The NASCAR Xfinity Series finally enters the postseason alongside the Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Cup Series. It was a relatively underwhelming week at Kansas as John Hunter Nemechek claimed his sixth win of the season and the victory comes hand-in-hand with news he’ll be called back up to the NASCAR Cup Series to drive the 42-car for Legacy Motor Club as the team moves over to Toyota. But it’s always refreshing when the Xfinity Series begins their postseason because it feels just a little different when all three series are locked in for some playoff racing. The stakes are higher and the racing gets a little more tense. Here are the top drivers and strategies for Friday night’s Food City 300!


Before I begin with how the stages are broken down, and the track layout, and how many dominators you need, let’s just acknowledge that this race could be an absolute dumpster fire. I can’t begin to stress how much I hate this series for DFS. I finished in a tie for first in the Happy Hour a few weeks ago for the Xfinity Series and I was still mad at these drivers because they suck and I had two other lineups in the same race drop outside the top ten. I couldn’t even enjoy a takedown. I have no faith in these drivers. We’ve seen teammates screw each other out of the playoffs. We’ve seen plenty of ill-timed cautions, and wreck,s and countless errors on pit road. All in all, it’s my least favorite series for DFS.

And we now head to one of my least favorite tracks for DFS; Bristol Motor Speedway. Bristol is like a small Talladega. It’s far from a superspeedway but there’s still plenty of chaos. It’s a short, half-mile track with high banking. Laps go by incredibly quick. On average, when everyone is on the track, they’ll be completing about 3.5 laps per minute. Last night’s truck race was 200 laps and they completed the whole thing in about 80 minutes. Cars will lose the lead lap with ease and cautions come easily for a spin or a car in the wall because it’s a safety issue on a short track. Only 13 cars finished on the lead lap in last year’s Xfinity race at Bristol and almost half the field finished multiple laps down. Two years ago this race had to go to overtime but there were ten cautions for 72 laps and 14 drivers finished on the lead lap and again, almost half the field finished multiple laps down.

There are certainly enough laps here for multiple dominators. 300 laps are on the table and the stages are broken into segments of 85-85-130. In this series we typically see the best DraftKings scores come from inside the top 20 but there will be a few gems starting deep in the field that gain double-digits in position differential that crack the optimal lineup. As always there will be updates in RED following practice and qualifying Friday afternoon.

Practice Notes

NASCAR DFS Driver Pool

Justin Allgaier ($11,500)

At first glance it looks like another strong week to play Justin Allgaier. I don’t know what it is about Bristol, but he somehow gets to the front and dominates here. Last year he started P3 and finished ninth but had 55 dominator points. He started P2 in this race two years ago and finished fourth but had 37.85 dominator points. In the 2020 playoff race at Bristol he started on the pole and finished fifth with 51.75 dominator points. And earlier that summer, he may have finished 18th but still had 63.3 dominator points despite starting P10. In seven straight races he’s led at least 90 laps here and in eight of his last nine races at Bristol he’s led at least 45. These are outstanding numbers and surprisingly consistent dominator points despite this being a high variance short track. Update: So he qualified P10 and had top five speed in practice. The poor qualifying effort could be due to the fact that the car could be set up for cooler conditions this evening. I still can't avoid him given his track history here. He's listed as a GPP play below in the Core Plays but I'm fine with him in Cash games too. I just give a slight edge to JHN and Custer in Cash because of their practice speeds and starting positions.

John Hunter Nemechek ($11,300)

It’s easy to just look at all his wins on so many different tracks and want to get exposure here. JHN has six wins on the season so it’s clear why many pre-practice and qualifying rankings had him at the top. JHN has some decent performances across all levels at Bristol. In his lone season in the Cup Series when NASCAR didn’t dedicate one Bristol race to dirt, JHN started P18 in the summer race and finished 13th, while in the fall he started P31 and finished 20th. In last year’s Truck Series race he started P36 and finished 12th and he finished third in the 2021 race. The performance this year has been great so he’s a hard driver to fade regardless of the track type. Update: Starts P3 so could get early dominator points but I'd bank of Custer grabbing the stage one dom points.

Cole Custer ($10,700)

If you ever read my NFL D/ST articles you’ll notice that sometimes I’ll recommend certain defenses as a fade simply because you can either pay up a little more for a better option that has a higher floor and ceiling or you can find value elsewhere. That’s how Custer resonates with me for Friday night’s race. He’s certainly good with two wins on the year, although one of them is questionable. He’s rattled off plenty of top fives this year but we haven’t seen him lead double-digit laps since Chicago. Fortunately, Bristol lends itself to plenty of laps and if he does qualify well that’ll help his dominator potential. He’s run Bristol six times in the Xfinity Series with four top ten finishes and two top five finishes and he led 25 laps here in the summer of 2019. Again, Allgaier and JHN are probably the safer bets but Custer likely comes in with significantly less exposure. Update: He's on the pole and in good shape to get 20+ dominator points in the first stage. Looked pretty fast in practice.

