The Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing may be the most popular fantasy NASCAR game, but the nascar.com Fantasy Live may be the most fun to play.
Fantasy Live is the only game to offer live scoring, uses pit crews, requires players to pick the winning manufacturer and does not restrict the amount of times a driver can be used throughout the season.
The key to winning the Fantasy Live game is to understand the rules. Your team is awarded points for leading laps, having the fastest lap, quality passes, the difference between starting position and finishing position and where your driver finishes the race.
The strategy that won me many leagues last year was to pick drivers who started in the back that I thought would finish up front on the larger racetracks, since your driver would accumulate many points for quality passes and finishing differential.
On the smaller racetracks, I would use drivers who started up front and would lead many laps. Since there were often 400 laps or more in the race, your driver would accumulate many points for leading laps and for the fastest lap.
Here are my picks for the Daytona 500 in the Fantasy Live game:
$26.75 Matt Kenseth
How can you pick against Matt Kenseth? His recent stats at Daytona are the best of any driver in the field.
Kenseth has a streak of three races at Daytona finishing in the top three. Kenseth is the defending Daytona 500 champion, and his car was the fastest in the field last Saturday night in the Sprint unlimited. In the last four races at Daytona, Kenseth has the top driver rating and has led 20.68 percent of the laps.
Daytona is the most unpredictable race of the season, and Kenseth is one of the safest pick in the field.
$26.00 Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart has 18 career wins at Daytona, but never in the Daytona 500. Sooner or later, he is finally going to go to victory lane in the Daytona 500. Sunday could be the day.
The last time the cars were at Daytona for the Coke Zero 400, Stewart started the race No. 42, and drove his car to the checkered flag. Stewart has the fourth best average finish in the last four races at Daytona. He will finish up front in the 2013 Daytona 500.
$25.50 Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick must be on every team this week. He is almost a lock for a top five finish.
Harvick has the second-best career average finish at Daytona of any driver in the field on Sunday. Harvick has won two races at the racetrack and has 10 top 10 finishes.
The scoring setup in Fantasy Live is perfect for Harvick. He may hang out in the back of the pack and score many quality passes on his way to victory lane. He won the race last Saturday night and may do it again on Sunday.
$16.00 Aric Almirola
In order to get the three best drivers in the field on your team, you must save money elsewhere. Aric Almirola is a bargain at $16.
Almirola will be a good sleeper pick this season. This could be the year he wins his first race. Since anything can happen in a restrictor plate race, there is a possibility that Almirola could end up in victory lane on Sunday.
Alimorla’s stats at Daytona are not the best, but he has been improving. He finished the 2012 season with top 20 finishes in eight of the last 10 races. For only $16, those are not bad stats.
$5.00 Austin Dillon
I am taking a huge gamble with my last selection. Austin Dillon will drive the fourth car for Richard Childress Racing. Although he has never competed in a Daytona 500, he has been fast in practice. Dillon will start No. 8 for the Gatorade Duel 125 race on Thursday.
Dillon may not have the experience to compete for a win on Sunday, but he does have the pedigree to be successful. Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress and his father (Mike) is the general manager of Richard Childress Racing.
This pick is not based upon his pedigree only. Dillon can drive as well. He was the Camping World Truck series Rookie of the Year in 2010 and the series champion in 2011.
For $5, I will take what I can get out of the young driver.
Pit Crew: Denny Hamlin
The pit crew has been incorporated into the Fantasy Live game this year. I chose Denny Hamlin’s pit crew based upon his crew chief, Darian Grubb. I have the feeling Grubb will have his crew ready to steal some spots on pit road during the race.
The Chevy cars have dominated so far in Speed Weeks. Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Ultimate and the Chevy’s swept the front row for the Daytona 500.
If you choose Chevy as your manufacturer, you will get 10 bonus points if Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Paul Menard, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Regan Smith or Dave Blaney wins the race.
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @HuskerMagic.
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