NASCAR DFS: Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona Road Course DraftKings Lineup Plays

Brian Polking

The first road course race of the 2020 Cup Series season will also mark the first Cup race at the Daytona International Speedway Roval. The massive, 3.57-mile course will host Sunday's Go Bowling 235, and if you are building NASCAR DFS lineups at DraftKings, you need to be prepared to adjust your typical strategy.

Road courses severely limit the number of points available in the dominator categories, and Sunday's race is scheduled for 65 laps, and that is assuming that the questionable weather doesn't shorten things. Throw in that road races depend heavily on pit strategy, and there is a good chance that a driver can lead the most laps by being out front for 20 to 25 circuits.

With the dominator categories losing their typical impact, the place differential category and finishing position gain value. I expect many of the top scorers to come from the bigger names starting deeper in the field, and I also think lower-priced drivers with Top 10 upside are going to be great additions to lineup.

I'm not above rostering Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin or Chase Elliott this weekend. I think any of those three could lead half the race or more and go to victory lane. However, I don't plan on stacking these drivers in the same lineup. I just don't think there are enough dominator points to go around, especially since NASCAR's new qualifying formula has some strong options starting deeper in the field.

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Must-Own Drivers

Ryan Blaney ($11,000)

He has quickly developed into a strong road racer, finishing 12th or better in seven of the last eight races. Blaney actually has four straight finishes of eight or better at the road courses, logging three Top 5s and winning at the Charlotte Roval in 2018. Starting back in 24th, no driver who is a serious threat for the win has more place differential points available. He is positioned to be the top scorer Sunday.

Brad Keselowski ($10,600)

Keselowski is no stranger to running up front at road courses, and he ranks in the Top 5 in points scored over the last 10 road races. More importantly, he is another one of the top-tier drivers who actually has some place differential points available. I will be all over Keselowski from the 17th starting spot.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,100)

As I mentioned in the introduction, I'm not going out of my way to target dominator points in such a short race, but I like Truex from the No. 3 spot. Over the last 10 road course races, he ranks first in just about every category, including laps led. I see him getting out front early and leading at least 20-plus laps, and he is my pick to win.

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Cash Plays

Chase Elliott ($10,300)

While I prefer Martin Truex Jr. among the big names starting near the front, I think Elliott will also be a popular play with a high ownership. He has won back-to-back road course events, and he has three wins and five finishes of sixth or better in the last six road races. He should contend for a win and snag some dominator points.

Erik Jones ($9,000)

Jones has been an underrated road course driver since jumping to the Cup level, notching five Top 10s in eight starts, including a couple of Top 5s. Starting 20th, he has more place differential upside than most of the serious Top 10 threats.

Alex Bowman ($8,200)

I know he has been scuffling the last couple of months, but Bowman has been a steady performer at road courses. He has a 9.5 average finish in six starts in the No. 88, cracking the Top 15 in all of them and logging Top 5s in both starts at the Charlotte Roval. From the 27th starting spot, Bowman should be a staple of cash lineups at this price.

Cole Custer ($7,600)

He will be making his first Cup start at a road course this weekend, but he was a Top 10 machine in the Truck and XFINITY Series at these tracks, finishing inside the Top 10 in 12 of his 14 starts. I'm not expecting a Top 10 out of him Sunday, but I do think he can stay out of trouble and sneak into the Top 20. Starting 26th, he can use the place differential category to post a solid score.

Michael McDowell ($7,000)

McDowell might not have elite equipment, but he is an experienced road racer. He has reeled off nine straight Top 25s at the road courses, finishing 18th or better seven times in that stretch. At this price, he is a no-brainer addition to cash lineups.

GPP Specials

Denny Hamlin ($9,400)

When picking drivers who are starting near the front, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott are likely to be the popular choices. However, Hamlin actually leads all drivers with a 7.3 average finish in the last 10 road course events, and his six Top 5s in that stretch are tied for the most. Starting on the front row, there's a chance that he leads the most laps and picks up the win.

Clint Bowyer ($8,800)

I think a lot of people will lean towards Erik Jones or Alex Bowman when looking in this price range, and although Bowyer doesn't have as much differential upside, he is a proven road course stud. He has finished 11th or better in seven of his eight road races with Stewart-Haas Racing, logging five Top 5s.

Matt DiBenedetto ($7,800)

Set to start ninth, there isn't much place differential upside with DiBenedetto, but he could still post a strong score. After all, we are talking about a guy who posted a 7.0 average finish at the road courses last year, and he is in even better equipment in 2020. A Top 5 finish isn't out of the question, and I love DiBenedetto as a contrarian play to Alex Bowman or Cole Custer.

Brendan Gaughan ($7,500)

The last time he raced in a road course event in the Cup Series was in 2004, and while there are obvious risks with a guy knocking off almost two decades of rust, he has plenty of place differential upside from the 39th starting spot. Id' throw him in a few lineups in case he picks his way forward to a mid-pack finish.

Chris Buescher ($6,600)

Buescher starts 21st, but he has been quietly reeling off solid finishes at road courses. He has eight straight Top 20 finishes, and he finished 16th, 13th and 18th in the three road course events last year. He could be sneaky pivot to Michael McDowell.