Back-to-back relatively predictable races at Michigan last weekend brings us to the 23rd points-paying race of the season: the Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona Road Course. And heading into this race, I’d call it unpredictable. The Cup Series has never raced here before, and there is no practice time either. The first lap could very well see a massive pileup, although I personally don’t think that will happen.

While we have no history here at the Daytona Road Course specifically, we do have a few road courses to look at: the Charlotte Roval, Sonoma, and Watkins Glen. For me, I’ll be leaning more on the Charlotte Roval of those three, but considering all of them. This weekend, Kevin Harvick is on the pole for Sunday’s race, and the full starting lineup can be found by clicking here.

*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*

Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for the Daytona Road Course

Clint Bowyer Sonoma 2018 Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Robert Reiners/Getty Images

Chase Elliott ($11,800) – Chase Elliott is an elite road course racer and, in my opinion, a non-negotiable fantasy pick for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest at the Daytona Road Course. He won at the Charlotte Roval last year, and has also won the last two races at Watkins Glen. Overall, Chase has an average finish of 8.3 over the last two years of road course races (six events), and that includes his 37th-place dud at Sonoma in 2019. Take that out and Elliott’s average jumps up to 2.6. This weekend, Chase starts in 7th so there’s some room for place differential points as well.

Ryan Blaney ($11,300) – Admittedly, I don’t love this pick, but Ryan Blaney is a capable road course driver and he starts back in 24th. Place differential plays such an important role in this Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest that you can’t ignore that potential, plus Blaney has a road course win on his resume: the first race at the Charlotte Roval. That was kind of a fluke win, but it’s still a victory. As far as all of the road course races over the last two years, YRB has an average finish of 10.5 and only two results worse than 8th: a 12th at Watkins Glen in 2018 and a 34th at Sonoma the same year. There’s a good chance he’ll be top 10 here at the Daytona Road Course on Sunday.

Alex Bowman ($9,800) – It’s been a while since we talked about this guy, hasn’t it? The king of fading in the second half of races did so again at Michigan last Saturday, and then during Sunday’s race, Bowman had a tire issue that relegated him to a 36th-place finish. Once again, though, Bowman had top 10 speed in those races. Maybe getting away from the ovals is something he needs right now? As far as road courses go, I was surprised to see that Alex hasn’t finished worse than 14th in the last six races on this track type, and in the two Charlotte Roval races he has finished 4th and 2nd. He starts back in 27th for Sunday’s Daytona Road Course race, which means plenty of place differential potential here. I’ll take the risk.

Clint Bowyer ($9,200) – With Blaney and Bowman being my two main place differential picks this week, I’m going to roll the dice with Clint Bowyer in this fourth spot. Clint has always been a pretty good road course option, and he has a Stewart-Haas Ford to work with, so that should help on the actual Daytona track portion they race on. As far as recent performance at road courses, Bowyer has an average finish of 8.7 on them over the last two years, and top 5s in both Charlotte Roval events. He starts 12th but has solid top 10 potential on Sunday.

Michael McDowell ($7,200) – Rounding out the rest of my lineup is a safe pick with huge upside. Michael McDowell starts back in 30th for Sunday’s race at the Daytona Road Course, which means he has a pretty small percentage chance of scoring negative points in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. As far as upside, let’s look at McDowell’s finishes at the road course races recently: 12th and 18th at the Charlotte Roval, 25th and 21st at Sonoma, and 16th and 18th at Watkins Glen. A 20th-place finish out of McDowell on Sunday nets 72 points in this Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, a huge score for a guy priced this low.

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.