Austin Hill ($10,400)

I'm not quite sure what the deal is with the RCR cars but Hill and Creed were both pretty slow in practice and qualifying. Similar to Allgaier, maybe they're set up for a cooler track but Hill and Creed both qualified outside the top 25. Obviously the better play is Hill. He starts further back and has more wins than Creed in their two-year stints with RCR. Creed is the leverage play but you can't feel great about playing Creed in a race like this when he presents himself with so much PD.

Sam Mayer ($10,200)

The price tag might be questionable for Mayer because he’s finished outside the top ten in three straight races coming into Bristol. But prior to that he had five straight top five finishes including two wins and two runner-up finishes in that span. He actually has a win at Bristol from the Truck Series when he was a part-time driver. In last year’s Xfinity Series race he started P5 and finished fourth but he did have 17 fastest laps which equate to 7.65 additional dominator points for his score. And in his first career Xfinity Series race at Bristol he started P22 and finished ninth with 24.85 dominator points. 

Trevor Bayne ($10,000)

It’s been a while since we’ve had seven drivers priced over $10,000 for the Xfinity Series. Bristol was surprisingly one of Bayne’s best tracks in the Cup Series with an average starting position of 21.3 and an average finish of 16.3 in nine races here. That sample size only includes a pair of top ten finishes, but he did have five top 12 finishes and that’s a phenomenal resume for one track at the Cup Series. Now in the Xfinity Series he has a few top tens, but he’s never raced here in JGR equipment so this is a big upgrade for him and let’s not forget, he’s from Knoxville, TN so this is kind of a home track for him. Update: Starting P12. Might be an intriguing contrarian play but hard to pay this price tag if we don't think he can lead laps.

This is more of a “gut” play because Smith has a small sample size with Joe Gibbs Racing. He started P6 here last season and finished 14th and he’s had some piss poor performances coming into this race with seven straight finishes outside the top 15. He hasn’t done too much since his win at Phoenix six months ago, but this is still a Joe Gibbs Racing car and it should have top ten speed. He won the ARCA race at Bristol in 2022 and was the runner-up in 2021 so there is potential if he can right the ship now that the playoffs have started. Update: Starts P6

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,800)

Friday night will serve at Jr.’s annual race in the Xfinity Series and the price tag is great for what we know will be great equipment. He usually bounces around and picks his tracks carefully when determining which race he wants to run. Last year he ran Martinsville where he started P30 and finished 11th. The year before it was Richmond where he started P30 and finished 14th. Prior to that it was Homestead where he started P12 and finished fifth. The equipment will be good and if he starts deep in the field like his last two races then he should be able to move up. I don’t think he has much win equity. I think he understands the importance of making sure one of his drivers like Justin Allgaier, Josh Berry, or Sam Mayer scoring a win here to move on to the round of eight. I’ll say Brandon Jones is worth monitoring in practice and qualifying as well. He missed the playoffs but he finished second here last year with JGR and has four straight finishes of eighth or better at Bristol. Update: He starts P15 and has PD and top five upside. Solid play right here so long as he isn't super polite in his lone race of 2023.

Parker Kligerman ($8,300)

Kligerman snuck into the playoffs as the last driver at Kansas last weekend. It’s a bit of a feel-good story in his first year with Big Machine Racing and he kicks off the playoffs at a track he’s had success at in terms of moving up through the field. In last night’s Truck Series race he started P28 and finished 18th. Kind of a “good, not great” performance. But in last year’s truck series race he started P28 and finished third while in 2020 he started P35 and finished fourth. In the Xfinity Series he has an average starting position of 20.3 and an average finish of 15.5 but he hasn’t run the Xfinity Series at Bristol in a decade. So hopefully he took notes last night and can get a good finish because he’ll need some consistent finishes to move on to the next round.

Riley Herbst ($8,000)

Herbst might be a borderline top ten play. He missed out on the playoffs which is a bummer, but he’s always been a driver that can never get it going regardless of the equipment. But I’m willing to play him on DraftKings Friday night. He has three straight top tens at Bristol including back-to-back top five finishes here. He’s even gained at least five spots of PD in each of his last three races so I think he’s viable for tonight’s race and because he didn’t make the playoffs that might push exposure down by the field if they assume he has nothing to race for.

Derek Kraus ($7,800)

Derek Kraus has had some really strong performances in the Truck Series at Bristol, but this will be his debut in the Xfinity Series at this track. So far he does have three top ten finishes in five races with Kaulig Racing. In three career Truck Series races he’s never finished worse than 15th and he even finished sixth in this race last year while leading 27 laps. I guess my one wish was that he would offer a little more PD. He’s done a great job qualifying this car inside the top 20 in each of his races, but it limits his PD potential. Update: Starts P18 so we're not getting as much PD as I wanted but he's still a good play.

