NASCAR action returns to Austin, Texas, this Sunday for 68 laps around the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Let’s dive into this weekend’s on-track activity, review last year’s inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas, and what to expect for NASCAR DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel this Sunday in the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix.
NASCAR DFS Preview: EchoPark Texas Grand Prix COTA
EchoPark Texas Grand Prix Information
- Track: Circuit of the Americas
- Location: Del Valle, Texas
- Length: 3.426 miles (asphalt)
- Banking: N/A
- Race Distance: 68 laps/231 miles (15/32/68 laps)
- Dominator Points:
- DraftKings: 17 — laps led, 30.6 — fastest laps
- FanDuel: 6.8 — laps led
- Past winners: Chase Elliott (2021)
- Betting favorite: Chase Elliott +300
- Entry List: All 36 Chartered Teams including A.J. Allmendinger (16), Andy Lally (78), Josh Bilicki (77), plus the unchartered Loris Hezemans (27), Boris Said (66) and Kaz Grala (50) for 39 entrants in total.
- Weather: High of 86, mostly sunny, winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph
- Watch: FOX
- Listen: PRN (GoPRN.com, NASCAR.com, NASCAR SiriusXM Channel 90)
EchoPark Texas Grand Prix Race Schedule (All Times Eastern)
- Saturday, March 26
- 10 a.m.: Practice
- 11 a.m.: Qualifying
- Sunday, March 27
- 3:30 p.m.: Green flag
Be Leary of 2021
For the first time in 2021, NASCAR makes its way to one of the six road courses on the Cup schedule. This week finds NASCAR returning to Austin, Texas, for 68 laps around the 3.426-mile road course built specifically for Formula 1. Due to the length of this venue, this will be one of the shorter races all season, as far as laps are concerned.
Reviewing the inaugural EchoPark Texas Grand Prix (linked above) is an aimless endeavor — especially in light of this weekend’s forecast. Last year’s event, held in late May, was impacted by rounds of rain during practice and qualifying. In fact, the rain got so bad during the race that it became a safety hazard to the drivers as the water began to pond on the straightaways creating a hydroplaning hazard. Finally, after 54 laps, the race was put under a final caution flag as the rain intensified. With no break in the rain projected for the rest of the afternoon, NASCAR made the decision to call the race — coincidentally after Chase Elliott had just taken the lead. However, that’s a conspiracy theory for another article.
Another fly in the ointment of last year’s race is that the 2021 loop data is seriously flawed in terms of scoring accuracy. It’s logical to assume that the deluge of rain was affecting NASCAR’s scoring timers, and thus the irregularities arose. This is all to say, don’t go overboard in evaluating Sunday’s field in lieu of last year’s results. The better path is probably to gauge drivers by their 2021 road course results as a whole — exactly what is laid out in this week’s Race Sheets.
NASCAR DFS Preview for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix
As stated above, Sunday will see just 68 laps resulting in some of the fewest “dominator” points NASCAR DFS players will have to account for all season. With just 6.8 laps led points, as well as 6.8 laps run points, on FanDuel — worrying about lap leaders is extra noise in this week’s process. Instead, NASCAR fantasy racing players should really prioritize top-five finishes. For reference, last year’s optimal NASCAR DFS lineup for this race on FanDuel had the drivers who finished first, third, fourth, sixth and seventh with just 248.1 NASCAR fantasy points scored and used just $46,500.
As per DraftKings, this is a tight rope that Fantasy NASCAR players will have to walk. Before qualifying has been run, it’s hard to say if lineups should be built around so many lap leaders versus place differential options. With group qualifying, the field is bound to see some anomalous starting positions and with enough of them, this could easily become a race where players are trying to stack all of the place-differential options in their DraftKings NASCAR and FanDuel NASCAR lineups. However, if the field looks fairly normal, in regards to where drivers are starting, then lap leaders enter the fray with as few as one and as many as two.
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