The NASCAR Xfinity Series is back after a week off and we get our first road course race of the season at Circuit of the Americas! You just know A.J. Allmendinger is licking his chops to potentially grab his first win, but it is a pretty stacked field for Saturday’s Xfinity Series race. We get a couple Cup Series drivers with Kyle Larson and Ty Gibbs stepping in. Additionally, we get to see the star Kaulig Racing drivers (Allmendinger and SVG) get some action on a road course. Here are the NASCAR DFS lineup picks for Saturday’s Focused Health 250 from Austin, Texas!


If you need a description or breakdown of the track’s unique features, I recommend you check out the Craftsman Truck Series Playbook published Friday night. The strategy largely remains the same although we get four whole extra laps for this race. That equates to 2.8 extra dominator points. But this race will be 46 laps broken into 14-16-16 lap stages. So we have about 30 dominator points at our disposal. So again, we are looking to get six drivers into our lineup that can score well. If you play the polesitter or anyone in the top 5-10 drivers, you are looking for win equity and an overall great finish. Otherwise, we want position differential and strong finishes across the board.

Unlike the Truck Series race we don’t have an obvious source of position differential to pay up for. I prefer it this way, honestly. It should allow us to potentially build a balanced lineup without (hopefully) diving too deep into the driver pool.

We’ve seen three Xfinity Series races at COTA. A.J. Allmendinger has won the last two while finishing as the runner-up in 2021’s inaugural race to Kyle Busch. The winner of this race has led at least 25 laps and on two occasions the winner has started on the pole. But most of the win equity will be allocated to the drivers starting in the top five. We do tend to see more movement in the field than the Truck Series. Last year’s race saw six drivers start outside the top 25 and finish in the top 17 while NINE drivers gained at least 10 spots of position differential. The 2021 and 2022 races were a bit more tame, but 10 drivers in the 2022 race did gain eight spots of position differential, while 2021 saw eight drivers move up as many spots. 

Focused Health 250 Practice Notes

Focused Health 250 Core Driver Picks

Top Price Core Plays

Kyle Larson ($11,000; Starting P1)

It’s none too surprising to see Larson in this Playbook, despite being on the pole for a road course. We’re targeting the win equity. If dominator points come along, so be it. Larson is racing in the Xfinity Series. It’s like if Shohei Ohtani was to show up as the designated hitter for your kid’s tee-ball game. Last year, Larson ran the Xfinity Series races at Darlington and Sonoma. He won the first Darlington race pretty easily leading 46 laps and then finished third at Sonoma but did lead 53 laps, which is insane for a road course. He’s not a noteworthy road ringer, but he does have his share of wins and may just have the best car for Saturday’s race. We probably want at least 50 fantasy points from him, but he can deliver that with a win and maybe 10 laps led with just as many fastest laps as well.

A.J. Allmendinger ($10,700; Starting P5)

If Larson wasn’t in the race, Dinger would easily be the favorite in this field. We all know of Allmendinger’s road course prowess. While running a full-time schedule with the Cup Series last year, Allmendinger did win two of his five Xfinity Series races in 2023. He’s won the last two COTA races (led 28 laps here last year), he finished second at Sonoma, and third at Indy (led 21 laps). He dominates at the Roval, while he’s won at Portland, Mid-Ohio, Road America, and he’s been the runner-up three times at Watkins Glen. It would surprise no one if he claimed victory over Larson. And hey, if you can manage to build a lineup with both I don’t hate that but you need them both to finish first and second. And if you want a $500 discount, you can absolutely target Shane Van Gisbergen ($10,200; Starting P2), Allmendinger’s teammate, who can finally show off what he’s capable of in this series.

Sam Mayer ($10,000; Starting P10)

It’ll be difficult to play three $10K drivers but I imagine you’ll see plenty of Larson/Mayer or Allmendinger/Mayer combinations. Mayer has raced COTA twice while gaining at least five spots in terms of position differential in each race. He’s finished fifth and seventh and could easily grab another top five finish on Saturday. 2023 was a coming out party of sorts for Mayer. He grabbed four wins last year, including three on road courses (Road America, Watkins Glen, and the Roval) so he may fly a bit under the radar on Saturday. He even finished third at Portland and second at Indy last year. Perhaps he found his niche on road courses and has a little win equity today? He’s +2000 or longer on some sportsbooks if you want to throw a half-unit on him to win.

