One of the best weekends in racing is upon us: the Daytona 500. In addition to officially getting the Cup Series season started, we also get going with the Fantasy NASCAR season and season-long contests. Speaking of which, if you haven’t checked out the two games that we offer here at Fantasy Racing Online, please click here to do so and get signed up before the race on Sunday!

Now to the good part: the algorithm predicted finishing order for The Great American Race. For those that followed along with this thing the past few seasons, please note that it overwent a pretty big overhaul in the offseason, and I think it’s going to be even more accurate for 2021. It takes in even more data to compute the “Power Index” for each driver, and then rank them.

So without further ado…

How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at the Daytona Road course specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Austin Cindric sitting by car at Phoenix 2020
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Jamie McMurray – It’s always hard to handicap lower tier teams, especially those like Spire Motorsports, who is jumping head first into full time Cup Series teams this season with Corey LaJoie and whoever will be behind the wheel of the #77 Chevy this season. This weekend, it’s Jamie McMurray, who has long been a “potential” driver at superspeedway races. The good news for McMurray and the other low tier teams is that Daytona is a great equalizer, and Jamie Mac could end up with a great finish on Sunday if he stays out of trouble. Unfortunately, he’s wrecked in four of his last six Daytona starts, although he did wind up 22nd here in the 2019 Daytona 500 while driving the #40 car for Spire Motorsports.

Austin Cindric – This guy has a lot more potential than his 32nd-place ranking shows. He’s in Penske equipment, which is arguably the best on superspeedways right now, and looked great in the Duel race on Thursday night before he was hit with a speeding penalty that put him a lap down. Cindric, like a few others in this race, have very limited Cup Series data–both the driver and the car–and that doesn’t help with the algorithm ranking either. Essentially what the algorithm has to work with when it comes to Cindric is his qualifying and Duel performance, so not much.

Daytona 500 Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

1.Blaney, Ryan40.32
2.Hamlin, Denny38.79
3.Logano, Joey38.45
4.Harvick, Kevin37.77
5.Elliott, Chase34.18
6.Byron, William34.02
7.Bowman, Alex33.83
8.DiBenedetto, Matt31.44
9.Busch, Kyle30.63
10.Keselowski, Brad30.04
11.Almirola, Aric29.68
12.Bell, Christopher25.24
13.Jones, Erik22.70
14.Newman, Ryan22.17
15.Wallace, Bubba20.84
16.Buscher, Chris19.18
17.Dillon, Austin15.41
18.Truex, Jr., Martin13.12
19.Larson, Kyle11.94
20.Busch, Kurt01.50
21.Briscoe, Chase-03.33
22.McDowell, Michael-05.06
23.Alfredo, Anthony-07.16
24.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky-08.00
25.Reddick, Tyler-10.24
26.LaJoie, Corey-12.59
27.Chastain, Ross-15.36
28.Grala, Kaz-17.69
29.Custer, Cole-17.83
30.Preece, Ryan-17.88
31.McMurray, Jamie-20.58
32.Cindric, Austin-21.82
33.Ragan, David-24.11
34.Suarez, Daniel-28.19
35.Ware, Cody-35.32
36.McLeod, BJ-35.41
37.Gase, Joey-36.96
38.Houff, Quin-38.87
39.Cope, Derrike-39.26
40.Bilicki, Josh-40.55
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.


  1. I’m in a work / buddy league…. .. I’ll use you knowledge to beat them.. so 36 weeks of picks… don’t forget us..thank you!

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