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.
The DraftKings Toyota Tundra 225 slate locks at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.
1. John Hunter Nemechek ($10,400) - The Daytona Road Course race was his to win, but his team got cute with pit strategy and ran out of fuel. Nemechek battled back from being laps down to finish third. He has a win and a second place finish in Truck Series road course races at Bowmanville (Canada).
2. Sheldon Creed ($10,300) - He won the 2020 Daytona Road Course race, and possibly could have won the 2021 Daytona Road Course race, but Stage 3 was filled with cautions. The race ended under a series of restarts and short runs and Creed couldn’t wrestle the lead away from Ben Rhodes ($10,100).
3. Paul Menard ($9,600) - Practice will tell us everything we need to know about Menard. His truck should be fine and he should be able to knock the rust off in the Friday session. Stage 1 and Stage 2 might as well be practice, too. All he has to do is turn it on in Stage 3. He’s won at a road course before (Road America 2015).
4. Kaz Grala ($9,500) - It’s now become obvious that Kaz Grala is a really good road racer. He finished eighth in the Daytona Road Course truck race in February, seventh in the 2020 DRC Cup race and third at Bowmanville in 2017. His equipment isn’t great, but his equipment wasn’t great in any of those finishes, either.
5. Parker Chase ($9,100) - The No. 51 KBM truck will be popular because it is always popular. At the Daytona Road Course, Chase aggressively drove through the field. Unfortunately, that same aggressive driving put him in a risky position in the bus stop and another driver’s mistake ruined his day.
6. Chandler Smith ($8,000) - Stage 3 was a nightmare at the Daytona Road Course. Every restart was another pile up. Smith ran inside the top five for most of Stage 3, but he was not immune to the chaos. Fate called his number on the second to last restart, and Smith ended up finishing 12th.
7. Parker Kligerman ($8,900) - Most of the drivers are in over their heads this weekend. Road courses are too much for these inexperienced oval drivers. The Circuit of the Americas is a technical and difficult track that will melt the Truck Series drivers’ minds. Kligerman is a wheelman, and while the others are wrecking or running at half speed, he’ll be slicing through the field.
8. Matt Crafton ($9,900) - It’s possible that Crafton is just one caution or pit cycle away from leading laps in this race. He’s been a top five driver in most of his past road course races. The biggest flaw in this theory is that Nemechek and Creed are very fast.
9. Derek Kraus ($7,500) - In the 2020 Daytona Road Course, Kraus tried to race and wrecked. In the 2021 race, Kraus took it easy for the first two stages, and turned it on in Stage 3. He drove from 26th to seventh in just 11 green flag laps.
10. Stewart Friesen ($8,100) - Dirt track racers do not have an advantage over the rest of the field, but good trucks do. Freisen has finished 11th or better in all four of his road course races. That’s exactly what his truck should do in these fields.
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11. Todd Gilliland ($8,400) - The stat sheet does not look very impressive for Gilly, but if you dig deeper you’ll realize that his fourth place finish at this season’s Daytona Road Course race was not a surprise. Gilliland should have won the 2018 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race, but his teammate wrecked him at the end.
12. Ben Rhodes ($10,100) - The Daytona Road Course race played out perfectly for Rhodes. He moved to the front via the typical road course stage racing cycling. Stage 3 was nothing but cautions, so Rhodes never had to defend his lead on a multiple lap run. Rhodes was great on restarts and that’s all the Daytona Road Course race was.
13. Zane Smith ($9,300) - This might be too risky of a pick for most, but Smith will be aggressive and will battle for the win or a DNF. At Daytona last season, Smith missed the first turn. This year, he spun out at the beginning of the race, but he was back to second place by the middle of Stage 2.
14. Johnny Sauter ($7,700) - Most of the field is going to take it easy, but Sauter never does. In the two Daytona Road Course races, he was one of the most aggressive drivers in the bus stops. It’s top five or bust for Sauter at COTA.
15. Grant Enfinger ($8,700) - This is a Rohrbaugh truck, but with the stage breaks, Enfinger should have an opportunity to race for a top 10 at the end. It’s pure speculation, but Enfinger is happy to piece together a full-time racing schedule this season, so it would behoove him to be conservative and take care of Rohrbauh’s truck. This approach can earn a top 10 while the rest of the maniacs wreck around him.
16. Christian Eckes ($8,300) - The GMS trucks always deserve a look, but Eckes has not lived up to expectations in his young career. Still, he’s a decent driver with a great team and solid equipment. With the formatting and frequency of cautions, the best driver does not necessarily win road course truck races (Ben Rhodes 2021 DRC win).
17. Michele Abbate ($6,500) - She’s one of the most experienced COTA racers in the field, but one race is enough to qualify for that credential. Abbate earned a second place finish at COTA in the 2020 Trans Am West Coast Championship Series race.
18. Sam Mayer ($8,500) - In the 2021 Daytona Road Course race, Mayer was closing in on a top five finish, but the late race restarts got the better of him. He won’t be in a GMS truck this weekend, but his Holmes truck did not hold him back at Richmond (ninth place finish).
19. Carson Hocevar ($7,900) - Each week Hocevar and his team take a small step forward. Hocevar finished 14th in the Daytona Road Course race. While that might not seem impressive, he finished, and that’s more than a lot of drivers can say.
20. Jack Wood ($5,400) - It’s a GMS truck — that’s good — but who is Jack Wood? He’s a GMS ARCA driver being given a shot at COTA. Presumably no one else wanted this race. Wood has started one NASCAR road race at Sonoma and it was unexceptional. If Wood is smart, he takes it easy in Stage 1 and Stage 2, then avoids the mayhem in Stage 3. This could be an easy top 15 finish.
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