FedEx 400 Driver Values

Welcome to my first blog post. Like many people, I am new to NASCAR daily fantasy and NASCAR in general. With this blog, I hope to provide some helpful insight into driver value for the FedEx 400, by analyzing the drivers’ recent performance at Dover.

For the this race, I chose to dig into data for the past four races at Dover, dating back to June 2013. All the data I analyzed was obtained from DriverAverages.com. In order to identify value for each driver, I chose to examine their relative performance in 6 different categories:

  1. Top Ten Finishes
  2. Lowest Finish
  3. Average Loop Data Driver Rating
  4. Average Laps Led
  5. Average Place Difference
  6. Qualifying vs. Practice Ranking Differential

For each category, I ranked the drivers by relative performance and then normalized the result. This process gave the top driver in each category 100 points, while the bottom driver received 0 points.

Top Ten Finishes

I wanted to look at top ten finishes in order to gauge a driver’s ability to consistently finish at the top of the pack in Dover. With four races in the last two years at Dover, the most top tens a driver could have would be four and the least would be zero. Here are the ten drivers with the most top ten finishes in the last four races.

Driver No. of Top Tens Normalized Rating
Clint Bowyer 4 100
Joey Logano 4 100
Jimmie Johnson 3 75
Jeff Gordon 3 75
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 75
Kyle Busch 3 75
Matt Kenseth 3 75
Brad Keselowski 3 75
Tony Stewart 2 66.7
Kevin Harvick 2 50

*Note: Tony Stewart missed one of the four races, therefore his rating for two top ten finishes is slightly higher.

Lowest Finish

In an effort to further examine a driver’s ability to consistently finish a race, and finish well, I ranked all the drivers by their lowest finish in the last two years. Here are the top ten drivers with the best lowest finishes.

Driver Lowest Finish Normalized Rating
Joey Logano 8 100
Clint Bowyer 10 94.12
Kyle Larson 11 91.18
Tony Stewart 14 82.35
Jeff Gordon 15 79.41
Jimmie Johnson 17 73.53
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 17 73.53
Kevin Harvick 17 73.53
Paul Menard 20 64.71
Kurt Busch 21 61.76

Average Loop Data Driver Rating

I chose to look at the average loop data driver rating in order to capture how the driver tends to perform at Dover. The loop data driver rating incorporates data that cannot be determined from start and finish position alone, such as average running position, average speed, and fastest lap. Here are the top ten drivers in terms of average loop data driver rating at Dover over the past four races.

Driver Avg Driver Rating Normalized Rating
Jimmie Johnson 129.1 100
Jeff Gordon 112.6 83.06
Kyle Busch 111.5 81.93
Matt Kenseth 110.1 80.49
Brad Keselowski 105.6 75.87
Kevin Harvick 104.7 74.95
Joey Logano 97.8 67.86
Clint Bowyer 97.6 67.66
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 97 67.04
Denny Hamlin 93.7 63.66

Average Laps Led

I wanted to look at average laps led to get an idea of who is most likely to get to the front and lead some laps, since leading laps garners bonus points in daily fantasy. Here are the top ten drivers in terms of laps led at Dover. This is where Jimmie Johnson has truly dominated over the last four races.

Driver Avg Laps Led Normalized Rating
Jimmie Johnson 164.5 100
Kyle Busch 65.25 39.67
Kevin Harvick 62 37.69
Jeff Gordon 24.25 14.74
Matt Kenseth 21 12.77
Brad Keselowski 20.25 12.31
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 20 12.16
Denny Hamlin 10.25 6.23
Kurt Busch 2 1.22
Clint Bowyer 1.75 1.06

Average Place Difference

This category compares each driver’s average start and average finish at Dover. A large positive number means the driver is good at finishing higher than he/she started, which is crucial to gaining extra points in daily fantasy. Here are the top ten drivers in terms of average place difference over the last four races.

Driver Avg Place Difference Normalized Rating
Tony Stewart 11.67 100
Clint Bowyer 7.05 79.11
Jeff Gordon 6.25 75.50
Jimmie Johnson 5.5 72.11
David Ragan 4.8 68.94
Joey Logano 4.3 66.68
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3.3 62.16
Cole Whitt 3 60.80
Danica Patrick 2.55 58.77
Paul Menard 1.8 5.38

Qualifying vs. Practice Ranking Differential

This category attempts to quantify each driver’s actual car performance at the track this weekend versus their qualifying spot, because some drivers are excellent qualifiers and bad racers and vice versa. So, in this category I subtracted each driver’s highest practice rank from his/her qualifying rank. A positive number could imply that a driver is likely to have a better car than his/her qualifying time and should have a good chance of gaining position during the race. Here are the top ten drivers in terms of qualifying rank versus practice rank.

