I’m playing DraftKings this season and will be posting my picks here each week. Disclosure: If you want to play and sign up using this link, DraftKings will give my website a commission.
Last race’s results: Played $4 Brake Pad contest. Finished 650th of 1,300. Won $0.
Season results: $97 wagered, $104.50 won in 25 contests.
This week’s contest: Due to stupid Alabama law, I cannot submit an entry this week.
Talladega strategy: Don’t look at practice times, just look at qualifying and focus on place differential. In this year’s Daytona 500, the perfect lineup was made up of drivers who all started 30th or lower. Try to find drivers in the back of the field who can make up spots, regardless of how much salary cap money you leave on the table. It’s all about place differential.
— Aric Almirola ($6,300): Since the start of last season, Almirola has the third-best average finish in restrictor-plate races of any driver (11.67, which is behind only Kurt Busch and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.). That makes him worth including, especially since he starts lower (26th) than other expert plate drivers.
— Michael McDowell ($6,000): He starts 29th in his first plate race since finishing fourth in the Daytona July race. He crashed in the Talladega spring race, but was 15th in the Daytona 500, 16th at Talladega on year ago and 10th in last year’s Daytona July race. Another good value pick.
— David Ragan ($5,800): A past Talladega winner who has finished 10th and sixth in his past two restrictor-plate races — and he starts 33rd? Put him on the team.
— Landon Cassill ($5,600): He starts 30th and his Talladega history in the last three years includes results of fourth and 11th (twice). Even if he gets a top 20, that’s picking up some decent points for you.
— Brendan Gaughan ($5,300): His three restrictor-plate races this season in the Cup Series include finishes of 11th and seventh. Pretty incredible value if he can do it again at Talladega after starting 35th.
— Cole Whitt ($5,000): He starts 38th, but that’s an opportunity. Before blowing an engine in the July Daytona race, Whitt’s previous restrictor-plate finishes were 16th (at Talladega in the spring), 18th (Daytona 500), 11th (July Daytona race last year) and 18th (Talladega spring race last year). So…hello!