The NASCAR Cup Series Round of 8 begins this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Read on to see which drivers are good options on DraftKings for the South Point 400, airing Sunday, Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
It’s the second time that the Cup Series has visited Las Vegas this year, with the first one coming all the way back in March. Fortunately, there’s been two 1.5-mile tracks already in the playoffs (Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway), so at least we have some more recent data to look at when setting our DraftKings player pool. In between those events, there was the Coca-Cola 600 and the first Kansas race in the spring, so there’s plenty of stats to look at to help you choose your daily fantasy drivers.
You can also examine last year’s races at Vegas and other 1.5-mile ovals (excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway) to see who ran well in the Next Gen car on this type of track. Additionally, check out previous events in Sin City for those who would be best to take a gamble on.
Be sure to look at the practice and qualifying results from Saturday, as these can especially help you see which drivers might have the speed to stay out front. You can also compare a driver’s long-run pace versus that of a short run; I use the NASCAR.com race center to compare five-lap and 15-lap averages.
Practice is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. ET Saturday (Oct. 14), with qualifying at about 1:20 p.m. ET. Both will air on USA Network.
Before I share some drivers that I’m considering this weekend, check out the results from the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL:
|DraftKings Salary||Driver||DraftKings Score|
Another week, another top 10 for Chris Buescher at a road course. Has he usurped Chase Elliott as king of the road courses? He certainly did on DraftKings at least, scoring 10 more fantasy points than Elliott. Alex Bowman also did really well, and he seems to go under the radar on this track type.
Unfortunately, Christopher Bell’s day didn’t go as well, as he dropped from second down to 15th at the finish. This resulted in a low fantasy score on DraftKings.
Here’s a quick look at the rules for DraftKings:
The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. Tenth scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and it decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats from 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.
Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they started the race. For example, if Kyle Larson started seventh and won, he would gain six points in addition to his finishing position points, totaling 51 fantasy points.
Drivers also can earn 0.45 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 for each lap they lead.
Here are the drivers you should consider for Las Vegas:
DraftKings Picks: Top Tier
Denny Hamlin ($10,800)
Career at Las Vegas: 23 starts, 1 win, 6 top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 12.8
Denny Hamlin has had good results on the intermediate racetracks this season, earning three top fives in five 1.5-mile races. He won the spring Kansas event and placed second in the fall after leading 63 laps in the latter. He also finished in fifth at Texas. And, while not as small as Las Vegas, Hamlin did earn a third place at Michigan International Speedway.
At Las Vegas, the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing pilot has four top fives in the last six races, including a win in September 2021 after leading 137 laps. Last fall, Hamlin drove from 31st to fifth, which definitely boosted his fantasy score on DraftKings.
He’s still in the hunt for the championship and would love nothing more than to earn a good result or a victory this weekend. Feel free to place your bet on the No. 11.
William Byron ($10,600)
Career at Las Vegas: 11 starts, 1 win, 2 top fives, 4 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 16.3
William Byron won this race earlier in the spring after leading 176 laps. That wasn’t his only good run on this track type this season, though. In fact, he has two victories and four top fives in the five races at 1.5-milers. He led just six laps at Texas en route to the win. Then, in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he was second to Ryan Blaney. Lastly, at Kansas in the spring, he came back from two laps down to finish in third place.
One rather strange statistic to note at Las Vegas for the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver is that most of his top 10s have come in the spring events. Byron has just one top 10 in the fall — a seventh in 2019 after starting 14th. However, if the Byron who has performed so well on the intermediate tracks this year returns this weekend, he’ll likely finish in the top 10.
Bubba Wallace ($8,600)
Career at Las Vegas: 11 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 22.8
Like Byron, Bubba Wallace has also earned four top fives in five 1.5-mile ovals this season. He was fourth at Las Vegas, Kansas and Charlotte, while at Texas he led 111 laps before ultimately finishing in third. He’s known to run well on this track type, at least in the Next Gen car, as he won at Kansas last fall, leading 58 laps in the effort.
The only bad thing about Las Vegas is that Wallace’s fourth place in March was his first top 10 there since 2020. In that spring race, he advanced from 27th to sixth place for what is now Legacy Motor Club.
Last year, the No. 23XI Racing driver from Alabama had a promising start, leading 29 laps, but he ended up crashing out after 94 laps. Hopefully this year is a little different for Wallace.
Daniel Suarez ($7,300)
Career at Las Vegas: 12 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 21.2
Daniel Suarez is an interesting choice on DraftKings; he has two finishes on similarly sized tracks this year, which includes a 10th at Las Vegas after starting 24th. More recently, he qualified and finished in eighth at Texas. And at the 2-mile Michigan, Suarez led 12 laps and came home in fourth place.
The Trackhouse Racing Team driver’s other top 10 at Vegas was an eighth, all the way back in 2018 with JGR. Although Suarez hasn’t had has many good results there in recent years, he did finish 16th last fall and drove from 26th to 15th in fall 2021. Hopefully he’ll do well this weekend.
Carson Hocevar ($6,500)
Truck Career at Las Vegas: 4 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10
Average Truck finish at Las Vegas: 16.5
This tier feels more like a list of long shots, but if you hit on the right drivers, you’ll get a good score on DraftKings. Carson Hocevar could just get there, if he keeps his nose clean. He’s shined so far this year running for Legacy Motor Club (and Spire Motorsports, where he’s going next season). He has four results of 20th or better in six starts, which includes a 16th at Texas.
The only downside to choosing him is that he tends to qualify in the top 20, which is good in reality but not in fantasy. That means there’s less points Hocevar. could earn on DraftKings for each spot he gains on the track.
At Vegas in the spring, Hocevar finished seventh in the Craftsman Truck Series race after leading 19 circuits, earning the best result in his truck career. Although the Trucks are off this weekend, Hocevar can still use what he learned to help him drive the No. 42 Cup car to a good finish.
Ryan Preece ($6,100)
Career at Las Vegas: 7 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 24.9
Very rarely do I choose the same driver in this tier two weeks in a row, especially when he drives for Stewart-Haas Racing. But for Preece, I’ll make an exception. He’s earned one top 10 and four top 20s in the last five races, albeit at very different tracks. One of those was at Kansas where he gained 10 spots to finish in 18th. That may not sound very good, but it’s fine on DraftKings for a salary this low.
At Charlotte, Preece moved up nine positions to 13th. That was really his only other strong result at an intermediate track, so tread carefully with this SHR car. Still, if he can carry the momentum from the last few races, he should be able to earn another top 20.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.
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