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NASCAR DraftKings Preview | Trucks/Xfinity Series | June 4, 2022

NASCAR DraftKings Preview | Trucks/Xfinity Series | June 4, 2022

By: Dustin Maybin (@CUPharmDFS)

Welcome to another NASCAR DraftKings Preview! The point of this preview is to give you an idea of how winning lineups are constructed at a specific track. This week, the Trucks and Cup Series will be racing at Gateway, while the Xfinity Series will be at Portland. It should be an interesting week for DFS, having to prepare for two different track types, but we’ll do the best we can here at Team Rise or Fall!

To utilize Team Rise or Fall’s resources to their full potential, check out the additional NASCAR content at the NASCAR DFS Home Page, where you can find:

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NASCAR Study Hub (sample below)

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NASCAR DraftKings Preview

Stage 1: Toyota 200 (Truck Series)

The Truck Series will be returning to World Wide Technology Raceway, also known as Gateway, in Madison, Illinois. Though the Cup Series will be having its inaugural event there, the Truck Series has raced at Gateway since 2014, so we have a good amount of data to analyze.

Gateway is a 1.25-mile oval with relatively flat banking. Turns 1 and 2 resemble those at New Hampshire, while turns 3 and 4 are similar to Phoenix, giving the track an egg-shape similar to Darlington. It is primarily a one-groove track, thus making passing difficult and track position of utmost importance, whether it’s gained on pit road or restarts. Comparable tracks include New Hampshire, Phoenix, Richmond, and to a lesser extent, Martinsville and Nashville.

Dominators will likely come from the top 6. – In all eight races at Gateway, the top lap leader has started 6th or better. Furthermore, in each of the six races with qualifying (excludes 2020 and 2021 due to COVID procedures), the top dominator came from 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Given how hard it can be to pass, this is expected. I will be rostering at least one driver starting in the top 5 in most, if not all, of my lineups this week.

Avoid drivers starting worse than 30th if less than average equipment. – 98.7% of top 10 DraftKings scores over the past 8 Gateway races came from drivers starting in the top 30. This is a track with fewer cautions and attrition than most on the schedule, so there are less opportunities for bad drivers to gain positions. It is worth noting, however, that Derek Kraus will be starting last despite ranking top 6 in practice speed. I will be making an exception for him given his upside.

Roster at least 3 drivers starting in the top 20. – Over the past 8 Truck Series races at Gateway, 86.3% of top 10 DraftKings scores came from drivers starting 20th or better. Likewise, 77.8% of optimal lineup appearances came from these drivers. As previously mentioned, one of them should start near the front to rack up the available dominator points.

Roster two drivers priced above $9,000 and none priced lower than $5,000. – The past 10 optimal lineups at similar tracks all followed the same lineup construction, in addition to all of the Gateway races. Give the difficult passing and fewer wrecks, it is fairly uncommon for punts to pay off at this track.

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Stage 2: Pacific Office Automation 147 (Xfinity Series)

The Xfinity Series will be having its inaugural race at Portland International Raceway. Portland is a 1.97-mile road course with mostly tight, flat corners. With no history to go off, it is truly unknown how the race will play out. Plus, yesterday’s practice was in the rain, causing several cars to spin off the track and rendering practice arguably useless from a DFS perspective. 

I am expecting a lot of carnage and will be embracing the potential variance. Luckily, in recent years, NASCAR has increased the amount of road course races on the schedule, so we do have some data to base our lineups off of.

Roster no more than 2 drivers starting in the top 10. – Since the track length is longer, there are less laps and thus less dominator points available. Because of that, there should be more emphasis on place differential upside. 80% of the past 10 road course optimal lineups have featured no more than 2 dominators. On average, 1.7 drivers per race make the optimal lineup starting in the top 10.

Roster 2+ drivers starting worse than 25th. – Drivers starting worse than 30th should be able to finish in the top 20, while drivers starting 25th to 30th need to have top 15 upside. On average, 2.2 drivers in each optimal lineup start in this range. Given the expected carnage, I see no reason why not to prioritize these drivers. 

Some drivers are just better than others at road courses. – In 2021, Ty Gibbs was optimal in 3 of the 6 road course races he was in, ranking top 10 in driver rating in each of the others despite poor finishes. AJ Allmendinger made 4 optimal lineups and is renowned for his prowess on this track type, also winning at COTA earlier this season. Both of these drivers should be considered potential race winners at all road course races. They will likely be chalky given their starting positions, but it’s for good reason.

Want to put these trends to use? Your Team Rise or Fall membership includes a monthly $20 voucher for Fantasy Cruncher, the industry’s leading lineup optimizer! Be on the lookout for our driver pool, updated projections in the NASCAR Study Hub, and core picks, and we’ll see you in victory lane!

For updates after qualifying or if you have any questions, feel free to follow me on Twitter or hit me up in the Team Rise or Fall Discord!