The NASCAR Xfinity Series has finally made it to the final race of the regular season and the playoffs will be determined Saturday afternoon from Kansas Speedway! The playoff implications truly aren’t all that exciting for this race. Drivers like John Hunter Nemechek, Austin Hill, Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer, Sam Mayer, Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith, and Jeb Burton are locked in with wins. Josh Berry, Sheldon Creed, and Daniel Hemric are either locked in based on points or they’re comfortably in on points. The only real drama boils down to Riley Herbst and Parker Kligerman for the final playoff spot. One point separates these two drivers. Other drivers like Brandon Jones, Brett Moffitt, Kaz Grala, Ryan Sieg, etc. would need to pull off a shocking win at Kansas to make the playoffs. It should be an exciting race, and we won’t underestimate these drivers, I’m sure they’ll drive like idiots! Let’s check out the NASCAR DFS drivers and strategies for Saturday afternoon’s Kansas Lottery 300!


Saturday’s race is scheduled for 200 laps around the 1.5-mile intermediate tri-oval of Kansas Speedway. The stages will be broken into 45-45-110 lap segments and each team will get five sets of tires. Tire fall off is kind of moderate so it could come into play in longer runs. But with 200 laps on the table we’ll want to build with at least two dominators in mind. I’ll provide the practice notes, updates in red, and the NASCAR DFS Core Drivers once we know the qualifying order for Saturday’s race.

Kansas Lottery 300 Practice Notes

NASCAR DFS Driver Pool

John Hunter Nemechek ($11,000)

I’m kicking off the Playbook with the three most expensive drivers. I know. This isn’t necessarily hard-hitting analysis. But it’s a pretty standard intermediate and I anticipate these drivers having the most speed, thus being the ones most likely to dominate the race. JHN has had speed everywhere. He has five wins this year and he’s led a ton of laps including 99 last week at Darlington. He led 45 laps at Vegas before finishing sixth. Then he led 57 at Charlotte before finishing second. He won Michigan while leading 65 laps. JHN’s in arguably the best car and should be in our lineups this weekend. Update: Starting P7 and looked decent in practice.

Justin Allgaier ($10,800)

Kansas is not Allgaier’s best track historically. He did finish second here a year ago but keep in mind, the race was called short because of the weather. Aside from that he’s led just 17 laps here in 13 career races and certainly has plenty of top ten finishes, but only three top five finishes if you take away last year’s result. The good news is that he’s been very good on the comparable tracks having won Charlotte and finishing second at Vegas. I’d probably rank him third of the top three most expensive drivers, but I’ll still mix him into some of my builds if he looks sporty in practice and qualifying. Update: He's on the pole so ownership will be elevated because of the easy path to early dominator points.

Austin Hill ($10,500)

I’m mostly banking on Hill showing up with a fast car as he’s done seemingly every single week. Three years ago with Hattori Racing Enterprises he started P29 and finished fifth. He finished 12th last year with RCR but again, he just didn’t have track position at the time the race was called. In the Truck Series he has a win and four finishes of fourth or better with dominator points along the way. Hill won Vegas earlier this year while also finishing fourth at Charlotte and Nashville. Plus, he has momentum having finished second last week at Darlington while leading 29 laps. Update: Starts P9 and should be sporty. Works well as a second dominator to Allgaier assuming they both get to run up front. Cole Custer is worth some Tourney exposure too. Looked good in practice but I'm not completely sold he can get to the front ahead of Allgaier, JHN, or Hill.

Brandon Jones ($9,000)

It’s been a tough year for Jones. And truthfully this price tag is stupid because he was in the $7K range a few races ago. But it’s the final race of the regular season and he needs a win to move on. He’s won here twice and finished fourth here last season. He likely could’ve contended for a win, but the weather wasn’t really on his side and the race was called early in stage three if memory serves correct. But his greatest runs here came with Joe Gibbs Racing. With Jr. Motorsports he’s definitely struggled. Despite the great equipment he still only has a 24% top ten rate this season. And he only has three top five finishes. He hasn’t been overly impressive on the comparable tracks because he’s just been severely underwhelming this year. But it’s do or die and he’s at a track he’s won twice. He needs a won to make the playoffs so I can’t write him off completely. I will likely provide some updates on other $9K drivers. Having led off with the three most expensive guys in the field, I didn’t want to fill out the top tier with too many expensive options. But we’ll see what happens with qualifying. Update: Starts P4 so the PD isn't there. The JRM cars looked very fast in practice and he knows he needs to win.

