DFS NASCAR: EchoPark Texas Grand Prix

DFS NASCAR: EchoPark Texas Grand Prix

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

EchoPark Texas Grand Prix

Location: Austin, Texas
Course: Circuit of the Americas
Format: 3.41-mile road course
Laps: 68

Race Preview

The NASCAR Cup Series and fantasy players face another unknown this week with the series visiting Circuit of the Americas for the first time in NASCAR competition. The unique road course has hosted Formula 1, IndyCar, and other series, but this is the first time the Cup Series will tackle the 20-turn circuit. Alex Bowman scored his second win of the season last week at Dover, making him just the second driver this season to win multiple races. The win would normally have helped his starting spot for this week's race, but with the many unknowns of a new circuit there is practice and qualifying before Sunday's race, Saturday's weather took away much of the dry track time teams and drivers would have been hoping for. Christopher Bell won the only road course race so far this season, and what could potentially unfold this weekend could be as unpredictable as many of the races we've seen already this year. 

Key Stats at Circuit of the Americas

  • Number of races: 0
  • Winners from pole: 0
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 0
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 0
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
  • Fastest race: N/A

Previous 10 Road Course Winners

2021 Daytona Road Course - Christopher Bell
2020 Daytona Road Course - Chase Elliott
2020 Charlotte ROVAL - Chase Elliott
2019 Charlotte ROVAL - Chase Elliott
2019 Watkins Glen International - Chase Elliott
2019 Sonoma Raceway - Martin Truex Jr.
2018 Charlotte ROVAL - Ryan Blaney
2018 Watkins Glen International - Chase Elliott
2018 Sonoma Raceway - Martin Truex Jr.
2017 Watkins Glen International - Martin Truex Jr.

Circuit of the America's is a 3.41-mile road course with 20 turns that are modeled after some of the most famous corners from circuits across the globe. The track features significant elevation changes and a mixture of slow and fast corners. Drivers will be challenged to hit their braking points and maximize speed down the track's long straights, and they'll need to remain mistake free for 68 laps. Teams will be working to maximize mechanical grip and offer their driver a nimble machine that can get and keep their driver out front. The long lap distance could mean this becomes a race of strategy. Teams can virtually pit whenever they want without the risk of losing a lap to the leaders, and maximizing time on track with fresh tires and little traffic could be the key in determining Sunday's winner.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,600
Chase Elliott - $10,500
Kyle Larson - $10,200
Denny Hamlin - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Kyle Busch - $9,900
Kevin Harvick - $9,700
Joey Logano - $9,500
William Byron - $9,200

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Alex Bowman - $8,900
Austin Cindric - $8,700
AJ Allmendinger - $8,500
Christopher Bell - $8,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Kurt Busch - $8,100
Erik Jones - $7,500
Chris Buescher - $6,900
Daniel Suarez - $6,600

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,600
Chase Elliott - $10,500
Austin Cindric - $8,700
AJ Allmendinger - $8,500
Daniel Suarez - $6,600
James Davison - $5,000

Martin Truex Jr. (DK $10,600, FD $14,000) not only has been one of the best drivers this season, but he is also one of the best in the series on road courses. In his career Truex has won at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen and was 12th on Daytona's infield course earlier this season. Chase Elliott (DK $10,500, FD $14,500) recently grabbed the road-course favorite crown from Truex. He had a streak of four consecutive road course wins going until 2021. Five total road course wins make him one of the obvious favorites this week. Another driver that can get it done on these types of tracks is Penske Racing's Austin Cindric (DK $8,700, FD $8,200). He is running a handful of Cup Series races this year before joining full time in 2022, and Texas is a place he might spring a surprise. He was in the top 20 speeds in Saturday's wet practice and is a prove winner on the road courses in Xfinity competition. Fans also know AJ Allmendinger's (DK $8,500, FD $8,000) capabilities on these types of tracks. He won at Watkins Glen in 2014 and was seventh at Daytona earlier this year. Daniel Suarez (DK $6,600, FD $7,300) is in nice form with three finishes of 16th or better in the last five races. He has a pair of top-five finishes at Watkins Glen and was 16th at Daytona this season. James Davison (DK $5,000, FD $3,000) is not a driver that normally would appear in the lower-risk lineup, but his road course experience makes him a choice fantasy players will want to keep an eye on. He has finished better than where he started in all three of his Cup Series starts on these tracks with wins in Indy Lights and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Denny Hamlin - $10,100
Kyle Busch - $9,900
Kurt Busch - $8,100
Erik Jones - $7,500
Michael McDowell - $7,400
Austin Dillon - $7,000

Denny Hamlin (DK $10,100, FD $13,000) hasn't won yet in 2021, but a visit to a new road course might be the situation he needs to break that seal. He has a win at Watkins Glen and finished third on the Daytona Road Course earlier this year. Teammate Kyle Busch (DK $9,900, FD $12,500) is another driver that could benefit from this week's unknown course. Busch won the pole for Saturday's Xfinity Series race and was fourth fastest in Cup practice. He has wins at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, and he also won the Busch Clash on the road course earlier this season. Brother Kurt Busch (DK $8,100, FD $9,000) is also no slouch on road courses. He tends to race his way to the front, and if he can stay mistake free he should be capable of a top-10 finish. He won at Sonoma in 2010 and enters this week's race with back to back fourth-place finishes on road courses. Erik Jones (DK $7,500, FD $6,000) has three top-fives and six top-10s from 11 series road course starts. These are the types of tracks where Jones and his Richard Petty Motorsports equipment can compete on a more equal footing with the bigger teams. Fantasy players have come to expect Michael McDowell (DK $7,400, FD $8,500) outperform on road courses. He has back-to-back top-10 finishes on these tracks heading into this weekend's race. Austin Dillon (DK $7,000, FD $6,000) rounds out the higher-risk selections as a potential top-20 finisher. He has six top-20s on road courses from 16 career tries.

Also, here's CJ's visit with Prime Sports Network to preview the race:

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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