1. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished third at Kentucky, spending 99.3 percent of his Laps in the Top 15. In 15 starts at Daytona International Speedway, Bowyer has two Top 5s and six Top 10s with an Average Finish of 15.5. He’s led at least one lap in five of his last seven starts. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Bowyer ranks seventh in Driver Rating (86.6) and in Average Running Position (15.9) at Daytona. He’s finished outside the Top 10 just once in his last six Cup starts and is better at restrictor-plate tracks than the numbers indicate. He will come at a very good value in Tiered/Grouping formats.
2. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won his fourth race of 2013 at Kentucky, leading 38 laps and posting a season-high 48 Fastest Laps Run. In 27 starts at DIS, Kenseth has two wins (2009, 2012), six Top 5s, 13 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 17.0. He’s led at least 14 laps in each of his last four starts. Kenseth ranks second in DR (93.2), ARP (14.1) and in Laps Led (285). His high-risk,-high-reward status factored in last week, as he posted just one Top 10 in his previous five Cup starts. This appears to be the end of the JGR engine issues that plagued the team early in the season, making Kenseth an excellent option in all formats.
3. Kyle Busch: Busch recovered from an early wreck to finish fifth at Kentucky. In 17 Daytona starts, Busch has one win (2008), five Top 5s and six Top 10s with an Average Finish of 18.9. He’s led at least one lap in 11 of his last 13 starts. Busch leads all competitors in DR (97.0), ARP (12.4), Laps in the Top 15 (2,172) and Quality Passes (2,334). He has three Top 5s and four Top 10s in his last five Cup starts and will extend his hot streak further at Daytona.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Despite a piece of debris damaging the front of his car while leading at Kentucky, Earnhardt Jr. fought back to finish in 12th. In 27 DIS starts, Earnhardt Jr. has two wins (2001, 2004), 10 Top 5s, 15 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 14.0. He’s led at least one lap in two of his last four starts. Earnhardt Jr. ranks fourth in DR (89.3) and in ARP (14.6). It’s been a while since he won at Daytona, but Junior remains one of the most consistent restrictor-plate drivers in the business. He’s a must-start in Tiered/Grouping formats.
5. Kevin Harvick: Harvick posted a 10th-place finish at Kentucky. In 24 starts at Daytona, Harvick has two wins (2007, 2010), five Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 16.5. He’s led at least five laps in four of his last seven starts. Harvick ranks 13th in DR (82.6) and 21st in ARP (19.2). Aside from 42nd (Daytona) and 40th-place (Talladega) finishes, Harvick hasn’t finished worse than 14th in any race this season. He’s typically a very proficient restrictor-plate driver and Fantasy owners should ignore the poor 2013 plate results and deploy Harvick as usual.
6. Jimmie Johnson: Once again a gaffe on a restart took away what was another sure Johnson victory (182 Laps Led), though he still managed to finish ninth at Kentucky. In 23 starts at DIS, Johnson has two wins (2006, 2013), seven Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 18.2. He led 17 laps in his February victory at the site. Johnson ranks eighth in DR (85.3) and third in ARP (14.5). He has a win (Daytona) and a Top 5 (Talladega) in two 2013 restrictor-plate events, and while I don’t usually recommend using Johnson in Tiered/Grouping formats for these types of races, the consistency can’t be ignored.
7. Joey Logano: Logano finished fourth at Kentucky with an ARP of 7.1. In nine Daytona starts, Logano has two Top 5s and three Top 10s with an Average Finish of 18.8. He’s led at least two laps in two of his last three starts. Logano ranks 15th in DR (80.1) and in ARP (17.7). He has five Top 10s in his last six starts, with the sixth start being an 11th-place finish (Sonoma). He’s very hot right now and should be in all provisional Tiered/Grouping format line ups.
8. Kurt Busch: Busch posted a sixth-place finish at Kentucky, giving him a +21 place-differential as he started 27th on the grid. In 25 starts at Daytona, Busch has 10 Top 5s and 12 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 18.4. He’s led at least one lap in five of his last eight starts. Busch ranks sixth in DR (88.0) and 11th in ARP (16.7). With one Top 5 and three Top 10s in his last four Cup starts, he’s as hot as anybody. He will come at a solid value in Salary Cap formats.
9. Jeff Gordon: Despite horrible luck not once, but twice, getting caught on pit road during a caution, Gordon still managed an eighth-place finish at Kentucky. In 41 DIS starts, Gordon has six wins (1995, 1997, 1998-99, 2004-05), 12 Top 5s, 19 Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 16.1. He’s led at least one lap in 11 of his last 12 starts. Gordon ranks fifth in DR (88.3) and in ARP (14.6). He’s heating up and will be extra aggressive for a win to make his Chase hopes a bit easier.
10. Tony Stewart: Smoke finished 20th at Kentucky, dropping him to 16th in the Cup standings. In 29 starts at Daytona, Stewart has four wins (2005, 2006, 2009, 2012), eight Top 5s, 13 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 17.0. He’s led at least one lap in three of his last four starts. Stewart ranks third in DR (93.1) and sixth in ARP (15.3). He leads all drivers in Laps Led (548). He’s cooled off some since his mid-season renaissance of three-straight Top 5s, but remains one of the top drivers at Daytona. He will come at a quality value in all formats and has a lot of upside despite his recent cold streak.
11.Greg Biffle: One win (2003), three Top 5s, six Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 19.8 in 21 DIS starts. 79.4 DR.
12.Jamie McMurray: Two wins (2007, 2010), three Top 5s and four Top 10s with an Average Finish of 24.5 in 21 starts at Daytona. 77.3 DR.
13.Carl Edwards: Four Top 5s, eight Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 17.5 in 17 starts at DIS. 82.7 DR.
14.Ryan Newman: One win (2008), four Top 5s and five Top 10s with an Average Finish of 20.5 in 23 Daytona starts. 82.8 DR.
15.Brad Keselowski: One Top 5 and two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 22.3 in eight starts at DIS. 71.2 DR.
16.Denny Hamlin: 84.5 DR.
17.Kasey Kahne: 81.6.
18.Martin Truex Jr.: 79.9.
19.Marcos Ambrose: 64.1.
20.Paul Menard: 70.8.
22.Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
24.Juan Pablo Montoya
1. David Ragan: Won the July 2011 race at Daytona and the 2013 race at Talladega – a virtual Tiered/Grouping format C-List must-start.
2. Michael Waltrip: Finished 22nd in the February Daytona event and fourth at Talladega.
3. Danica Patrick: Ran her best career Cup race in the February event, starting from the pole and finishing eighth.
4. Trevor Bayne: Posted his best finish of the season in his last Cup start (15th at Michigan).
5. A.J. Allmendinger: Finished 11th (February) and 10th (July) in at Daytona back in 2011.
2013 NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Lineup for Daytona (Salary Cap)
Jimmie Johnson $27.75
Matt Kenseth $27.75
Kurt Busch $19.75
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $13.25
A.J. Allmendinger $ 9.50