Get your engines started for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix DFS slate! Sean Engel provides top NASCAR Daily Fantasy Picks for Cup Series DraftKings & FanDuel lineups!
Get your engines started for the Echopark Texas Grand Prix DFS slate! Sean Engel provides top NASCAR Daily Fantasy Picks for Cup Series DraftKings & FanDuel lineups!
THIS WEEK’S RACE DETAILS
Time & Date of Race: Sunday, May 23rd, 2021 at 2:30 PM EST
Track: Circuit of the Americas – Grand Prix Circuit
Track Details: 3.426-Mile Road Course
Number of Turns: 20
Race Length: 68 Laps/231 Miles
Last Race Details at a Road Course
Track: Daytona Road Course
Date: February 21st, 2021
Race Winner: Christopher Bell
Lap Leaders (7 Total Drivers): Chase Elliott (44), Joey Logano (10), Denny Hamlin (5), Christopher Bell (5), Daniel Suarez (2), A.J. Allmendinger (2), Kurt Busch (2)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin
Drivers will accumulate points as follows below:
Place Differential (How many positions a driver finishes above or below their starting position):
+/- 1 Pt each
Fastest Laps (Awarded for the driver that sets the fastest lap time on each lap): + 0.45 Pts.
Laps Led (Awarded for each lap a driver leads the race): + 0.25 Pts.
Finishing Position (Awarded for where a driver finishes at the end of the race):
1st: +45 Pts.
2nd: +42 Pts.
3rd: + 41 Pts.
4th: + 40 Pts.
5th: + 39 Pts.
And the amount of points earned continues decreasing until the last finishing position in the field.
DK Scoring Notes to Keep in Mind:
- A driver’s starting position is based on his qualifying position. If a driver’s qualifying position is disallowed, his starting position will be his new spot at the back of the race. If a driver’s starting position changes between qualifying and the start of the race for any other reason (Example: going to a backup car) the original qualifying position will be used to calculate place differential.
- Finishing Position is defined as the driver’s standing order at the end of the race. Disqualifications related to same-day post-race inspection will not change a driver’s Finishing Position, Laps Led, or Fastest Laps stats.
Laps Completed (Awarded for all laps any driver completes): +0.1 Pts
Laps Led: +0.1 Pts.
Place Differential: +/- 0.5 Pts.
1st: +43 Pts.
2nd: +40 Pts.
3rd: +38 Pts.
4th: +37 Pts.
5th: +36 Pts.
And the amount of points earned continues decreasing until the last finishing position in the field.
If you’re new to Elite Sports’ DFS Picks articles, here is the rundown. Every week for each Cup race, this article will be published including driver outlooks based on a combination of track results, loop data, and performance from this season. If there are any pre-race events including qualifying and practices, this article will be updated based on their results upon completion. If a racer performs well or poorly throughout pre-race events, this will affect their outlook and be noted as such. Otherwise, all picks listed are final.
This article will feature three groups of driver recommendations: Top-priced picks, Mid-Tier picks, and Value Sleepers. Between each of these groups there will be 12 total drivers with their outlooks evaluated for this week’s race. These outlooks are here to help you make tough lineup calls that detail which drivers to start or park every week.
In case you want additional information to follow-up on this article, I encourage you to check out the cheat sheet for this race and the projections tab. Without further delay, I present to you the picks for this week’s race, the Echopark Texas Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.
The NASCAR Cup Series will make it’s first trip in history to the Circuit of the Americas this weekend. COTA is a road course with a unique layout, and with no prior races or data at the site, there is not a lot to lean on for projections this week.
Qualifying and practice are two pre-race events that DFS players must pay attention to in order to know which drivers to target in their lineups. Both events provide an indication of which racers have more speed than the rest of the field while qualifying sets the starting position and potential Place Differential upside. Qualifying will also be the same day as the actual race so DFS players must be ready to lock in their lineups early and then edit their lineups accordingly later.
Other than pre-race events, fantasy players can figure out which drivers should be considered for COTA by looking at results at other road courses. Races at different road courses also point to the ideal strategies to pinpoint for lineup construction at COTA.
Normally, races at road courses feature lower lap counts so while picking a dominator to lead the most laps is favorable, finishing position and PD upside is essential for COTA. Not many drivers have driven at COTA previously before this weekend so mistakes from racers including missing a run or going off course are likely to happen on Sunday.
Also, since driver mistakes will be more frequent than other weeks in the Cup Series, the chances of wrecks occurring is greater as well. Be sure to play multiple DFS lineups in order to remain in contention for bigger contests even if racers do not finish this Sunday’s race.
