NASCAR DFS Trucks:  XPEL 225


This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

XPEL 225

Location: Austin, Texas
Course: Circuit of the Americas
Format: 3.41-mile road course
Laps: 42

NASCAR Trucks XPEL 225 Race Preview

Christian Eckes won last week at Atlanta to join Zane Smith as the second full-time NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series winner of the 2023 season. This week both Eckes' and Smith have a chance to go back-to-back, though. Eckes could win consecutive races in 2023, while Smith, who won the opening race of the 2023 season at Daytona, is the defending winner at Circuit of the Americas. He led 11 laps in last year's race, topping Kyle Busch (the other 2023 series victor) for one of his four 2022 victories en route to the championship. In fact, the No. 38 truck has won both series visits to COTA, and if Smith wins again on Saturday it would be three for three. This is the fourth stop on the 2023 schedule as the season picture continues to evolve.

Key Stats at Circuit of the Americas

  • Number of races: 2
  • Winners from pole: 0
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 2
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 2
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
  • Fastest race: 70.790 mph

Preview COTA Winners

2022 - Zane Smith
2021 - Todd Gilliland

This week's XPEL 225 will be the first road course visit of the season, and the Trucks Series will feature a number of part-time competitors as drivers attempt to get as much seat time as possible. Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, and Alex Bowman will join from the Cup Series while Kaz Grala will join from the Xfinity ranks. Fantasy players know that road course racing is an entirely different skill set than what is typically seen on the ovals and certain drivers tend to rise to the top in these conditions. There have been 30 prior road course visits for the series from which 24 different winners have come. Four prior road course victors will be active this weekend including Ben Rhodes, Zane Smith, Parker Kligerman, and Kyle Busch

As with other tracks that feature both left and right turns, track position can be a defining factor in this race's outcome. Selections for fantasy rosters will therefore want to focus in on drivers starting inside the first five rows. COTA's long and sweeping layout features significant elevation changes and a wide variety of corners with plenty of opportunities to make passes on track, though. Drivers will work to find the sections of the track their machine works best in order to make up time or complete those passes through the race distance. Last year's race produced eight caution periods, but 2021 only had two. Cautions can open the door for teams to try different pit strategies to gain positions, but this circuit's wide layout with plenty of runoff room encourages green-flag racing.

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NASCAR Projections

DraftKings Value Picks for the XPEL 225 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kyle Busch - $13,000
Zane Smith - $10,600
Alex Bowman - $10,400
Ross Chastain - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Carson Hocevar - $9,800
Parker Kligerman - $9,500
Stewart Friesen - $9,300
Ben Rhodes - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Ty Majeski - $8,900
Christian Eckes - $8,700
Tyler Ankrum - $8,500
Grant Enfinger - $8,200

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Matt DiBenedetto - $7,800
Matt Crafton - $7,500
Taylor Gray - $6,900
Daniel Dye - $6,400

NASCAR DFS Picks for the XPEL 225

Zane Smith - $10,600
Parker Kligerman - $9,500
Tyler Ankrum - $8,500
Matt DiBenedetto - $7,800
Matt Crafton - $7,500
Dean Thompson - $6,100

It is going to be hard to beat Kyle Busch this weekend, especially considering he led 31 laps in last year's race before late restarts bunched the field back together and Busch was caught up in last-lap contact. Zane Smith was the beneficiary of that contact, but he was a strong competitor that afternoon in his own right anyway. Fantasy players can go with Smith and have more funds for selections further down the roster than if they select Busch. Parker Kligerman makes for another experienced and capable selection this weekend. Kligerman is a road course winner in the series and was quick enough to qualify fourth last year. That speed should be there again this week as he makes his second series start of the year. Race day in Austin will coincide with the city's "Tyler Ankrum Day" after the local mayor made the official proclamation. Ankrum will aim to make the day even more special by taking his truck to Victory Lane. He qualified on pole for the inaugural series race at the track and finished third and seventh in two track visits, which are remarkable statistics for his $8,500 price tag this week. Matt DiBenedetto brings more experience to the lineup, but he has only one prior series start at this track. A rear gear failure caused him not to finish last year, but he should be a top-15 contender is he can avoid trouble this week. Similarly, Matt Crafton is another top-15 machine that offers reliable consistency for fantasy players in an otherwise unpredictable environment. He finished 13th and 15th in the last two races at the track. Wrapping things up is Dean Thompson who finished 29th in this race last season. Thompson has a best 2023 finish of 16th from Las Vegas two races ago.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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