Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Daytona 500

by Brian Polking on February 23, 2013 @ 11:05:39 PDT

 


Matt Kenseth

The final practice sessions are in the books, and the next time the Cup Series drivers take the track will be for the start of the 2013 Daytona 500. Since all three practices following Thursday's Budweiser Duels went off without any major incidents, there wasn't a lot of movement in this latest installment of driver rankings. After solid showings in Happy Hour, I bumped Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya moved up a few spots to 11th and 16th, respectively, but that was about it.

Of course, I'll be the first to admit that rankings at Daytona mean a little bit less than they do at other tracks. The draft and the "Big One" are the great equalizers, and just two years ago, the top four finishers of the Daytona 500 included Trevor Bayne, David Gilliland and Bobby Labonte. Don't get me wrong, Kevin Harvick has more than earned the top spot in this week's rankings with his past success at Daytona and his dominance during Speed weeks. However, this is one race when gambling on a few sleeper options isn't a bad idea, especially in formats that limit how many times you can use each driver during the course of the year.

In an ideal world, I would certainly like Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart on my team this weekend. However, keeping the big picture in mind is never a bad idea. Paul Menard, Jeff Burton and Montoya have all being running well during Speed weeks and have run well at Daytona in the past. Depending on the format, the latter trio might be the better choice.

In leagues where you have to pick a different driver for all 36 races, you might want to dig even deeper. Pole-sitter Danica Patrick, Austin Dillon and David Ragan are all among the drivers sitting in the top 30 of this week's rankings that probably have their best chance to score an unexpected great finish this weekend. Plain and simple, just about every driver is in play at Daytona for fantasy owners, and one of the biggest tricks for handling one of NASCAR's most unpredictable tracks is knowing the strategy that is best for your league and building your roster accordingly.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Lineup
1
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
3
2
Matt Kenseth
20
Toyota Dollar General Joe Gibbs Racing
12
3
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew Hendrick Motorsports
19
4
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Stewart-Haas Racing
13
5
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
5
6
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
6
7
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
4
8
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
15
9
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
16
10
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
18
11
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
10
12
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
11
13
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
2
14
Joey Logano
22
Ford Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
21
15
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Fastenal Roush Fenway Racing
36
16
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Target Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
7
17
Mark Martin
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
14
18
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
9
19
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
35
20
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet McDonald's Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
20
21
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
37
22
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet Quicken Loans Stewart-Haas Racing
34
23
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
28
24
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kroger JTG Daugherty Racing
23
25
David Ragan
34
Ford Detail Doctor Front Row Motorsports
22
26
Danica Patrick
10
Chevrolet GoDaddy.com Stewart-Haas Racing
1
27
Austin Dillon
33
Chevrolet Honey Nut Cheerios Richard Childress Racing
8
28
Regan Smith
51
Chevrolet Guy Roofing Phoenix Racing
40
29
Michael Waltrip
26
Toyota Sandy Hook School Support Fund Inception Motorsports
29
30
Trevor Bayne
21
Ford Motorcraft Wood Brothers Racing
33
31
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Smithfield Richard Petty Motorsports
26
32
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
24
33
David Reutimann
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
42
34
David Gilliland
38
Ford Love's Travel Stops Front Row Motorsports
25
35
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
43
36
Dave Blaney
7
Chevrolet Florida Lottery Tommy Baldwin Racing
30
37
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
17
38
Josh Wise
35
Ford MDS Transport Front Row Motorsports
32
39
Scott Speed
95
Ford WRL Leavine Family Racing
31
40
Terry Labonte
32
Ford C & J Energy Services FAS Lane Racing
39
41
Michael McDowell
98
Ford K-Love/Curb Records Phil Parsons Racing
38
42
J.J. Yeley
36
Chevrolet Golden Corral Tommy Baldwin Racing
41
43
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota Florida DOT NEMCO-JRR Motorsports
27

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About Brian Polking

Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.

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