LOOP DATA AND DRIVER STATS
Here are the winners of the last 10 Road Course races:
February 2021: Christopher Bell – Daytona Road Course
October 2020: Chase Elliott – Charlotte Roval
August 2020: Chase Elliott – Daytona Road Course
September 2019: Chase Elliott – Charlotte Roval
August 2019: Chase Elliott – Watkins Glen
June 2019: Martin Truex Jr. – Sonoma Raceway
September 2018: Ryan Blaney – Charlotte Roval
August 2018: Chase Elliott – Watkins Glen
June 2018: Martin Truex Jr. – Sonoma Raceway
August 2017: Martin Truex Jr. – Watkins Glen
ECHOPARK TEXAS GRAND PRIX DFS NASCAR PICKS FOR DRAFTKINGS AND FANDUEL
NOTE: This section will be updated with starting positions and additional analysis after qualifying on Sunday morning.
Martin Truex Jr. #19 (DraftKings: $10,600 | FanDuel: $14,000) – The most consistent driver at road courses in recent years is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. In the last nine road course Cup events, Truex has the best Average Finishing Position (5.4) and seven top-10 finishes. The driver of the No. 19 Toyota has the most wins of all drivers in 2021 (3) and eight top-10 finishes so far. Truex was 23rd in practice at COTA and depending on his qualifying position, he will provide PD upside this week. Although the practice speed is not encouraging for Truex, he needs to be considered favorable for COTA based on overall history at Road Courses.
Update: Martin Truex Jr. qualified 17th for Sunday’s race at COTA. Although he has not displayed the speed capable of winning this race, his PD upside and overall road course experience still make him a great pick to consider.
Chase Elliott #9 (DraftKings: $10,500 | FanDuel: $14,500) – One of the top active drivers at road courses to consider for all lineups is Chase Elliott. Elliott is the current leader of all drivers in road course wins (5), which have all come in the last eight races at the track type. Earlier this season at the Daytona Road Course, Elliott led the most laps (44) and was a favorite to win until a late race caution. The driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet was fifth in practice for COTA and participated in a test session at the track earlier this season. Due to his extensive road course success and strong equipment with Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott is one of the top favorites to win at COTA on Sunday.
Update: Chase Elliott will start eighth at COTA this week. As a driver likely to place in the Top 5 based on his practice speed and recent road course experience, Elliott is a quality top-priced option for COTA.
Denny Hamlin #11 (DraftKings: $10,100 | FanDuel: $13,000) – Denny Hamlin has been a consistent challenger for wins in recent road course Cup events. In the last six starts at the track type, Hamlin has four top-5 finishes while leading multiple laps three times including earlier this year at the Daytona Road Course. Hamlin was 16th in practice for COTA, pointing to possible PD upside depending on his qualifying position. As a racer with favorable road course results as well as strong finishes this season, the driver of the No. 11 Toyota should be considered as a top-priced option.
Update: Denny Hamlin qualified 19th for Sunday’s race at COTA. He has not displayed speeds throughout pre-race events capable of winning so far, but still should be considered for lineups for the PD upside offered from his starting position.
Joey Logano #22 (DraftKings: $9,500 | FanDuel: $11,000) – A top-priced pick with a high chance of finishing well is Team Penske’s Joey Logano. In each of his last four starts at road courses, the driver of the No. 22 Ford placed in the Top 10 including second-place finishes in the last two Cup events at the track type. Logano also led the second-most laps at the Daytona Road Course earlier this season (10) and was second in practice for COTA. As a driver that is consistent in recent road course events, Logano will have a great run at COTA and place in the Top 5 based on equipment.
Update: The driver of the No. 22 Ford will start sixth for Sunday’s race at COTA. As a racer that performed well in practice, Logano should be a favorite for a podium finish and compete for the win.
A.J. Allmendinger #16 (DraftKings: $8,500 | FanDuel: $8,000) – A.J. Allmendinger is making his second Cup Series start of the season this Sunday at COTA. Allmendinger’s other start this season was at the Daytona Road Course where he finished seventh and scored a massive amount of PD. The driver of the No. 16 Chevrolet has an extensive road racing background and performs at his best on road courses like COTA. In practice for COTA, Allmendinger was 22nd and may offer solid PD upside depending on his qualifying position. For the price, Allmendinger is a driver that fantasy players can rely on for a great finish this Sunday.
Update: The veteran road racer A.J. Allmendinger qualified seventh for Sunday’s race at COTA. Despite a slower time set in practice, Allmendinger should still be a factor for a strong finish based on overall road course experience. Running yesterday’s Xfinity Series race also makes Allmendinger a favorable pick for a strong finish.
