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NASCAR DFS Stats and Facts for the Clash at Daytona

The 2019 NASCAR Cup season kicks off Sunday with the preseason exhibition race called the Advanced Auto Parts Clash. DraftKings is running a $125,000 contest with an $8 buy-in. I actually won this slate in 2016 and 2017 so I’m very much looking forward to the 2019 edition of the DFS season opener.

I’m going go through clash history since 2013, when NASCAR made the switch to the current generation car and lay out a bunch of stats and facts, then talk some game theory to help you try to make a profit on Sunday.

DNF Rate

Since 2013, 54 of the 121 drivers in The Clash have failed to finish the race — a 44.6 percent DNF rate. At that DNF rate, and with 20 cars starting this edition of the race, we can expect around nine drivers to not even finish on Sunday. This stat makes sense as well — because this is an exhibition race, and because these cars will not be raced in the Daytona 500, drivers have no incentive to take it easy on their cars or their competitors. Last lap crashes are common, and the DFS leaderboard can flip in the blink of an eye.

One might ask, are all DNFs created equal? If we simply look at the average starting position of the drivers that DNF’d it’s 11.3 vs 10.5 for drivers that finished the race. However, a simple average doesn’t tell the whole story. The safest place to be is out front. Of the top 10 lap leaders in any single Clash race, only one of them DNF’d — Denny Hamlin in 2017 on the last lap while battling for the win with Brad Keselowski. In other words, you’ll definitely want to roster at least one driver you think can lead a chunk of laps, and possibly two. These cars also tend to be in the best position to win the race as well…

Race Winners

The race winner has led at least 21 laps in five of the six Clash races since 2013, with the lone exception being Joey Logano in 2017 as the beneficiary of the Hamlin/Keselowski crash. Hamlin and Keselowski led 48 and 18 laps in that race respectively. In fact, Hamlin and Keselowski have led at least eight laps four times each. It’s no surprise they make up three of the six race winners in The Clash since 2013. The other three are the aforementioned Logano, plus Kevin Harvick and now-retired Matt Kenseth. Every single race winner is either a former series champion or former Daytona 500 winner.

If we extend this to second-place finishes, again its either former series champions or past Daytona 500 winners, with the exception of Greg Biffle‘s 2nd place finish in 2013. The name additions with second place finishes are Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch with one each. Logano has two 2nd places and Keselowski has one as well.

Based off DNF avoidance and winning races, I’ll be targeting 1-2 top tier drivers per lineup on Sunday, from the group of Hamlin, Keselowski, Logano, Harvick, Kyle BuschMartin Truex Jr. We could also add Chase Elliott into this list with 17 laps led in last year’s version, and possibly Ryan Blaney who dominated last year’s Daytona 500 before a late race incident cost him a shot at winning. So that’s eight drivers where I’ll have at least one or two of them in most of my lineups, and possibly even three or four of them depending on where they start.

Starting Position

After getting your top tier drivers in your lineup, the rest of the strategy should be based off targeting the best combination of finishing position plus place differential. If we look at the top six DraftKings scorers per race, here’s where they started:

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

1

17 1 16 15 9 17

2

12 11 23 25 13 14

3

15 5 25 14 12

15

4 9 17 10 21 8

13

5 4 4 24 11 14

3

6 16 14 14 24 16

9

You can see, only in 2014 did more than three drivers start inside the top 10. Typically there have been two drivers starting inside the top ten. However, in 2015 and 2016, when there were 25-car fields, a total of only one driver in started inside the top 10 that finished top-six in DraftKings scoring. Typically I’ll look to plug in anywhere from 0-2 drivers starting in the top 10, with a sprinkle of three drivers starting inside the top 10.

Putting it all together

So what is a winning strategy to take down The Clash? You’ll want a couple top-tier drivers from the eight that I listed in your lineup. After that, you’ll want to target a couple lower owned drivers. Remember, 45 percent of the field, on average, fails to finish. I wouldn’t have more than about 55-60 percent exposure on any one driver. On the flip side, that means every driver starting mid-pack and back has a strong shot at being in the winning lineup.

My 2016 winning lineup had four drivers with ownership between 41 and 44 percent, but two drivers under 18 percent owned (starting 14th and 16th). My 2017 winning lineup had four drivers above 33 percent ownership, but two drivers under 15 percent (starting 12th and 8th)! There’s still a massive edge just by leveraging ownership in a highly random race.

Make sure to mostly pick drivers starting mid-pack and beyond, but don’t be afraid to fire a couple bullets at strong drivers starting further forward.

The draw is taking place now, so look for a driver-by-driver breakdown article soon. In the meantime, enjoy The Clash data below.

