places better than his points result.
Right now he sits in 24th, so we should expect him to finish 17th or worse around 50% of the time. If we include his 27% incident rate, that means 77% of the time we should not use him. However, 23% of the time we should use him. I expect his ownership to be less than 23% in the big DraftKings tournament, making him a solid contrarian play.