Alsco Uniforms 300 (Xfinity)

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Welcome, Speed Degens, to week 4 of the Xfinity Series season! Last night’s Truck Series race was full of surprises with Sheldon Creed struggling, Zane Smith going two laps down at one point, and Kyle Busch not being optimal. Not to mention all the chalk value plays that busted… Anyway, there is a much clearer lineup construction that I will be utilizing for tonight’s Xfinity race. Let’s dig in!

Before we get started, allow me to reintroduce the rules for building optimal lineups in the Xfinity Series that I established before the season:

  1. Target 5x value with all drivers in the lineup. (81.8% of optimals) 
  2. Spend at least $49000, except at drafting tracks. (72.7% of optimals) 
  3. Roster at least two drivers priced above $9000. (81.8% of optimals) 
  4. Roster at least one driver priced above $10000. (93.9% of optimals) 
  5. Play at least one driver priced less than $6000. (84.8% of optimals) 
  6. If a driver is priced above $13000, roster them. (83.3% of optimals) 

Track History and Race Info

  • 1.5-mile oval
  • 200 laps (Stage breaks at lap 45 and 90)
  • Approximately 136 dominator points available
  • Fall 2020: Optimal lineup consisted of Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Michael Annett, Ryan Sieg, Austin Hill, Colby Howard, starting in positions 1, 6, 13, 12, 29, 25, respectively. Briscoe was the only driver with over 15 dominator points. 14 of the top 15 finishers started in the top 15, which may not be applicable this week with the clear PD plays available.
  • Spring 2020: Optimal lineup consisted of Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Brown, Jesse Little, and Chad Finchum, starting in positions 2, 7, 32, 19, 22, and 34, respectively. Briscoe, Cindric, and Allgaier all scored over 20 dominator points. 9 of the top 15 finishers started in the top 15.

Drivers I’m Targeting

$10k and above

Noah Gragson (34) – Gragson was running away with the win last week at Homestead until David Starr ran out of talent and ruined his night. Gragson was a top 3 driver in the series in 2020 and arguably the best this year since Briscoe moved up to the Cup series. He was optimal in both Vegas races in 2020, despite starting in the top 10 and not scoring over ten dominator points in either race. His last four finishes at this track are 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 3rd. He provides immense place differential upside and is a strong contender to win here at his home track (narrative!). He is similar to the Austin Hill or Zane Smith play from last night’s Truck race, and I will be overweight on him as a top 5 finish will pay off 6x his salary.

Justin Allgaier (37) – This is another similar PD play to what we saw last night. In his previous seven races at Vegas, Allgaier has 5 top 5 finishes with only one finish worse than 8th. Though I believe he isn’t as good as he used to be, he’s a top 5 threat every week and should be a sure bet to finish in the top 10, assuming no issues arise.

Austin Cindric (2) – The defending series champion is my favorite choice to rack up dom points early. He will be on the front row and should be able to clear Myatt Snider to lead the first lap. His strongest competition is starting 20th or worse as well. Cindric was the best on 1.5-mile tracks in 2020 with 13 top 4 finishes and ranked first in green-flag speed overall. If he leads the entire first stage (a la Nemechek last night), he will likely have enough dom points to pay off with a top 5 finish.

Ty Dillon (20) – Though he doesn’t provide as much place differential as Gragson and Allgaier, Dillon has the experience and is in one of the best cars in the field, making him a threat to finish in the top 5. While he needs to win to achieve 6x value (6th place for 5x), he should make a low-owned pivot if Gragson and/or Allgaier struggle.

***Note: I think there will be many DFS players who will lock Tyler Reddick into their lineups, but I will likely fade unless playing 20 lineups. Yes, he does start dead last, but his car is not up to par with the others. He was in consideration last week because he is one of the best two drivers at Homestead in any series. He has been good, but not great, in top-tier equipment at Vegas in the past. I much prefer those listed above to him.