YearDriverDRtgLLFLLapsDNFStartFinishCloseDK
2013Kevin Harvick113.740375FALSE171073.5
2013Greg Biffle119.12575FALSE42147
2013Joey Logano91.10675FALSE93450
2013Tony Stewart98.15175FALSE154-252.75
2013Matt Kenseth110.726575FALSE125555
2013Aric Almirola60.10575FALSE86-242.5
2013Kasey Kahne81.50775FALSE37236.5
2013Dale Earnhardt Jr64.40675FALSE168047
2013Martin Truex Jr77.92475FALSE69-334.5
2013Juan Pablo Montoya49.80575FALSE1410140.5
2013Marcos Ambrose62.50475FALSE1011134
2013Carl Edwards64.401075FALSE112-726
2013Kurt Busch630214TRUE1813037
2013Jimmie Johnson55.50114TRUE1114027.5
2013Denny Hamlin65.50214TRUE515020
2013Kyle Busch37.20114TRUE1316025.5
2013Jeff Gordon49.10014TRUE717017
2013Mark Martin42.60214TRUE218011
2013Terry Labonte24.3002TRUE1919025
2014Denny Hamlin127.527375FALSE11454.25
2014Brad Keselowski89.78675FALSE52050
2014Kyle Busch107.96575FALSE43346
2014Joey Logano97.511775FALSE114-353.25
2014Kevin Harvick83.86175FALSE65342
2014Jamie McMurray83.910875FALSE26-340.5
2014Marcos Ambrose77.40375FALSE87039.5
2014Ryan Newman55.50475FALSE178-447
2014Dale Earnhardt Jr737365TRUE149043.25
2014Matt Kenseth600335TRUE1610041.5
2014Tony Stewart660335TRUE911032.5
2014Jeff Gordon42.30335TRUE1312034.5
2014Carl Edwards61.20135TRUE713025.5
2014Kurt Busch53.50135TRUE1014026.5
2014Ricky Stenhouse Jr51.30335TRUE315018.5
2014Danica Patrick44.40335TRUE1216025.5
2014Jimmie Johnson67.20128TRUE1817028.5
2014Terry Labonte24.3001TRUE1518023
2015Matt Kenseth118.921375FALSE161067.75
2015Martin Truex Jr125.629475FALSE102059.25
2015Carl Edwards73.41275FALSE143153.25
2015Casey Mears80.20375FALSE234-160.5
2015Kyle Larson750275FALSE255560
2015Joey Logano85.40275FALSE36636
2015Jeff Gordon76.40375FALSE117742.5
2015Kyle Busch48.40275FALSE58-334
2015Dale Earnhardt Jr86.113275FALSE249-254.25
2015Danica Patrick61.30475FALSE1510541
2015Kevin Harvick85.81175FALSE811-530.75
2015Ryan Newman41.90375FALSE1212-333.5
2015Tony Stewart90.30367TRUE2213-541.5
2015Greg Biffle55.91367TRUE714-324.75
2015Kurt Busch650067TRUE1315-227
2015Ricky Stenhouse Jr44.20261TRUE2016033
2015Austin Dillon43.60261TRUE617017
2015Aric Almirola51.90155TRUE1618024.5
2015Denny Hamlin65.50245TRUE919016
2015Clint Bowyer37.50645TRUE1820025
2015Paul Menard77.87045TRUE12104.75
2015Jimmie Johnson54.30145TRUE1722017.5
2015Kasey Kahne44.20245TRUE22301
2015Jamie McMurray75.90145TRUE2124017.5
2015Brad Keselowski65.12022TRUE4250-1.5
2016Denny Hamlin96.739279FALSE151070.75
2016Joey Logano100.60179FALSE252165.5
2016Paul Menard84.80279FALSE143553
2016Kyle Larson90.40179FALSE44240.5
2016Casey Mears94.10279FALSE65241
2016Ricky Stenhouse Jr500379FALSE116944.5
2016Kurt Busch73.60279FALSE217752
2016Austin Dillon67.20179FALSE108238.5
2016Brad Keselowski107.926379FALSE29-436
2016Greg Biffle55.80579FALSE1610742.5
2016Danica Patrick650179FALSE1211534.5
2016Matt Kenseth84.20179FALSE1312-1033.5
2016Martin Truex Jr53.90178TRUE713-125.5
2016Jamie McMurray106.114278TRUE2414-144.5
2016Dale Earnhardt Jr37.60075TRUE2315437
2016Carl Edwards85.20472TRUE1916-1233
2016Kyle Busch72.50072TRUE917-819
2016Aric Almirola58.60572TRUE1718-727.5
2016Ryan Newman49.20469TRUE519-113
2016Kasey Kahne55.20264TRUE2020025
2016AJ Allmendinger48.80356TRUE32106.5
2016Jimmie Johnson74.50043TRUE12201
2016Clint Bowyer38.80023TRUE82306
2016Brian Vickers46.40322TRUE1824015.5
2016Kevin Harvick29.70122TRUE2225016.5
2017Joey Logano1204575FALSE91657.5
2017Kyle Busch90.85375FALSE132255.75
2017Alex Bowman79.70475FALSE83748
2017Danica Patrick57.80175FALSE124848.5
2017Kevin Harvick72.50475FALSE75443
2017Brad Keselowski83.818675FALSE16240.5
2017Chase Elliott49.30675FALSE147647
2017Daniel Suarez820575FALSE168-646.5
2017Chris Buescher37.80175FALSE179243.5
2017Jamie McMurray78.80475FALSE310-529
2017Matt Kenseth72.30475FALSE1511-839
2017Austin Dillon51.50375FALSE412-625.5
2017Denny Hamlin118.948574TRUE213-1234.5
2017Kyle Larson50.50261TRUE1114028
2017Martin Truex Jr73.50260TRUE515020
2017Jimmie Johnson40.30248TRUE616019
2017Kurt Busch31.50017TRUE1017020
2018Brad Keselowski129.843175FALSE171073.25
2018Joey Logano1121275FALSE32144.25
2018Kurt Busch94.50575FALSE143254.5
2018Ryan Blaney102.80575FALSE154-253.5
2018Austin Dillon70.93775FALSE15539.25
2018Denny Hamlin82.68475FALSE26638
2018Kyle Busch72.60675FALSE137046
2018Erik Jones55.10675FALSE48535
2018Kevin Harvick482875FALSE99539.5
2018Kyle Larson73.71775FALSE1010-437.75
2018Ryan Newman360575FALSE1111435.5
2018Jimmie Johnson71.70274TRUE512-826
2018Chase Elliott84.617274TRUE1213-435.25
2018Martin Truex Jr55.60474TRUE614-324
2018Kasey Kahne35.40374TRUE715-722.5
2018Ricky Stenhouse Jr32.80173TRUE816020.5
2018Jamie McMurray29.40043TRUE1617026

 

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