Driver Qualifying/Practice Differential Normalized Rating
Paul Menard 15 100
Clint Bowyer 14 95.65
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 13 91.30
Jeff Gordon 13 91.30
Jimmie Johnson 13 91.30
David Ragan 11 82.61
Kasey Kahne 11 82.61
Kurt Busch 10 78.26
Michael Annett 8 69.57
Danica Patrick 7 65.22

Summing Results

For my initial analysis, I kept the weights of all six categories equal. I realize that each of these factors likely carries a different weight in terms of predictive value, but at this point I do not know enough about racing to alter the weights. So, for now, I am just summing up each driver’s category rating to give each driver an overall rating for the race. The top ten summed ratings, before considering site-specific salaries, are shown below.

Driver Total Normalized Rating
Jimmie Johnson 511.94
Clint Bowyer 437.61
Jeff Gordon 419.01
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 381.20
Joey Logano 360.63
Tony Stewart 354.60
Kevin Harvick 295.76
Paul Menard 287.28
Kyle Larson 261.79
Kyle Busch 255.38

Finding Salary Value

Now for the fun part, incorporating the DraftKings and Fantasy Feud salaries in order to find the drivers with the best values.

DraftKings

Driver Salary Total Normalized Rating Total Rating Per $1000 Salary
Clint Bowyer 9400 437.61 46.55
Jimmie Johnson 13000 511.94 39.38
Tony Stewart 9200 354.60 38.54
Jeff Gordon 11700 419.01 35.81
Paul Menard 8400 287.28 34.20
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 11800 381.20 32.30
Joey Logano 11600 360.63 31.09
Kyle Larson 9500 261.79 27.56
Kyle Busch 10300 255.38 24.79
Aric Almirola 8000 187.35 23.42

Fantasy Feud

Driver Salary Total Normalized Rating Total Rating Per $10000 Salary
Clint Bowyer 110000 437.61 39.78
Paul Menard 90000 287.28 31.92
Tony Stewart 115000 354.60 30.84
Aric Almirola 75000 187.35 24.98
Cole Whitt 65000 161.58 24.86
Danica Patrick 80000 181.83 22.73
Brett Moffitt 65000 140.49 21.61
Jeff Gordon 200000 419.01 20.95
David Ragan 90000 185.42 20.60
Michael Annett 65000 131.45 20.22

Summary

On both sites, Clint Bowyer rises to the top in terms of value per salary dollar and Tony Stewart comes in at #3. However, aside from Bowyer and Stewart, the two sites’ value drivers differ quite a bit. Jimmie Johnson is has the second most value per dollar on DraftKings, but falls just outside the top ten on Fantasy Feud. Hopefully this little exercise in data analysis helps you realize that good plays on one site may not be good plays on a different site. It all comes down to the expected performance per dollar.

My approach to this analysis was mainly focused on finding drivers’ traits that would help me build a quality cash game lineup with a high floor. These drivers would still likely be key components to a winning GPP lineup, but many of them will not necessarily provide you with the most upside.

I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at a blog. I am much better at analyzing data than I am at writing. If you understood at least some of what I was trying to explain, I will be pleased. I plan to continue my foray into NASCAR data analysis throughout this racing season and I’ll do my best to share my results with the RotoGrinders community, for better or for worse.

Good luck this week. Boogity boogity boogity!

About the Author

  • Yukerboy

    • Blogger of the Month

    First blog attempt?

    Very well done!

  • Russthabus26

    This is absolutely fantastic! Please please keep doing these! I suspect you will be winning a blog award this month.

  • db730

    Senior VP of Operations

    • 2016 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • 2016 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    Great job on your first blog.

  • captainhotrain

    Nice work!

  • X Unread Thread
  • X Thread with New Replies*
  • *Jumps to your first unread reply

New to DFS?

Be sure to click through our links and use our exclusive promo codes to receive the industry's best sign-up bonuses, including free access to our premium content.

RotoGrinders.com is the home of the daily fantasy sports community. Our content, rankings, member blogs, promotions and forum discussion all cater to the players that like to create a new fantasy team every day of the week.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN).