NASCAR Daily Fantasy Sports Guide

The thrill of a live NASCAR race can be tough to top in terms of sheer excitement, but there’s a way to make it even better with daily fantasy sports.

Fantasy NASCAR was on the top of the wish list for racing fans for quite some time before it became a reality. Fast forward to today, and the game is a staple at leading sites across the industry.

Every lap, pit stop and change on the leaderboard becomes that much more meaningful when you have a little skin in the game and a chance to win real money prizes.

Avid NASCAR fans have a way to put their knowledge to the test, while those new to the sport have an entry point to learn all that they can.

That’s not as hard as it may seem at first glance. We’ll provide you with a number of actionable tips that will help you get up to speed in no time right here. Before we begin, let’s take a look at the best places for you to get in the game.

Where to Play Fantasy NASCAR in 2020

Rank
DFS Provider
Bonus
Features
Click To Claim
1
$520
Total Bonus Offer
$20 Free Play On First Deposit
Plus 20% deposit match up to $500
#1 in Daily Fantasy Sports.
2
$5 Free
No Deposit Required
$5 Free
$5 More On Deposit
Watch Sports, Play Fantasy, Win Cash!

Which NASCAR daily fantasy app is right for you

The DFS industry is dominated by two major players. They offer the largest prize pools and attract the largest number of users to their platforms.

  1. DraftKings DFS — $20 free with first deposit + up to $500 deposit match: The largest DFS operator in terms of users and prize pools, DraftKings has been an innovator in the industry. NASCAR games are offered on the platform, including GPPs with massive prize pools.
  2. FanDuel DFS — $5 free on sign up + $5 extra on deposit: The second-largest operator in DFS, FanDuel is the preferred option for scores of users due to its simple style of gameplay and slick platform. NASCAR tournaments are huge here as well, with impressive prizes there for the taking.

Each of these operators is a breeze to sign up for. Click on our exclusive links to take advantage of the generous new player offers, and you’ll be all set in no time.

How NASCAR DFS works

On DraftKings and FanDuel, users put together lineups of drivers that they expect to perform well in the race. However, it’s not as simple as just picking anyone you want.

There’s a salary cap that you must stay under. Each of the drivers scheduled to compete has a salary attached, ranging from high-priced to cheaper options.

The goal is to build the best possible scoring lineup while staying underneath the cap. Once your lineup is set, you’ll find a number of different contest types that you can enter.

  • GPPs: These are guaranteed prize pool tournaments, several of which offer massive top prizes.
  • 50/50s and DoubleUps: In these DFS games, the goal is to score better than up to half of the other entrants in order to win up to double your entry fee.
  • Multipliers: Similar to 50/50s and DoubleUps, you need to beat a certain amount of the field to win a multiple of your entry fee, such as 3x or 5x.
  • Leagues: Tournament-style games on a smaller scale than GPPs. Instead of competing with thousands of other users, the field is much smaller.
  • Head to Heads: It’s you versus another user with the winner being the one with the higher scoring lineup when all is said and done.

Each of the different content types are available at multiple price points, ranging from the small stakes to high roller ranges.

NASCAR scoring — DraftKings vs. FanDuel

The two DFS giants have a similar approach to NASCAR scoring, but there are distinct differences to be aware of. Here’s how the two operators score Fantasy NASCAR contests.

DraftKingsPoints AwardedFanDuelPoints Awarded
Place Differential (Start to Finish)+/- 1Place Differential (Start to Finish)+/- 0.5
Fastest Laps0.5Fastest Laps0
Laps Led0.25Laps Led0.1
Laps Completed0Laps Completed0.1
1st Place461st Place43
2nd Place422nd Place40
3rd Place4 to 41 points depending on place3rd Place1 to 38 points depending on place

As you can see, both operators focus on most of the same categories, but the number of points awarded for each are different. While this may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, it actually is.

The scoring nuances can alter which drivers are the better plays on each site. For example, a driver who consistently registers fast laps is a better play on DraftKings, while one whom you can rely on to complete lots of laps makes more sense on FanDuel.

NASCAR DFS picks — DraftKings vs. FanDuel

Nascar & DraftKingsScoring isn’t the only thing that’s different on the DraftKings and FanDuel sites. On DraftKings, a lineup consists of six drivers while staying under a $50,000 salary cap. Over at FanDuel, the salary cap is the same, but you’re only picking five drivers.

Salaries for the drivers scheduled to compete are different on both sites as well. This can also impact how you build your lineups. You may find a lower-priced gem on FanDuel, but that same driver can be one of the most expensive for the week on DraftKings, for example.

The price you pay for drivers in relation to their potential output is one of the biggest factors to consider in NASCAR DFS. We’ll go through some additional lineup building tips in a bit.

Major races and contests

Fantasy NASCAR is offered for every race on the season-long calendar that runs from February through November. However, it’s the biggest races on the docket that attract the largest number of users, and hence the larger prize pools for GPPs.

For the 2020 season, here are the names and dates of some of the biggest races.

  • Daytona 500, Sunday, Feb. 16
  • Pennzoil 400, Sunday, Feb. 23
  • FabShield 500, Sunday, March 8
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, Sunday, March 29
  • Geico 500, Sunday, April 26
  • NASCAR All-Star Race, Saturday, May 16
  • Coca-Cola 600, Sunday, May 24
  • Chicagoland 400, Sunday, June 21
  • Brickyard 400, Sunday, July 5
  • NASCAR Cup Series Championship, Sunday, Nov. 8

While the bigger races attract the largest number of users, there’s action to be found anytime there’s a top NASCAR event going on. Since the season runs for 10 months out of the year, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get involved.

