The 2021 NASCAR season ended just under three months ago, but the 2022 season is right around the corner, with the Clash at the L.A. Coliseum just over a week away and the Daytona 500 just over three weeks away. Matt and I have plenty planned in the coming weeks to prep you for the DFS season including a primer that’ll recap all the news and happenings from NASCAR’s silly season. Matt has even already published his Welcome Letter of what to expect in terms of DFS content for the upcoming season.

So why get into NASCAR DFS? What makes it so different? Like most DFS sports NASCAR has its pros and cons that I think we should start with…


  • One Slate, One Track: The one thing that always crushed me about playing NBA or MLB DFS were the “late night hammers” that would take me out of contention with the DFS sharks changing their lineups to gain leverage over the field as the West coast games approached. I also struggled on a daily basis to identify the “pace up” matchups in NBA or trying to figure out if I should stack Coors Field or not. With NASCAR, you get one slate that locks on time and you don’t have to worry about late swap. And while certain tracks play to the strengths of specific drivers, everyone is racing on the same track and Matt and I will always identify the road ringers or tell you when it’s appropriate to roster Aric Almirola.
  • Research: I love playing DFS on the weekends. It’s when I find that I’m most successful. I genuinely struggle while I’m at work trying to cram information for a slate that’s in the middle of the week and I’m trying to get lineups set while still doing my full-time job. I’ve told many people in our DFS Discord that NFL, MMA, and NASCAR are some of my favorite sports to play for DFS because they’re on the weekends and I have the time to research for these specific slates. Matt and I usually have the NASCAR DFS Podcast published by Thursday or Friday at the very latest so you can digest it at your leisure, maybe even on your morning/evening commutes. We also offer up the Playbook and Example Lineups with plenty of time to prep your lineup(s). Typically prices come out on Wednesday night so we have couple days to examine the price tags and find the value plays in each slate
  • Practice and Qualifying: Overall this is a gift to the NASCAR DFS community. For the last two years we haven’t really had practice/qualifying, but now it is returning in larger waves. Over the last two years, DraftKings and FanDuel would wait to release pricing so the prices could reflect the starting order which instantly made finding value more difficult. But now we get brief practice sessions to accompany qualifying. The shorter practice sessions are mostly for the benefit of the drivers so they can get a feel for the track and see if their cars need any adjustments. Now, Matt and I will be adding updates to the Playbooks reflecting practice results. Personally, I just want to see practice sessions back so the drivers know if the cars will start. This screwed Noah Gragson at Daytona’s Road Course last season. In terms of speed and lap averages, I don’t know if we can take away too much from the practice sessions in terms of who is fast, but overall the return of practice and qualifying is a benefit to the DFS community since we’ll know the best value plays since we’ll already have pricing.


  • The Daytona 500: This won’t be the last time you hear me mention this, but in terms of DFS the Daytona 500 can be a big turn off for casual DFS players. And I know there are plenty of NASCAR DFS touts out there that may disagree with me, but if you’re new to NASCAR DFS and aren’t used to the volatility of the sport (more on that shortly), the biggest race of the year can be a nightmare to retain new players. Daytona and Talladega are generally races you can leave money on the table for when building lineups and just hope your six drivers finish the race. One of the optimal lineups at Daytona’s second race last year left about $13,000 on the table. The nature of these races makes it difficult for GPP contests. We usually mention “the big one” for these races because these massive wrecks can easily wipe out 10-15 cars and if that happens, you’re not taking down a GPP. Not to mention these wrecks can happen more than once. DraftKings is offering up a milly maker for the Daytona 500 and I won’t lie I’ll have three lineups in it just to see what happens. But for a lot of players that enter lineups into the Daytona 500 and then have a few drivers wreck out, they get the mindset that every other race will be like that and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Daytona and Talladega are chaos at times because pack racing at speeds over 185mph just invites carnage. So while I invite you to play NASCAR DFS, I encourage you to tread lightly for the biggest race of the year and come back so we can dominate Fontana, Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, COTA, etc.
  • New Year, New Car: NASCAR is introducing a new car this year and it’s had some mixed reviews from keyboard warriors watching practice on their computers, but overall I think the drivers seem to like it. The NextGen car is meant to level the playing field a bit (according to NASCAR), but ultimately I think we still see the cream rise to the top. We’ve seen the drivers get practice at Daytona, Atlanta, and (I think) Charlotte and they’ll be getting practice with these cars at Phoenix at the end of January. But regardless of how many practice sessions they do in the offseason, we just don’t know how they’ll look when the drivers are actually trying to win a race. For that reason, I’m likely playing light to start the year with an emphasis on Cash games. I want to see how the cars perform early on and who has a firm grasp on the new ride before I invest more as the season progresses.
  • Volatility: This is overall the biggest knock on NASCAR DFS. But it’s amazingly volatile. Just because you’re in control and taking down a GPP after stage two, doesn’t mean you will be at the end of stage three. I could put together a scrap book of the contests I was winning after stage two only to have my heart ripped out with 10-20 laps to go. You can easily be winning thousands of dollars one minute only to have your driver’s tire go down and lose it all a couple laps later. In NBA, NFL, or MLB DFS it’s nice and cozy to gradually watch your DFS score tick up and improve. In NASCAR, it’s a whole different story. You could have a driver dominate the first two stages, collecting a ton of dominator points along the way, and if they wreck in stage three you could lose it all due to the poor finish and negative place differential (more on that shortly). So the best strategy for newcomers to NASCAR DFS is to just set your lineups and don’t check until the race is over. I’m guilty of not doing this. I’m constantly checking how I’m doing throughout the race, but I understand that I could easily lose it all before the checkered flag.

