NASCARPredict’s 2016 Results

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Last season my top five picks topped the expert panel on Fantasy Racing Cheatsheet.

With the NASCAR Sprint Cup 2016 season in the books, I’ve gone through all my final race rankings and DraftKings lineups from this year and evaluated how they performed compared with all the actual race results. Here are the results in five arenas:

1. Race Winners

In 2016, I picked four winners out of the 30 non-plate and non-road course races. That’s a 13% win rate, but keep in mind those 30 races don’t provide statistical significance because NASCAR Sprint Cup racing features so much variance.

To gain statistical significance, I increased the sample size by adding the data from my 2010–2015 picks, which gives me 205 non-plate/road-course races. (Sharp-eyed readers will notice five years of non-plate/road-course picks should equal 150 races, not 145; it’s 145 because I didn’t handicap two races in 2010 and three in 2011.)

The results: Over 205 races, I’ve picked 37 of 205 winners. That’s an 18% win rate, which works out to 4.6-1 odds for break-even betting.

2. Top 5 Percentage

Last season I again participated in Fantasy Racing Cheatsheet‘s (FRC) Experts Picks section. In this section, FRC lists the top five picks for each NASCAR race from four NASCAR handicapping and fantasy experts (including me), and the aggregate picks of its readers. It also lists how successful each expert was picking the top five drivers all season.

The experts’ 2016 top-five pick rates ranged from 38%–43%. I tied for first place at 43% with the readers’ aggregate picks (yes, there is something to that pesky wisdom-of-crowds concept!).

3. Standard Deviation
For each race last year, I ranked all 40 drivers; that is, I predicted where each driver would finish in each Sprint Cup race. I’ve since gone back and calculated the difference between each driver prediction with their actual race result. Example: At Homestead, I predicted Jimmie Johnson would finish 7th, but he actually won, so the difference (i.e., deviation) equaled 6.

I’ve also calculated the overall standard deviation (SD) for all my 2016 predictions. Calculating SD involves squaring each difference, adding all the results, calculating the mean and then calculating the square root of the mean. The result: 10.37.

That’s my best result since 2012.

4. Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR

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I stumbled to the finish line this year in the Yahoo game, finishing in the 97th percentile.

Last season I was so-so in the Yahoo game. I finished with 10,094 points, which placed me in the 97th percentile. I finished 9th out of 48 competitors in Kyle Wiseman’s league in Fantasy NASCAR Preview’s forum, and 7th out of 493 competitors in the /r/NASCAR league on Reddit. I actually was crushing it for the first 2/3 of the year, but my teams fell down during the Chase with several disastrous Sundays.

5. DraftKings Lineups
I started fooling around with DraftKings NASCAR in late 2015, and I began playing it in earnest last season. I actually won a big guaranteed prize pool (GPP) tourney late last season, which was exciting. Of course, I suffered some old fashioned beat downs on other weekends, too.

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I finally took down a DraftKings NASCAR GPP in November.

In all, I’ve played 298 total NASCAR lineups so far, with an average return-on-investment (ROI) of +9% (i.e., on average every $1 bet returned $1.09). I learned a lot across all those races, and I think both my lineups and my entry tactics have improved over time, particularly when I sat down last spring and made some big adjustments. And the numbers bear this out: From March 20 through the end of last season, I played 245 lineups with a +22% average ROI. Even better, those 245 lineups include a big downswing at the end of the season.

Bottom line: I anticipate a healthy ROI next season. And yes, I play lineups from the same list of top 30 lineups I post each week (though sometimes I’ll dip below the top 30 into somewhat weaker territory).

That’s it for now. It’s almost time to start crunching Daytona data!

DraftKings Lineups: Homestead, 2016

Matt Kenseth photo

Matt Kenseth appears in every one of my top 30 optimized DraftKings lineups for Homestead today. (photo courtesy nascar)

I’ve used my lineup optimizer to compile my top 30 DraftKings NASCAR driver lineups for today’s Homestead race. To compile them, first I plugged my final driver rankings for today’s race and the starting lineup into my driver points projection model to project how many DraftKings points each driver will score at Homestead today. Then I ran those points projections through an algorithm I created in Google Sheets with the OpenSolver add-on, which churned through all possible driver combinations to calculate the 30 best lineups for today’s race.

The lineups are sorted in descending order of total predicted points scored, and the total predicted points have been rounded to the nearest hundredth. I posted them in a PDF file you can download and view for $3. Here’s the link: Homestead 2016 DraftKings Lineups

Note: No guarantee comes with my lineups, rankings, predictions, etc. Use them at your own risk. To get a feel for how the lineups look, check out my Kansas I 2016 DraftKings lineups.

Good luck today!

DraftKings Driver Values: Homestead, 2016

Paul Menard photo

Paul Menard offers nice DraftKings value at Homestead today in the $6K tier. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my DraftKings driver points and price/point predictions for today’s race at Homestead. To predict how many DraftKings points each driver will score today, I plugged my driver rankings for today’s race into my projection model, and Friday’s qualifying results. Then, to calculate each driver’s price/point, I simply divided each driver’s price by their predicted points.

