NASCAR DFS: Top-5 Cup Series Targets on DraftKings for The Clash
It has been a long winter, and frankly, it’s not over yet. What is over, however, is the wait for the 2022 NASCAR season to kick-off, as it begins this Saturday with the Busch Light Clash and some NASCAR DFS. For the first time ever, stock cars and particularly NASCAR will race inside of the hallowed walls of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California on Saturday evening. It’s rather astonishing that the organization was able to pull this off, but the fact is there is currently a quarter-mile, paved racing surface within the historic football stadium.
With this being the first time that any of the drivers or the series for that matter has raced on this surface, we don’t have any data to go off of. Teams will get a practice session on Saturday, but it’s only eight minutes long. There will then be a single-car qualifying session where each driver will be given three laps, but the cars are then impounded prior to the heat races later that day.
There will be minimal time to adjust the cars following practice, and no chance to make changes following time trials. The starting grid for the heat races will be set off of qualifying, and the feature race will be determined by the finishing order in the heats. Additionally, there will also be the last chance race expected to be completed somewhere before 5 pm EST.
It’s the same structure as your local short tracks.
The heat races will provide us with our best look at the cars prior to locking in our final DFS lineups. Right now, there is a lot of unknowns, so pay close attention to how the cars drive, handle, and how well their drivers are able to pass other cars. This is a unique race because the drivers starting near the back will have an opportunity to score a lot of position differential points — especially when you consider the fact that scoring will be based on a 40 car field. With 23 cars slated to start the feature, whoever starts last can score no less than 19 DK points on Draftkings.
If the drivers are able to pass well in the preliminary races, make sure you’re selecting drivers that can gain those valuable bonus points. I also believe that we will see a small handful of drivers out front leading laps. Try to get the two guys that you think will lead the most laps, and pair them up with some drivers coming from the back. This should put you in a great position to maximize your potential and score optimal points for NASCAR DFS.
It’s a new track, a new car, and a new year. Let’s start it off by winning some NASCAR DFS cash!
NASCAR DFS: Draftkings Studs
Martin Truex Jr | #19 | $9,500
As we mentioned above, we have next to nothing to go off of in terms of previous track performance. The closest thing we’ve likely ever seen prior to Saturday’s short track action is probably past races at Martinsville Speedway. Martinsville is a flat, half-mile track that’s roots are entrenched deep into NASCAR history. The race at the LA Coliseum will be held on a track just half its size, a quarter-mile.
While much smaller, the racing surface for this weekend’s action is also relatively flat as there is little-to-no backing whatsoever. A few drivers pop into my head immediately when I think of Martinsville, but the guy at the forefront is none other than that series veteran, Martin Truex Jr.
Truex has won three of the last six races in Virginia, along with posting five top-10s and four top-5s in those same six starts. He’s also led a whopping 754 laps, more than any other driver during that stretch. As we previously mentioned, laps lead will be important and Truex should be able to adapt rather quickly. If he manages to secure himself a starting position within the top-5, I fully expect him to find his way to the front of the 150 lap race.
I liked his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin, here too at $9,800. However, Truex is $300 cheaper and is my favorite spend-up option for NASCAR DFS on Saturday night.
Joey Logano | #22 | $8,800
As sexy as the Gibbs cars appear at this track, no team feels safer to me than Team Penske — and it starts with Joey Logano. Like Truex, Logano is also sneaky good at the flat, Martinsville Speedway, and should be up on the wheel trying to kick 2022 off in strong fashion. Over his last six races at Martinsville, Logano does not have a win, but he has finished inside the top-10 five times and has two top-5s as well.
Flexibility and accurate analysis of the heat races on Saturday afternoon will undoubtedly be the key to winning some cash, but my opinion is that Joey’s aggressive driving style will be well suited for the short race on the very short track. The fact that he is priced under $9k only makes this play more appealing. At $8,800, I love the former Cup Series Champion this weekend for NASCAR DFS.
Ryan Blaney | #12 | $8,500
We’re not venturing far for our next stud driver on DraftKings. In fact, we’re staying in the Team Penske camp with Ryan Blaney. Blaney, a teammate to Logano, is the next driver down the list in terms of pricing at $8,500. Ryan’s father Dave Blaney, is a well renowned Sprint Car driver who has taught his son the ways of efficiently navigating the shot, bull-ring tracks of the United States. Ryan made his way to NASCAR via paved, short track action, and the track inside the Coliseum should suit his abilities well.
Because of everything we just mentioned, it is no surprise that the younger Blaney has fared quite well at Martinsville Speedway too. According to DriverAverages.Com, he actually has the best average finishing position of any active Cup Series driver at the short track over his past six starts with a beautiful 5.83 average. He also has four top-5s and four top-10s over those same six starts.
Blaney can be considered a gamble at times, because of the inconsistent finishes on a week-to-week basis in the past. Last year, however, he began to break that narrative and started to show more maturation. No matter where he starts on Saturday night, I think we can expect a solid day from the wheel man of No. 12, and I like his price for cash and GPPs at $8,500 on DK.
NASCAR DFS: Draftkings Values
Tyler Reddick | #8 | $6,700
When you think of Richard Childress Racing driver Tyler Reddick, flat-track performance might not be the first thing that you think of. Reddick is a ton of fun to watch on the track because he is not afraid to hang his car out and run along the outside wall when the opportunity presents itself. On flatter tracks, that’s not really an option, as cars are often regulated to running the bottom two lines due to a lack of banking. The track the drivers will race on Saturday evening has little to no banking, but I love Reddick nonetheless for NASCAR DFS.
As previously stated, the festivities this weekend will consist of short, action-packed races and one thing that does bode well for the young driver is his aggressiveness. With little to no time to waste, I fully expect Reddick to be making moves early and often, so long as his Chevrolet lets him. At $6,700, he’s a great cash and GPP value.
Erik Jones | #43 | $6,000
One of the true bright spots of the 2021-22 off-season was the news that things look to be headed in the right direction for the famed No. 43 car. That is because Marty Gallagher, owner of GMS Racing from NASCAR’s Xfinity and Truck Series’, purchased majority ownership of Richard Petty Motorsports forming Petty GMS Racing. While some of the life-long fans of the top series considered it a sad moment, you have to look at the upside. For starters, while Petty’s team had been able to show flashes over the past few seasons, the fact of the matter was they were still very mediocre. Now, with Gallagher bringing some youth, an added sense of resurgence, (and a lot of money), the future appears to be bright for the team, and top driver, Erik Jones.
Jones had some good runs last season, and I expect this team to build on their current momentum when they hit the track this Saturday. Over Jones’ previous six starts on the flat, half-mile in Virginia, he has accrued one top-10 and four top-20s. He also has an average starting position of 17th, with an average finishing position of 8th. What this translates to me is, Jones will probably start near the rear of the feature race, (if he’s able to race his way in via the heats) but will also likely have a good chance of making his way up to or around the top-10.
This is a winning scenario for NASCAR DFS players, and at just $6,000 you’re able to provide yourself some relief for the rest of your roster construction.