The rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver. Note: fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.
1. Chase Elliott ($10,600) - There’s not much to talk about. Elliott has four road course wins since 2018. He’s not only the best road course racer in NASCAR, but he might be one of the best ever. The real story is that NASCAR added more road races to the 2021 schedule. NASCAR is always accused of favoring sons of former legends, but this is as blatant as it gets. (4.3 fppk)
2. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300) - If anyone is a better road racer than Chase Elliott, then it’s Truex. The last two Sonoma races were won by Truex. He finished second in the last two Watkins Glen races. The 2018 Roval race was his for the winning, but Jimmie Johnson wrecked Truex on the last turn. (4.4 fppk)
3. Denny Hamlin ($9,700) - At the Daytona road course, Hamlin led the second most laps. Of course he did, Hamlin has been amazing this season. A couple teams and drivers have a clear advantage under the new no practice format. Whether it’s simulator expertise or engineering prodigies setting these cars up is unknown, but the results are clear. (5.0 fppk)
4. Kevin Harvick ($9,900) - He had the second highest driver rating at the Roval last season. Harvick finished 2nd at Sonoma in 2018, and Sonoma is a technical track that is comparable to the Roval. Harvick did not have a good finish at Daytona, but that’s because he got dumped on a restart in stage 3. (5.7 fppk)
5. Erik Jones ($8,200) - The soon-to-be free agent has a top 10 finish in five of the last seven road course races. The two finishes outside of the top 10 (40th and 30th) were both at the Charlotte Roval. This is a big week for Jones. The 2021 schedule is road course heavy. Another top 10 finish will add more leverage at the negotiations table. (4.0 fppk)
6. Brad Keselowski ($10,100) - The 2018 Roval race was a mess as predicted. It’s been a mess every year. Keselowski wrecked from the front row in the 2018 Roval race with three laps remaining. In the 2019 race, he finished 5th. (4.6 fppk)
7. Ryan Blaney ($10,900) - It’s often forgotten that Blaney won the inaugural Roval race. On the second to last restart, the leaders decided to drive straight in the turn one wall. Then on the final turn of the final lap, the first and second place cars wrecked each other. Blaney was the last man standing. (4.0 fppk)
8. Joey Logano ($9,300) - He hasn’t been that great at road courses over the last several seasons. Since 2018, his average road finish is 19th. His best finish at a road course over the last three seasons is 10th. (3.6 fppk)
9. Kyle Busch ($9,500) - This is a must win, and if anyone can thrive in a must win situation, it’s Kyle Busch. Unfortunately, he doesn’t care about the playoffs. Fortunately, all he cares about is getting a win this season. Busch has not had good results at the Charlotte Roval or the Daytona Roval. (3.4 fppk)
10. William Byron ($8,600) - He has a top 10 finish in each of the last three road course races. Byron finished 19th in the 2019 Sonoma race, but Byron was point racing and stayed out to earn stage points. He was buried in traffic in stage 3, and earned a finish much worse than what he deserved. (3.6 fppk)
11. Clint Bowyer ($8,800) - This is “must win week two” for Bowyer. It might be bigger than just staying in the playoffs. He might need a win to save his career. A win could help Bowyer get an extension at SHR or could help him get the 88 car. The other rides that are available are a considerable step down, and for all intents and purposes, spell the end of his career. (3.8 fppk)
12. Alex Bowman ($9,000) - His stats are strange and point to one of the inherent problems with road racing. Stages make half of the race absolutely meaningless. Bowman finished much better than where he ran at the DRC and at the Roval because he cruised in stage one and two. (3.7 fppk)
13. Jimmie Johnson ($9,100) - The Hendrick cars have been very strong at the road courses over the last several seasons. Johnson has a top 10 finish at every roval type track. He has also spent this season preparing to go road racing every week in the 2021 Indycar season. (3.6 fppk)
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,700) - He’s starting dead last and his price isn’t crazy, but can he road race? In his last seven road races, he has six top 20 finishes. His average finish is 19th. If he finishes 19th, that’s almost 7x. Dare we call Stenhouse “chalk” this week? (2.8 fppk)
15. Christopher Bell ($7,500) - It’s like it’s spring all over again. Bell is starting in the back, but he’s only $7,500. DFS players were fine spending $9,000 on Bell in the back. Last season in the Xfinity series, Bell won at Road America by beating out superior road course racers A.J. Allmendinger and Austin Cindric. (3.3 fppk)
16. Kurt Busch ($8,400) - His stat sheet is not littered with road course wins, but few drivers regularly win at road courses. Busch is a top road course racer based on his consistent top 10 finishes. This week, he has nothing to lose. He’s locked into the next round, so Busch can take chances on the track and on pit road. (3.7 fppk)
17. Ryan Newman ($6,400) - This is as cheap as Newman has ever been. The closest that he’s been to this price point was the 2017 Bristol night race ($6,600). Not only is he cheap, but he’ll go under owned because of several place differential plays. This is for GPPs only, but he can reasonably hit 6x. (3.5 fppk)
18. Aric Almirola ($7,800) - This is “must win week two” for Almirola. While Bowyer is a good road racer and has a chance, Almirola is not and does not. The only way that Almirola advances is chaos, and that can happen at the Charlotte Roval. (4.2 fppk)
19. James Davison ($5,500) - The punt du jour is a road ringer, if there is such a thing anymore. Davison actually thought he could win at the Daytona Road Course in a Rick Ware car. He skipped a crucial Indy 500 practice in order to race at Daytona. His confidence was a little over-the-top, but he did finish 21st in a Rick Ware car. (2.0 fppk)
20. Chris Buescher ($6,900) - It’s hard to ignore his road track results. Buescher may not be known as a road course wiz, but that might be an oversight. He won an Xfinity road race, and he has been solid in the Cup series. (4.4 fppk)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.