CRC Brakleen 150 (Truck Series)
Saturday, June 26th, 2021
Welcome, Speed Degens, to another week of NASCAR DFS breakdowns! What a packed weekend we have in store with 4 races in 2 days! Let’s kick it off with the Truck Series race on Saturday! (Note: My apologies in advance. Previews this week will be shorter due to celebrating my son’s 1st birthday with family and friends. Happy birthday, Knox!)
Drivers to Target
$10k and above
Kyle Busch (22) – You know the rule. Play Kyle Busch or fade at your own risk. Brandon Jones pulled off the win in this truck in 2020, and he’s nowhere near the talent that Busch is. He does have some traffic to work through, but as long as doesn’t get caught up in someone else’s mistake, he should be a lock for some place differential points and likely hog points as well. Even without any hog points, a win would net Kyle 10 more points than anyone else according to my projections.
John Hunter Nemechek (7) – JHN has ranked top 2 in driver rating in 8 races this season. If Busch doesn’t win, Nemechek should be right in the mix. He doesn’t provide as much place differential upside and builds with both him and Busch don’t feel comfortable, but he’s been clearly the top full-time option in 2021. He needs at least 5 hog points to achieve 5x value.
Sheldon Creed (10) – Along those same lines, Creed was fast here last year, scoring 12 hog points (most in the field) en route to a 3rd place finish. He hasn’t been himself so far in 2021, but if I’m betting on anyone to turn it on out of nowhere, it’s Creed. Playing him is a very similar situation to JHN given their similar starting position and salary.
**Note: I may consider Todd Gilliland (1) despite him starting on the pole. He has been very fast the past few weeks. In fact, despite being busted in pre-race inspection, he still had a top 5 truck at Nashville. With a top 5 finish and 15 hog points, he could pay off, but I’m still not super confident.
$8k to 10k
In all honesty, I will likely be fading this entire range. Any and all of these drivers could exceed expectations, but I don’t have a single one of them projected for 5x value or more. If in this range, I’d lean toward playing Zane Smith, Christian Eckes, or Stewart Friesen.
$6k to 8k
Chandler Smith (11) – He has ranked top 5 in driver rating 3 times so far in 2021, including the past 2 weeks. What was the difference? We had practice for those races. Does that mean I’m writing Smith off? Not at all. He’s still one of the best young prospects in the series and in one of the fastest trucks in the field. Though he only has one top 5 finish this season, he definitely has that upside and is underpriced on this slate.
Johnny Sauter (12) – It’s not often that I feel comfortable rostering Sauter as he is a shell of his former self. He is running better than he did in 2020, but a ceiling performance these days is about a 5th place finish. Likewise, his last 3 finishes at Pocono are 13th, 8th, and 5th. With four top 10 finishes in 2021, Sauter has a good chance at another top 10, good enough for 5x value.
Ty Majeski (14) – There is no denying the talent that Majeski possesses. His career thus far has been full of unlucky breaks. Now, he is racing for ThorSport, who also fields trucks for Rhodes, Crafton, and Sauter. Thus, he is a similar play to Sauter, but a little cheaper, a little more place differential upside, and a little safer. The risk is that he has minimal experience at Pocono, but as one of the better iRacers in NASCAR, I have no doubt Majeski will be prepared for the Tricky Triangle.
Derek Kraus (24) – 2021 has not been as kind to Kraus as 2020 was, as evidenced by only 2 top 10 finishes so far after finishing top 10 in 57% of races last season. It does appear, however, that Kraus may be rounding back into form after a strong performance at Nashville last weekend, ranking 4th in driver rating. If that’s the case, he is underpriced, especially with the place differential upside he possesses. One of my favorite plays on the slate.
Tyler Ankrum (18) – I almost never play Ankrum. Then again, he has been priced over $7.5k in 12 of 14 races this season. Now, he is $6300 in a GMS Racing truck with place differential. He has finished 2nd and 9th in his past two Pocono races and is quoted on the GMS Racing website as saying that it is one of his favorite tracks. He can hit 5x value with a 15th-place finish. I currently have him projected for a top 10, however, which would yield over 6.5x. He is basically the same play at Eckes for nearly $3000 less.
**Note: May also consider Ryan Truex who could sneak into the top 15 and optimal lineup if he avoids wrecks. It’s hard to play him over those listed above but if you need a little more salary relief, he makes sense.
$6k and below
Jack Wood (9) – Another GMS Racing truck priced around $6k?! This one does make more sense given Wood’s starting position and lack of experience, though. He was fast in practice last weekend at Nashville and finished 11th. A top 10 finish would likely land him in the optimal lineup at 5.5x value. It’s definitely a riskier play, but could certainly work out and provide ownership leverage.
**Note: I may also consider Hailie Deegan but only if I need the extra salary, which may be required if playing 2 drivers priced over $10k. Otherwise, I hope to avoid this range if possible. Punts are not as viable here at Pocono based on recent history.
I will be very heavy on Kyle Busch this week. As usual, barring any issues, the sheer amount of points he’s able to accrue will be impossible to fade. There are clear mispricings that we have to take advantage of when constructing lineups. After that, focus should be on place differential to round out the lineup.
Cash Core: Busch, Kraus, Ankrum
As always, and especially this week with the shorter previews, if you have any specific questions or comments, hit me up in the FREE Fantasy Sports Degens slack chat or on Twitter (@dsmaybin0308)! Good luck, Speed Degens!