This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix
Location: Austin, Texas
Course: Circuit of the Americas
Format: 3.41-mile road course
A visit to Austin Texas and the Circuit of the Americas this week will be the first road course race of the season for the NASCAR Cup Series. Chase Elliott won the water-logged race last season, but the Hendrick Motorsports driver is the only driver among his teammates without a win this season. He has a great opportunity to change that this week, however, which should make fantasy players happy. Elliott has asserted himself as the dominant driver on road courses over the past few seasons and now claims seven total road course wins in his career. He'll have plenty of competition, though. Chase Briscoe sits atop the point standings heading into this week's battle, and many of the heaviest hitters in the garage have yet to make a trip to Victory Lane in 2022 and will be gunning to do so this week at COTA.
Key Stats at Circuit of the Americas
- Number of races: 1
- Winners from pole: 0
- Winners from top-5 starters: 0
- Winners from top-10 starters: 1
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
- Fastest race: 59.024 mph
Previous COTA Winners
2021 - Chase Elliott
Circuit of the America's is a long 3.41-mile road course comprising 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 with a surface wide enough to allow drivers to try passes almost anywhere. Drivers will be challenged to maximize speed down the track's long straights and out-brake their competitors into the tight turns. Most importantly, though, they'll need to remain mistake-free. Mistakes can be the biggest difference makers on road courses, and the pressure will be on to be as perfect as possible. Teams will search for mechanical grip and offer their drivers nimble machines that can get and keep their drivers out front. The new car was designed with road course racing in mind, too. This circuit's long lap distance also opens the door to differing pit strategies. 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 factor to Sunday's outcome.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
A win this week would place Elliott (DK $10,500, FD $14,000) equal with Tony Stewart at second on NASCAR's all-time road course winner's list at eight. Before last year's trip to the Charlotte road course, he had a streak going of five consecutive top-five finishes on road courses. He won this race last season after leading just five laps. Fantasy players may know him as this year's Daytona 500 winner, but Austin Cindric (DK $9,500, FD $11,000) may also be one of the most promising rookies in the series on road courses. He comes to Cup with Xfinity Series road course wins at Daytona, Watkins Glen, Indianapolis, Road America and Mid-Ohio. He also entered three Cup Series road course races last season and led two of them. Cindric should be a top consideration this week. Backing him up is his teammate Joey Logano (DK $9,100, FD $12,000), who won at Sonoma in 2015. He finished third in this race last season, leading 14 laps. Don't ignore AJ Allmendinger (DK $8,800, FD $10,800) on these tracks. He typically tries the Cup races on road courses and won one at Indianapolis last year. Another driver who typically outperforms normal fantasy expectations on road courses is Michael McDowell (DK $6,200, FD $7,500). He has three top-10s in his career at these tracks, including a seventh-place finish in this race last season. Lastly, fantasy players shouldn't overlook Kaz Grala (DK $5,900, FD $4,500). He substituted for Austin Dillon at Daytona's road course in 2020 and drove the car to an impressive seventh-place finish.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Hendrick has another top-tier road course racer in Kyle Larson (DK $10,400, FD $13,500). Larson finished second to Elliott at this track last season and finished third or better in five of the six most recent road course races. Martin Truex Jr. (DK $9,700, FD $13,000) is also no stranger to success at these tracks. He crashed out at COTA last season, but he is a four-time road course victor. He was the dominant driver on these tracks prior to Elliott's ascension and would love to reclaim the crown. Ross Chastain (DK $8,200, FD $9,200) finished third or better the last three weeks and seems likely to join the list of first-time winners this season. His chance could come this week at the track at which he finished fourth at last season. Kevin Harvick (DK $8,000, FD $8,000) has shown some competitiveness with this new car early, too. He has three finishes of 12th or better from the first five races. He last won on a road course at Sonoma in 2017. He is a capable top-10 option at a bargain price this week. Road courses are another type of circuit where Erik Jones (DK $7,400, FD $6,800) can outperform expectations with his smaller team. He finished in the top 20 in all but one road course stop last year and picked up two top-10 finishes (including the Busch Clash) while doing so, too. Cole Custer (DK $6,000, FD $5,000) will pull double duty this week in the Xfinity Series to gain track time. He only has one road course top-10 from 10 tries in the series, but he did finish in the top 20 in all seven road course races last season.