The Craftsman Truck Series kicks off the round of eight from Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday night! Yes with all three series in action, and the Cup Series racing on Saturday, we’re gifted the Truck Series on a Thursday going against the NFL for Thursday night ratings! Kind of an odd decision by NASCAR but I’ll be watching both. We’re down to just four races left in the Craftsman Truck Series season. A win Thursday night secures any remaining playoff driver a spot in the Championship race in Phoenix the first weekend of November! There will be plenty to watch so let’s check out the NASCAR DFS top plays for the UNOH 200!


Bristol Motor Speedway gets two races each year, but the Spring race has turned into a bit of a gimmick since it’s now a dirt race. Fortunately, this is still a pretty special weekend each year in September as the Truck Series kicks off a phenomenal weekend of racing.

Bristol is a 0.5-mile bull ring track. It’s banked fairly high at 24-28 degrees in the turns, five-to-nine degrees in the front stretch, and four-to-eight degrees along the back stretch. It’s such a technically challenging short track. You can’t afford any mistakes, being perfect is paramount. Wrecks will bring out quick cautions since it’s a short track and NASCAR can’t afford to have pileups. Pit road penalties or mistakes will prove costly. Losing the lead lap can be manageable if you’re only one lap down, but falling multiple laps down will make it difficult to regain any track position.

Thursday’s race is set to go green at 9:00pm ET with 200 laps broken into 55-55-90 lap segments. These laps will fly by very fast. A year ago this race saw six cautions for 49 laps and yet it was still done in 85 minutes. Two years ago there were 11 caution for 85 laps, but the race was still finished in under two hours. And then back in 2020 there were just five cautions for 41 laps, but the race was done in 77 minutes. The laps fly by and it could be a quick one Thursday night.

With 200 laps we can very easily go with two or three dominators in our lineup. Last year’s race saw four different drivers lead 25+ laps and five drivers had at least ten dominator points. 2021 didn’t feature as much variety because Sheldon Creed led 189 laps, but the race in 2020 was another three-dominator race with three drivers leading at least 30 laps. In terms of position differential, you don’t want to load up on too many drivers starting deep in the field. Getting some drivers starting that far back is okay, but we do want win equity and dominator points. We did see studs like Zane Smith, Parker Kligerman, and John Hunter Nemechek start outside the top 25 and finish inside the top 12 last year.

Practice and qualifying will start around 4:00pm ET on Thursday. I’ll have notes in RED in addition to core plays posted hopefully by 8:15pm ET.

NASCAR DFS Driver Pool

Ty Majeski ($11,400)

I think we can go back to Majeski this week. It was wise to fade him last week at Kansas as he only logged four fastest laps and finished 18th. In his debut in this race a year ago he started P6 and won with 28.8 dominator points. There is still some concern regarding the speed and setup of this ride because his crew chief is still suspended. But he still provides input on the setup, he just won’t be there Thursday night. With that said, I think they just try to match what they did last year at this track and Majeski comes with win equity and dominator upside. Update: He rolls off P4 but looked to have decent speed. He's a top contender to lead laps in stages two and three.

Corey Heim ($11,200)

I guess it’s time for the usual update on how awesome Corey Heim has been lately. Over his last dozen races he has two wins and hasn’t finished worse than eighth in that span. He’s averaging over 40 laps led per race in that span as well. Now if there was a race to maybe be a bit lighter in terms of exposure it could be this one. He raced here last year and started P5 but finished tenth. And in two ARCA races he finished fifth in both of them. The truck will certainly be fast but Bristol is a tough track because it’s so small and it gets very crowded. But he’s still very talented and will have speed. Update: Looked kind of “Ehh” and he starts P11. He has PD and should move up but like I said prior to P&Q, this might be the first race in a while where we don't commit to a lot of exposure.

Zane Smith ($10,900)

Zane Smith has had a quiet year especially since the 2023 season turned into the Majeski & Heim show. But Zane still has win equity even if we haven’t seen it since there start of the year. He started P35 and finished second here last year while leading 39 laps. In his other two races at Bristol he’s finished 16th and 8th. I do like how he’s trending heading into this race with three top five finishes in his last four races coming into Bristol. 

Christian Eckes ($10,300)

He put down the fastest lap in practice and won the pole easily. He has also finished top three in each of the three playoff races so far. He could easily lead the entire first stage and be optimal if he finishes in the top five. 