Riley Herbst ($8,800)

I can’t believe I’m listing both Brandon Jones and Riley Herbst in the same Playbook ahead of practice and qualifying, but here we are. If we’re looking at the larger ovals on the schedule he’s been a top ten machine for the most part. He was eighth at Vegas, second at Nashville, fourth at Pocono (not an oval but still a track that requires power and speed), sixth at Michigan, and sixth at Darlington-2. I do think he has top eight upside. I just wish he was a little more affordable. Update: Ownership will be down because he starts P8 but if he can get a top five finish he could be optimal. Good leverage spot right here.

Daniel Hemric ($8,600)

I can’t tell if this is an equipment upgrade for Hemric or not, but I’m sure he’ll find a way to make this car suck. Hemric shifts from Kaulig Racing’s 11-car to the 10-car since the 10 is eligible for the owner’s championship. And Hemric makes the Xfinity Series driver playoffs simply by starting this race. So, the number change makes sense. Hemric has finished second here on two occasions with Richard Childress Racing and JR Motorsports. But he logged back-to-back 15th place finishes with JGR and Kaulig. I do like the fact that this is just a traditional oval. He tends to do better on ovals than road courses where he’s been a disaster this year. You can certainly pivot to Parker Kligerman ($8,400) who is trying to point his way in by basically racing against Riley Herbst this weekend, but I’ll solidify who I prefer once we know the starting order. Update: The good news is that the car is fast. But he qualified P5 so he likely isn't optimal without a top five finish. Kligerman starts ten spots behind him and has more to race for if you choose to go that route.

Derek Kraus ($8,200)

Kraus got in a Kaulig car for four races back in April and hasn’t been seen since. But he’s back in September for the last race of the regular season. He finished tenth at Richmond, eighth at Martinsville, wrecked at Talladega, then was 20th Dover. So what can we take away from these results? Very little! Those tracks don’t really compare to Kansas at all! But it’s still a good ride since he’ll be in the 11-car instead of the 10-car. He had four top ten finishes at Kansas in six races in the Truck Series. Overall, for a mid-tier driver this is a pretty good price to pay for good equipment despite the increase in cost from April. Update: Starts P18. Pretty good play in all formats in solid equipment.

Ryan Sieg ($7,900)

I’m losing faith in the elder Sieg by the day but on paper he’s a good play this week. He is priced up and I think that’s due to track history. He’s had some phenomenal results at Kansas. He underwhelmed finishing just 14th in this race a year ago, but prior to that he had five straight top ten finishes including three top fives. 2023 has definitely been a down year for Sieg with just three top ten finishes and even on the comparable tracks he hasn’t been great this year. But keep in mind, this is his last chance to qualify for the playoffs. He has almost zero win equity but I think he still has top ten upside at Kansas. I will acknowledge Joe Graf Jr. ($7,700) as a pivot in this range because he’s in a Joe Gibbs Racing car this weekend and that price is too cheap for the equipment. But we haven’t seen him get a top ten in that car although he could be good for a top 15 finish. I’d prefer some PD out of the play though. Update: Sieg starts P14 so he's just a GPP play. Wouldn't loved more PD but this is a good track for him. Graf starts P11 so I may not play him. Good equipment for him but I don't know if he can drive that JGR car top a top ten.

Parker Retzlaff ($7,500) and Jeb Burton ($7,300)

I’m going to include both Jordan Anderson Racing drivers. Retzlaff has been very sporty the last few weeks. He was 13th last week at Darlington, seventh prior to that at Daytona, and he grabbed a top ten at Michigan. These are tracks that fall outside of his short, flat track comfort zone. But he was also top ten at Nashville and Charlotte earlier in the year so I definitely like the way he’s trending. For Burton, I don’t want to dwell on the result at Kansas last year. It was a shortened race and on top of that, he finished poorly. He’s finished top 20 in 11 straight races with seven of those finishes being 13th or better. He finished 14th at Vegas and seventh at Charlotte so I can vibe with both Jordan Anderson Racing drivers this weekend. Update: Probably prefer Retzlaff since he starts P26 and has top 20 upside lately. Burton is better for Tournaments.

Kaz Grala ($7,200)

A poor qualifyng effort has Grala starting outside the top 30. He'll draw a lot of exposure because of the starting spot. He wasn't really all that fast in practice but the equipment and driver are good enough to get a top 20 result.

