Category Archives: Tips, Tactics & Tools

Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR: 2014 Preseason Driver Group Rankings

To get a handle on which drivers look to have the strongest Sprint Cup season this year, I’ve handicapped every 2014 race and copied all those driver rankings into a spreadsheet. I then gave each position a score, added up each driver’s total score and finally sorted the drivers according to those scores, from highest to lowest.

Then I broke those rankings into the A, B and C groups of the Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR format. If you play that game and pursue a driver start-saving strategy, the below driver rankings should give you a decent baseline to work from. Continue reading

Who Makes NASCAR’s 2014 Chase?

This season I’ve decided to make some 2014 Sprint Cup season predictions in addition to my weekly race driver rankings. First up: Which drivers have the best chance to make the Chase this season?

To pull this together, I’ve essentially handicapped every pre-Chase race. I then copied all those driver rankings into a spreadsheet, gave each position a score and added up each driver’s total score.

Before I post the results, a few qualifiers are in order. First, this handicapping method would’ve worked better with the old-old, points-based Sprint Cup championship format. The more the format has shifted to emphasize winning races, the less well this method works, probably. Still, the method does clarify who has the best chance to win races, so it still has value.

Also, handicapping races six months in advance, using only 2013 data, ain’t great. Not only does the data get older the farther out I work, but NASCAR instituted a number of tweaks to the Gen6 car in the off season, and who knows yet how that might shake things up. And, the race teams have had all off season to work on their cars, personnel, processes, etc., and history says that frequently shakes things up each year, too.

OK, here’s my driver list. It’s organized with the drivers most likely to make the Chase at the top, in descending order. Only 16 get in, but I’ve listed 23 to show who’s on the bubble:

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Matt Kenseth
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  5. Jeff Gordon
  6. Kasey Kahne
  7. Brad Keselowski
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Martin Truex, Jr.
  10. Carl Edwards
  11. Clint Bowyer
  12. Kevin Harvick
  13. Kurt Busch
  14. Greg Biffle
  15. Denny Hamlin
  16. Ryan Newman
  17. Tony Stewart
  18. Paul Menard
  19. Marcos Ambrose
  20. Brian Vickers
  21. Jamie McMurray
  22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  23. Aric Almirola

Jeff Gordon’s Strong Second Half

When I put together this week’s early driver rankings for Homestead, part of the process included calculating the average Driver Ratings from all the loop data piled up over the past 15 races by every Sprint Cup driver. (I used the excellent stats wizard at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet to do this, and I excluded the data from the Talladega II and Watkins Glen races.) One thing jumped out at me: Jeff Gordon ranked #2 in this metric!

Here are the top 5: Continue reading

Online Sportsbooks for U.S.-Based NASCAR Bettors

This week I decided to put my money where my mouth is and lay a bet on my pick to win this week’s race at Fontana. I started to sign up for an account at Intertops when I discovered Intertops no longer accepts U.S. players. I was pretty bummed because Intertops has consistently offered much better NASCAR odds than any other online sportsbook I’ve checked this season and last season. Beautiful, soft, beatable lines. Oh well.

So, what online sportsbooks do accept U.S. players and offer NASCAR bets? I spent an hour this morning researching, and to the best of my knowledge, these are it. Continue reading

NASCARpredict’s 2012 Track Predictability Report

As I’ve sifted through the results of my 2012 NASCAR handicapping efforts, I found it interesting to compare my results track-by-track. I figure knowing which tracks I’m best at, and worst at, can only help when it comes time to make fantasy NASCAR and/or NASCAR betting decisions.

So, first here’s a list of each race last year plus the standard deviation between my picks and the actual race results for each: Continue reading

NASCAR Odds: What’s Profitable?

I began handicapping NASCAR Sprint Cup races to improve my results in fantasy NASCAR, but over time I grew interested in betting NASCAR as well. As I learned more about sports betting and line shopped each race, I started to get a feel for the odds the sportsbooks considered break-even, but I didn’t have any hard evidence my hunch was correct.

After last season, I realized I had accumulated several years of published race picks I could use to at least identify my odds of picking a race winner and a top three finisher. Over the past couple weeks, I set out to do just that. Continue reading

NASCAR Handicapping: How Much Are Practice & Qualifying Worth?

I’ve been working on several projects this offseason to evaluate my NASCAR handicapping process and results, and hopefully to improve the process. I’ve long wondered how much I should weight the prelim data (i.e., the practice and qualifying speed chart numbers) each week relative to the pre-prelim data, and I decided to find out. Continue reading

Article Recommendation: The AccuPredict Method

A screenshot from the article.

This off-season I finally got around to reading The AccuPredict Method, an article by Cliff DeJong over on NASCAR Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. Wow, I sure wish I’d read it earlier.

DeJong is a research scientist who says he’s been crunching numbers his entire life. He’s also a NASCAR fan, and he’s brought his mathematics and statistics skills to bear in the NASCAR handicapping game. The result: AccuPredict, an algorithm that uses traditional and loop data statistics to predict NASCAR driver finish positions. Continue reading