Grant Enfinger ($10,100)

Grant Enfinger has raced here six times and never finished worse than tenth. He was the runner-up here two years ago and in five of his races here he finished sixth or better. Remember what we always say about Enfinger, his dominant performances tend to come out of nowhere and he tends to lead over 50 laps in doing so. He hasn’t led any laps here in his last three trips to Bristol, but he did lead 57 laps in 2019. Update: Has a little PD on his side starting P13 but everyone will be targeting the next driver…

Nick Sanchez ($9,800)

Sanchez didn't post a qualifying lap so he starts toward the rear. Truthfully, I wasn't a big fan coming into this spot and it looks like I may only do three Tournament lineups for tonight's race. I'll personally be off him for leverage, but he's obviously live in Cash games. The truck will have the speed to finish top 15 but he has a lot of work to do to get through the field.

Ben Rhodes ($9,500)

With four races left in the playoffs, Ben Rhodes is getting his third crew chief of the season. Rich Lushes comes over from Hailie Deegan’s team and Lushes was Rhodes’ old crew chief when he won the Truck Series championship two years ago. Rhodes has finished outside the top 15 in the three playoff races so far so a change was definitely warranted. He’s by far been better at Bristol Dirt while having modest results on the pavement. But the crew chief change can’t be a bad thing and I think he could be a nice leverage play Thursday night. Update: Starts P18. Perfectly fine with the play.

Matt Crafton ($9,200)

Crafton has never won at Bristol, but he easily has the most experience in this series at this track. He’s raced here 20 times and has finished 12th or better in 85% of his races. Now that is setting the bar a little low, but he’s finished in the top eight in half those races as well. It does kind of suck because he didn’t qualify for the round of eight, so he doesn’t have as much to race for. But at the same time there’s less pressure and he can just go out and have a great run. Fingers crossed. Update: Starts P21. Still in play.

Stewart Friesen ($8,900)

This seems like an awfully friendly price tag for a driver who has finished seventh or better in four of his last five races here, and in three of those races he’s finished fourth or better. Aside from last week’s top ten finish at Kansas, he hasn’t given us much reason to have faith in him, but the track history stands up on its own. It’s definitely been a down year for Friesen but he’s underpriced and has top five upside. Update: Starts P24. Still in play.

Parker Kligerman ($8,200)

Parker Kligerman will race Thursday’s Truck Series race for Henderson Motorsports, the same team he scored a win with at Mid-Ohio last year. In two of his last three races in the Truck Series at this track, he’s finished in the top five despite starting outside the top 25. In nine career races here, he has six top tens and four top five finishes overall. There probably isn’t much win equity but he certainly has shown he can move up, which is something not many can say at this track. Update: Cash game lock starting P28.

Bayley Currey ($7,900)

Just like Sanchez, Currey didn't post a qualifying lap and he's start P36. Jake Garcia might be a slightly better target because he starts P30 and saves you $100. Sadly not all these chalky plays will prevail so be mindful.

William Sawalich ($7,600)

Back to the well with William Sawalich. He’s run five races for TRICON in the Truck Series and he has three top ten finishes. Even in his debut season with Joe Gibbs Racing in ARCA he’s collected five wins and he has five runner-up finishes as well. The price tag has gradually been creeping up, but we know he still has a 40-point ceiling. The downside is that he’ll be making his Bristol debut Thursday night but at least he’ll get extra laps in the ARCA race as well. Update: Qualified a little too high so I'm downgrading him slightly. The good news is that there are PD pivots all around him.

Carson Kvapil ($7,500)

Carson Kvapil is making his Truck Series debut driving the 7-truck for Spire Motorsports. He’s driven plenty of times in the CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour for JR Motorsports and has racked up nine wins over the last two years. This is one hell of a track to make your debut but that could likely drive ownership down and we’ve seen this 7-truck have some speed. Kyle Larson won in this ride at North Wilkesboro, Layne Riggs finished third at IRP, and Derek Kraus finished eighth at Milwaukee. Even Jonathan Davenport grabbed a top 15 at this track in the dirt race in the Spring. Update: Truck wasn't spectacular in practice or qualifying and he starts P27. He had PD but maybe only has a top 20 upside. His dad did win here in the Truck Series previously.

