Welcome to my breakdown of this week’s Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park! After a huge weekend at Daytona in the Cup and Xfinity series, most may not realize we have the trucks racing this weekend, so some overlay may be available on Draftkings. Let’s get started…

Track Notes

By all accounts, this is a 1.25-mile track with a unique shape. Turns 1 and 2 resemble those at New Hampshire, while turns 3 and 4 are similar to Phoenix, giving the track an egg-shape similar to Darlington. It is primarily a one-groove track, thus making passing difficult and track the position of utmost importance, whether it’s gained on pit road or restarts. Of note, none of the drivers in this field have won at Gateway in the past.

Race History

2019

  • 13 of the top 15 finishers started in the top 15.
  • 11 of 12 drivers who started worse than 20th finished worse than 20th.
  • 4 drivers had 20+ laps led. (Starting positions: 1,2,4,7)
  • 4 drivers had 10+ fastest laps. (Starting positions: 2,4,10,11)

2018

  • 9 of the top 15 finishers started in the top 15.
  • All 12 drivers who started worse than 24th finished worse than 24th.
  • 3 drivers had 30+ laps led. (Starting positions: 1,2,3)
  • 4 drivers had 10+ fastest laps. (Starting positions: 2,3,11,13)

2017

  • 14 of the top 15 finishers started in the top 15.
  • 8 of 10 drivers who started worse than 20th finished worse than 20th.
  • 2 drivers had 40+ laps led. (Starting positions: 1,2)
  • 4 drivers had 20+ fastest laps. (Starting positions: 1,2,3,6)

Lineup Construction

Based on the information above, we should be targeting a 2-3 dominator build with a focus on the top 10 potentials to fill out the rest of our lineups. It is also very likely those dominators come from within the top 10 starting positions. Place differential may be hard to come by, especially with the qualifying procedure this year.

Who I’m Targeting

$10k and above

Chandler Smith (10900) – Starting 12th. I know. I write him up every week and he continues to disappoint. Those weeks have seen Chandler have very bad luck, usually finishing poorly for reasons he can’t control. Also, it’s his first time on those tracks with no practice so the aero component may be tough to handle. However, this track is more similar to what he has succeeded in lower series. He finished 4th here last year starting 25th. He also finished 2nd in the ARCA series race here yesterday. It’s a steep price tag, so I may limit exposure, but I’ll definitely still be playing him.

Christian Eckes (10300) – Starting 7th. Eckes has been strong all year but just has not finished well. Likewise, he has the most laps led at this track (34 in 2018, 57 in 2019), but has finished outside the top 20 both times. In the ARCA Series, he has finishes of 2nd and 4th at Gateway. He should come in lower owned than some others around him, but I like him as a strong GPP pivot.

Brett Moffitt (10000) – Starting 2nd. In all 6 of the most recent Truck Series races at Gateway, the truck starting 2nd has been a top 3 lap leader. Moffitt has the 2nd fastest truck in the field and decent history here. He’s still looking for that first win of 2020 and could easily pick it up today.

*Note: Creed is starting too far back for me, and I’m not sure what to expect from him at a track like this. Sauter is 7/7 in top 5 finishes at this track but he did not race here last year and has struggled this season. Hill is a possibly good option, given the speed in his truck, but I will take the others around him and hope for the best since he has no top 10 finishes at Gateway.

$8k to $10k

Zane Smith (9500) – Starting 1st. Zane is going to be a star someday. He now has 2 wins in the past 3 races. He finished 5th at Gateway in 2018 and is still in the 3rd fastest truck in the field. I expect him to lead early and have little to no hesitation playing him and Moffitt in the same line starting on the front row since both the polesitter and second-place starter have been top 3 lap leaders in the past 3 races at Gateway.

Grant Enfinger (8600) – Starting 11th. Enfinger has the highest driver rating at Gateway over the past 2 seasons. He also led 36 laps in 2018 and 52 laps in 2019. I’ve said all year that I think he is just a 5th to 10th place truck that has lucked into a few wins. Needs 6th place to pay off. 

Derek Kraus (8200) – Starting 10th. I certainly don’t like this play as much with him starting in the top 10. However, he has consistently put himself in a position to contend for the top 5 all year long. Though he has no Truck Series experience at Gateway, he has finished 1st and 2nd in the past 2 races here in the K&N Series. Needs 6th to hit value.

$6k to $8k

Raphael Lessard (8000) – Starting 19th. Lessard always seems to be lower owned despite the fact that he is in a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck. Lately, he has been improving with 5 top 15 finishes in his past 7 races. Needs 11th for 5x value.

Sam Mayer (7500) – Starting 15th. Mayer was impressive in his Truck Series season debut last week at Dover finishing 15th. He is again in the #24 GMS Racing truck. He finished 3rd in the ARCA Series race here last night, as well as in 2019. He does need a top 10 finish to hit value, but I think he’s better than at least 5 trucks starting ahead of him.

Tyler Hill (6500) – Starting 31st. Like I said earlier, place differential may be tough to come by. However, with the new qualifying procedure, Hill has several drivers starting ahead of him with worse equipment and should be able to pass them fairly quickly. His 31st starting position is the lowest I will be considering today. Needs 21st to pay off.

May also consider: Ty Majeski (7800), Tanner Gray (7600)

$6k and below

Dawson Cram (6000) – Starting 25th. Cram is usually entered in a Boyd Long Motorsports truck and finishes 25th to 30th. This week, he is driving for his own team, Cram Family Enterprises. He does rank 1st in the field in surplus passing value this season. Not sure what to expect from him, but in the past 3 years, there has been an avg of 14 drivers finishing on the lead lap, leaving ht opportunity to move up some due to attrition.

Danny Bohn (5300) – Starting 30th. With a name like that, it’s an automatic play, right? Bohn will be driving the #15 truck normally driven by Brennan Poole. We have seen Poole drive to top 20 finishes several times this season. Only need a 23rd place finish to hit value.

Natalie Decker (4800) – Starting 29th. With the difficult passing, I love focusing on the best drivers starting closest to the front, but we don’t have the salary to do that. Natalie is the lowest-priced driver on the slate, opening up a great amount of salary. Her truck is a top 20 truck, but she ranks last of those in the field in surplus passing value. Needing only a top 25, I’m betting that she can do that.

Final Thoughts

My pool is pretty limited this week. All the other options are either starting too far toward the front, are not expected to move up much without wrecks, or are in terrible equipment. Picking the right doms will go a long way toward cashing today.

Cash Core: 2 high-priced dom options (C. Smith, Eckes, Moffitt, Z. Smith), Lessard, Decker

Favorite Pivots: Kraus, Mayer, Bohn

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@dsmaybin0308) or join the Fantasy Sports Degens slack chat. Good luck!