Now the two biggest sites offering NASCAR DFS will be DraftKings and FanDuel and currently their scoring and pricing is completely different. We’ve reached out to both to see if their scoring will change in the coming year but haven’t heard back just yet. But here is where they differ in scoring…


  • Laps Led: 0.25 points per lap
  • Fastest Lap: 0.45 points per lap
  • Place Differential +/- 1 point per position
  • Finishing Position: 45 points for winning, 42 for second, 41 for third, 40 for fourth, etc.


  • Laps Led: 0.10 points per lap
  • Laps Completed: 0.10 points per lap
  • Place Differential: +/- 0.5 points per position
  • Finishing Position: 43 points for winning, 40 for second, 38 for third, 37 for fourth, etc.

Now you’ll hear Matt and I refer to “dominator” points and building lineups with a “one-to-two dominator approach.” This is in reference to the points your drivers get for laps led and fastest laps. This strategy applies more to DraftKings than FanDuel because they offer more for having your driver out front and leading the race. Typically, the drivers out front are more likely to collect points for the fastest lap as well because they get to run with the cleaner air. So for a race with 500 laps like a short track, you’ll have 350 dominator points available on DraftKings and that plays into strategy quite a bit. For FanDuel, that means 50 dominator points since you’re only credited with 0.1 points for leading a lap. For road courses the dominator points aren’t as available. A road course with 70 laps will only have 49 dominator points available on DraftKings, while FanDuel will only have seven total dominator points available. 

Overall, if I really had to dumb it down, the difference between the two sites boils down to having the right dominators and PD plays on DraftKings, while on FanDuel you can mostly try to target the drivers offering the most PD and likely finish in the top 5-10. 

You’ll hear Matt and I discuss “PD” a lot on the podcast and in our Playbooks as well. This stands for place differential. Drivers starting further back offer more PD because they can move their way through the field and finish well. So if you start 28th and finish 12th, then on DraftKings you just accumulated 16 PD points in addition to the points your driver would receive for finishing 12th. But if you start on the pole (first) and wreck out of the race and finish 40th then you just incurred -39 PD points. Sadly, PD works in both directions and can be a killer for your lineups if you play too many drivers caught up in a wreck. Negative PD makes NASCAR DFS a bummer for Daytona and Talladega. 

So let’s throw out an example. Let’s say we’re racing at Martinsville, a 500-lap race where the stages are broken into 125-125-250 lap segments. That means 125 laps in the first stage, 125 in the second stage, and 250 in the third. You drafted Martin Truex Jr. starting 20th and he works his way up the field through the first stage and leads all of the second stage where he records all the fastest laps in stage two (hypothetically speaking). Here’s how the scoring breaks down for each site:


  • 45 points since he’ll be in first place at the end of stage two.
  • +19 points since he started 20th and moved up to 1st
  • 31.25 points for leading all 125 laps in stage two (0.25 points per lap led)
  • 56.25 points for recording 125 fastest laps in stage two (0.45 points per lap led)
  • Total: 151.5 points


