This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona
Location: Daytona, Fla.
Course: Daytona International Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile tri-oval
The Bluegreen Vacations Duels at Daytona Thursday will set the field for Sunday's Daytona 500. Joey Logano and William Byron won the qualifying races last season, but Kyle Busch kicked off 2021 with a win in Tuesday night's Busch Clash. That earned him some early momentum after a trying 2020 where he spent much of the season searching for a win. Tuesday's Clash doesn't give fantasy managers much to go by for the rest of this week's races at Daytona, which will take place on the oval. The return to high-banked superspeedway racing right after racing the infield road course could not be more different, which presents many uncertainties when setting fantasy lineups. Drivers will not have a lot of time to test their machinery in the draft beforehand, either. The teams had just one hour of practice before single-car qualifying Wednesday night set the front row for the Daytona 500. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota teammates were quick in the draft, but Hendrick Motorsports put teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron on the front row.
Key Stats at Daytona International Speedway (points races)
- Number of races: 147
- Winners from pole: 26
- Winners from top-5 starters: 74
- Winners from top-10 starters: 112
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 12
- Fastest race: 183.295 mph
Previous 10 Daytona Duels Winners
2020 Duel No. 2 - William Byron
2020 Duel No. 1 - Joey Logano
2019 Duel No. 2 - Joey Logano
2019 Duel No. 1 - Kevin Harvick
2018 Duel No. 2 - Chase Elliott
2018 Duel No. 1 - Ryan Blaney
2017 Duel No. 2 - Denny Hamlin
2017 Duel No. 1 - Chase Elliott
2016 Duel No. 2 - Kyle Busch
2016 Duel No. 1 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Thursday night's dual qualifying races mark the return to superspeedway racing for the NASCAR Cup Series teams. The front row has already been locked up for Hendrick Motorsports, but starting positions are still up for grabs for everyone else. Racing the Duels requires a delicate balance. While racing to the front to score a win or top finish is everyone's wish, drivers also need to be careful not to damage their primary race cars. Any mistake could lead to needing a backup car and starting at the rear of the field Sunday, which is not an ideal start for biggest race of the year. This dynamic hasn't made these races any less exciting in recent history, however. Without much track time to judge drivers ahead of Thursday's races, fantasy players instead will have to rely more heavily on past superspeedway statistics. Chevrolet and Ford dominated the qualifying races last season, but Denny Hamlin's Toyota took the big prize in the 500 last year. Again this week, the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas along with Bubba Wallace were fastest in the draft during practice, but the Hendrick Chevrolets have plenty of pace as well.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Duel No. 1 Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Penske Racing's Joey Logano (DK $10,100, FD $13,000) qualified just 21st in single-car runs for Sunday's Daytona 500. That effort earned him an 11th-place starting spot for the first of the Duels on Thursday night. He has started in the top five for the last three Daytona 500 races, though. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (DK $9,000, FD $8,500) backed up his Daytona speed from last season with another impressive qualifying effort this week. He will start his qualifying race third after turning the fifth fastest time in single-car qualifying. Last year was Christopher Bell's (DK $8,500, FD $8,000) first Daytona 500, but this year will be his first with Joe Gibbs Racing. The teammates were the fastest in practice with Bell ranking fifth. Tyler Reddick (DK $8,200, FD $7,000) is again behind the wheel of a Richard Childress Racing machine that is typically fast on superspeedways. He will start 16th Thursday night in an effort to score his best Daytona start for Sunday's big race. Having Ryan Newman (DK $7,400, FD $6,000) back at Daytona is a great story by itself. He was in position to win last year's race before a scary accident sent him to the hospital. He is a reliable driver at this track, and this is one circuit Roush Fenway Racing can be on par with the faster teams. Ty Dillon (DK $5,800, FD $3,500) has to race his way into the field for Sunday's race, after Ryan Preece and David Ragan secured the two fastest qualifying times of noncharter teams. Dillon will start his qualifying race 17th and needs to finish ahead of the other nonqualified drivers in his heat.
Duel No. 2 Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Ryan Blaney (DK $10,000, FD $13,300) was awfully close to winning Tuesday night's Busch Clash on the road course before contact with Chase Elliott (DK $9,700, FD $13,500) handed the victory to Kyle Busch. Blaney will start deep in the field Thursday (18th), which should give fantasy players valuable points for his finish differential. He is expected to drive forward and is a past Duel race winner. Elliott's teammates locked out the front row for Sunday's race. So, fantasy players know the Hendrick Chevrolets have the speed to win. Elliott starts Thursday's race 11th, but it shouldn't take him long to find his teammates at the front of the field. One of the best superspeedway drivers is Kurt Busch (DK $8,600, FD $9,000). He has 13 top-five finishes at this track in points races, and if he can steer clear of trouble he usually finishes in the top 10 at Daytona. Austin Dillon (DK $8,000, FD $7,500) is another stout racer at superspeedway tracks. He will start Thursday's race ninth and won the Daytona 500 in 2018. Bubba Wallace (DK $7,700, FD $8,500) was fastest in the lone practice session as he drafted with the other Toyotas in the field. The manufacturers usually team up to beat the other marquees, and the Toyota contingent appears to be one of the fastest this year. Finally, Noah Gragson (DK $5,500, FD $2,000) faces an uphill battle to qualify for Sunday's race. His car failed inspection three times, so he was unable to make a single-car qualifying attempt. He will start at the back for his qualifying race and will aim to race his way into the field for Sunday's marquee event.