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NASCAR DraftKings Preview | Texas Motor Speedway | May 20-21, 2022

NASCAR DraftKings Preview | Texas Motor Speedway | May 20-21, 2022

By: Dustin Maybin (@CUPharmDFS)

The Cup Series may be having a little fun with their All-Star Race this weekend, but we have the Truck Series and Xfinity Series on the docket before then. They say everything is bigger in Texas; let’s hope that applies to our winnings this weekend!

Pace Laps

Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile intermediate quad-oval and is sometimes considered a “sister track” to Charlotte Motor Speedway due to its shape. Since it was repaved in 2016, it has seen low tire wear, giving us several tracks to compare and analyze, including Kansas (where they raced last week), Charlotte (where they race next week), Vegas (where they raced earlier this season), and, to a lesser extent, Michigan.

Despite being fairly wide, the racing groove over the past few years has been narrow, making it difficult to pass, thus making it slightly more predictable than other tracks. However, due to the low tire wear, pit strategy can shake up the running order, and these lower series have been known at times to turn into wreckfests at Texas.

Stage 1: SpeedyCash.com 220 (Truck Series)

Last week at Kansas, Zane Smith absolutely dominated the race and was clearly the best truck in the field. While I expect more of the same this week, it’ll be interesting to see how John Hunter Nemechek and the other Toyota drivers perform at a track where they’ve won 4 of the last 5 races.

Roster 2 drivers starting in the top 10 with at least 1 starting 6th or better. – At intermediate tracks in 2021, 6 of 9 optimal lineups had exactly 2 drivers starting in the top 10. Likewise, 4 of the past 5 optimal lineups at Texas have featured 2 drivers in the top 10 with the exception being a race where Chase Elliott started 22nd. 

15 (88.2%) of the past 17 winners at Texas have started 6th or better. Over the past 10 races, there have been 22 drivers who led 25 or more laps. 63.6% of these drivers started in the top 5, while 81.8% started in the top 10.

Roster 1 to 3 drivers starting worse than 25th, but be wary of those starting worse than 30th. – All optimal lineups at intermediate tracks in 2021 featured at least 2 drivers starting in this range with the majority including exactly two drivers. If priced less than $7,000, optimal lineup appearances from these starting positions required at least top 20 finishes, while those priced above $7,000 secured top 15 finishes.

Looking at past optimal lineups at Texas, there is a similar trend with one caveat. Strong fantasy performances rarely come from outside the top 30. In fact, these drivers are responsible for just 2% of top 10 DraftKings scores over the past 10 races. The salary relief may be enticing, but I prefer to avoid punting with backmarkers this week.

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Stage 2: SRS Distribution 250 (Xfinity Series)

After a week off, the Xfinity Series returns this week as well. It would have been nice to see them race at Kansas last week to help with our preparation for Texas, but there is a decent amount of historical data and 2022 year-to-date data that we can take into account.  

Roster 3 drivers starting 24th or worse. – At intermediate tracks with low to moderate tire wear in 2021, 5 of 7 optimal lineups included exactly 3 drivers starting in the bottom third of the field. Additionally, at Texas over the last 10 races, drivers achieving a top 10 DraftKings score started outside the top 30 on eleven occasions, while starting between 20th and 30th on twenty-five occasions. When trying to decide between drivers in this range with equal equipment and similar price, choose the one starting farther back.

Roster 3 to 4 drivers starting in the top 20. – This is another scenario that happened in 5 of 7 comparable races last season. Furthermore, 80% of these races featured exactly 2 drivers starting in the top 10. Over the past 6 Texas races, 5 optimal lineups have rostered at least 3 drivers starting in the top 20. The lone exception was a race where Kyle Busch dominated, despite a poor starting position, forcing lineups to focus more on place differential.

At least 1 driver should be priced less than $6,000. – 12 of the 13 intermediate track races in 2021, regardless of tire wear, featured at least one punt play from this price range. The lineup that did not included two drivers priced $6,100 and $6,200. Do not go too low though! Only four drivers priced below $5,000 made an optimal lineup at an intermediate track in 2021. All four of them did start in the top 30, so crappy equipment and starting position is not a recipe for success.

Specifically, the past 6 optimal lineups at Texas have followed a similar trend. All but one driver in this range that has made an optimal lineup achieved a 6x value, so that should help narrow down the driver pool significantly.

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Final Lap

As always, the elite teams should dominate in both series this week. Intermediate tracks are where the disparity between their equipment and that of lower funded teams really comes to fruition. 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!