The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season comes to an end this weekend at Daytona International Speedway with the Coke Zero Sugar 400. Any race at a superspeedway track is bound to be wild, but this one has the potential to be extra crazy on Saturday night with this being the cutoff race for the Playoffs. There’s really no reason for most drivers to play it safe this weekend, and a win is the only way for a lot of teams to get into the postseason.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track 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 Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Aric Almirola and Christopher Bell racing at Daytona in the 2021 Duel race
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Christopher Bell – For someone that has never finished better than 13th at a superspeedway in a Cup Series race, the algorithm really likes Christopher Bell this weekend, predicting him to finish 8th on Saturday night. The reason CBell’s record on superspeedways isn’t that great, though, is more due to bad luck than anything; he was a legitimate contender here at Daytona back in February but got some damage and also had some fuel issues during the race. Don’t forget he led 32 laps in that race, and also finished 2nd in the Duel race behind Aric Almirola.

Landon Cassill – It’s been a couple of years since Landon Cassill has raced in a Cup Series car at Daytona or Talladega, but his last couple of results have been respectable (14th in the 2019 fall Talladega race and 11th in the summer Daytona race that year). Cassill will pilot the #96 Toyota for Gaunt Brothers Racing, which should have enough speed for him to have something to work with in the draft on Saturday night. Here at Daytona specifically, Landon has a has finished 26th or better in 11 of his 15 career starts; what I’m getting at here is, Cassill is probably better than his 30th-place ranking by the algorithm. As is Kaz Grala in that #16 Chevrolet for Kaulig Racing (he finished 8th at Talladega this year, by the way).

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

RankDriverPower
Index
1.Hamlin, Denny33.94
2.Elliott, Chase32.65
3.Logano, Joey31.57
4.Blaney, Ryan31.39
5.Byron, William29.61
6.Busch, Kyle29.57
7.DiBenedetto, Matt26.23
8.Bell, Christopher25.01
9.Harvick, Kevin24.89
10.Keselowski, Brad24.63
11.Dillon, Austin24.26
12.Busch, Kurt19.45
13.Larson, Kyle18.23
14.Bowman, Alex17.61
15.Truex, Jr., Martin16.61
16.McDowell, Michael15.22
17.Almirola, Aric14.94
18.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky14.90
19.Reddick, Tyler11.60
20.Newman, Ryan10.55
21.Chastain, Ross07.94
22.Buescher, Chris05.80
23.Wallace, Bubba05.04
24.Custer, Cole04.10
25.Briscoe, Chase01.28
26.Jones, Erik-05.80
27.Preece, Ryan-06.70
28.LaJoie, Corey-07.73
29.Grala, Kaz-15.71
30.Cassill, Landon-20.22
31.Haley, Justin-22.30
32.Suarez, Daniel-24.98
33.Alfredo, Anthony-27.21
34.McLeod, BJ-30.16
35.Smithley, Garrett-31.42
36.Ware, Cody-33.57
37.Bilicki, Josh-33.72
38.Houff, Quin-36.76
39.Gase, Joey-37.01
40.Starr, David-40.40
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.