Save Mart 350k DFS Gems

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It’s been nearly three months since NASCAR visited a road course and the top of the order at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) contained some pleasant surprises. Ross Chastain (75.4) and Erik Jones (56) both out-pointed the favorite Chase Elliott (48). Martin Truex, Jr. has had some up and down efforts on this track type and he posted the fourth-most points.

Behind him, Alex Bowman (46.8), Christopher Bell (45), and William Byron (43) were moderately surprising, but the remainder of the top 10 were comprised of dark horses from the lower groups. Austin Dillon (45) tied for sixth, Austin Cindric (44.35) was eighth, and Michael McDowell (44) ninth.

The road courses do not behave like standard ovals. There are a lot of comers and goers and these races can look a lot like a game of musical chairs. But it’s not only a case of hoping your drivers get a chair when the music stops. Some of the drivers are more likely to push the competitors out of the way to get their place – and that is precisely how the EchoPark Grand Prix ended.

A shoving match changed the final order at the front of the pack at COTA. There is far less runoff at Sonoma Raceway and if someone leaves the track, there is a high degree of probability they won’t come back without the aid of a wrecker.

Group A: Most Expensive (>=$10,000)

Chase Elliott ($10,400)
There are only four drivers above the $10k mark this week and that is appropriate. Elliott was the only one from this group who scored top-10 points at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). That was the eighth time in 14 road course races dating back to 2019 that he earned top-fives points on this track type. Two other results were in the top 10 and the three times he finished outside that mark are outweighed by four No. 1 points’ days. There is no such thing a guarantee on any track, but Elliott comes close on road courses.

Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,000)
Truex has been uniformly stronger on the road courses NASCAR has visited most often. Last year, we let him slide off the radar at Sonoma and that was a mistake as he finished third behind Kyle Larson and Elliott. He earned the third-most points that afternoon. In the most recent race before then, he earned the most in 2019. He’s equally strong at the Glen, which suggests to us that he needs track time to learn the new courses, but is a beast on the ones he knows best.

Group B: (Between $9,900 and $8,000)

Ross Chastain ($9,800)
After spending one week above the $10k mark, Chastain is back in Group B. As the most expensive driver at this level, we might be tempted to consider that he was overvalued for his potential there, but it’s hard to ignore the winner of the first road course race of 2022. That is not the only time he’s excelled on the twisty tracks. Chastain has been a top-five points’ producer three times in the last seven road course races and earned the ninth-most on another occasion.

AJ Allmendinger ($8,800)
Allmendinger’s win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last year proved that even part time drivers can run well on this track type. Allmendinger was also in contention to win at COTA until he was knocked out of the lead by Chastain, who was still making a name for himself in the 2022 season. Allmendinger’s skill on road courses is well-known and doesn’t need a lot of description, but his most recent success came just last week in the inaugural Xfinity race at Portland.

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Group C: (Between $7,900 and $6,500)

Austin Cindric ($8,400)
Cindric became immediately relevant on road courses last year in his pre-rookie warmups. He made a lot of noise at COTA and Road America, but the results didn’t follow. His ninth-place finish at Indy was helped along by massive attrition, but he didn’t need an asterisk at COTA this spring when he finished eighth. A top-10 is certainly in reach for the SaveMart 350k.

Kurt Busch ($8,200)
Busch is another top-10 driver on road courses who often gets overlooked. Half of his last 10 attempts on this track type ended with top-10 points in the DraftKings game. He experienced trouble in three other races and was 11th once, which gives him a majority of strong runs. He was a little cheaper at COTA ($7,800) and that made him a better value, but he is still going to earn a lot of points per thousand this week.

Group D: (Less than or equal to $6,500)

Chris Buescher ($6,100)
Buescher is back this week after handing the wheel over to Zane Smith at World Wide Technology Raceway. There are several strong dark horses in Group C, so DraftKings was forced to lower Buescher’s cap considerably. In fact, this is the lowest he’s ever been on a road course in the past four seasons. In those 13 races, he’s been a top-five value twice and a top-10 value five times. He’s earned points worse than 20th only three times, so he has a consistency that makes him attractive.

