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. Stewart Friesen ($10,400) — He’s the most accomplished dirt racer in the field, but that didn’t seem to matter too much at Bristol. He ran the third-most laps inside the top 5 in the Bristol dirt race, but he was supposed to lead the most laps.
2. Chase Briscoe ($11,000) — He finished fifth after starting 33rd in the Bristol dirt race. Despite the poor starting position, he had the fifth-highest driver rating. Briscoe honed his skills on dirt tracks growing up. He has finished first, second, and third in the last three El Dora races.
3. John Hunter Nemechek ($9,900) — KBM won the dirt race at Bristol, but it wasn’t with Nemechek. He got wrecked early in the race. It’s a Truck Series dirt race, even the best drivers in the best equipment can fail. This is a good week to be contrarian.
4. Grant Enfinger ($8,500) — Here is the weekly entry list check; Enfinger is racing for ThorSport at Iowa. At Bristol, Enfinger finished sixth with an average running position of seventh running for ThorSport. In four dirt races, Enfinger has never finished worse than sixth.
5. Donny Schatz ($10,700) — He’s kind of a big deal. Schatz earned his 300th World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win last month. He’ll be right at home on dirt and he should have his Niece truck tuned up pretty well after practice. Dirt ringers have fared well in the past at El Dora, so it would not be surprising to see Schatz win at Knoxville.
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6. Brian Brown ($10,100) — The #51 KBM truck won at Bristol with a driver that was not an experienced dirt racer and a crew chief with limited experience in ARCA dirt races. Brown has 65 sprint car wins at Knoxville, so he should be an upgrade for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
7. Todd Gilliland ($8,900) — All of that positive momentum that Front Row Motorsports and David Gilliland Racing have built might not mean anything this week, but then again, it might. Gilliland’s fourth place finish at Bristol was not a surprise given his dirt racing background.
8. Ben Rhodes ($9,300) — Before Bristol, Rhodes had never finished better than 14th in a dirt race. At Bristol, Rhodes finished second despite having a 15th place truck in practice. That’s the problem with NASCAR dirt racing — it’s borderline plate racing on dirt.
9. Sheldon Creed ($9,700) — On one hand, Creed is a former Stadium Super Trucks driver, so he should be good on dirt. On the other hand, his average finish in a NASCAR dirt race is 16th. If he looks good in practice, then he’ll be in play, but he’s worth a fade if he becomes too popular.
10. Matt Crafton ($9,100) — The story goes that when Crafton found out that the Trucks Series was going to regularly dirt race, he went out and bought a sprint car, so he could gain experience. In 2017, the purchase paid off, and Crafton won at El Dora.
11. Carson Hocevar ($6,600) — The Bristol dirt race was one of Hocevar’s worst finishes this season. It was definitely his most disappointing. As a dirt racer, he expected to do better than 21st place at Bristol, but anything can happen in a Truck Series dirt race where the average green flag run is seven laps.
12. Hailie Deegan ($6,800) — She has a dirt racing background, but like other dirt racing experts, it didn’t seem to matter at Bristol. Knoxville is an actual dirt track, so experience might matter, but the early reports are that Knoxville wasn’t the best track selection and NASCAR should have stuck with El Dora.
13. Zane Smith ($8,100) — He’s not a dirt racer, but neither were Martin Truex (Bristol Truck Series winner) or Joey Logano (Bristol Cup Series winner). Smith had a good GMS truck and he finished seventh at Bristol. Why can’t he earn another top 10 finish on dirt?
14. Austin Hill ($8,700) — He wasn’t supposed to be a dirt racer, but he earned a top 10 finish at Bristol. Anything can happen in a race with 12 cautions, and that’s par for the course. El Dora averages nine cautions per race.
15. Austin Wayne Self ($5,400) — In four dirt track Truck Series races, AWS has three top 10 finishes. His worst finish was an 18th place finish at El Dora in 2018. The field for the Knoxville race is not littered with the who’s who of dirt racing. It’s the normal field on a level playing field.
16. Jessica Friesen ($6,200) — Rain canceled the heat races at Bristol, so Freisen did not qualify for the race. In the Bristol practice she looked comfortable and ran the 19th fastest lap in the first practice. A top 20 finish is very much a possibility in a Halmar Friesen Racing truck.
17. Tanner Gray ($7,400) — This race is not loaded with talent. The Truck Series regulars should be able to hold their own in this race. If Gray keeps his nose clean, then he can earn a top 15 in a DGR truck just like he did at Bristol.
18. Chandler Smith ($7,800) — He was involved in four incidents at Bristol. It’s a dirt race and he’s not a dirt racer, these things happen. If Smith can limit the mistakes or just avoid bad luck, then he should be able to earn a top 10 finish. He was knocking on the door of the top 10 before a lap 34 incident derailed his day.
19. Ryan Truex ($5,300) — The 2021 Truck Series season was Truex’s last chance to save his career. It’s not looking good, but It’s not over yet; anything can happen in a wild dirt race. This is his lowest price of the season, and if he can repeat his Bristol performance (20th place finish), then he’ll likely end up in the winning lineup.
20. Tate Fogleman ($4,900) — If Truck Series races are wild and unpredictable, then why pay high prices for drivers? Foglemen finished 23rd in his first ever Truck Series dirt race at Bristol. A top 25 from a sub $5,000 driver is more than acceptable.
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