Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2024 EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix

From the high stakes poker game that was tire wear last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, the stars of the NASCAR Cup Series are gearing up for a little Texas Hold ‘Em on one of it’s longest courses.

The twists and turns of Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, presents a whole new list of challenges and obstacles that only the most skilled will convert into success. Stars like Tyler Reddick, Chase Elliott and Shane Van Gisbergen will be hot commodities this week from a fantasy aspect, as they always seem to be toward the front for races such as this one.

You’ll see a couple of those guys in my lineup this week, but we’ll get to that later.

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NASCAR 101: Notable COTA Rule Changes to Watch

COTA is a nearly 3.5-mile trek across 20 distinct left and right turns that will challenge the suspensions of the cars and the patience and finesse of each driver that takes it on. There will be high attrition, as drivers will have to survive restarts heading uphill into turn 1, despite NASCAR moving the restart zone back a few feet.

Tire management will not nearly be as much of a factor as it was last week, but accuracy on pit road will be a must to keep these drivers in contention over 68 long laps. Qualifying will be of high importance, as track position can be hard to come by if you don’t already have it when the green flag flies. It goes without saying that whoever can put it all together on Sunday, March 24, will find the most success.

Coverage of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

Last week, I had a near-perfect week fantasy-wise, as every single driver in my lineup scored positive points. Each one of them walked away with a top-15 finish.

This week is a little tougher to predict, as road course racing can either have the usual suspects at the front or total surprise runs from dark horses. You’ll see that I’m leaning toward the regulars this week though.

Here’s a quick rules breakdown before we get into it:

Points will be awarded on DraftKings for finishing position, position differential, fastest laps and laps led. The driver who wins the race scores 45 fantasy points, while second gets 42 points, third gets 41 points and so on, at least through the top 10. The 11th-place finisher scores 32 points, 21st gets 21 points and 31st gets 10 points.

However many spots they lose or gain on the track is added to or subtracted from the score. Then, if the driver leads a lap, they will earn 0.25 points for each lap led and 0.45 points for each fastest lap.

DraftKings NASCAR Scoring Rules

Fantasy Forecast

Chase Elliott ($10,300)

Stats that matter: seven career road course wins, career average finish of 2.5 at COTA, has not won on a road course in the Gen 7 car.

I cannot tell you how hard it was to pick between Elliott and Reddick. Reddick has had more success than anyone in the field with this current generation racecar, but Elliott has been far more consistent over time in both this current car and the last.

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4 Burning Questions: Bowman Gray, Chase Elliott & Netflix

I said last week that this team desperately needed a good result at Bristol to get things rolling on their season, and they finally got it. I think they’re hitting a road course at the right time with a little momentum on their side.

Not to mention, driver No. 9 showed much improvement on road courses last season, being in contention in the ones he didn’t miss due to injury and nearly winning a couple along the way.

Shane Van Gisbergen ($9,500)

Stats that matter: 2023 Chicago Street Race winner, two top 10s in two career Cup Series starts (both on road courses), making first start with Kaulig Racing which has two Cup wins on road courses.

I don’t care how much it costs, you have to have SVG this weekend.

I’m really high on the Australian SuperCars champion for a number of reasons that go well beyond his win last season. What impressed me most was his run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last season. He had a car that was not nearly as good as the one he had in Chicago and converted it into an impressive day, hanging around in the top 10 all afternoon.

SVG is for real, at least on road courses, and he will prove that again Sunday, as long as his equipment holds up. Look for him to be a threat to capture the pole and walk away with a very good finish.

Ross Chastain ($9,000)

Stats that matter: one career win at COTA, career average finish of 3.0 at COTA, career driver rating of 119.6 out of 150 at COTA.

Chastain has a knack for being exceptional at COTA. Who could forget when he was sliding around in the rain there in 2021, showing flashes of what he would become with his current team?

Or how about his daring final corner move around AJ Allmendinger and Alex Bowman there in 2022? The fact is, Chastain is good at COTA. You can bank on him not being afraid to push the limits lap after lap in order to advance his position.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic backing up your selection of the ‘Melon Man’ is his insane career average finish there. Even if he finds some trouble, you know he will make his way back into the top five as long as he can turn the wheel.

Michael McDowell ($8,000)

Stats that matter: Career average finish of 10.7 at COTA, one career road course win, 10 career top-10 finishes on road courses.

McDowell, as I predicted, picked up his team’s lost momentum last week at Bristol. Like Elliott, he comes to a road course at the right time. He has never finished worse than 13th at COTA, and being a well-versed road racer always plays into his favor.

His 2023 road course statistics also do not paint a complete picture of just how good he was turning left and right last season. Despite the win at Indianapolis, he only had one other top 10 on this type of track. But he was definitely a factor in most, if not all of them, before he hit some bad luck.

If his team and equipment can stand the stress, don’t be surprised if he scores more points than anybody else in this lineup.

His relatively cheap price also makes him a very attractive option if you’re trying to save some salary cap for another big name.

Chase Briscoe ($7,100)

Stats that matter: Only one finish outside the top 15 in three COTA starts, two career road course wins in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has finished on the lead lap in all his COTA starts.

Briscoe collected one of his first career top-10 finishes at COTA back in 2021 but hasn’t done much of note there since. Though that shouldn’t sway you from picking him up here at $7,100.

SHR has at least one car showing a lot of promise per week lately, and I think this is a good fit for the No. 14 team to show more muscle. It seems as though Briscoe has found himself, much like Elliott, at the mercy of road course racing in this car.

Briscoe certainly has the skills and know-how to get you some good points this week, as long as his equipment suits him.

Josh Berry ($5,900)

Stats that matter: Season-best 12th place last week at Bristol, nine career top 10 finishes in 15 Xfinity starts at road courses.

How fun was it to watch this guy last week?

See also
Josh Berry Ends Up 12th After Roller Coaster Day at Bristol

Berry arguably had the best run of his Cup career at Bristol, leading laps and hanging around the front for much of the day. His rookie campaign was going pretty rough up until now, so there is cause for concern. But at $5,900, you aren’t really losing much taking a flier here.

Who knows? Maybe Berry cashes in on the momentum he picked up last week and gets you a good amount of points by way of finishing-position differential, at the very least.

Prop Bets & Locks

  1. Kyle Larson (+115) vs. Tyler Reddick (-150): Reddick is the defending winner of this race, but I can’t overlook how good Larson has been in recent weeks. Winning might not be in the cards for driver No. 5, but I think with these odds, it’s a safe bet to make. Could definitely go either way.
  2. Ross Chastain (+350) to finish in the top three: As I noted earlier, Chastain is very, very good on this particular road course. Crew chief Phil Surgen will have the No. 1 tuned up and ready to go, and he should be a shoo-in to finish at least third.
  3. AJ Allmendinger (+900) for top Chevrolet: Allmendinger will absolutely run well Sunday, but navigating a manufacturer’s stable that includes SVG, Elliott and Larson will be difficult. If anybody can pull that off, though, it’s Allmendinger.

Well, that’s all for this week. Good luck, and happy betting!

About the author

Garrett joined Frontstretch as a news writer in 2023, and became a fantasy racing and betting writer in 2024. Hailing from the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia,  he's a married father of three and currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at New River Community Technical College in Beaver, WV. He has been a racing fan since 1998, primarily watching NASCAR, but branching out to F1 and IndyCar as his love for motorsports has grown.

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