NASCAR DFS:  EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

NASCAR DFS: EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

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
Laps: 68

NASCAR EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix Race Preview

Joey Logano dominated last week's superspeedway affair at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning his first race of the season. He will now seek to carry that momentum into this week's totally different challenge at Circuit of the Americas. This weekend's EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix will be the first road course visit of the season and the first of six road course visits this season including the first street circuit visit scheduled for Chicago. It will be the third time the NASCAR Cup Series races on this particular track with the inaugural rain-plagued event won by Chase Elliott. Ross Chastain announced his 2022 championship bid with his first series victory at the track last season, and many drivers will hope to emulate that coming out party for themselves this week.

Chevrolet dominated the early races this season with Ford finally breaking that hold last week at Atlanta. Anything can happen on a road course and the ability to win on these tracks has grown throughout the garage, especially with the introduction of the current generation of car last season. There are no fewer than 12 prior road course winners entered this weekend, and there were three new road course winners last season alone. Elliott, who was once dominant on road courses, remains sidelined through injury, but the remaining road course aces will be facing significantly greater competition this week than they have in the past.

Key Stats at Circuit of the Americas

  • Number of races: 2
  • 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: 70.253 mph

Previous COTA Winners

2022 - Ross Chastain
2021 - Chase Elliott

NASCAR has introduced a new rules package for road courses this season, and teams will get some extra practice to get used to the new components this week. That extra track time will be beneficial as the drivers continue to come to grips with this long 3.41-mile road course. The track features 20 turns modeled after some famous corners from tracks around the globe. Its significant elevation changes and a mixture of slow and fast corners with a surface wide enough to allow drivers to try passes almost anywhere makes for some great racing and limits some of the processional races typically seen at other road courses. Maximizing speed down the track's long straights and then braking later into the tight corners will be the aim for teams looking to move forward through the running order. Track position and work on pit road remain vital components to sucess, though. Mistakes can be the biggest difference makers on road courses with drive-through penalties being more costly due to both a long pit road and a loss of track position. This circuit's long lap distance also opens the door for teams to try different 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 factor into Sunday's outcome.

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DraftKings Value Picks for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kyle Larson - $10,400
Kyle Busch - $10,200
Ross Chastain - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Tyler Reddick - $9,900
AJ Allmendinger - $9,700
William Byron - $9,500
Christopher Bell - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Austin Cindric - $8,800
Alex Bowman - $8,600
Denny Hamlin - $8,500
Chase Briscoe - $8,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Jordan Taylor - $7,500
Jimmie Johnson - $7,300
Kimi Raikkonen - $7,000
Ty Gibbs - $6,600

NASCAR DFS Picks for the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Larson - $10,400
AJ Allmendinger - $9,700
Austin Cindric - $8,800
Chase Briscoe - $8,300
Ty Gibbs - $6,600
Justin Haley - $6,200

Kyle Larson (DK $10,400, FD $14,000) again tops the selections for this week's race. With Elliott out, Larson is arguably the top road course competitor among the remaining full-time series drivers. He started and finished second at this track in the rain but didn't fare as well last season with a 29th-place finish after crashing during one of the restarts. That shouldn't deter fantasy players from choosing him this week, though. AJ Allmendinger (DK $9,700, FD $12,000) should be another top choice. He has proven he can win on road courses even on a part-time schedule, but this year he is back to full-time Cup competition. Allmendinger remains one of the favorites to win every time this series visits a road course. Team Penske's Austin Cindric (DK $8,800, FD $11,000) could use this week to boost his early-season form. Cindric was one of the best road course racers in the Xfinity Series, and he proved he can be a contender at the front in Cup, too. He led laps in both series races at this track and finished eighth in last year's visit. Fantasy players looking for a lesser known name that could join the cadre of road course aces should look no further than Chase Briscoe (DK $8,300, FD $8,200). Briscoe scored a top-10 in the first COTA visit and then led two laps in last years race before a failed tire left him to finish 30th. Another Xfinity road course contender now full time in this series is Ty Gibbs (DK $6,600, FD $5,500). He is still getting up to speed in this series but this week's track could be a chance for him to get a quick boost. He won his first career Xfinity race on his debut at Daytona's road course. That may be a stretch to repeat this week in Cup, but a potential top-10 finish is a very real possibility. Finally, Justin Haley (DK $6,200, FD $4,800) will have a lot of work ahead of him this week to turn around his challenging start to 2023, but he finished 15th at this track last season. Another top-15 this week would go a long way in righting that ship.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Ross Chastain - $10,100
Tyler Reddick - $9,900
Daniel Suarez - $9,000
Jimmie Johnson - $7,300
Kimi Raikkonen - $7,000
Austin Dillon - $6,400

There are a number of ways to go a little more risky this week. Ross Chastain (DK $10,100, FD $13,000) would be a good way to anchor that direction, too. He won here last season in an inspiring drive and has made himself a consistent face among the top runners at nearly every track since then. Tyler Reddick (DK $9,900, FD $12,500) also serves to balance some of the bigger longshots in this lineup. Reddick won on two road courses last season and is bound to be a contender again this week with finishes of ninth and fifth from his two starts at the track. Daniel Suarez (DK $9,000, FD $10,500) could be another nice option. He won at Sonoma last season and led 15 laps in this race last year. He hasn't had the best finishes at this track, but that Sonoma success along with laps led at COTA suggest that may just be an anomaly. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson (DK $7,300, FD $6,200) is making his series return this week. He was one of the best in the series and is working to get back in the groove before representing NASCAR at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Jenson Button, who also could make a nice longshot option this week. Johnson's last series win came in 2017 and he should be a reliable race finisher with top-15 potential. One that could really surprise is Kimi Raikkonen (DK $7,000, FD 6,000$). Raikkonen got a taste of Cup competition last season at Watkins Glen. He ran as high s eighth place in that race despite starting 27th. That day ended early after getting nudged into the barriers on a restart, though. Raikkonen knows this track, and it wouldn't come as a shock to see his name among the top 10 again. Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon (DK $6,400, FD $5,000) rounds out the selections with finishes of 12th and 10th in the two races at this track so far. He is another value option that should deliver top-15 points.

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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