  • 43 points for being in first
  • +9.5 points since he started 20th and moved up to 1st (remember, it’s a half-point for PD)
  • 12.5 points for leading all 125 laps in stage two (0.10 points per lap led)
  • 25.0 points for completing the first two stages (250 laps at 0.10 points per lap completed)
  • Total: 90 points

At this point you’re sitting pretty. But let’s say during the stage break following stage two, Truex’s team has an issue on pit road (it wouldn’t be the first time), and he has a penalty that forces him to the back of the drivers that remain on the lead lap. Well you just lost the points he had for being in first place and he’s not collecting dominator points. Then let’s say as he is trying to get back up to the front, on lap 275 he gets into it with a rookie lacking experience at Martinsville and Truex goes into the wall and the damage isn’t repairable. Well then Truex maybe finishes maybe 36th and we’re no longer looking at a takedown. This is how the scoring would possibly shape up at the end of the race:


  • Five points for finishing 36th
  • -16 points since he started 20th and finished 36th
  • 31.25 points for leading 125 laps in stage two
  • 56.25 points for recording 125 fastest laps in stage two
  • Total: 78.5 points


  • Five points for finishing 36th
  • -8 points since he started 20th and finished 36th
  • 12.5 points for leading 125 laps in stage two
  • 27.5 points for completing 275 total laps (while the remaining drivers collect more points for finishing higher and they get more points for completing more laps)
  • Total: 37 points

This is what we mean when talking about how volatile this can be in DFS. Just because you’re dominating a slate early on does not mean that’ll be the case once the race is over. And you may be saying “Well 78.5 points on DraftKings is a lot.” Sure, compared to other sports and even some other tracks for NASCAR DFS. But 78.5 points at a short track from a talented driver like Martin Truex Jr., who will come with significant ownership, probably isn’t taking down a GPP unless you optimized the rest of the build with the other dominator(s) and PD plays.

 One more aspect that I’ll say is a big difference between DraftKings and FanDuel is their pricing. FanDuel’s pricing makes it a little easier to “punt” with one driver as they’ll price some as low as $2,000-$4,000 so it makes it easier to fit numerous studs in a build. DraftKings rarely prices a driver over $12,000 in the Cup series and usually they have some cheaper drivers priced around $4,500 at the bare minimum. It’s not out of the question to necessarily throw one of the punts in your build on DraftKings. You’re not expecting them to win but you just hope they gain a few spots in PD and you have them paired with the right dominators as well. This strategy can take down a GPP and it worked out to be the optimal lineup a few times last year.

Contest Selection

This is a little subjective because I’m of the mindset that NASCAR is more of a GPP sport, but there are tracks where I feel better about playing Cash games than others and I’ll emphasize that when discussing the different tracks shortly. One of my personal DFS goals this year is to get back into Cash games more so I'm not solely relying on solid GPP runs.

I like playing contests where I can max enter. So rarely, do I play the big GPP for each series. Sometimes I’ll throw five lineups in for the Truck and Xfinity series, because the entry fee and fields are smaller. But I’ll typically get into the cheaper 20-max contests each week as well as some three-entry contests. You can definitely play Cash games for NASCAR but you have to be aware of the chalk. Because we only have 35-40 drivers to choose from on one slate, making a lineup with five or six drivers presents an opportunity for a ton of overlap.

For example, when Kyle Busch is racing in the Truck series you better expect his price to be inflated and you should expect him to be at least 80% owned. But keep in mind, the inflation of his price limits what you and others can do with the rest of your build so you’ll likely end up playing the same drivers.

Another example would be Chase Elliott starting further back on a road course. Elliott is one of the two or three best road racers in the Cup series (the other two being Martin Truex Jr. and probably Kyle Larson since he won three road courses in 2021). So if we’re getting Elliott starting further back offering a ton of PD potential then he’s going to be a huge lock in Cash games and even GPP’s.


For the sake of transparency, superspeedways are not my favorite tracks for DFS. Daytona and Talladega are recognized as the two notable superspeedways on the schedule. These are massive 2.5-mile tracks and they’re very wide with high banking. If you ever have an opportunity to go to a race at Daytona or Talladega, by all means you should absolutely do so. Watching this kind of racing on TV can get a little boring, but if you’re there in person it’s phenomenal live.

