Victory Lane – Bluegreen Vacations Duel at Daytona
By Tyler Miller – @rickybobby_jr

The Duel at Daytona consist of two 60 lap races to set the field for the Daytona 500. Fan Duel has combined both races into one slate while Draft Kings has split the slate into a slate for Duel 1 and a slate for Duel 2. There is plenty of value so lineups can be made without any real salary cap restriction. The first duel (Duel 1) has 21 drivers in the field and the second duel (Duel 2) has 22. For a full statistical preview, check out The Setup. Let’s get started.

Ryan Blaney ($12,500/8,800) Starting 14th in Duel 1, Ryan Blaney is my favorite high salary driver. Blaney has been consistently good in these races with finishes of 6, 1, 19, 3, and 6 in his career. Blaney has both of his teammates in this race which is key for help in the draft. Blaney is a lock for Thursday night.

Daniel Suarez ($7,000/6,200) Starting 19th in Duel 1, Daniel Suarez is my second lock for Thursday night. Suarez has backing from Toyota and Coca-Cola and if he makes the Daytona 500 he would be the 6th Toyota driver in the race. I think the Joe Gibbs Racing Drivers (and Christopher Bell) will work with him to help him make the race. Hamlin, Bell, and Truex are all in the first Duel with Suarez which works to his advantage. He needs to finish the race in front of Reed Sorenson and Chad Finchum to make the Daytona 500, and I would expect to see Suarez in the top 10 at the end of the race.

Kurt Busch ($10,500/9,000) Starting 11th in Duel 2, I really like Kurt Busch to finish this race in the top 5. Kurt Busch finished top 5 in 8 of his last 10 Duel races, including a win in 2011. I think Kurt Busch scores the most DFS points in Duel 2.

Bubba Wallace ($6,500/6,600) Starting 17th in Duel 1, Bubba Wallace should improve on his position by 5-10 spots in the race, but I always proceed with caution due to Bubba’s unpredictability. I think he will be highly owned because people will see his 6th and 3rd place finishes in 2 Duel races and remember his runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 a few years back. I like Bubba to improve his position and do well on Thursday night.

Austin Dillon ($9,000/7,800) Starting 15th in Duel 1, I think Austin Dillon is a safe play and could contend for a top 10 finish at the end of the race. Dillon’s teammate, Tyler Reddick, is not in the same race so he will need to work with other Chevrolet drivers like Bubba Wallace, Justin Haley (see below), and Ryan Preece to move toward the front.

Ty Dillon ($4,000/6,200) Starting 15th in Duel 2, I like Ty Dillon to improve his position throughout the race and stay out of trouble. Ty has the advantage of having Tyler Reddick and Brendan Gaughan to draft with. I think this is a really strong opportunity to get a top 10 with +5 differential at near minimum price.

Justin Haley ($4,500/5,900) Starting 16th in Duel 1, I think Justin Haley is a sneaky good play on Thursday night. No one is going to be on Haley because his qualifying time was fast enough to lock in to the Daytona 500 last Sunday. I think Haley will be motivated to race towards the front of the field and I think he has the car to do it. Haley is making the first cup series start for Kaulig Racing, a team that has multiple wins in the Xfinity Series. Haley is driving a race car that came straight from Richard Childress Racing and his crew chief, Billy Scott, is an RCR employee. Haley is also starting this race between Austin Dillon and Bubba Wallace. Dillon drivers for RCR and Wallace drivers for Richard Petty with an ECR engine (same as RCR). I think these guys work together to get into the top 10 on Thursday night.

My core lineup for Thursday night will be Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Bubba Wallace, and Kurt Busch. This leaves $13,500 to pick the final driver so you can basically have anyone you want. Don’t be afraid to leave a lot of money on the table, these races are about finding guys who are starting outside the top 10 with a legitimate shot at scoring a top 5 finish and guys outside the top 15 who can finish inside the top 10. Good luck to everyone!

Tyler Miller is a lifelong NASCAR enthusiast who spent five years as a producer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2008-2013). Upon meeting his wife in Washington DC, Tyler became an Army spouse and left his career to move all over the country and help raise their two children. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Communication and Electronic Media Production from Ashland University and a Masters’ of Science in Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media, from Liberty University.

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