The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by the value of each driver.
1. Chase Elliott ($10,500) - He might not be the best driver in NASCAR, but he’s pretty close. When it comes to road courses, Elliott is the best driver. He won at the Daytona Road Course last season and he has won five of the past seven road course races.
2. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000) - A fuel-saving mistake at the 2020 Daytona Road Course race between stage one and stage two cost Truex the lead. A speeding on pit road penalty cost Truex the lead going into stage three. When he was sent to the back, he suffered damage in the pack. Despite all of this adversity, Truex still finished third.
3. Denny Hamlin ($9,600) - There were three drivers that were head and shoulder above the field at the Daytona Road Course last season: Elliott, Truex and Hamlin were the best. They don’t need to test at The Clash. They’re here to earn a large payout that goes to first place.
4. Kyle Busch ($8,900) - He raced at Daytona Road Course in 2020 Rolex 24. The experience seemed to pay as he was leading in stage 1, but then he flat spotted a tire. Later, a mechanical failure would ultimately ruin his day.
5. Kevin Harvick ($9,200) - Last season, Harvick took it easy in stage one and stage two. Before he could give it a go, he was dumped on the restart to begin stage three. Busch is sponsoring The Clash and Harvick is the Busch driver. Narratives and conspiracies aside, Harvick will try to get the Busch car into victory lane at the Busch race.
6. Kurt Busch ($7,400) - Statistically, he is one of the best road course racers in NASCAR. The question for Busch is will this be a testing session or a chance to put his sponsor in victory lane. The latter seems more likely — how many more testing sessions does the 20-year veteran need?
7. Joey Logano ($8,100) - The 2020 Daytona Road Course race was not a great race for Logano, but his team took what they learned and earned a second-place finish in the 2020 Charlotte Roval race. If they continue to build, then the No. 22 team can win in The Clash.
8. Ryan Blaney ($8,600) - Penske just didn’t have the cars for the inaugural Daytona Road Course race last season. If the cars improve, then Blaney should be able to do his part. He won the 2018 Charlotte Roval race and earned a top 5 at the Roval last season.
9. Brad Keselowski ($8,400) - Turn one is eventful at roval tracks. Last year, the Cup drivers played nice in the first race at the Daytona Road Course. The Xfinity and Truck Series did not and turn one turned into a graveyard. Several years ago at the Charlotte Roval, Keselowski led the field on the cliff in turn one and several favorites wrecked out in stage three.
10. William Byron ($7,700) - Similar to the 2019 Sonoma race, his team decided to chase stage points. This meant Byron constantly had to work back through traffic and his finishing position does not reflect his true potential.
11. Alex Bowman ($7,900) - A flat tire in stage one dictated Bowman’s strategy. With his car back in shape and on the lead lap, he worked his way close to the top 10. Passing non-top 10 cars isn’t much trouble for the No. 88 car, and it remains to be seen if Bowman can pass cars inside the top 10. If the Charlotte Roval is any indicator, then the answer is yes. Bowman can battle for a top-5 finish.
12. Ryan Newman ($5,600) - Last year was a tough season for Newman. Besides nearly dying, he didn’t race that well. Newman doesn’t need to race every week, but he wants to race every week. Why would Newman go out and test in this exhibition race? As demonstrated by the numerous times Newman has flipped a stock car, he only knows how to run 100%.
13. Erik Jones ($7,200) - Last season, Bubba Wallace had the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports car inside the top 10 on the last lap. Unfortunately, for Bubba, he got spun out by Alex Bowman. Fortunately for Jones, it seems like he’ll have a decent car in The Clash.
14. Austin Dillon ($5,700) - The good news is that Dillon raced at Daytona Road Course a couple of weeks ago in the Rolex 24. The results were so-so, but the point was for Dillon to get valuable reps. Of note, during a spinout in the Rolex 24 practice, Dillon’s maneuver to get back on the track was called “the dumbest thing we’ve ever seen” by IMSA officials.
15. Tyler Reddick ($6,300) - The sophomore driver was not very good at the Daytona Road Course because he’s not a good road racer. In top-notch equipment in the Xfinity series, he was never able to race with the top-tier drivers.
16. Matt DiBenedetto ($6,900) - In an offseason interview, DiBenedetto admitted that his team struggled with the Daytona Road Course setup. His team plans to use The Clash as a testing session to prepare for the Daytona Road Course race in week two.
17. Chris Buescher ($5,900) - Roush used a little bit of smoke and mirrors to earn a fifth-place finish at the Daytona Road Course last season. Give credit to Buescher because he did hold his position up front, but he got there via early-stage pitting. That strategy will not be available in the Clash.
18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,100) - Everyone knows what they get with Ricky, and for most, this is a hard pass. However, let’s assume that some drivers are testing and others are not. Stenhouse is a 15th- to 20th-place driver, but an aggressive Stenhouse versus drivers that are practicing could result in a top-10 finish for Stenhouse.
19. Aric Almirola ($6,600) - The roval tracks (Daytona and Charlotte) have not been great for Almirola (average finish of 18th). If anyone in this field needs practice at the Daytona Road Course, it’s Almirola. It does not seem likely that Almirola will be mixing it up inside the top 5 at the end of this race.
20. Cole Custer ($5,800) - Similar to Reddick, Custer had top-notch equipment and was racing against a watered down field in the Xfinity series road course races, but he has nothing to show for it. Custer could have a good finish if he benefits from other drivers testing. However, it’s likely that the young driver treats this race as practice for week two.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.