NASCAR DFS: South Point 400 Preview, Best Las Vegas DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks (October 16)

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Las Vegas for the South Point 400 after Christopher Bell‘s win at the Charlotte Roval. Let’s dive into the track information NASCAR DFS players need to know, what to expect at this weekend’s race and early NASCAR fantasy advice.

NASCAR DFS: South Point 400

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Information

  • Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Length: 1.5 miles (asphalt)
  • Banking: 12-20 degrees in the turns (progressive)
  • Best corollary tracks: Kansas, Charlotte
  • Dominator Points:
    • DraftKings: 66.75 – laps led, 120.15 – fastest laps
    • FanDuel: 26.7 – laps led
  • Past winners: Alex Bowman (2022), Denny Hamlin (2021B), Kyle Larson (2021A)
  • Betting favorite: Denny Hamlin +550
  • Entry List: 36 drivers, including J.J. Yeley (15), A.J. Allmendinger (16), Landon Cassill (77)
  • Weather: High of 81 degrees, mostly cloudy
  • Watch: NBC, NBCSports.com
  • Listen: PRN (PRN, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Sirius/XM Channel 90)

On Track Schedule (All Times Eastern)

  • Saturday, October 15
    • 12:05 p.m.: Practice
    • 12:50 p.m.: Qualifying
  • Sunday, October 16
    • 2:30 p.m.: Green flag (80/165/267 laps)

2022 South Point 400 NASCAR DFS Picks

2022 Charlotte Roval Recap

The turning point in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs may very well come down to a loose advertisement.

With four laps left in the race, the Bank of America Roval 400 had only seen two cautions — both for stage breaks. Chase Elliott was in firm command of the lead and the playoff picture was looking clear. Both TrackHouse Racing drivers had dealt with mechanical issues earlier in the race, putting them multiple laps down. Ross Chastain was safe, but Daniel Suarez was cursed to finish the race knowing he was in a points hole so big, he’d need an act of God in order to make his way back into the playoffs. Bell started Sunday with a gap wider than Charlotte itself, he’d need a win to advance to the round of eight and he was nowhere near the lead. Chase Briscoe needed to make up spots to have a chance of passing Austin Cindric, whose pursuit of stage points had ended up hurting him more than helping his playoff hopes. Finally, Kyle Larson was dealing with his own mechanical issues but figured to have accrued enough playoff points to keep him in the next round of the playoffs.

However, the caution came out for that loose advertisement and the course of the race changed. The field was bunched back together with some drivers, including Bell, opting to exchange track position for fresh tires — a strategy that paid off handsomely. Following another caution for more debris (a “turtle” coming loose in the chicane on the backstretch) the field was grouped back together again with even more cars coming in for new tires. In the course of these restarts, Bell was able to march through the field, grab the lead on the last restart, surge to the win and move into the round of eight. Consequently, as Bell went to the lead, this took Larson from the seventh playoff spot down to eighth. After pitting, Briscoe had a goal of positions he had to gain in order to advance, something the aggressive driver was more than willing to do at the road course.

After forcing his way through and around drivers, plus getting a potential block from teammate Cole Custer, Briscoe gained exactly what he needed and moved the 2021 Cup champion out of the playoffs. The scenarios that made it possible for Bell to win and Briscoe to advance would have not been possible if that advertisement doesn’t find its way off the wall in turn 1. A plot that not even NASCAR could have dreamt up going into this race.


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2022 Playoff Standings

In lieu of the fallout of Charlotte, the round of eight is reset and Elliott finds himself on top of the board once again, now with a 31-point lead. Joey Logano resumes his position in second, however, it’s just 11 points over the cutoff and 5 points over Chastain. The “watermelon man” stands 6 points clear of the cutoff and 3 points over Bell. The Roval’s winner, in the final transfer spot, holds a 3-point lead over both Ryan Blaney and William Byron. Denny Hamlin, the winner of this week’s race from last year, comes in down 5 points to Bell while Briscoe finds himself trailing Bell by 9 points.

2022 Spring Las Vegas Review

The round of eight, or the third round of the playoffs as it’s formally known, opens this weekend at Las Vegas with the South Point 400. In years prior, Las Vegas had been the opening race to the first round of the playoffs, a race held at dusk in previous seasons to avoid having the fans and drivers compete under the hot September sun. This year, the race was moved to the third round, and though the green flag will wave at 12:30 p.m. locally, it appears the forecast has broken just right for NASCAR as Sunday’s forecast projects for a high around 81 with mostly cloudy skies.

Thus, conditions for Sunday’s affair shouldn’t vary too much from the spring edition of this race — a win by Alex Bowman. Before digging deep into the Pennzoil 400, a few things need to be rehashed as they’re important to how that race broke down. First, this was only the third race of the season (fourth for those counting the exhibition race at the Los Angeles Coliseum) and the first of five held so far at intermediate tracks. Therefore, with just the Saturday practice session giving teams any idea of what setups they should run, teams were figuring out this track as the laps ticked off. Second, practice and qualifying saw a few drivers wreck or spin out creating chalky scenarios for lineup construction. In hindsight, they were chalky as it should be a “no-brainer” to playing Kyle Busch starting 37th or Kurt Busch starting 31st. Yet, at the time there was serious doubt as to the validity of these drivers, especially Kyle Busch who inherited a parts car from Denny Hamlin. Furthermore, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Hemric, and Cole Custer all started at the rear due to unapproved adjustments.

Bell started on the pole and led from the green flag until the competition caution on lap 32. With the number of spins on Saturday, coupled with what NASCAR has seen the week prior at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR wasn’t about to take any chances with the quality of their tires. After the field was bunched back together, the lead changed hands several times; 10 times among nine drivers over a span of 80 laps, before Chastain wrangled the lead away on lap 113. This wouldn’t be the last time Chastain would lead, as he would grab the lead two more times leading a total of 83 laps — the most on the day.

In all, the lead changed hands 23 times among 15 different drivers that Sunday. A major factor in the lead getting exchanged as often as it did were the number of cautions that grouped the field back together. Besides stage breaks, there were 10 cautions that Sunday with nearly 22% of the race being held under a yellow flag with the average green flag run going 16.5 laps. The majority of these cautions for wrecks and spins took place during the first two stages, however, an accident between Erik Jones and Bubba Wallace on lap 266 opened the door for another lead change as Bowman lead the final three laps after pitting for just two tires and starting on the front row opposite Larson.

Las Vegas Concluding Thoughts

Therefore, the big question is whether Sunday’s race looks like what occurred here in the spring at Las Vegas. The first inclinations should be no, that race was a learning curve for everyone involved and that race was well before anyone knew that teams were bucking Goodyear’s tire pressure recommendations in favor of increased speed. On the other hand, cautions have been plentiful at intermediate tracks regardless of the venue, time of day, or time of year. At Kansas in May, there was a low of 8 cautions over 400 miles but then fast forward to Charlotte and there were 18 cautions over the span of 600 miles. Skip ahead to Kansas, from earlier in the playoffs, and there were nine yellow flags, and then recently at Texas, there were 16 cautions thrown. Throw in the potential chaos that could result from drivers trying to punch an early ticket into the Championship four and this race could very well resemble its spring rendition.

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Phillip Bennetzen
Phill Bennetzen is the creator of the RaceSheets; all-inclusive stats and data NASCAR DFS spreadsheets for the Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup Series. Phill and the RaceSheets can be found at racesheetsdfs.substack.com

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