For DFS, I hate these tracks. There is a bit of a strategy to deploy in Cash games where you can #StackTheBack. And by that you mostly target drivers starting at the rear because they offer PD. Daytona and Talladega will offer around 180-200 laps for each race so you’re looking at a decent amount of dominator points. However, at superspeedways you see more pack racing than on other tracks. The drivers will drive in large groups and they’ll do this for most of the race with a majority of drivers hoping to survive the first two stages of the race so they can make a move in the final 20 laps or so to try and win the race.

In some cases, we occasionally see a clean superspeedway race. However, more often than not, there is a large wreck that can take out anywhere from 10-15 cars. And obviously, this can happen multiple times and it tends to happen more frequently late in the race. This can be incredibly frustrating for DFS purposes for two reasons: 1. You’re not taking down a GPP if you lose even one driver, and 2. The pack racing makes the dominator points more evenly distributed. No one driver will rack up a majority of the fastest laps, and even the laps led can be spread out as well. It’s incredibly rare to see a driver flat out dominate Daytona or Talladega. Additionally, when building lineups for superspeedway DFS contests, don’t be afraid to leave money on the table. 

My best suggestion for superspeedways is to play them light. I enjoy watching these races and making three-to-five lineups and seeing what happens. I don’t want to blow all my bankroll and have to make another deposit prior to the second race. If you’re new to DFS NASCAR I promise you, you will enjoy the DFS aspect more when we get to the other track styles. DraftKings has a Milly Maker for the Daytona 500 as mentioned earlier. This is a blessing and a curse for the game. It’s always great to have a contest awarding $1 million to first place, but that's about 40% of the total prize pool so tread carefully to start the year.

Intermediates/1.5-Mile Tracks

Ahh yes, the 1.5-mile tri-ovals. You’ll hear about “Cookie Cutter” 1.5-mile tracks that will typically offer up maybe 267 laps or so. These tracks will be Vegas, Charlotte, Kansas, Atlanta (newly-paved), and Texas. And just so we’re all on the same page… Texas Sucks. Over the last five years it’s featured some of the most boring racing in the Cup series, but maybe things change with the NextGen car.

As far as strategy goes, it’s pretty simple: these tracks are perfectly fine for Cash games and GPP contests and you’ll likely want to focus your builds around one-or-two-dominators and the rest should be PD targets. In GPP’s I’m more inclined to play a driver or two that I know doesn’t offer as much PD but will be lower owned because they’re probably starting higher. I’ll take the leverage on a better finish from them while hoping a chalkier PD option wrecks out.

There are also tracks like Auto Club (Fontana), Michigan, Darlington, and Miami. These tracks will differ in size and shape so they are not comparable to the tradition intermediate tri-oval but the DFS strategy can be viewed in the same light based on the number of laps.

Short Tracks

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with short tracks. I love Martinsville. I hate Bristol. I’ve generally had more success at Martinsville. It’s a half-mile flat track that does see its share of cautions, but not nearly as much as Bristol will. Bristol is also a half-mile track with higher banking and faster speeds. On our NASCAR DFS podcasts, Matt and I will often refer to Bristol as a mini-Talladega given the chaos that comes here.

Some things to be on the lookout with short tracks. We’ll see over 30 cars race on these tracks. So don’t be surprised if you find some drivers in worse equipment multiple laps down by the end of the first stage. That’s just the nature of short track racing. It’s easy to get lapped and if you have a mechanical issue that brings you to pit road, it’s even easier to get lapped. We’ve seen laps at Bristol and Martinsville tick off in 15-17 second intervals. Hence why Martinsville and Bristol will have 500 laps and a TON of dominator points available. That’ll equate to 350 dominator points on DraftKings and 50 on FanDuel.

I’m less inclined to target PD starting too far back. But if it’s good chalk, I’ll eat it. Even drivers in lesser equipment can still move up through the field despite being multiple laps down. If drivers ahead of them have an issue on pit road or wreck out, that bodes well for the back markers (drivers that just traditionally bring up the rear) that are trying to finish the race. PD can be found in these drivers. Overall, whether it’s Cash games or GPP’s I’m looking to have at least two dominators in my builds for short tracks, but we have seen certain instances with one-dominator builds where a guy like Brad Keselowski or Martin Truex Jr. lead over 400 laps.