Ty Dillon ($5,800)
Like Buescher, Dillon is recommended for his consistency. In nine road races since 2019, Dillon has earned points of 16th or better six times and the 21st-most on another occasion. He’s never earned negative points on this track type and the fewest he’s banked is 11. That will not anchor him on your roster, but if you build from the top down and must make a hard decision below $6k, he is highly recommended.

The top-10 points’ earners from the 2021 SaveMart 350k were: 1. Kyle Larson (72.3), 2. Kurt Busch (64.45), 3. Martin Truex Jr. (59.7), 4. Ross Chastain (59.45), 5.Joey Logano (50.7), 6. Chase Elliott (47.05), 7. Kyle Busch (40.4), 8. Erik Jones (39.45), 9. Daniel Suarez (36.35), 10. Ryan Blaney (35.45).

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Last 45 Days

Driver

Avg.
Rank

Total
Points
Earned

Avg.
Points

This
Week's
Cap

Points
Per K

Group A

Kyle Busch

8.80

288.00

57.60

$10,100

28.51

Martin Truex Jr.

12.20

214.15

42.83

$10,000

21.42

Kyle Larson

13.00

211.00

42.20

$10,600

19.91

Chase Elliott

16.60

192.65

38.53

$10,400

18.52

Group B

Ross Chastain

9.40

283.75

56.75

$9,800

28.95

Christopher Bell

9.60

235.00

47.00

$8,900

26.40

Joey Logano

13.20

229.35

45.87

$9,000

25.48

Denny Hamlin

16.20

160.90

32.18

$9,600

16.76

Tyler Reddick

19.40

139.05

27.81

$8,500

16.36

Chase Briscoe

19.40

127.85

25.57

$8,700

14.70

William Byron

20.00

121.15

24.23

$9,200

13.17

Ryan Blaney

22.00

102.00

20.40

$9,400

10.85

AJ Allmendinger

20.00

54.80

27.40

$8,800

6.23

Group C

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

9.60

245.30

49.06

$6,800

36.07

Michael McDowell

15.20

178.65

35.73

$7,100

25.16

Kevin Harvick

14.00

197.95

39.59

$8,100

24.44

Austin Dillon

17.00

154.90

30.98

$6,900

22.45

Alex Bowman

16.20

166.05

33.21

$7,900

21.02

Erik Jones

17.60

146.85

29.37

$7,500

19.58

Aric Almirola

19.40

139.25

27.85

$7,300

19.08

Kurt Busch

21.60

145.30

29.06

$8,200

17.72

Brad Keselowski

21.40

114.90

22.98

$6,600

17.41

Daniel Suarez

20.60

119.55

23.91

$7,700

15.53

Cole Custer

22.80

95.35

19.07

$7,000

13.62

Austin Cindric

25.60

49.50

9.90

$8,400

5.89

Group D

Todd Gilliland

17.40

145.35

29.07

$5,100

28.50

Harrison Burton

19.00

134.45

26.89

$5,600

24.01

Ty Dillon

19.80

138.00

27.60

$5,800

23.79

Justin Haley

18.20

147.35

29.47

$6,300

23.39

Chris Buescher

24.00

102.15

25.54

$6,100

16.75

Cody Ware

23.80

81.25

16.25

$4,900

16.58

Bubba Wallace

23.60

81.90

16.38

$6,400

12.80

Josh Bilicki

26.25

52.00

13.00

$5,000

10.40

Corey LaJoie

27.00

50.90

10.18

$5,300

9.60

Joey Hand

$6,000

-

Scott Heckert

$5,400

-

2022 EchoPark Grand Prix [COTA]
2021 Save Mart 350k [Sonoma]
Go Bowling at the Glen [Watkins Glen]