Justin Allgaier ($9,500; Starting P15)

It’s rare that we look at a NASCAR DFS slate for the Xfinity Series and see Allgaier priced as the seventh-most expensive driver. But those are the cards we’ve been dealt today. Allgaier is modestly priced and starting P15. That will garner plenty of exposure because a top five is within reach for him even if this isn’t his preferred track type. He does have a pair of top five finishes at COTA from 2021 and 2023. Despite the Chicago Street Course being called early and not being a full race, Allgaier finished third and even finished second at Portland after leading 23 laps. There is some sneaky potential for a win, but we can play him with confidence that he can move up 10 spots and score another top five finish. If he does grab another top five, he’s flirting with 50+ fantasy points.

Mid-Price Core Plays

John Hunter Nemechek ($8,800; Starting P20)

JHN is going to be a popular option. Priced in the mid-range and offers PD. It’s rare that we can play Nemechek with the mindset that all we need is a top 10 finish from him. Normally we seek out the dominator points in addition to win equity. I will note that he isn’t the greatest road course driver. So maybe we don’t throw out the expectation of a top five finish. However, in a full-time season with JGR in 2023, he was second at Chicago, sixth at Watkins Glen, eighth at the Roval, and 10th at Portland. He’ll close in on 45 fantasy points if he can grab another top 10.

Parker Kligerman ($8,700; Starting P12)

I like Kligerman as a play, but don’t love it. We know he prefers road courses. He won in a sub-par truck a couple years back at Mid-Ohio. That win arguably got him an opportunity in this car. But road courses are his preference and he laid down the seventh-fastest lap in practice. Truthfully, I think that might be right around where he finishes. Just given the landscape and loaded talent pool, he needs a lot of help to get into the top five. But if chaos ensues on the final lap, and if he avoids it, then there’s potential. He had plenty of top 10 runs last year at courses like Sonoma (fifth), Chicago (ninth), Road America (runner-up), Indy (seventh), Watkins Glen (third), and the Roval (sixth). He’s kind of like the Tyler Ankrum for the Xfinity Series race. Same starting spot, almost the same price, and arguably the same DFS upside.

Jesse Love ($8,200; Starting P14)

Love is priced pretty well for this race. And yes, while I’ve acknowledged that we need top five’s or a win from almost all the drivers in the top tier, I’ll give Love the prestigious upside of maybe grabbing a top five as well. Phoenix was two weeks ago, but maybe folks have forgotten that he finished second for another solid performance on DraftKings. He’s the same price tag for this race and if most players spend up on two drivers in the top tier, then throw in JHN, well they may not be able to fit Love in by default. He laid down a top five lap in practice and has shown a lot of potential in the small sample size we’ve seen. I don’t believe there’s a lot of road course experience here, but hopefully Sheldon Creed’s bad luck from RCR didn’t leave any stink on this car.

Brandon Jones ($7,600; Starting P18)

The price tag on Jones previously hovered around $8,000-$8,100. Because of the track type, scoring format, and overall quality of the field, Jones is discounted a bit to $7,600 and he starts P18. I don’t believe he has much hope for a top five. But he does have momentum coming into this year. He finished top 10 at Vegas and Phoenix and he really hasn’t had a “bad” run in any race this year. He’s not the greatest road ringer. He doesn’t have a top 10 in three races here, but the equipment is still good to get him there. Remember, this is basically the same equipment as Justin Allgaier and Sam Mayer. You can pivot to Riley Herbst ($8,000; Starting P19) if you think some of Cole Custer’s road racing pedigree rubbed off on Herbst.