Now the first Bristol race is going to be run on dirt. They did this last year and the drivers all seemed to enjoy it. The dirt aspect got a lot of them out of their comfort zone and it proved to be fairly entertaining. But for DFS, I’ll likely be approaching this race by making just three lineups. Last year’s race featured plenty of good dirt track drivers not finish as well as we expected and oddly enough this turned out to be Joey Logano’s lone win of 2021. Daniel Suarez even managed to get out front and lead a good amount of laps as well. It is also only 250 laps, so we don’t have as many dominator points available, but still more than what we’ll see from some of the larger tracks. Like I said, it’s great to watch but not a weekend I’ll be investing a lot in DFS.

Now there are some other short tracks on the schedule that fall between the half-mile to mile-and-a-half tracks that you’ll need to adjust your strategy for. For example, Phoenix is a flat one-mile track with a dogleg and it has 312 laps. Dover is a one-mile oval with 400 laps. Gateway is being added to the Cup schedule in St Louis. It’s traditionally been run in the Truck series and it’s 1.25 miles long and shaped like an egg but it races much different than Darlington (also shaped like an egg but 1.366 miles long). We still don’t know officially how many laps Gateway will have, but we’ll have more updates on that prior to that race. New Hampshire is another one-mile oval that’s somewhat flat that’ll have 301 laps. So these may not be considered “short tracks” but they do still offer up plenty of dominator points and Matt and I will touch on specific strategies for these tracks in our Playbooks.

Road Courses

After years of only running Watkins Glen and Sonoma, NASCAR made a strong effort to include more road courses into its schedule in 2021. This year they got rid of the Daytona Road Course which is addition by subtraction in my opinion. They still have six road courses on the schedule: Circuit of the Americas (COTA), Sonoma, Road America, Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course, Watkins Glen, and the Charlotte ROVAL.

The strategy changes quite a bit for road courses. You have to keep in mind the availability of dominator points. With fewer laps, there aren’t as many dominator points available. Where we normally target one, two, or three potential dominators at other tracks, we don’t necessarily need to go that route on road courses. 

At the longer road courses like COTA or Road America, they’ll run between 60-70 laps and based on DraftKings’ scoring last season that would give us only 42-49 dominator points to work with and that’s not accounting for laps run under caution. DraftKings doesn’t reward fastest lap points if laps are run under a yellow flag. On FanDuel where we’ve historically seen just 0.1 points rewarded for a lap led, you’re mostly targeting drivers offering PD as well as drivers you think will finish well. Now there are some road courses like the ROVAL and Sonoma that’ll have over 100 laps. So we’ll have some extra dominator points at those tracks, but still not that much.

Overall, the Cash game strategy is to target good drivers offering position differential. On DraftKings if you can also nail a dominator then you’re in good position to cash easily. For GPP’s you’ll still need to mix in the main dominator/winner and PD targets. But don’t be afraid to take some chances on some low-owned drivers start in the top 10-15. If they finish well, you may have some leverage over most casual players that went strictly with a one-dominator build and then locked in chalky PD plays.

One final note for road courses, value is never the same at every track. On typical intermediate tracks or even superspeedways, you want at least 5X value out of your drivers, but on road courses we have to lower expectations. Drivers like Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. are phenomenal road ringers and they’re always priced up. But with fewer dominator points available it’s impossible for both to hit value if they’re priced closer to $10,000. The overall scores in DFS are lower for road courses compared to other tracks so when building lineups, don’t try to focus on getting 5X value from your drivers. Just focus on the actual point numbers since scoring is depressed overall for these courses.

Get In On The Discord

In closing, I’ll say that Matt and I pride ourselves on our availability in the NASCAR DFS Discord. Even during the offseason we’re still updating it and posting big news and happenings from across all three series. On race day, we’re in there answering questions and we post tech inspection results to keep you up-to-date in case there’s a driver that’ll be going to the rear of the field that we may want to pivot off of. Sometimes this means we can’t always update the Playbooks in time but we’ll make an effort to update the Example Lineups. But if you’re in the Discord on race day then you’ll be in the know with the rest of us and we’re more than happy to give our thoughts on your roster construction.

Feel free to follow Matt (@theselzman) and myself (@RealDANlanta) on Twitter as we’ll be posting more updates as we inch closer to the 2022 season!