Coming out of the final off weekend of the 2019 season, the NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to action with a trip to Texas Motor Speedway. Saturday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 will be the second race of the year at the fast, D-shaped oval and the ninth race at a mile-and-a-half track.
Back in March, Kyle Busch went to victory lane at Texas, but with the playoffs in full swing, there won't be any Cup drivers in the field this time around. That means that you need to turn your attention to the "Big 3" when assembling your NASCAR DFS lineups at DraftKings. Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick have dominated the XFINITY Series all year, and that dominance has extended to the 1.5-mile tracks.
The trio has combined to win five of the eight races at mile-and-a-half tracks this year, and two of the remaining three were won by Kyle Busch. More importantly, all three drivers have led at least 230 laps in those same eight races, combining to lead a total of 1,227 laps. No other series regular has led more than 54 total laps in those same eight races. You need to pile up dominator points if you want to cash in this weekend, and you need to a lot of exposure to the "Big 3" to get them.
I recommend having at multiple lineups with various combinations of Bell, Custer and Reddick. Of course, all three carry high price tags, but history has shown you are better off top loading your lineups to secure the dominator points and then doing your best to fill the remaining roster spots.
Poor qualifying efforts from one or two of the top drivers could change the equation a bit, but barring something unexpected, I plan to lean heavily on the "Big 3" in all of my lineups. From there, I'll try to find cheaper options with Top 15 potential who have the place differential category working in their favor. If need be, I will even go with a total punt play.
Christopher Bell ($11,300)
While he can be a little boom-or-bust at the 1.5-mile tracks, no driver can come close to matching Bell's upside. His 600 laps led in the eight races are by far the most in the series, and he has led laps in seven of those starts, 60-plus laps six times and 100-plus laps three times. Bell has also led double-digit laps in three of his four starts at Texas, leading a race-high 127 laps in the spring race earlier this year.
Tyler Reddick ($11,000)
No driver has been as dependable at the mile-and-a-half tracks this year as Reddick, and in the eight previous races, he leads all drivers with six Top 5s and a 4.6 average finish. He has actually finished third or better in five of those races, winning twice and leading 19 laps in a runner-up effort at Texas in the spring. You will have a hard time finding a safer option to build around this weekend.
Cole Custer ($10,500)
He has been a force at the 1.5-mile tracks all year, scoring the second most points and leading the second most laps in the eight races. Custer has been even better of late, winning two of the last four races at mile-and-a-half tracks and leading more than 80 laps in three of those starts. He is also the defending winner of this weekend's race, and Custer has cracked the Top 5 in four of his five starts at Texas. He should be a strong dominator candidate this weekend.
Difference Makers and Value Plays
Justin Allgaier ($10,200)
Allgaier has had Top 5 speed all year, and he is finally starting to back up that speed with strong finishes. He has finished seventh or better in the last three races at mile-and-a-half tracks, logging back-to-back Top 5s and leading laps in two of those three starts. If you are fading the "Big 3" this weekend, Allgaier should be one of your top alternatives.
Chase Briscoe ($10,000)
If not for Garrett Smithley drifting listlessly across the track, Briscoe may have won at Kansas a couple of weeks ago. Briscoe instead settled for leading 33 laps and finishing third, his third Top 5 finish at a mile-and-a-half track this year. One of those Top 5s came at Texas in the spring, but Briscoe could be a sleeper dominator candidate again this weekend.
Michael Annett ($9,800)
Annett isn't what I would call a DFS difference-maker, but you can't complain about his consistency at the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He 6.6 average finish in the eight races is the second-best mark among series regulars, and he has finished 13th or better in all of those starts. Annett is gaining average of 9.4 spots in those races, and he has finished sixth or better six times. You won't get much in the way of dominator points, but his 40-point floor gets the job done in cash contests.
Noah Gragson ($9,600)
Gragson hasn't reach dominator status at the 1.5-mile tracks, but he has shown a strong floor, and his numbers are trending up. He has a 7.5 average finish in the eight races, cracking the Top 15 in all eight races and logging six Top 10s. In fact, Gragson has finished sixth or better in four of the last five races at mile-and-a-half tracks.
Ross Chastain ($9,200)
He will be in a Kaulig Racing entry this weekend, so Chastain will have the equipment to make a little noise. He picked up a win at Daytona for the organization back in July, but more importantly, he has finished in the Top 10 both his starts at 1.5-mile tracks for the team. Chastain has some serious upside this weekend.
Brandon Jones ($9,000)
Yes, he needed the "Big 3" to rough each other up a bit to score the win at Kansas, but he was able to steal the win because of the Top 5 speed he has shown at the 1.5-mile tracks in 2019. With the victory, Jones now has five Top 10s and four Top 5s in the eight races at mile-and-a-half tracks, and he has led laps in four of those starts. Jones has actually finished fourth or better in three of the last four races at 1.5-mile ovals, and he could be a sneaky source for a few dominator points this weekend. I love him for GPP contests.
Justin Haley ($8,600)
Haley just keeps chugging along at the 1.5-mile tracks this year. He has finished in the Top 15 in all eight races, posting an 8.6 average finish and tying for the series lead with seven Top 10s. Haley is also gaining 6.6 spots per race at the mile-and-a-half tracks, and he finished seventh in the spring race at Texas. At his midrange price, he is tailor made for cash lineups.
Harrison Burton ($8,400)
The youngster has wrecked in back-to-back XFINITY starts, but he still has three Top 10s in his first seven races, including a couple of finishes of sixth or better. Back in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 this weekend, Burton will once again have Top 10 upside, if not Top 5 potential. Despite the lack of consistency, you need to consider him in GPP contests.
Jeb Burton ($8,000)
He will be making his sixth start in the JR Motorsports No. 8 this weekend, and Burton has more than proven himself in quality equipment. He has four Top 10s in his five previous starts, and he finished seventh or better in his two starts at 1.5-mile tracks, logging a Top 5 at Texas in the spring. You have to love his floor and his upside at this price.
Josh Williams ($7,800)
Williams might be the most underrated of the cheaper DFS options at the mile-and-a-half tracks this year. He owns a 20.1 average finish in the eight races overall, and he has finished 21st or better six times. One of his best runs of the year came at Texas in March when he gained eight spots and finished 14th, and Williams has also gained at least eight spots in each of the last four races at 1.5-mile ovals. If he starts outside the Top 25, Williams could be worth a look.
Gray Gaulding ($7,700)
Gaulding continues to show a respectable floor at the 1.5-mile tracks for a cap-friendly price, and I don't think that will change this weekend. His worst finish in the eight races is 21st, and he owns a 14.5 average finish overall. Gaulding is also gaining an average of 7.6 spots in those starts, finishing with a positive place differential seven times. As long as he starts around the middle of the pack, he should be a solid lineup addition, especially in cash contests.
Brandon Brown ($7,400)
His starting spot will play a big factor in his value, but when we start hunting for cap relief, Brown needs to be in your radar. He has a 17.5 average finish in the eight races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, finishing 22nd or better in all of them and cracking the Top 20 seven times. If Brown starts around the 25th spot, he should a great fit in a balanced cash lineup.
Stefan Parsons ($7,200)
He will be making just his sixth start at the XFINITY level and his first for JD Motorsports, but Parsons has more than held his own in his limited action. He has an 18.6 average finish in his five starts, finishing 22nd or better in all of them and gaining an average of 6.0 spots per race. If he starts around 25th or worse, Parsons could be a decent source of cap relief.