Yeehaw! It's time for NASCAR Cup Series drivers to strap in their saddles and drive 550 horses (er, horsepower) at Texas Motor Speedway. Get your NASCAR DraftKings rosters ready for Sunday's (Oct. 25) second race in the Round of 8.
Just three races remain in the 2020 season: Texas, Martinsville Speedway and the Championship 4 event at Phoenix Raceway. Playoff contenders will go all out to ensure their place in the final four, while others vie for a final shot at glory. Will anyone play spoiler and surprise everyone in Sunday's event? Well, it is 2020 after all; we've already seen some shocking results.
In fact, the first Texas race this year saw a surprise winner thanks to a differing strategy call on pit road. Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick took two tires and fuel only, respectively, on their final stops, allowing them to get out in front. Dillon held off his teammate after several restarts and secured a spot in the playoffs with this victory.
So what can you learn from that when making your DraftKings lineups? Even with an upset, you'll likely need one main dominator. In six of the past seven Texas events, one driver led over 100 laps (and all finished within the top 12). Second, target some low-to-mid-tier drivers who can get good finishes after starting back in the pack. Third, look at intermediate tracks, especially the 1.5-milers, as they can help indicate who is trending upward. These steps can help set you on the path to cashing your DraftKings contests.
Remember, DraftKings awards 0.50 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 points for each lap led. Additionally, the site adds or subtracts a point for each position a driver gains or loses on track. Finally, the driver in first place scores the most points (46). Second place gets 42 DraftKings points, third gets 41, and so on. The key in daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings is not only to target the best drivers but the ones who gain the most positions from where they start. Here's a complete rundown of DraftKings' NASCAR scoring rules.
Before I share this week's picks, let's review the results from Kansas Speedway.
Matt Kenseth ended up crashing out of the race about halfway and finished last, which really set this lineup back. It would have been better if I had played Kevin Harvick instead of Denny Hamlin, as he scored 95.75 fantasy points.
You needed 230.25 points to double your money in the $1 single entry double-up last week, while 276 points earned $1.59 in the $1 Happy Hour tournament.
Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Plays/Sample Lineup for Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick ($11,000)
Career at Texas: 35 starts, 3 wins, 12 top fives, 23 top 10s
Average finish at Texas: 10.2
I obviously have to start with the driver who won this race three years in a row and is a strong favorite to win again. Harvick dominated this event the past two years, leading 119 laps in 2019 and 177 in 2018. Additionally, he recorded the largest number of fastest laps in each race (67 in 2019; 83 in 2018). Though notching just 22 quickest laps in July, Harvick paced the field for 40 circuits and continued his lengthy top-10 streak.
The 2014 Cup champion's Texas prowess mimics his 2020 performance as The Closer's closed the deal nine times across multiple track types. Last week at Kansas, Harvick led 85 circuits and etched out 61 fastest laps. It was his strongest showing since last month's race at Bristol Motor Speedway and was what he needed to garner some momentum for this week.
Harvick will pilot the No. 4 Ford from the pole position, which gives him another chance to dominate again. While the point leader is the most expensive driver on DraftKings, he should be worth it this week.
Alex Bowman ($9,100)
Career at Texas: 10 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Texas: 25.6
Texas hasn't been the best track for Bowman, despite his strength on 1.5-mile facilities. However, last year he earned a track-best fifth-place result. He also nearly earned a top 10 earlier this season, remaining in contention through most of the July race. A good day turned sour around lap 319 when Hamlin got loose and slid up underneath Bowman, sending him sideways. Bowman ended up hitting the wall hard, causing too much damage to continue on in the race.
Still, the Hendrick Motorsports wheelman has shown some speed and finished well the last couple of months. At the past two intermediates (Kansas and Las Vegas Motor Speedway) Bowman recorded 20 fastest laps and finished third and fifth in each race, respectively. These results netted him over 50 fantasy points on DraftKings — great value for his salaries at the time.
If Bowman can keep this pattern going, it would produce another high score on DraftKings. Don't hesitate to add him to the roster.
Erik Jones ($8,900)
Career at Texas: 8 starts, 0 wins, 3 top fives, 6 top 10s
Average finish at Texas: 9.0
Jones has done well at this course so far, as he's posted six consecutive top 10s, including a trio of fourth-place finishes. Perhaps even more noteworthy (for daily fantasy purposes) is he's led 110 total laps so far at Texas. 64 laps came in the spring of 2018, tacking on 30 more the following year. Jones also recorded at least 10 quickest laps in half of his starts.