NASCAR DFS Truck Series Preview 4/16/22 | Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt | Bristol Motor Speedway
NASCAR DFS Truck Series Preview | Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt | Bristol Motor Speedway
By: Dustin Maybin (@CUPharmDFS)
It’s Bristol, baby! Well, sort of… For the 2nd consecutive season, Bristol Motor Speedway has been covered in dirt and will welcome the Truck Series and Cup Series. It’s certainly bittersweet since Bristol is my favorite track on the schedule, but seeing these machines on the dirt surface is quite the sight to behold.
For the Cup Series, past data is extremely limited. Fortunately for us, however, the Truck Series has had a dirt race on the schedule since 2013. Up until 2020, the race was held at one of the premier dirt tracks in the country, Eldora Speedway. In 2021 though, Bristol and Knoxville hosted races, both of which were unpredictable. Bristol was marred by torrential downpours in the area causing the dirt to coagulate on windshields, threatening driver safety, while Knoxville was a wreckfest and quite frankly, an embarrassment for the sport in my opinion. I digress. Let’s dig in! (No pun intended.)
Stage 1: Race Info to Know
Bristol Motor Speedway is a half-mile, high-banked oval, known for its close racing and arena atmosphere. This is only the 2nd year NASCAR has covered the surface with tons of dirt to provide a different experience for the fans. That isn’t the only change for this weekend, however. Typically, drivers have a qualifying session to set the starting lineup by fastest single-lap time. For this weekend’s race, there will be multiple qualifying heat races. In each of these heats, drivers earn points, which will be used to set the lineup, for their finishing position and place differential. Sound familiar?
The unfortunate aspect of using “passing points” to set the lineup is that drivers able move to the front in their heat races may end up being poor DFS plays. For example, Stewart Friesen, who had one of the fastest trucks in practice, is starting last in his heat race. If he passes everyone, he’ll be starting toward the front for the actual race, thus limiting his place differential upside. On the other hand, drivers who do not perform well in the heat races will have the highest scoring potential for the main event since they will start in the back. That being said, it will be imperative to wait until after the heat races to build lineups!
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Stage 2: Lineup Construction
Limit exposure to drivers starting in the top 10. In 2021, there were two races at dirt tracks, here at Bristol and at Knoxville. Only 4 of the top 20 DraftKings scores came from drivers starting in the top 10. Two of those came via double-digit dominator points. Likewise, only 35.7% of top 10 scores across races at Eldora, another dirt track, since 2013 were achieved by drivers starting in the top 10.
Prioritize place differential. Contrary to drivers starting near the front, 50% of top 10 DraftKings scores from the 2021 dirt races came from drivers starting worse than 20th. Further, 90% of drivers with a top 10 score gained at least 7 place differential points. It should be noted that over the seven races at Eldora since 2013, only 32.9% of top 10 scores came from drivers starting 20th or worse and only 2.8% coming from worse than 30th! However, given the high banking and less experience in the field, I expect Bristol to be more chaotic, allowing place differential plays to possibly pay off more often.
Target specific driver groupings to attack the slate from different angles. In 7 of the 10 dirt track Truck Series races, a driver from the Cup Series achieved a top 10 DraftKings score. Among drivers that fit that criteria today are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, and Harrison Burton. Another trend is success by drivers with dirt racing backgrounds, which includes Carson Hocevar, Buddy Kofoid, Stewart Friesen, and Hailie Deegan. Lastly, some drivers have performed significantly well at dirt tracks in the Truck Series. Grant Enfinger specifically has had a top 10 DFS score in each of the past 5 dirt races. Others with notably good results include Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton, and Austin Wayne Self.
As previously mentioned, the heat races will give us a much better idea of who will run well and who will be a good DraftKings play. I will be using Fantasy Cruncher to create the groups listed above and condense my player pool. Also, due to the unpredictability of the event and potential wreckfest, I will be capping exposures lower than I normally would. Play light, embrace the variance, and we’ll see you in victory lane!