The 2023 Xfinity Series crowned their first winner of the 2023 season when Austin Hill found his way to Victory Lane at Daytona. It was the same driver holding the trophy as it was in 2022. Will that same driver who won the race at Auto Club Speedway be back in Victory Lane again today? Cole Custer won this race last year and he is going to be tough to beat in the Production Alliance Group 300. He is going to have a lot of competition this week from Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Austin Dillon and the four Junior Motorsports cars. Do not forget about the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s. They have a history of running well in California. It should be a good race and with the right strategy and a little luck we should be able to win some cash today.
XFINITY SERIES PRACTICE / QUALIFYING
Xfinity Series practice and qualifying was washed out. That means the lineup was set “per the rule book” and it also means there are some really good drivers starting in the back. This could be a huge factor in the race because many of the Xfinity Series teams said they really needed practice Saturday. NASCAR reconfigured the rear housing of the Xfinity Series cars and they never tested the new car. The teams have no idea how the car will drive. There could be more wrecks in this race because some teams may completely whiff on the setup since they did not have any time to work on the cars. I will be taking a chance with some drivers who should be really low owned simply because this race could get ugly.
DRAFTKINGS POINTS ON SIMILAR TRACKS (2022)
The best way to predict the future is to analyze the past. Here is how the Xfinity Series drivers performed on similar tracks in 2022. These tracks include Auto Club, Michigan, Darlington and Homestead Speedway.
STRATEGY FOR AUTO CLUB
The race Saturday is scheduled for 150 laps (300 miles). That means there are 37.5 points available for leading laps and 67.5 points available for fastest laps (105 total dominator points). The trend in this race is to have one driver lead roughly 73 laps and score 36 fastest laps (33.7 dominator points). Another driver leads roughly 40 laps and scores 20 fastest laps (17.5 dominator points). A third driver leads roughly 16 laps and scores 12 fastest laps (10.4 dominator points). This is typically a two dominator race and we need to have these two drivers in our lineups. It will be hard to win any cash if we do not score the roughly 52 dominator points they score.
The chalk this week will be Cole Custer based on his results at his home track and the three Cup Series stars who start deep in the field. Austin Dillon starts 15th, Tyler Reddick starts 24th and Ross Chastain starts dead last. These three drivers are locks for Cash Contests, but I will be pivoting to Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric in Tournament Contests.
The drivers with the best chance to dominate the race today are Cole Custer, John H. Nemechek, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones and Austin Dillon
The drivers with the best chance to score place differential points are Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, Austin Dillon, Josh Berry, Sam Mayer, Sheldon Creed, Daniel Hemric, Parker Kligerman, Anthony Alfredo, Brett Moffitt, Kaz Grala and Joey Gase
CORE DRIVERS FOR AUTO CLUB
TOP-TIER DRIVERS: Tyler Reddick ($11,100), Cole Custer ($10,900), John H. Nemechek ($10,600), Justin Allgaier ($10,400), Josh Berry ($10,100), Austin Dillion ($9,800), Sam Mayer ($9,600), Brandon Jones ($9,200), Daniel Hemric ($9,000)
VALUE DRIVERS: Sheldon Creed ($8,700), Parker Kligerman ($8,500), Riley Herbst ($8,300), Chandler Smith ($7,900), Ryan Sieg ($7,700), Joe Graf Jr. ($7,600), Kaz Grala ($7,400), Brett Moffitt ($7,200), Anthony Alfredo ($7,000), Rajah Carruth ($6,600), Ryan Elliss ($6,300), Breenan Poole ($6,200), Alex Labbe ($6,100)
PUNT PLAYS: Jeffrey Earnhardt ($5,800), Kyle Sieg ($5,600), Joey Gase ($5,100)
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
ROSS CHASTAIN ($11,200) will be behind the wheel of the No. 91 car for DGM Racing. This car does not have the speed that the Junior Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing or Richard Childress Racing cars have, but Chastain has a lot more talent than most of the drivers behind the wheel in those cars. Chastain starts dead last and is almost a lock for 20-25 place differential points. He is also a lock for my Cash Contest lineups.