Tanner Gray ($6,900)

Tanner Gray has raced here three times and wrecked once. But in the other two races he started P16 and finished third (2020) and last year he started P26 and finished 17th. He’s priced down simply because he’s had a bad year. But something should be said about experience and while he doesn’t have as much as others, he still drives for a very good team and can pay off the price tag if a few things fall his way. He’s fared pretty well at Bristol Dirt with three straight top 15 finishes but let’s be clear, that’s a completely different kind of race. Update: Qualified very high at P6 so I likely won't be playing him. If you need a PD play here it's Tyler Ankrum at $7,100 who starts P25 but in his previous four races at Bristol he's either finished right around where he started or he's gone backward.

Dean Thompson ($6,500)

This is me probably “big braining” this suggestion too much. Thompson raced here last year and wrecked so he finished outside the top 30. He’s oddly done better in the dirt races at Bristol so that’s of no help to us at all. However, he’s in a good ride. His teammates are Corey Heim, the Gray brothers, and William Sawalich. So the equipment should be fine and we’ve seen Thompson possess speed in this truck at times. I’m operating as if he qualifies well and starts with track position. That should help him maintain the lead lap. But we’ve also seen him wreck and crush lineups before so we can’t quite put that past him. Update: Starts P14 and is in a TRICON ride. I actually don't hate this play for Tournaments. Colby Howard isn't an awful option either but there might be leverage with Thompson. Can he keep the ride clean? That's the big question…

Timmy Hill ($5,900)

Timmy Hill once again makes the Playbook. Timmy Hill has raced four times at Bristol in the Truck Series. He has three top 20 finishes and in two races he’s gained at least ten spots of position differential. Even in the Xfinity Series, where in comparison he might drive in worse equipment, he’s ripped off four straight top 20 finishes, including three straight top 15 finishes. I don’t know what it is about this track, and he may be due for a poor finish at some point, but he knows how to stay clean and navigate the track while others wreck. Update: Starts P26 and is live once again for another top 20 here.

Daniel Dye ($5,700)

I want it on the record that I’m terrified of rostering any driver priced beneath Timmy Hill for Thursday’s race. But I will give some thought to Daniel Dye. For starters, even at $5,700 he’s still in good GMS equipment. He’s just not a very good driver, but he has funding so he’ll never have trouble finding a ride. He doesn’t have a top ten this year, but we’ve seen him creep into the top 15 at Kansas-1, North Wilkesboro, Gateway, and Mid-Ohio. And honestly the kid does a decent job each week qualifying the truck inside the top 25. Sure, that limits his PD upside, but it also gives him good track position from the start to stay on the lead lap. In two races in the ARCA Series he’s finished 12th and 5th at Bristol. He is a bit of a gamble because he could be the reason for a caution or two. But I won’t completely write him off since we know he can start with track position. Update: Dye is okay but only for Tournaments. He starts P16 but the Truck looks pretty good. For additional values I'd consider Bret Holes and Stephen Mallozzi. Mallozzi will easily lose the lead lap but trucks will wreck out and if he can avoid those wrecks then he maybe has a top 25 up his sleeve. 

I will certainly add more value options once we know the starting order for Thursday’s race. I know we’ll all likely need to find cheaper options, but some of the punts may not qualify so I wanted to see who makes the race first above all else.

NASCAR DFS Core Drivers

Cash GamesTop TierMid-TierValue Plays
 Ty Majeski ($11,400; Starting P4)Matt Crafton ($9,200; Starting P21)Bayley Currey ($7,900; Starting P38)
 Nick Sanchez ($9,800; Starting P37)Stewart Friesen ($8,900; Starting P24)Jake Garcia ($7,800; Starting P30)
 Ben Rhodes ($9,500; Starting P18)Parker Kligerman ($8,200; Starting P28)Timmy Hill ($5,900; Starting P26)
GPP Plays/PivotsTop TierMid-TierValue Plays
 Christian Eckes ($10,300; Starting P1)Matt Crafton ($9,200; Starting P21)Jake Garcia ($7,800; Starting P30)
 Carson Hocevar ($10,600; Starting P2)Stewart Friesen ($8,900; Starting P24)Tyler Ankrum ($7,100; Starting P25)
 Grant Enfinger ($10,100; Starting P13)Parker Kligerman ($8,200; Starting P28)Daniel Dye ($5,700; Starting P17)