NASCAR DFS Trucks:  NextEra Energy 250

NASCAR DFS Trucks: NextEra Energy 250

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

NextEra Energy 250

Location: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Course: Daytona International Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 100

NASCAR Trucks NextEra Energy 250 Race Preview

The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series kicks off the 2023 season this week at the Daytona International Speedway with the NextEra Energy 250. Zane Smith returns to the speedway as both the defending race winner as well as the defending series champion. A win in this week's race would see him become just the second series driver to win consecutive races at Daytona. This track joined the schedule in 2000 and has since produced 20 different winners. In fact, the current stretch of different winners at the track stretches all the way back to 2017. Entrants this weekend including Johnny Sauter, Grant Enfinger, and Ben Rhodes join Smith as prior Daytona winners. This is the weekend the 2023 campaign gets underway, and pulling into Victory Lane at Daytona would be the ideal start for any team on their march to the championship.

Key Stats at Daytona International Speedway

  • Number of races: 23
  • Winners from pole: 4
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 9
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 13
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
  • Fastest race: 146.622 mph

Previous 10 Daytona Winners

2022 - Zane Smith
2021 - Ben Rhodes
2020 - Grant Enfinger
2019 - Austin Hill
2018 - Johnny Sauter
2017 - Kaz Grala
2016 - Johnny Sauter
2015 - Tyler Reddick
2014 - Kyle Busch
2013 - Johnny Sauter

Daytona International Speedway is a fast high-banked superspeedway where drivers aim to avoid trouble to race at the finish for the win. The short race distance for the Trucks means they can't wait too long to make their move, though. The power of Daytona's draft means that starting position is less important here than many other tracks, and the more important thing will be to make adjustments during the race to improve position. Drivers will need to quickly assess where they need changes to their vehicles to make passes in the draft and move to the front of the field. Teams then need to make the most of those changes in the early pit stops to ensure their driver can move into position early enough to fight for the victory at the finish. The last two series Daytona races were won by drivers starting outside of the top 20. Both of those races saw a significant number of cautions, too. Extra caution periods could give teams behind the ball at the start more chances to make the adjustments that would give them a chance for the win at the finish. However, avoiding being involved in those cautions is first step to success at Daytona.

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DraftKings Value Picks for the NextEra Energy 250 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Chase Elliott - $10,600
Zane Smith - $10,300
Ty Majeski - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Ben Rhodes - $9,900
Matt DiBenedetto - $9,700
Grant Enfinger - $9,300
Corey Heim - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Stewart Friesen - $8,900
Carson Hocevar - $8,700
Christian Eckes - $8,600
Tyler Ankrum - $8,400

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Hailie Deegan - $7,400
Derek Kraus - $7,100
Nick Sanchez - $6,600
Timmy Hill - $5,200

NASCAR DFS Picks for the NextEra Energy 250

Zane Smith - $10,300
Matt DiBenedetto - $9,700
Carson Hocevar - $8,700
Matt Crafton - $8,200
Nick Sanchez - $6,600
Colby Howard - $6,400

Zane Smith may be one of NASCAR's next big stars. He won the Truck Series championship last season and started off his 2023 by qualifying for Sunday's Daytona 500. He won this race last season and has the experience to get to the finish and perhaps take the win again Friday night. He is not just a contender to win this week's race, but should be a contender for the championship again as well. Matt DiBenedetto embarks on his second full-time season in the series. He progressed last season and will be hunting for wins and more consistency this year. He started 23rd and finished 10th in this race last season, which was good return for fantasy players that were wise enough to choose him. Another driver that impressed last season was Carson Hocevar. He went winless in 2022 but did enough to make the playoffs. He is a prime candidate to get that elusive win in 2023, though. He finished inside the top 10 in both series starts at Daytona and was fifth in the 2021 edition. Hocevar is another experienced driver fantasy players should consider this week. Veteran Matt Crafton is never one to count out. He also went winless in 2022, but with two top-fives and eight top-10s from 22 Daytona starts, he is a safer option to add to many rosters this week. Those players looking for a bit more risk than Crafton might want to consider Rajah Caruth, though. Caruth was fastest in Thursday's practice and 2023 will be his first full-time foray into the series. Another up and coming driver fantasy players may want to consider is Nick Sanchez. He finished first practice impressively at sixth quickest, and made eight Xfinity Series starts in 2022 with one top-10 finish. Rounding out the selections for Friday's race is Colby Howard, who will make his second Daytona start. He crashed out of this race last year but went on to collect three top-10 finishes through the remainder of the 2022 season.

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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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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