Christopher Bell #20 (DraftKings: $8,300 | FanDuel: $9,500) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell is a quality recommendation for this week’s race at COTA. Bell is the most recent winner at a road course in the Cup Series, scoring it at the Daytona Road Course while leading five laps. Although Bell does not have a lot of road course starts in the Cup Series, he has won multiple events at the track type in the Xfinity Series and was sixth in Cup practice for COTA. Due to great equipment at Joe Gibbs Racing and faster speeds than most in practice, Bell is worth starting this week at COTA.
Update: Christopher Bell qualified 10th for Sunday’s race at COTA. As a racer with a decent amount of road course experience and a small amount of PD upside, Bell is a pick to like for today’s race at COTA.
Michael McDowell #34 (DraftKings: $7,400 | FanDuel: $8,500) – Road course veteran Michael McDowell is always worth great consideration for lineups for tracks like COTA. In his last eight road course starts, the driver of the No. 34 Ford has six top-20 finishes while placing in the Top 10 in his last two. McDowell is experiencing his best season in his Cup career so far with four top-10 finishes in 2021 including the Daytona 500. In practice for Sunday’s race at COTA, McDowell was 10th, indicating that he is capable of placing in the Top 10. Considering his salary and experience in road course racing both in and outside of NASCAR, fantasy players should find a place for McDowell in lineups this week.
Update: Michael McDowell will start 23rd at COTA. McDowell offers plenty of PD upside and looked faster than most throughout practice. DFS players need to greatly consider the driver of the No. 34 Ford for Sunday.
Chris Buescher #17 (DraftKings: $6,900 | FanDuel: $7,700) – One of the more quietly consistent drivers at road courses is Chris Buescher. Since 2017 at the track type, Buescher placed in the Top 20 every time while capturing a finish of 11th at the Daytona Road Course earlier in 2021. This season in the Cup Series, Buescher has 10 top-20 finishes and was 11th in practice for COTA. As a result of his history at road courses and his practice speed, Buescher is a terrific pick for the price this weekend.
Update: Chris Buescher qualified 28th for today’s race at COTA. Considering the high amount of PD upside and his practice speed, Buescher is a driver worth starting in lineups.
Chase Briscoe #14 (DraftKings: $6,400 | FanDuel: $7,000) – Cup Series rookie Chase Briscoe is a bargain value to consider for this week’s race at COTA. The driver of the No. 14 Ford has multiple wins at road courses in the Xfinity Series and he has six top-20 finishes including three of the last four Cup Series races in 2021. Briscoe was 13th in practice for COTA this week, showcasing better speeds than most around his price range.
Update: Chase Briscoe qualified 27th for COTA. The driver of the No. 14 Ford is a favorable pick for today’s race considering his price and PD upside in relation to his practice speed.
Ross Chastain #42 (DraftKings: $6,000 | FanDuel: $5,500) – Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ross Chastain is one of the best value sleepers for this week’s race at COTA. This season, the driver of the No.42 Chevrolet has 10 top-20 finishes including each of the last six races. In six Cup starts at Road Courses, Chastain has five finishes with positive PD with a career-best finish of 22nd. During practice for COTA this weekend, Chastain was seventh of all drivers, displaying better speeds than almost all drivers around his salary. In this price range, Chastain is one of the first drivers to think about rostering for COTA.
Update: Ross Chastain will start 20th for this weekend’s race at COTA. Chastain also participated in yesterday’s Xfinity race and has a bit of PD upside in today’s race at the site.
Ty Dillon #96 (DraftKings: $5,500 | FanDuel: $4,500) – Those looking for solid choices for COTA while also maintaining cap flexibility need to consider Ty Dillon. In 11 starts at road courses in the Cup Series, Dillon has four top-20 finishes including earlier this season at the Daytona Road Course where he placed 19th. In practice at COTA, Dillon was 30th and could offer PD upside depending on his qualifying position.
Update: Ty Dillon will start 33rd in today’s race at COTA. As a racer with massive PD upside for today’s race, you can expect a top-30 finish from the driver of the No. 96 Toyota with a chance at a top-25 based on his experience at road courses.
James Davison #15 (DraftKings: $5,000 | FanDuel: $3,000) – For a deep value sleeper that will provide a favorable finish, James Davison is one of the better options to consider. Davison has three top-30 finishes in three starts at road courses including a career-best finish of 23rd earlier this season at Daytona Road Course. The driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet is known for his road racing experience outside of NASCAR and was 20th in practice this week for COTA. Considering the equipment, practice speeds, and price, Davison is not going to place high in the field, but still finish better than most around his price range at COTA.
Update: James Davison will start 32nd in today’s race at COTA. The driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet has a high amount of PD upside and considering his road course experience and practice speed, look for a decent result today at COTA.
CORE 4 PICKS TO WIN
- Chase Elliott
- Joey Logano
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Denny Hamlin
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