Super Start Batteries 188 at Daytona Infield Road Course
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Welcome to the first Xfinity race preview of the season! Last night’s Truck Series race was a strong one for the FSD community, with multiple DFS players cashing in, so we’re looking to build on that more tonight. It’s a little weird starting with a road course immediately after the Daytona mayhem, but here we are. With the wreck fest last week causing a crazy starting lineup this week, in addition to some apparent mispricing from Draftkings, we are in for quite the slate. Let’s dig in!

Lineup Construction

Last year’s optimal lineup consisted of Austin Cindric, Myatt Snider, Brandon Jones, Bayley Currey, Jeremy Clements, and Riley Herbst, starting in positions 1,27,10,34,18,15, respectively. In looking at last year’s optimal lineups at road course races, there are some trends we can take advantage of when building winning lineups.

  1. Allmendinger and Cindric are the best RC racers in the series, without a doubt. Every optimal should have at least one of them.
  2. Target 5.5x value if priced above 8k. If priced below 8k, target 6x. If rostering drivers as punts below 6k, target 7x.
  3. No exact pricing trends. At Daytona and Charlotte (high banked hybrids), consider leaving salary on the table due to carnage.
  4. At most, only roster one driver starting in the top 10 and only do so if you think they dominate. (i.e., Allmendinger, Cindric)
  5. Interestingly enough, only 3 of the ten best DK performances here last season were from drivers starting outside the top 25.

In short, the optimal lineup will likely consist of the race winner and lots of place differential, similar to the Truck Series race last night. (While the trends above can be useful, this race may be different due to the wonky starting lineup following the Daytona wreck fest from last weekend.)

Drivers to Target

$10k and above

All are in play, but for different reasons. I will explain my plan below.

AJ Allmendinger (6), Austin Cindric (2) – I have always said that these two are the best road racers in the Xfinity series, and there’s no doubt about it. I would bet that one of them is in victory lane on Saturday evening. With that being said, there is so much value and PD upside on this slate that I don’t think it will be optimal to play both of them. Decide which one you think has a better chance of winning the race and go from there. Cindric should have the early advantage, starting on the front row, which will allow him to get into a rhythm. He won here last year and has nine Top 5’s in his previous 13 Xfinity road course starts. Allmendinger finished 4th here last year and admitted they missed the setup at the beginning of the race. Do they have a better plan this weekend? He also won last year at the Charlotte Roval. Pick your poison.

Justin Allgaier (25), Noah Gragson (26), Justin Haley (29) – These drivers are underrated road course racers, and all provide similar PD upside. While I don’t think it’s necessary to play one of these drivers, they have an excellent chance to be optimal considering the value pieces we will talk about in a little bit. I like the idea of playing one of these with Allmendinger or Cindric or possibly going very contrarian and playing multiple of them while fading Allmendinger and Cindric. Again, pick your poison. 

  • Allgaier: 2 wins, 7 top 5s, 14 top 10s (in 19 races)
  • Gragson: 6 top 5s, 8 top 10s (in 8 races)
  • Haley: 1 top 5, 3 top 10s (in 9 races), Truck series win

$8k to $10k

Andy Lally (24) – He is an established road course racer and finished 5th here last year. I think he’s a fine play, but I like others who are cheaper and provide more PD upside. He needs a 10th place finish for 5x value, and I think he can achieve that.

Brandon Jones (39) – LOCK. IT. IN. Jones is in one of the better cars in the series, racing for Joe Gibbs, and is starting dead last. He only needs 18th for 5x, 13th for 6x. He finished 2nd here and 10th at the Charlotte Roval last year. Need I say more?

Alex Labbe (36), Michael Annett (33) – Two more quality place differential options with top 10 upside. Annett will be chalkier due to driving for JR Motorsports, but Labbe has more road racing experience. Annett didn’t have a road course finish worse than 15th (here at Daytona) last season. Labbe had issues, causing him to finish 27th, but had similar finishes otherwise. I may lean Labbe since he starts a few spots back, but both are firmly in play.

Miguel Paludo (35) – Give me all the place differential! Paludo will be piloting the JR Motorsports #8 car this week. Per the entry list, it will be a Chevy from 2019, but I don’t expect it to matter much with so many weaker drivers further up in the field and his road racing experience. I like the others more, but he’s another strong option that may be lower owned. 

May consider: Riley Herbst, Jeremy Clements.

$6k to $8k

Preston Pardus (23) – I will start by saying I think he is starting too far up, but he should be under-owned. In all the road course races last season, he rode around near the top 10 but could only finish one of them without a mechanical issue. He could be optimal with a top 10 finish, but I’m iffy on those chances.

Gray Gaulding (30) – Looking for a super sneaky midrange option? Gaulding could be your guy. I do think he’s a better driver than perceived due to the equipment he’s usually driving. He hasn’t raced here at Daytona road course in the Xfinity Series and finished 28th at the Roval last year. What spreadsheets won’t tell you is that he drove up to 11th before a radio issue gave him a penalty and caused him to drop. He then drove back up to the top 10 before having another problem that took him out of the race. I won’t have much, but he’s intriguing.

Cody Ware (38) – He did not race here last year, but he did race the track a few weeks ago in the 24 Hours of Daytona as part of the 4th place team with Austin Dillon and others. He also finished 7th at the Roval last year. (It was monsooning and many cars wrecked, but still, he was able to control his car and stay out of trouble). He is simply underpriced, needing a 20th place finish for 6x value.

Below $6k

Ty Gibbs (15) – MISPRICE OF THE CENTURY! Yes, this is the grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs, arguably the best car in the series. I know he’s starting in the top 15, but being priced cheaper than guys who may start and park?! Gibbs finished 2nd in the ARCA Series race here last year, so he does have some experience on the track. He would pay off by simply holding his position but could achieve 7x value with a top 12 finish.

Kris Wright (19) – ANOTHER MISPRICE! Here is what I had to say about Wright in preparation for last year’s Truck race here at Daytona: “He finished 2nd in the 2019 Rolex 24 at this track, has two starts in the ARCA West series this year, finishing 2nd and 3rd, and a 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge Championship with 6/6 top 3 finishes.” Wright is an established road course racer. He was running top 10 in that Truck race with two laps left before he was taken out. Like Gibbs, he just needs to hold a position to pay off and hit 7x value with a top 15. 

*Note: I will likely have at least one of these two drivers in every single one of my lineups.

Final Thoughts

Like with the Truck series last night, focus on place differential to fill out most of your lineup. Drivers starting in the top 10 should only be considered if you think they win the race. In cash, given the amount of good PD plays, fading all of them, including Cindric and Allmendinger, may be warranted. I may also play them together in a GPP due to the amount of value on the slate, but I do not think it will be optimal. I like how this slate clusters with similar plays at different price points, making it a prime target for a cascading core strategy. (Find out more in the FSD slack chat!)

Core: Cindric/Allmendinger, Jones, Gibbs/Wright

Other Faves: Gragson, Labbe, Ware

Best of luck, Speed Degens! If you have questions or comments, feel free to hop in the FSD slack chat or hit me up on Twitter (@dsmaybin0308)!