Jeremy Clements ($7,000)

I don’t love Clements this week, but I will acknowledge his more recent results on this track have been above average by his standards. He finished 21st in the shortened race a year ago so I don’t want to put too much emphasis on that one. But in five races from 2018 to 2021 he finished 17th or better in each race with three top 12 finishes baked into that sample size. I’m mostly interested if he starts outside the top 20. I don’t love the price tag, but I like the track history.

Anthony Alfredo ($6,400)

Didn't have a great qualifying effort. I think the broadcast made a comment about his tire going down but either way he starts deep in the field. The equipment isn't great but he does have top 20 upside and this is a friendly price tag. The equipment isn't great but he's had good runs this year in this car.

Kyle Weatherman ($6,000)

Weatherman has a poor average finishing result, but that’s because he previously raced here with Mike Harmon Racing. But even in two of those three races he finished 21st and 22nd. This time around he’s with DGM Racing and while that doesn’t automatically translate to a good finish, he did finish top 20 at Charlotte with this team. But he wrecked at Atlanta and had electrical issues at Michigan so he’s not quite a lock. But he’s a good driver that can claw his way forward so I don’t mind going back to the well this week. Update: He qualified inside the top 20 which isn't great. I think I'm pivoting to Kyle Sieg who starts ten spots behind him.

Josh Williams ($5,500)

I feel like I’ve whiffed the last few times I’ve mentioned Josh Williams. He’s totaled 27 fantasy points on DraftKings in his last four races so he doesn’t exactly have momentum coming into Saturday’s race. However, the track history is decent for a guy in this mid-$5K range. The results are inflated because of a sixth-place finish here three years ago but he’s never finished worse than 26th in six career races and does have top 20 potential. He’s safer if he qualifies poorly so I’d expect an update once we see practice and qualifying. Update: I would limit exposure to just Tournaments. He starts a little too high for my liking but still has top 20 potential. But if you need more of a “Cash Game” play then I'd pivot to Joey Gase in this range.

Garrett Smithley ($4,800)

This is more of a gut call because a couple years ago at this track, Smithley helped me take down multiple GPP’s at Kansas after he started P39 and finish 18th and he wasn’t even heavily rostered. He’s raced here six times in his career and has three top 20 finishes. He’s run four races at Kansas with JD Motorsports and has two top 20 finishes, so Math is telling me he has a 50% top 20 rate. For a guy priced at $4,800 I don’t hate that. The overall problem is that he isn’t very good as a driver. However, this equipment is good enough to hold up. Brennan Poole is in comparable equipment and is $5,900. But Poole is also a better driver, hence the price. I might be crazy, but I do believe Smithley can get another top 20 here. However, he’ll only be a GPP play this week because in 12 races this year, his only top 20 finishes were at Talladega and Daytona. Update: Starts outside the top 30. Worth a little exposure, but don't go too heavy.

CJ McLaughlin ($4,700)

Most weeks McLaughlin isn’t in play, but he gets an equipment upgrade this weekend. McLaughlin has run five races this year for Emerling Gase Motorsports but this weekend gets to run the same equipment as the Sieg brothers. He drove for this team last year and was mostly a top 25 driver, which is perfect at this price tag. He was 24th at Vegas, 25th at Texas-1, 23rd at Charlotte, and tenth at Texas-2. He’ll likely be the chalk option in this range because of the slight equipment upgrade but we still want some PD out of this play. If it’s a clean race (ha ha), he should have no trouble paying off this price tag. Update: Starts dead last so he can't go anywhere but up. Don't even need a top 20 from him. A top 25 finish will suffice.

NASCAR DFS Core Drivers

Cash GamesTop TierMid-TierValue Plays
 John Hunter Nemechek ($11,000; Starting P7)Sheldon Creed ($9,200; Starting P16)Kaz Grala ($7,200; Starting P31)
 Justin Allgaier ($10,800; Starting P1)Derek Kraus ($8,200; Starting P18)Anthony Alfredo ($6,400; Starting P32)
 (I'm fine playing both in Cash Games) CJ McLaughlin ($4,700; Starting P38)
GPP Plays/PivotsTop TierMid-TierValue Plays
 Austin Hill ($10,500; Starting P9)Brandon Jones ($9,000; Starting P4)Parker Retzlaff ($7,500; Starting P26)
 Cole Custer ($10,300; Starting P3)Parker Kligerman ($8,400; Starting P15)Kyle Sieg ($6,200; Starting P29)