The Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway is set to run on Sunday afternoon (approx. 3:00 pm ET), as 20 drivers will fight for the win in this exhibition event before next Sunday’s Great American Race, the Daytona 500.

The starting lineup for Sunday’s race was set by random draw, and we have Paul Menard on the pole for the 2019 Clash. The full starting lineup can be found by clicking here. As is the case with any restrictor plate track, though, starting position really doesn’t matter when it comes to the actual racing on the track. We touched on that earlier this week in our Preview article, noting that almost 2 in 3 Clash winners since 2002 have started 14th or worse. When it comes to DraftKings and Fantasy NASCAR, though, starting position is super important at these big super speedways, as place differential plays a bigger factor in winning or not than it does at the “normal” tracks.

DraftKings Strategy Tactics for the Clash

Paul Menard Darlington Throwback 2018 Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NKP

From a DFS perspective, any race at Daytona or Talladega requires a bit of a shift in terms of lineup building strategy. It’s a different mindset. And when the race is an exhibition event like Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash, it requires even more of a drift from the norm.

The general rule of thumb for success in DraftKings at a restrictor plate track is, at maximum, one driver starting inside the top 10. That’s how important place differential is. However, the Clash is a different beast: there’s only 20 cars in this field on Sunday compared to the normal 40. So translating that from the simplest point of view, the new rule should be maximum one driver in your lineup that starts inside the top 5.

And that’s a good strategy: either zero or one guy starting up front. The differentiating factor here on Sunday, though, is going to be what you do with those guys that are starting 6th through 10th–because “normal” restrictor plate logic says to probably stay away from them in favor of the drivers in the back half of the field, as they have a higher ceiling for place differential points. However, it’s unlikely that all of the highest finishers start from the second half of the field.

So which drivers should you target on Sunday afternoon? We’ll get to my favorite Daytona Clash DraftKings plays here in a second, but this is the time to get contrarian. There’s only 20 drivers in the field for this race, so ownership percentages are going to be relatively high all around. Look for that diamond in the rough instead of blindly rolling with the favorite.

GPP Drivers I Love for the Daytona Clash

Ryan Blaney Kansas Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Even though he consistently had one of the best cars on the restrictor plate tracks last season, I think Ryan Blaney ($8,000) has the possibility of going relatively under-owned in DraftKings here on Sunday–which means I love him as a contrarian play. Look at his price range and the guys around him; we have Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin immediately above Blaney on the price sheet, and they start from back in 18th, 15th, 16th, and 17th (respectively). Under Blaney you have Kyle Busch (starts 2nd), Daniel Suarez (10th), Kurt Busch (19th), and Martin Truex, Jr. (12th).

What I’m getting at here is that most people are going to easily overlook Blaney and go for that place differential or “big name” factor.

Another GPP play I really like is Alex Bowman ($6,800), in case you couldn’t tell by the header image of this post. The #88 Chevrolet is going to roll off the grid from 5th for Sunday’s Advance Auto Parts Clash race, but I actually don’t mind that, and for a couple of reasons. First, Bowman is a usual front runner at Daytona. The Hendrick crew always gives him a hot rod in qualifying, and Alex knows how to stay up front and avoid trouble–something that’s extremely important in a race like the Clash.

The second reason I don’t mind rolling the dice with Bowman even though he starts 5th is the ownership percentage factor; most people are going to skip over the top 5 qualifiers on Sunday, and if they do decide to go with one of the guys starting up front, chances are they’re going to go with the “big name” drivers like Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski.

GPP Fade for the Daytona Clash

Martin Truex Jr Fantasy NASCAR 2018
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Aside from the obvious fade this weekend (pole sitter Paul Menard), I don’t mind staying away from Martin Truex, Jr. ($7,000). There’s a lot of hype for this #19 team heading into the 2019 season, as Truex and Cole Pearn made the move to Joe Gibbs Racing in the offseason, but the fact of the matter is this: Truex is not a very good restrictor plate racer.

Looking at the Clash specifically, Truex owns a career average finish of 13.3 in this exhibition race and has just one result better than 9th in seven career starts ( a 2nd-place finish in 2015). What’s that saying about a blind squirrel and a nut?

Further, looking only at the points-paying races here at Daytona, Truex has just two results better than 13th in his last six starts, and in the four Talladega races over the last two seasons, Martin came home 23rd, 26th, 23rd, and 35th.

Finally, Truex a former series champion and is priced relatively low in DraftKings for Sunday’s Clash race. He also drew the 12th starting spot for the event, so he’s in the second half of the field and a good candidate for place differential points. Add it all together and that’s the ultimate recipe for super high ownership. I’ll take my chances and go against the crowd there.

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.