Beginner's Guide to Fantasy Auto Racing
Fantasy NASCAR 101
Welcome to the exciting world of fantasy auto racing!
This guide is for Fantasy Auto Racing (aka Fantasy NASCAR) rookies and anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of the game. Here you will find an explanation of the game, tips to select your drivers and links to additional resources on the web.
The 2017 Fantasy NASCAR season has started, but it's not too late! There's still time to create your new fantasy league or team and join the action.
What Is It?
Fantasy Auto Racing is a game where you build your own dream team of NASCAR drivers and compete against the other teams in your league.
The outcome of each race can be quickly impacted by wrecks, mechanical problems or a slow pit stop. Since so much of a race's finish depends on luck, this is one of the easier fantasy sports for new players to jump into, be competitive and have fun.
Other variations of fantasy auto racing are based on Formula One, Indy Car or other racing series instead of NASCAR. This guide focuses on fantasy NASCAR but the basics are similar for other fantasy motor sports.
All fantasy auto racing leagues require players to select a team of drivers to start for each week's race. The sum of the driver scores for each team is that team's score for the week. The team with the most total points at the end of the season is the champion.
Scoring is based primarily on how each of your starting drivers does in the actual NASCAR race. Some sites allocate points equal to the number of Cup series points that the driver received for the actual race. Other sites will award the 1st place driver x points and every position after that gets 2 fewer points than the position before.
A league may also award bonus points for leading at least one lap of the race, leading the most laps or award points depending on how the driver qualified. Some leagues even award bonus points if the driver finishes better than their starting position.
The key thing is to read and understand your league's scoring rules.
There are three main variations of Fantasy Auto Racing depending on which site you use to host your league. Here is a description of each...
- Draft Based - This version is the most like other fantasy sports. You draft a team of drivers prior to the start of the season and each driver can only race for one team. During the season you can trade drivers with other teams or drop a driver to pick up a new one from the free agent list.
- Salary Cap Based - In this version, all drivers have a salary based on their Cup series standings. Each team is given a salary cap (typically $1,000,000) that it can use to purchase drivers for the week. Multiple teams can own the same driver. Driver salaries may change throughout the season based on their actual performance.
- Class Based - All drivers are grouped into one of three classes (usually A, B and C) based on their performance the previous season. Each team is required to pick and start a certain number of drivers from each class to form their team for the week. Multiple teams may start the same driver.
Fantasy Auto Racing Sites
Most fantasy league sites are free and provide the basics of stats, scoring, league and team management, message posting, etc. Some also offer premium (pay) games as well that offer cash prizes.
- Yahoo! Sports
The one I've used for all of my leagues. Good features, easy to use and has weekly advice for selecting drivers. Includes a 'Fantasy Profile' section with a history of all your fantasy sports (auto racing, football, baseball, etc) teams over time.
NASCAR offers several variations of fantasy auto racing on their site.
- FOX Sports Fantasy Auto
FOX Sports offers a salary cap version of Fantasy NASCAR.
Tips For Selecting Drivers
- Check The Driver's Status - Make sure that the driver is racing this week. Some drivers don't enter every race or they may not have qualified. If the driver has NE or DNQ in their status field, they're not racing.
- How Many Times Have You Started This Driver? - Many games limit the number of times you can start each driver during the season. If you've already hit the limit and that driver's still in your lineup, you'll get a big 0 no matter how well he or she finishes.
- Know The Track - NASCAR races are run on a variety of tracks such as flat tracks, road courses, super speedways and short tracks. Some drivers do better or worse on different track types so check their stats. If the race is on a short track like Bristol or Richmond, where wrecks can be frequent, consider starting fewer big names and go with guys who will be spread out through the pack. That way a wreck up front won't take out all of your drivers.
- Check The Average Start Position - If your league awards qualifying points, you'll want to have drivers in your lineup who consistently qualify in the top 4 to increase your chance of getting extra points.
- Who Won The Busch/Nationwide Series Race Yesterday? - There is usually a Busch series race the day before a NASCAR Cup series race. Many of the Cup drivers compete in the Busch race and drivers who finish well there usually do well in the big race the next day, sometimes with back to back wins.
Go See A Race!
The best way to enjoy and learn about NASCAR is to see it up close and personal with no commercial breaks. I've been to the Daytona 500 and the Richmond races. My favorite part is walking down to the fence and feeling the wind as the cars speed by you at 180mph. What a rush!
What's Your Favorite Motor Sports Series?
Racing Photo Credits
NASCAR Race used under Creative Commons from foxrosser.
Comments or Questions
Leave your comments below on fantasy auto racing, your favorite driver or anything NASCAR.