Brett Moffitt ($7,500)

PD play since he starts P36. Not really sure what happened in qualifying but he wasn't very good.

Jeb Burton ($7,000)

Jeb slapped the wall pretty hard during practice and I'm 99% sure the team is going to a backup car. Had practice on my computer at work but no audio, yet I'm fairly confident I saw them unloading the backup. So he starts at the rear. Obviously you just hope the backup car is set up well, but the PD alone makes him a great play in all formats. But he will be very popular.

Parker Retzlaff ($6,500)

This one is a bit of a gamble because Retzlaff comes from more of a short, flat track background. Bristol isn’t flat and Retzlaff hasn’t raced here since 2020 in the ARCA Series. But he’s done incredibly well over the last couple weeks and he’s been a DFS gem. He finished 11th at Kansas, 13th at Darlington, seventh at Daytona, ninth at Michigan, and 14th at Road America. Five top 15 finishes in his last seven races certainly stick out. The lack of experience here is something we can’t forget about but he’s been exceeding his price tag and his confidence is growing. There’s risk given the nature of this track, but he’s been proving me wrong with each passing week. Update: Have to downgrade him since he's starting P14. Could he hold his spot and finish here? Yes, but I don't think he does.

Anthony Alfredo ($6,100)

So Alfredo and Kaz Grala $6,700) are both live as value plays. I expect juiced exposure for both because of their price tag and PD. Neither qualified well but offer PD. I don't know how much I'll play of either but I would avoid playing them together.

Josh Williams ($5,600) 

I am an absolute sucker for Josh Williams and I admit it. The haircut, the persona, the occasional DFS value upside… I fall for it all! And you know what? I’m falling for it again heading into Friday night’s race! Williams has an average starting position of 26.6 and an average finish of 21.1 at Bristol. It is a war of attrition and experience is valuable here. I will say that I’d prefer he start outside the top 25. If he qualifies inside the top 20 then his ceiling might be finishing roughly where he starts. So be mindful of that heading into practice and qualifying because we want to squeeze some PD points out of this play. Update: He starts P20. I would've preferred he start further back but I won't downgrade him as much as Retzlaff. You could pay $200 more for Kyle Weatherman and get more position differential.

Kyle Sieg ($5,200)

I think it’s a little odd DraftKings priced Kyle Sieg above Timmy Hill, but Sieg is in better equipment at the end of the day. Sieg only has one top ten on the season and this is also his debut at Bristol in the Xfinity Series. But at this price tag, if he can get you 25+ fantasy points on DraftKings, which he’s done a dozen times this year, then he’s a perfectly fine play. He has raced here twice in the ARCA Series. In 2020 he started P23 and finished 17th and then in 2021 he started P17 and finished fifth. Update: He's starting P27 and has a path to get 25 fantasy points. Still risky but I won't completely write him off.

Timmy Hill ($4,900) 

Well everybody, it finally happened. Timmy Hill had a bad race at Bristol. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but in last night’s Truck Series race he started and finish 26th. Truthfully, I blame myself for that disaster. I made him the cover boy for yesterday's article, which sure is odd, because he's cheap every week. I grew tired of constantly featuring Ty Majeski and Corey Heim so I figured, ‘why not put Timmy Hill on the cover?’ Big mistake on my part. But if you’ll recall from yesterday’s NASCAR DFS Playbook, he still has great performances in the Xfinity Series even though the equipment is questionable. He’s $1,000 cheaper than last night’s price tag but he has three straight top 15 finishes at Bristol driving for MBM. Could he have another poor race? Sure, but I’m hopeful that if he was to have a bad race at Bristol then he got it out of his system last night. Update: He starts P34 and is probably the chalk value play based on track history. I think there are enough “value” plays in safer equipment for Cash games so I think I'll reserve exposure to Hill for just Tournaments.


Cash GamesTop TierMid-TierValue Plays
 John Hunter Nemechek ($11,300; Starting P3)Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,800; Starting P15)Jeb Burton ($7,000; Starting P38)
 Cole Custer ($10,700; Starting P1)Brett Moffitt ($7,500; Starting P36)Anthony Alfredo ($6,100; Starting P32)
 Austin Hill ($10,400; Starting P26)  
GPP Plays/PivotsTop TierMid-TierValue Plays
 Justin Allgaier ($11,500; Starting P10)Riley Herbst ($8,000; Starting P16)Kaz Grala ($6,700; Starting P31)
 Sam Mayer ($10,200; Starting P11)Derek Kraus ($7,800; Starting P18)Parker Retzlaff ($6,500; Starting P14)
 Trevor Bayne ($10,000; Starting P12) Timmy Hill ($4,900; Starting P34)