Value-Price Core Plays

Anthony Alfredo ($7,400; Starting P30)

Alfredo is just the kind of driver who gets the most out of his equipment. I’m mostly expecting him to finish top 20, but maybe there’s a top 15 in his sights today. He likely won’t ever qualify well but his car tends to get better throughout the race and he had good runs at Vegas (16th) and Phoenix (10th) within the last three weeks. He started in a similar spot last year in far less equipment and still managed to finish 16th. And in 2022 with Our Motorsports, he finished 13th after starting P18. That’s why I think that there’s top 15 potential, but I’d be happy with a top 20.

Ryan Sieg ($6,100; Starting P27)

A lot of casual fans will see this price tag, and starting spot, and jump on it. I can’t say I blame them. You can probably lock him in for Cash games. However, there’s a little trepidation here. For starters, it feels like a trap. Sieg is good enough, and has the equipment, where he should be consistently priced in the $7K range. He finished seventh at Vegas and 12th at Phoenix. He’s a top 12 driver most weeks when we aren’t at a road course. But that’s where we’re at this week. If he can get you a top 20, you take it and run. He qualified P31 or worse in his previous three races at COTA. His best finished is 11th from back in 2022, but he’s finished 23rd and 25th in the other two races. At Sonoma last year, he started P34 and finished 28th. He had suspension issues twice at Indy over the last four years. And in general, there isn’t a massive ceiling. He’s going to be a popular value play. I love it for Cash but maybe we find some leverage in this range for our Tournament lineups.

Josh Bilicki ($5,800; Starting P23)

I’m not sure what the funding/sponsorship situation is with DGM Racing nowadays. But this was a team that never really had a shot at winning but had a tendency to set their cars up very well for road courses. Maybe they’re better at tracks like Road America, Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio. But they have two entries in this field this week. Bilicki is cheap and arguably prefers running road courses. He had that great run at Road America last year where he finished eighth, while grabbing top 20 finishes at Sonoma and Indy. So I won’t shy away from taking a shot here. But his teammate, Kyle Weatherman ($5,400; Starting P32) may be the preferred pivot for Cash games. He’s in similar equipment but is more affordable and offers more PD.

Blaine Perkins ($4,600; Starting P36)

There are actually a handful of drivers I don’t mind in the value tier and it’s tough to not list them all. But I see this price tag, starting spot, and know that he’s racing for the same team as Ryan Sieg, and I just naturally want to play Perkins. He offers a very safe floor and I won’t even panic if he’s running around the back for the first two stages. It’s difficult to get lapped on a road course. You have to have a disastrous setup for that to happen, or a massive error on pit road. Sure, we maybe need a little chaos late in the race for him to move up. But I’d be happy with his score if he moved up eight spots. I’ll also throw in Ryan Ellis ($4,800; Starting P38) who starts dead last and can’t get you negative points and we’ve seen him drive to a top 25 a couple times this season. Very safe floor with both punt plays.

Focused Health 250 NASCAR DFS Lineup Picks

Pricing TierDrivers
Top PriceKyle Larson ($11,000; Starting P1)
A.J. Allmendinger ($10,700; Starting P5)
Shane Van Gisbergen ($10,200; Starting P2)
Sam Mayer ($10,000; Starting P10)
Justin Allgaier ($9,500; Starting P15)
Mid-PriceJohn Hunter Nemechek ($8,800; Starting P20)
Parker Kligerman ($8,700; Starting P12)
Jesse Love ($8,200; Starting P14)
Riley Herbst ($8,000; Starting P19)
Brandon Jones ($7,600; Starting P18)
Value PriceAnthony Alfredo ($7,400; Starting P30)
Sage Karam ($7,200; Starting P6) - GPP Only
Alex Labbe ($6,500; Starting P26) - GPP Only
Jeremy Clements ($6,300; Starting P24)
Ryan Sieg ($6,100; Starting P27)
Josh Bilicki ($5,800; Starting P23)
Kyle Weatherman ($5,400; Starting P32)
Ryan Ellis ($4,800; Starting P38) - Punt
Blaine Perkins ($4,600; Starting P36) - Punt