2021 YellaWood 500 in Talladega
Who’s ready for a thrilling NASCAR Cup Series race at the Talladega Superspeedway? Let’s set your daily fantastic NASCAR DraftKings lineups for the YellaWood 500, which airs Sunday, October 3 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.
This isn’t the first go-around of the season for these drivers on the Alabama circuit, but if you don’t know it, here’s a little more. Talladega is the largest cobblestone oval in the Cup Series with a length of 2.66 miles and a 33 degree bank of turns. It’s also wide, so wide three-pack racing is common there (especially during restarts).
One thing that often happens at Talladega and Daytona International Speedway is the Big One – a crash that brings several cars together in the middle of the peloton. Sometimes there are several, while other times only a few cars break down at a time. However, some pilots tend to go through chaos more often than not and would be best for your DraftKings lineups.
Since big crashes often happen on these high-speed freeways, some of the drivers who start further out end up in the top 10 or 15. Entering these pilots into your DraftKings contests is key to winning.
For example, during the spring test, three drivers who started 23rd or so were in the perfect alignment on DraftKings. The other three were the winner (Brad Keselowski) and the fourth and fifth (Kevin Harvick and Matt DiBenedetto). But after last fall’s playoff race, no one in the perfect alignment started better than 16th. You don’t have to be perfect to make money, but you can use information from Perfect Courses to help define yours.
Before I share some of my DraftKings picks for Talladega, let’s see how last week’s drivers fared at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
|$ 11,100.00||Kyle larson||68.1|
|$ 8,900.00||Guillaume Byron||21.2|
|$ 8,200.00||Matt DiBenedetto||34.35|
|$ 7,600.00||Daniel Suarez||39.9|
|$ 7,300.00||Chris Buescher||19.7|
|$ 6,700.00||Bubba wallace||32|
William Byron started in the back but made it into the top 10 fairly quickly. However, a poor pit stop and tire problems saw his good run diminish late in the evening. He finished 18th. Further on, Chris Buescher finished where he started in 25th, resulting in a score well below what I had hoped for.
If I had readjusted my training and played Denny Hamlin instead of Byron and DiBenedetto, he probably would have won.
The best score in the $ 2,500 Quarter Jukebox was 327.8 and had Kyle Larson, Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chase Briscoe.
When it comes to scoring, DraftKings lowered the points for each fastest lap to 0.45 this season, as well as the points awarded for first place to 45. DraftKings also put more emphasis on drivers who finish. in the top 10 and top 20. For example, the gap between 10th and 11th place is now two points instead of one: 10th gets 34 points, 11th gets 32, and so on.
You can check out this year’s full NASCAR DraftKings rules below.
Note: The following is an example of a NASCAR DraftKings lineup; you can use the information to create your own.
Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Picks: 2021 YellaWood 500
Ryan Blaney ($ 10,700)
Career at Talladega: 14 starts, 2 wins, 3 top 5, 5 top 10
Average final in Talladega: 17.4
Most people will probably put Hamlin in their roster, but I feel like he will hold back a bit as he’s already locked in the next round of the playoffs. However, he could still be there at the end and squeeze into a victory over the other drivers.
But I picked Blaney because he won the regular season finale at Daytona in August. Additionally, he won both in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 at Talladega, leading a total of 98 laps between the two races. Last spring, he finished ninth after being ahead on 11 home runs. If he gets out of trouble early on, Team Penske’s No.12 driver should fight for the win in the end.
Justin Haley ($ 9,400)
Career at Talladega: 3 starts, 0 wins, 0 top 5, 0 top 10
Average final in Talladega: 24.3
Haley’s salary seems a bit high but could pay off in your DraftKings contests. This time he will be driving Kaulig Racing car # 16 instead of his usual Spire Motorsports # 77. Earlier this year, Kaz Grala dropped from 38th to sixth place for the team, the same place where Haley starts this week.
The Indiana native is known for his solid superspeedway finishes in the Xfinity series, but he also did well in the Cup series. In last year’s playoff race in Talladega, Haley gained 24 positions to finish in 11th place. In addition, he won the Daytona summer race in 2019 after the rain stopped the peloton after the second stage. Then, at this year’s August event, Haley finished sixth. If he can drag 500 miles, he should still have a good result at Talladega.
Chase Elliott ($ 8,800)
Career at Talladega: 11 starts, 1 win, 4 top 5, 5 top 10
Average final in Talladega: 15.7
Elliott had some good descents in Talladega and could win his second there this weekend. In the 2020 YellaWood 500, he led 41 laps en route to fifth place. Then, in 2019, he drove the No. 9 Chevrolet Hendrick Motorsports to a win in the spring and an eighth in the October test.
The Dawsonville, Ga. Native has also done well in both Daytona races this year, finishing second in Game 1 of the season and eighth in August. Elliott led 36 laps in this final event, which added bonus points to his DraftKings total. Finally, in August 2020, he finished second behind his teammate Byron. Hopefully Elliott can avoid the carnage and get another good result on Sunday.
Ryan Newman ($ 7,500)
Career at Talladega: 39 starts, 0 wins, 7 top 5, 16 top 10
Average final in Talladega: 18.4
I was really intrigued by Newman’s recent story over Alabama. There he landed five top 10s in the last nine races, including a second place in the fall 2017 and 2019 events. In the April 2021 race, he advanced 15 places to finish 13th, while the he took sixth place last fall after starting 19th.
Likewise, the current Roush Fenway Racing No.6 driver has landed three top five and six top 10 in the last nine races at Daytona. He finished third in August this year and nearly won the 2020 Daytona 500, but got flipped and crashed shortly before the finish line. This may be his last chance to win a race before the end of the season, as Keselowski is expected to step into the No.6 car from next year.
Cole Custer ($ 6,800)
Career at Talladega: 3 starts, 0 wins, 0 top 5, 1 top 10
Average final in Talladega: 21.0
There’s not much to say about Custer, who appeared to be going through a sophomore slump this year after winning a race as a rookie last season. Still, he’s had some good finishes on the superspeedways so far in his Cup tenure. He led the No. 42 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to 10th place last spring after starting 27th. In addition, he finished 11th in this year’s Daytona 500.
Custer is really only here as a lower value game that can win multiple positions on the track.
Black horse performer
Ryan Preece ($ 6,700)
Career at Talladega: 5 starts, 0 wins, 1 top 5, 2 top 10
Average final in Talladega: 12.0
Speaking of value games, I think there is no better rider in this lineup than Preece. Why? Because he always started worse than 24th in Talladega but finished 18th or more in all five races. His best result was a third place in the spring 2019 race. Last October he was 10th after leaving 25th place, while in April 2021 Preece advanced 15 positions to finish 14th.
Not to mention Daytona, where the No.37 JTG Daugherty Racing driver finished sixth in February and fourth in August this year.
He’s sure to be popular on DraftKings, but if he keeps up the good runs, he’ll be worth it.
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