$8k to $10k

Harrison Burton (22) – See what was said above about Dillon as they are very similar plays. A top 3 finish is needed to hit 6x value. He finished 5th and 9th here in 2020. He also had a win and top 5 at Texas and finished 3rd at Kansas, two similar tracks. I see him as a potential pivot if choosing to play only one of Allgaier or Gragson.

AJ Allmendinger (10) – I’m not in love with this play, but he has the potential to lead. He ranked first in PEER in 2020, meaning he was rated the best driver in the series when taking the equipment out of the equation. The question is whether you have enough salary and if dom points are available if Cindric leads early and the JR Motorsports cars make their way to the front. GPP only since he doesn’t hit value without dom points.

***Note: Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric are potentially in play if you believe they make their way past Cindric and lead early from the 2nd row. I think Cindric is better than both of them and can hold them off, but if fading him, one of these JGR drivers will likely be in my lineup unless constructing a pure place differential lineup. May also consider Riley Herbst (top 3 car) or Ryan Sieg (optimal in both 2020 Vegas races).

$6k to $8k

Brandon Brown (25) – I am really hoping Brown goes under-owned after a disappointing finish at Homestead last week due to a mechanical issue. He finished in the top 15 in 13 of the intermediate track-type races in 2020, forging his way into the playoffs on points alone. Needs 16th or better for 5x value, and I could see him finishing as high as 12th—one of my favorite plays on the slate.

Colby Howard (38) – Howard had his ups and downs in 2020 but showed the potential to finish in the top 20 on several occasions. He is in similar equipment to Earnhardt, Vargas, and Cassill but provides more PD upside, starting 38th. He needs to finish 24th or better for 5x return on his salary.

***Note: There are several others in this range I will be considering, but not enough so to write them individually. My decision to roster them will mostly depend on where I land salary-wise. Jeb Burton is in a strong car and coming off three straight top 5 finishes but is starting too high for me to have much exposure. Earnhardt and Vargas are too expensive for my liking, but I won’t be disappointed if I land on them. Berry looked decent in his first intermediate track race last week at Homestead and should finish in the top 10, but I’m still hesitant due to his inexperience and starting position.

$6k and below

Good luck choosing the right cheap plays to fill out your roster. Any of them could potentially work due to attrition that may happen throughout the race. 

Chad Finchum (29) – When considering Finchum, it’s always important to note what team he is racing for. It appears he will be in the Hattori Racing car that Austin Hill drove last fall and landed in the optimal lineup. He’s risky, but so is everyone else down here.

David Starr (28) – My personal bias after he ruined Gragson’s night last week is making me reluctant to roster Starr. Very similar play to Finchum but likely a little higher ownership.

Stefan Parsons (33) – He is starting further back than his teammates, Mills and Little, and was unfortunate last week at Homestead after he got down early and wasn’t able to get back on the lead lap. Top 20 upside. His teammates are in play as well, FWIW.

Joe Graf Jr. (26) – Graf Jr. is underpriced at less than $5000. He can hit 6x value with a top 20 finish, exactly where he finished here last spring. Even if he doesn’t hit 6x, he provides the salary relief needed to stack the studs at the top. Possibly my favorite punt play.

***May also consider: Josh Williams, Jesse Little

Final Thoughts

Lineup construction will come down to how much emphasis you put on place differential and who you think can rack up the dominator points. In the past several Vegas races, one driver has racked up the majority of the dom points. Whether you believe it is Cindric, another frontrunner, or one of the PD plays, it is crucial to have them in your lineup. 

Cash Core: Gragson, Allgaier, Brown

GPP Core: Gragson, Allgaier, Cindric

Favorite Pivots: H. Burton, Dillon, Parsons

Best of luck this week, Speed Degens! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to join the FREE (see what I did there?) Fantasy Sports Degens slack chat or hit me up on Twitter (@dsmaybin0308).