COLE CUSTER ($10,900) is clearly the class of the field this week. He won this race last year while driving the No. 07 car for SS Green Light Racing. He also won the race at Auto Club in 2019 in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. This is not only his home track, it is his best track. I will pay up for Custer as my top dominator.
DANIEL HEMRIC ($9,000) is usually at his best when he is driving at a track that requires a driver to manage their tires over a long run. Hemric had a 8.8 average finishing position on tracks similar to Auto Club Speedway last year (4th best in the Xfinity Series) Hemric starts 35th so he could be one of the top score drivers if he finishes near his average (8.8).
SHELDON CREED ($8,700) could be a good contrarian pick. He is the “Ross Chastain” of the Xfinity Series. You know what you are going to get from Creed. He is going to drive it like he stole it every time he is behind the wheel. Sometimes it pays off; sometimes he ends up in the wall. Creed is typically a high risk, high reward driver for your lineups, but the risk is greatly reduced this week since Creed starts 31st in the race.
JOEY GASE ($5,100) will be a good cheap driver for my Cash Contest lineup. Gase starts 34th and his average finishing position on high tire wear tracks last year was 21st. All I need Gase to do is move up 10-12 spots in this race. I think he can do it.
TIMMY HILL ($4,700) is going to be my “punt play” in my Cash Contest lineup. I do not expect much from Hill, but he does not need to do much from the 37th starting position. Hill had a 30th-place average finishing position on the intermediate tracks last year. That would be good enough for 19 DK Points. That is all I need in a Cash Contest.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
COLE CUSTER ($10,900) is going to be highly owned, but he is so good at Auto Club that it is hard to fade Custer at his home track. I will fade Custer in a few lineups and either play Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick from the back or I will play a Junior Motorsports Stack with Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry and Brandon Jones. I like Custer a lot, so I will use him in this lineup.
BRANDON JONES ($9,200) is going to have a breakout season. He has been good in the Xfinity Series, but his Junior Motorsports cars should be the best he has ever driven. Jones finished 33rd and 30th in his last two races at Auto Club, but those finishes do not tell the story. Jones completely dominated this race is 2020 (he led the most laps and won both Stages), but he had a flat tire. He was one of the best drivers again last year and he had another flat tire. I will take my chances with Jones in this race.
SHELDON CREED ($8,700) will be tough to fade when he starts 31st and his price is $8,700. All he has to do is finish in the top-15 and Creed will score 44+ DK points. That sounds like a good bargain to me.
RILEY HERBST ($8,300) is one of my favorite drivers in the field today. His teammate (Cole Custer) is going to get all of the attention, but Herbst has a good chance to run up front too. He has two races at Auto Club on his resume and Herbst finished 2nd and 9th in those races. Having Custer to compare notes with should also help him today.
JOE GRAF JR. ($7,600) will be behind the wheel of the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing. I was surprised to see Graf listed as the driver for this car. He will also have Jason Ratcliff as his crew chief. He is one of the best crew chiefs in the Xfinity Series and that should pay off in a race where tire wear and pit stops mean so much. Graf finished 15th in this race last year while driving for SS Green Light Racing. He should be able to do better than that in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
JOEY GASE ($5,100) will be my “punt play” in both of my lineups. It is not because I really like Gase in the race. It is because he is the best pick for the price.
DRIVER GROUP GAME PICKS
The Driver Group Game picks got off to a good start at Daytona. They scored 349 points and currently rank 6th in the overall ranking. I will do my best to keep this momentum going at Auto Club Speedway and get us to the top of the overall standings. If you have not joined yet, here is the link to join: DGG Xfinity Series Game
Here are the drivers I will use for the Production Alliance Group 300…
Good Luck This Week!
Good Luck This Weekend!
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