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 the value of each driver.
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1. Martin Truex Jr. ($10,600) - Chase Elliott has been great at road courses, but Truex has been great longer. Truex has been the best driver with the best car in the last two road course races, self inflicted wounds have cost him wins. If Truex can stop shooting himself in the foot, then he can dominate this race.
2. Chase Elliott ($10,500) - A questionable caution in stage 3 of the Daytona Road Course race led to restart damage. If stage three stayed green like it should have, then Elliott would have won his 6th road course race.
3. Denny Hamlin ($10,100) - He went into the 2020 Daytona Road Course race cold, and he won. DFS fans are likely making too much of the scheduled practice session this weekend. A one hour session at a road course is just enough time to make sure that the car is not broken; it’s not a tune up session. The drivers are going in cold, again.
4. Kevin Harvick ($9,700) - It’s comical that NASCAR scheduled one practice session for the COTA race. Drivers can run a couple laps, make small setup changes, then run two or three more laps and that’s it. Harvick knows that he needs more reps, so he’s running the Xfinity race at COTA.
5. Kyle Busch ($9,900) - A one hour practice session is not a lot of time, but Kyle Busch will take what he can get. Actually, he will get a little more than an hour because he is running the Xfinity race as well. Busch won the Clash at the Daytona Road Course, so this could be his second road course win of the season.
6. Ryan Blaney ($9,100) - He’s not a part of the elite road racers, but he does have a win at the Roval in 2018. It was a lucky win, but Blaney put himself in position to be lucky. COTA is a technical track, and the most similar would be Sonoma. In the last Sonoma race, Blaney finished 3rd.
7. Joey Logano ($9,500) - In the last two road course races, Logano has been the runner up. He did not have the best car in either of those races, but that doesn’t matter in the era stage of racing. These races tend to be more about pit stops than executing turns.
8. AJ Allmendinger ($8,500) - It’s a road course stage race. Stage one and stage two are nearly pointless. Allmendinger knows to take a spot when he can, but there is no rush. By pitting before stage breaks, he can nan at least 10 spots during the race without doing anything. He’ll race smart for 80% of the race and push for 20%. This is how he won the Xfinity race at the Roval in 2019.
9. Kyle Larson ($10,200) - After the race changing caution took Elliott out of contention in the February Daytona Road Course race, Larson was in the catbird seat. Unfortunately, before he could get to the lead, he wrecked on the last turn exiting the infield section.
10. Brad Keselowski ($9,300) - He’s been a decent road racer and an almost winner in the past. Drivers and crews will have to figure out COTA quickly this weekend. Keselowksi is one of the smartest drivers in NASCAR and his crew chief won the inaugural Roval race.
11. Austin Cindric ($8,700) - This is what everyone has been waiting for. If Cindric impresses Roger Penske, then Brad Keselowski might have to take the Roush deal. If Cindric is going to be successful in this race, he’ll need to be aggressive. Fortunately, that’s all he knows. He didn’t back down at Richmond and wrecked the biggest bully in NASCAR, Ryan Newman.
12. Alex Bowman ($8,900) - Two things have happened. Bowman has improved as a road course driver and the road course schedule has been predominantly roval type races where he has excelled. This race marks a return to true road course racing, so DFS players will find out if Bowman is a good road racer or a good roval racer.
13. Kurt Busch ($8,100) - Statistically, Kurt Busch is the best road course racer in the field. Busch may not have the best car, but he’s near the top in the skills department. Every driver has to figure COTA out on the fly, and some are also figuring out road racing in general. If Busch has a decent car in practice, he could be a threat to win this race.
14. Christopher Bell ($8,300) - No one ever considered Christopher Bell a road course expert, but now, he has a Cup win at the Daytona Road Course and an Xfinity win at Road America. Maybe, he’s more of a road racer than a dirt racer.
15. Tyler Reddick ($7,200) - He’s not necessarily a road racer, but that doesn’t really matter with stage racing. In the past, the field did not reset and the good drivers gapped the bad drivers. At the start of stage 3, Reddick will be right there with everyone else, but he will have the added benefit of running the Xfinity race.
16. William Byron ($9,200) - The only race this season where Byron underwhelmed was at the Daytona Road Course. This could be his crew chief’s one weakness or we could just chalk it up to the DRC race being the second race of the season.
17. Cole Custer ($7,800) - He’s running double duty this weekend to get extra reps. It appears that Custer is either serious or desperate for results because the Ford driver is driving a Chevy for Rick Ware in the Xfinity Series.
18. Michael McDowell ($7,400) - Fake it until you make it. His experience as a teenage go kart instructor helped him with road course racing no more than my experience as a tee ball umpire prepared me to write DFS MLB articles. Either way, McDowell has become a decent road racer, and you can read my MLB articles on Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday at DK Nation.
19. Chris Buescher ($6,900) - Stage racing at road courses has been very kind to Buescher. He can’t drive through the field, but he can hold his spot. Pitting early has earned Beuscher solid road course finishes. That might not work this weekend because there are murmurs of tire fall off at COTA. Drivers that pit early might get eaten alive on restarts against fresher tires.
20. Daniel Suarez ($6,600) - A lot will be made about drivers with road racing skills, but anyone that has actually watched the road races over the last handful of years knows that this doesn’t matter much anymore. Stages level the playing field. Also, at these new road courses where drivers do not have experience, mistakes are made. Drivers do not have to be fast, they just have to limit mistakes.
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