How to create your winning lineup

Building out a winning lineup is challenging, but it absolutely can be done. It takes practice, patience and perseverance, and a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt either.

First things first, there are a number of NASCAR DFS advice columns to be found on the internet, as well as roundups of stats and the performance of drivers in the weekly field.

Several free resources are out there, as well as many of the subscription variety. Some of them can be great resources to use for building your lineups. However, keep in mind that you’re not the only one who will be reading the advice each week.

For those who prefer to do it yourself, it’s wise to approach each race as its own event. Once you know who is in the field, examine the following factors.

  • Driver season-long performance: wins, finishes and prize money earned.
  • Recent driver performance for the same set of categories.
  • Driver stats such as lap times and number of laps led.
  • Past performance of drivers at the track they’ll be competing on.
  • Pole position, qualifying times and practice runs.

Studying those five categories will give you an excellent base to begin building your lineup. As you go through each category, make note of which drivers perform the best in terms of those metrics.

Once you’re done, you should have a shortlist of drivers to focus on for your weekly lineups. From there, it’s a matter of studying each driver individually while factoring the driver’s weekly salary in relation to potential performance.

How to optimize your lineup

Building the optimal lineup is the goal of every DFS player, and there’s a number of different strategic approaches on how to go about it.

As mentioned up above, there are some users who rely on the research of others, and also plenty who prefer to dig in and do it themselves. There are also hybrid approaches that combine the best of both camps.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It all comes down to personal preference, as well as what ultimately leads you to success.

On the optimizer front, there are a number of DFS sites out there that allow you to plug and play with drivers to find optimal combinations. Once again, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not the only one who will be doing this.

If you just blindly follow the recommendations of a lineup optimizer, there’s a good chance that many others in the game you’ve entered will have the exact same lineup.

When it comes to GPP tournaments, that can be rather frustrating. You need something that will separate your lineup from the pack to finish highly, after all.

For a “best of both worlds” approach, build out the majority of your lineup using your own methods. If you can find three or four drivers on your own and then run it through the optimizer a few times, you may come up with some combinations you like.

In addition, the optimizer can help point you to drivers you may have missed in your weekly research. Finding the optimal lineup each week is challenging, but it’s also a big part of the fun of NASCAR DFS.

How to find quality drivers

We’ve covered a number of helpful tips already, but there’s another huge one that you can use. This one can save you a ton of time in your weekly research to boot.

As part of your weekly research routine, take some time to check out the sports betting odds. Sportsbooks that take action on NASCAR will have odds listed for the weekly races. You’ll see odds for the outright winner, top placing drivers and other categories, depending on the book.

Using the outright winner of the race as an example, you’ll see all of the drivers scheduled to compete listed with their odds of winning the race. There will be favorites at the top, long shots at the bottom, and everyone else in the middle.

As you examine the odds, split them into three tiers: favorites, mid-range and long shots. Next, go through each of the tiers and see how the odds relate to the drivers’ salaries for the week.

This is a great way to find drivers who may be undervalued for DFS purposes. It can also help you spot the drivers who may be overpriced in relation to their potential performance at the upcoming event.

From there, go through each tier and pick out the drivers you like. Just like that, you have another shortlist of drivers to spend the bulk of your research time on as opposed to going through each and every one who’s scheduled to race.

Finding quality drivers on a weekly basis is a matter of going through the lineup building process each and every time. Some drivers will be great plays one week and poor plays the next, and vice versa.

The more times you build lineups, the easier it’ll become for you to make quality selections.

Understanding place differential

Place differential scoring is one of those things that may seem confusing at first glance, but after working through it a few times, you find that it’s actually not too tough to wrap your head around.

Here’s how it works. Points are awarded on the major DFS sites for place differential, which means the finishing position of a driver subtracted from the driver’s starting position. On DraftKings, it’s one point, while FanDuel awards a half-point.

Points can also be deducted if the driver winds up with a negative place differential. Let’s take a look at both scenarios, starting with the positive outcome.

  • Driver starts in position 20.
  • He finishes the race in ninth place.
  • His place differential is +11.
  • On DraftKings, the driver is awarded 11 points (1 point for each place differential).
  • On FanDuel, the driver is awarded 5.5 points ( a half-point per place differential).

Now for a scenario on the opposite end of the spectrum.

  • Driver starts the race in position 10.
  • He has a rough day and finishes in 35th place.
  • His place differential is -25.
  • On DraftKings, the driver is awarded -25 points (1 point for each place differential).
  • On FanDuel, the driver is awarded -12.5 points ( a half-point per place differential).

Place differential can be an excellent point builder on both DFS sites, as well as a means of getting even more value from driver salaries. However, it can work in the opposite fashion as well for drivers who under-perform.

NASCAR DFS FAQ

What is a NASCAR DFS sleeper?

A sleeper is a driver in an upcoming race who isn’t expected of much by the general public or betting community but who could actually be in line for a solid performance.

Will cheat sheets actually help me win?

Cheat sheets can be helpful for lineup building as they can help you spot those who look like the top drivers for the week, as well as some sleepers or others you may have missed. However, there are no guarantees that the cheat sheet will be on the money with selections in any given week.

Can I use a lineup builder?

A lineup builder or optimizer can be helpful in putting the finishing touches on a lineup, and it can also help you pick a lineup from scratch. However, keep in mind that other DFS users are using the same tools, so the risk of running into duplicate lineups is high.

Who are the best NASCAR drivers in 2020?

According to the sports betting futures market, these are the drivers with the best chances of winning the season-long crown: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

Which states have legal DFS?

DFS is legal in more than 40 states across the US. At the present time, the following states are the only outliers that frown upon DFS play: Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada and Washington.

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