The below table lists all drivers running today, and it’s sorted from lowest price/point to highest. If you’re on a small-screen device, scroll the table horizontally with a finger drag to see all the columns.

The table: Continue reading

Final Rankings: Homestead, 2016

Martin Truex Jr photo

Martin Truex Jr. took over the top slot in my final Homestead driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final driver rankings for today’s race at Homestead. I compiled them by crunching the practice and qualifying data from Homestead on Friday and Saturday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Matt Kenseth
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Chase Elliott
  9. Kyle Busch
  10. Brad Keselowski Continue reading

Early Rankings: Homestead, 2016

Matt Kenseth photo

Matt Kenseth tops my early Homestead driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Update: I’ve posted my final Homestead 2016 driver rankings, which improve upon the below early rankings.

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Watkins Glen and Talladega;
  • the loop data for the past four races;
  • the loop data for the past four races at Homestead;
  • the loop data for the past six races at the other tracks in the Steeps track group (i.e., BristolDarlingtonLas Vegas and Dover);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Homestead; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past six races at the aforementioned Steeps.

The results:

  1. Matt Kenseth
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Brad Keselowski
  8. Carl Edwards
  9. Jimmie Johnson
  10. Chase Elliott Continue reading

DraftKings Lineups: Phoenix II, 2016

Kyle Busch photo

Kyle Busch appears in 25 of my top 30 optimized DraftKings lineups for Phoenix II. (photo courtesy nascar)

I’ve used my lineup optimizer to compile my top 30 DraftKings NASCAR driver lineups for today’s Phoenix II race. To compile them, first I plugged my final driver rankings for today’s race and the starting lineup into my driver points projection model to project how many DraftKings points each driver will score at Phoenix II today. Then I ran those points projections through an algorithm I created in Google Sheets with the OpenSolver add-on, which churned through all possible driver combinations to calculate the 30 best lineups for today’s race.

The lineups are sorted in descending order of total predicted points scored, and the total predicted points have been rounded to the nearest hundredth. I posted them in a PDF file you can download and view for $3. Here’s the link: Phoenix II 2016 DraftKings Lineups

Note: No guarantee comes with my lineups, rankings, predictions, etc. Use them at your own risk. To get a feel for how the lineups look, check out my Kansas I 2016 DraftKings lineups.

Good luck today!

DraftKings Driver Values: Phoenix II, 2016

Martin Truex Jr photo

Martin Truex Jr.’s last place qualifying result really cranked up his DraftKings value for tomorrow’s Phoenix II race. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my DraftKings driver points and price/point predictions for tomorrow’s Phoenix II race. To predict how many DraftKings points each driver will score tomorrow, I plugged my driver rankings for tomorrow’s race into my projection model, and Friday’s qualifying results. Then, to calculate each driver’s price/point, I simply divided each driver’s price by their predicted points.

The below table lists all drivers running tomorrow, and it’s sorted from lowest price/point to highest. If you’re on a small-screen device, scroll the table horizontally with a finger drag to see all the columns.

The table: Continue reading

Final Rankings: Phoenix II, 2016

Kevin Harvick photo

Kevin Harvick remains my pick to win Phoenix II in my final driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final driver rankings for tomorrow’s race at Phoenix. I compiled them by crunching the practice and qualifying data from Phoenix on Friday and Saturday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Matt Kenseth
  6. Kyle Larson
  7. Brad Keselowski
  8. Chase Elliott
  9. Denny Hamlin
  10. Jimmie Johnson Continue reading

Early Rankings: Phoenix II, 2016

Kevin Harvick photo

Kevin Harvick tops my early Phoenix II driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Update: I’ve posted my final Phoenix II driver rankings, which improve upon the below early rankings.

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Daytona, Talladega, Sonoma and Watkins Glen);
  • the loop data for the past four races (excluding Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races at Phoenix;
  • the loop data for the past eight races at the other tracks in the Flats track group (i.e., Richmond, MartinsvilleIndyPocono and New Hampshire);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Phoenix; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past eight races at the aforementioned Flats.

The results:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Carl Edwards
  7. Jimmie Johnson
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Kyle Larson Continue reading

DraftKings Lineups: Texas II, 2016

Jimmie Johnson Shoots Pistols at Texas photo

Jimmie Johnson appears in only 14 of my top 30 optimized DraftKings lineups for Texas II tomorrow. (photo courtesy nascar)

I’ve used my lineup optimizer to compile my top 30 DraftKings NASCAR driver lineups for tomorrow’s Texas II race. To compile them, first I plugged my final driver rankings for tomorrow’s race and the starting lineup into my driver points projection model to project how many DraftKings points each driver will score at Texas II tomorrow. Then I ran those points projections through an algorithm I created in Google Sheets with the OpenSolver add-on, which churned through all possible driver combinations to calculate the 30 best lineups for today’s race.

The lineups are sorted in descending order of total predicted points scored, and the total predicted points have been rounded to the nearest hundredth. I posted them in a PDF file you can download and view for $3. Here’s the link: Texas II 2016 DraftKings Lineups

Note: No guarantee comes with my lineups, rankings, predictions, etc. Use them at your own risk. To get a feel for how the lineups look, check out my Kansas I 2016 DraftKings lineups.

Good luck today!