The weather forecast may look bleak for this weekend, but that won’t stop me from sharing the daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings forecast for Dover Motor Speedway.
Read on for DFS/DraftKings analysis and top NASCAR Cup Series picks for the Wurth 400, airing Sunday, April 30, at 1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
Even though we’re at the end of the month, it seems like April showers are still hanging around. Rain is expected for much of this weekend at the Delaware racetrack, though Saturday looks better than Sunday.
Add the fact that this is the first high-banked short track the series will visit this year, and you’ll see that we’re in a sticky situation. How do you prepare for the Monster Mile with so many unknowns?
Well, you do the best you can. One of the first things you can look at is short-track stats in recent races (2022-present). While not all short tracks are comparable to Dover, some drivers perform well on this track type.
Also, if the rain holds off on Saturday, you can examine the practice and qualifying results (10:30 a.m. ET on FS2, switches to FS1 at 11).
But if it rains on Sunday, teams won’t have the wet weather tires that were used at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. It could end up being a race to halfway, which would greatly lessen the amount of laps a driver leads.
Track position will be key, as whoever starts up front will likely have clean air and stay in front. So, choose drivers who start in the top 10 (though drivers with good cars starting further back could provide position differential points on DraftKings as well).
Before I share some drivers on my initial DraftKings list, let’s look back at the fiasco that was Talladega Superspeedway:
|DraftKings Salary||Driver||DraftKings Score|
These scores were based on where they finished in the race and are not necessarily what they scored on DraftKings (as DraftKings paid out the contests before NASCAR’s final results).
But regardless, ouch! Bubba Wallace was in the lead on the last lap until he made a late block and crashed. Michael McDowell had some trouble on lap 3, while Austin Dillon finished last. Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield.
Here’s a closer look at the DraftKings scoring rules …
The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. 10th place scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats for 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.
Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they began the race. For example, if William Byron started third and won, he would gain two points in addition to his finishing position points, totaling 47 fantasy points.
Drivers also can earn .45 points for each fastest lap and .25 for each lap they lead.
Also, I will be hosting a free NASCAR DraftKings league that will run each week for the Cup Series only. It’s free to join, but as of now it’s just for bragging rights. You’ll get to compete against me and some of my colleagues here at Frontstretch.
Here is the link to the league:
Now, here are my picks for Talladega!
DraftKings Picks: Top Tier
Kyle Larson ($11,500)
Career at Dover: 14 starts, 1 win, 7 top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish at Dover: 6.9
Kyle Larson is the highest-salaried driver on DraftKings for several good reasons. First, he seems to have tamed Miles the Monster, as he has the best average finish among active drivers at Dover. Also, he won in 2019 after leading 154 laps for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Larson didn’t skip a beat after joining Hendrick Motorsports either, as he led 263 circuits en route to a second place in 2021; the same race where Hendrick swept the top four positions. In last year’s event, he came home sixth as well.
The California native has also done well on the short tracks recently. Larson was second at Martinsville Speedway last fall to Christopher Bell. Then at Phoenix Raceway this February, Larson placed fourth, leading just over 200 laps in the effort. All of those results culminate to wins at both Richmond Raceway and Martinsville, though the latter was thanks to a good pit strategy call toward the end of the race.
If Larson qualifies up front, he’ll be a lock to lead laps.
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000)
Career at Dover: 32 starts, 3 wins, 9 top fives, 18 top 10s
Average finish at Dover: 11.8
Martin Truex Jr. has had quite the run at Dover, with eight top fives in the last 11 races. In 2022, he was on his way to another top five when he and Ross Chastain made contact on the last lap. Truex ultimately finished 12th.
The New Jersey native’s last victory at the Monster Mile came in 2019, when he led 132 circuits. Plus, in each race in 2019 and 2020, Truex finished either first or second.
At some other ovals of about one mile or less, the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing driver has a few good results. Last season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Truex was out front for 172 laps before crossing the finish line in fourth. Fast forward to this year, and you’ll see he led 56 laps at Richmond on the way to 11th place, while at Martinsville, he was third.
Truex could be one to watch for the victory if he winds up on the pole.
Kevin Harvick ($9,300)
Career at Dover: 42 starts, 3 wins, 10 top fives, 23 top 10s
Average finish at Dover: 12.9
Kevin Harvick also has a streak going at the Monster Mile, earning top 10s in eight consecutive events there. He has two victories, scoring his last one in 2020 after a dominating performance (leading 223 laps). In 2021, he was sixth, while last season he placed ninth.
The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing pilot also was strong at some other short tracks in recent races, though they’re mostly at flatter tracks. At Loudon, Harvick was fifth last year, and he won at Richmond. At the last two Phoenix races, as well as Richmond earlier this month, he finished in fifth.
The Closer is closing out his Cup Series career this year and would love nothing more than to earn another good finish and possibly a win in his last race at Dover.
Josh Berry ($7,500)
Xfinity career at Dover: 2 starts, 1 win, 2 top fives, 2 top 10s
Xfinity average finish at Dover: 1.5
Normally I don’t choose drivers with limited Cup experience on DraftKings, but I have no reservations about Josh Berry. While filling in for Chase Elliott, he scored a second place at Richmond after starting in 30th. Also, he gained seven spots at Phoenix en route to 10th.
Although a NASCAR Xfinity Series car is very different from a Next Gen car, Berry showed a lot of strength at Dover the last couple of years. He won last year in Xfinity and was runner-up in 2021, leading 103 total laps in both races.
Plus, Berry is running for the same team that won with Alex Bowman in 2021, so they’ll know how to strategize things (even with the threat of rain). I like his low DraftKings salary too.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,300)
Career at Dover: 19 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 4 top 10s
Average finish at Dover: 19.6
Why on earth am I choosing Ricky Stenhouse Jr.? Well, aside from superspeedways, Dover is actually one of Stenhouse’s best racetracks statistically. He proved that last year after advancing from 15th to second. In 2020, he drove from 19th to 10th place, while in the fall 2018 event he wound up ninth after starting 21st.
Earlier this season at Phoenix, the JTG Daugherty Racing driver came home in 19th, up a few positions from where he started. But even more significant is his result at Martinsville; Stenhouse advanced from 16th to eighth place, earning his fourth top 10 of the year. Hopefully, Stenhouse can keep up the good runs at Dover.
Ryan Preece ($6,900)
Career at Dover: 6 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Dover: 23.5
Ryan Preece should be fast this weekend; after all, he was quick at Martinsville after winning the pole and leading 135 laps until he sped on pit road. He ended up 15th that day.
However, he did gain several spots at a couple other shorter racetracks this year, driving from 25th to 12th at Phoenix and from 33rd to 18th at Richmond.
Last year at Dover, Preece drove for Rick Ware Racing and wound up in a respectable 25th. In prior races there, he also advanced his position while with JTG, going from 32nd to 19th in the fall 2019 race and earning an 18th in 2021 after beginning 25th.
Preece’s salary is far too low for me to not consider him on DraftKings.
Michael McDowell ($6,600)
Career at Dover: 22 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Dover: 31.0
Michael McDowell doesn’t have the best record at Dover; in 2022 he gained 12 spots to finish 17th, while in the spring 2017 race, he placed 19th. In between those two events, he’s finished in the 20s.
So why is he on my initial DraftKings list? Mostly because of how he’s performed at a few short tracks recently. At Bristol last fall, McDowell gained seven spots on the way to 11th. At the beginning of April, he moved up nine positions at Richmond en route to sixth place.
If he can do something similar this week, he’ll be a good fill-in for your DraftKings lineup.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.
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