Guide To Playing Daily Fantasy NASCAR

Be honest. When was the last time you watched a NASCAR race from wire to wire? Heck, have you even watched a race? For the majority of sports fans sitting down for a four-hour race with seemingly endless left turns by drivers who they wouldn’t recognize in cars that look nothing like what’s available at their local dealership sounds about as appealing as rodding out a congested sewer line. Furthermore, if you don’t live on the east coast, California, or the deep south you’ve probably grown up or lived in an area where NASCAR was a fringe sport relegated to “red necks and motor heads”.

Due to the limited exposure, some sports fans have had to NASCAR the willingness to play the sports’ DFS offering has caused most DFS players to stay on the outside looking in. One of the major factors I believe that has affected NASCAR’s DFS appeal is the cloudiness as to what makes one racer better than another. With practically every other sport, save for hockey or soccer, the pathway to points is fairly simple… in football get yards and touchdowns, in basketball rack up statistics, in MMA get punches, takedowns, submissions, or knockouts, in baseball, get hits and runs, but in NASCAR you… win the race? Thus, if you are new to NASCAR DFS I want to take you on a trip through Draftking’s scoring setting for NASCAR, and how this should affect your process for picking racers each week. Their are four basic tenets to NASCAR scoring and I will briefly explain each point and how to apply it when building rosters.

Scoring Differential

First, get to know the term “scoring differential” because you will read it, hear it, and speak it often. Scoring differential is a fancy way of saying your driver gains or loses points based on where they finish the race versus where they qualified. Say for example your driver qualified in the 30th position and ended up finishing 16th, therefore, your driver would accumulate 14 points (a single point for each spot gained) just by their final position. In that same breath if that same driver who qualified 30th ends up dead last because of a crash or blown engines they would go in the negative 10 points. Also, it’s important to note that sometimes drivers will have an issue during Saturday practices forcing them to a backup car. In these instances, Draftkings still uses their official qualifying spot and not where they actually start the race at meaning a driver who qualified 18th but starts 40th will only get scoring differential points for every position above 18th that they get and not 40th.

Application: picking a driver who can score 10 or more points on scoring differential is key for your cash teams. When Friday’s qualifying session has ended the first thing I look for are the prominent drivers (anyone priced above $9000) who qualified 20th or worse. Besides offering the upside of possibly winning I know I have points in the bank just off the positions they will gain as they make their way to the front. Also, when filling out my cash team rosters with racers priced in the $6K range it’s paramount they qualified 20th or worse so I know scoring differential provides them with a reasonable floor of production.

Fastest Laps

Each lap one racer is awarded .5 points for registering the fastest time on that last lap. Depending on the track there can be as many as 25o fastest lap points (Martinsville) or as few as 100 (Daytona), but the fact remains we enter every race knowing exactly how many fastest laps points will be awarded. Usually but not always the driver leading the race racks up these points, but at some tracks like Daytona the fastest times are littered throughout the drivers.

Application: pay attention to practice times on Saturday (10 laps intervals and not single lap times because auto racing is ran in stretches and not one lap at a time) because that will give you the best indication of whose car is fast and whose is not. The Saturday practice times can be accessed via the NASCAR stats site Furthermore, if a driver is leading the race they should be accumulating these points so pick 2-3 racers you believe will be leading laps. Outside of their final position, this is the best place for a racer to pick up fantasy points. Which brings us to the next point…

Laps Led

For every lap led a racer is given .25 points. Thus, just like fastest laps points, we know every race will award a set amount of laps led points based on the advertised laps of the race. Side note; lead changes are only noted at the start/ finish line so if a racer grabs the lead going into a corner and promptly loses it they will not gain .25 points for that momentary lead. The change in position had to have happened by the time the racers reach the start/ finish line.

Application: the more laps led the better. Race tracks play like golf courses meaning everyone is built different allowing for a lot of lead changes or very few. Taking the driver who starts on the pole (#1 position) is a sure fire way to accumulate laps led points plus looking for top tier guys who start near the front and will probably race their way to the lead.

Finished Position Scoring

Finally, each racer is awarded points based on where they finish the race at and is as follows:

  • 1st: 46 PTs
  • 2nd: 42 PTs
  • 3rd: 41 PTs
  • 4th: 40 PTs
  • 5th: 39 PTs
  • 6th: 38 PTs
  • 7th: 37 PTs
  • 8th: 36 PTs
  • 9th: 35 PTs
  • 10th: 34 PTs
  • 11th: 33 PTs
  • 12th: 32 PTs
  • 13th: 31 PTs
  • 14th: 30 PTs
  • 15th: 29 PTs
  • 16th: 28 PTs
  • 17th: 27 PTs
  • 18th: 26 PTs
  • 19th: 25 PTs
  • 20th: 24 PTs
  • 21st: 23 PTs
  • 22nd: 22 PTs
  • 23rd: 21 PTs
  • 24th: 20 PTs
  • 25th: 19 PTs
  • 26th: 18 PTs
  • 27th: 17 PTs
  • 28th: 16 PTs
  • 29th: 15 PTs
  • 30th: 14 PTs
  • 31st: 13 PTs
  • 32nd: 12 PTs
  • 33rd: 11 PTs
  • 34th: 10 PTs
  • 35th: 9 PTs
  • 36th: 8 PTs
  • 37th: 7 PTs
  • 38th: 6 PTs
  • 39th: 5 PTs
  • 40th: 4 PTs
  • 41st: 3 PTs
  • 42nd: 2 PTs
  • 43rd: 1 PTs

Application: the higher the racer finishes the more points they earn. Interestingly enough there is no big points bonus for the outright win but just four more points than 2nd place. Regardless, the closer to the top of the leader board they finish the race the more points they accrue. Whether you’re playing cash or GPPs you want as many top 10 finishes as possible.

I hope this Draftkings NASCAR scoring primer helps you understand this DFS offering better and help improve your process for picking racers this weekend at Richmond.

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Phill Bennetzen

Phill is a father, husband, Catholic, IT Director, wannabe Nutritional Sociologist, and passionate for sports and the stats that encompass them. Phill provides stats and analysis for both NFL and NASCAR as well as writing about game theory for his weekly Process Report article.