The NASCAR Xfinity Series stays on the West coast for a second consecutive road course. For the second time in three years, Kaulig Racing went to victory lane at Portland. This time it was Shane Van Gisbergen securing the checkered flag and locking in his spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs. Both SVG and AJ Allmendinger enter Saturday’s race as favorites once again so let’s dig into the strategies and top NASCAR DFS picks for the Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250!




Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 NASCAR DFS Lineup Picks

We always have to tip our cap to the Xfinity Series for some truly wonky sponsors and names for these races. But at the end of the day, it’s a very fun road course at Sonoma Raceway. While the Xfinity Series has run plenty of road courses in recent memory, this is actually just the second trip the series has made to Sonoma.

Logistically this makes sense. This series was already on the West coast last week with their road course setups. Unfortunately, we should be mindful of anyone that sustained heavy damage last week and we’ll have to do some digging for which teams stayed on the West coast.

This week should be a bit different for a lot of these teams in terms of pit strategy. If you’ll recall, last week had some modified pit strategies. With the Truck and Cup Series both in St. Louis, the Xfinity Series was relegated to skeleton crews. We had some modified rules, so no team had a pit road advantage over the field.

Sonoma Raceway is a two-mile road course that will once again utilize “The Chute” and not “The Carousel.” I’m personally fine with this, although it does make the track a little less technical. The current layout likely gives more of an edge to drivers that have the best speed as opposed to relying on pure road course talent.



Another aspect to note is that Sonoma underwent a repave last year and while the repave caused some issues in early April, according to Bob Pockrass there have been “several” events run at Sonoma the last few months without any problems.

The NASCAR DFS lineup building strategy is very much the same as last week. We have just 79 laps for this race, so not a ton of dominator points are up for grabs, about 50-55 as a matter of fact. So we want win equity, drivers to finish well, and drivers that can move up through the field collecting those valuable position differential points.

This Playbook and early preview is being published Friday morning to provide you with an idea of who to consider for Saturday’s race. We won’t see a green flag for this race until 8:00pm ET and we also don’t get qualifying until 3:30pm ET. So, updates will be provided below, and I’ll publish the NASCAR DFS driver pool no later than 6:30pm ET on Saturday once we know the starting order.


Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 Practice Notes




Top Price Core Plays

Ty Gibbs ($11,000)

Gibbs is a former Xfinity Series champion with a few road course wins on his resume. He’s mostly using this race to get more practice for Sunday’s Cup Series race. While he doesn’t have as much experience here as a couple other drivers, we can still roster him with confidence.

In the 2021 season, when he was a part-time driver, he won at the Daytona Road Course (in his debut) and Watkins Glen, and he was third at Mid-Ohio. In the 2022 season when he won the Xfinity Series title he won at Road America, finished seventh at Portland (but led 42 laps), and then in 2023 he won at Indy Road Course.

Joe Gibbs Racing has had plenty of success here in the past with Martin Truex Jr. Perhaps he’s instilled some tips and wisdom to Gibbs. The price is a little stiff for a road course, but he comes with win equity even if he had a poor run at COTA earlier this year.

AJ Allmendinger ($10,500)

Last week I lumped Dinger and SVG in the same section, but this week I’ll exclusively focus on Allmendinger. It’s not that SVG is off the table. He’s very much in play similar to last week when he led a dozen laps and won.

But SVG doesn’t have as much experience here as his teammate does. As a matter of fact, not many in the field do. Allmendinger finished second in this race last year with a 123.0 driver rating. Dinger has also raced here a dozen times in the NASCAR Cup Series and finished sixth in last year’s race.

We do know that he had to go to a backup car after wrecking in qualifying at Portland. So he went to the rear to start the race (still scored from P10) and easily maneuvered his way into the top 10. It was frustrating to watch him struggle to move up from that spot, but alas, he still finished fourth.

This is a great bounce back spot for Allmendinger and there’s certainly win equity considering we only have Ty Gibbs and John Hunter Nemechek representing the Cup Series in this race.

Update: Allmendinger was fast, but teammate Shane Van Gisbergen, fresh off his win at Portland, was fastest in practice.

Justin Allgaier ($10,000)

I was pretty overweight on Allgaier last week and he paid off by finishing second and collecting nearly 18 dominator points. Sadly, the rest of my lineup combinations were rather pedestrian, but it felt good to be right on Allgaier.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if we’ll get the rostership discount like we did last week. All of what I wrote up last week for Portland still applies to Allgaier this week. He may have only finished seventh in this race a year ago, but he’s still in strong equipment and is an underrated road course driver overall.




Mid-Price Core Plays

John Hunter Nemechek ($8,800)

This price point is actually phenomenal value when you consider there are nine drivers priced at $9,000+ for this race. JHN will be in comparable equipment to Ty Gibbs, Sheldon Creed, and Chandler Smith. 

I believe he’s only raced here twice and the first time was in the Truck Series two years ago with Kyle Busch Motorsports. He started P7 that race and finished eighth. The second race was in last year’s Xfinity Series race where he finished 16th.

Sure, he’s not known as a road course specialist. But I actually feel okay paying this price tag because there aren’t many Cup Series drivers occupying this field. And most of these drivers don’t know Sonoma all that well.

If you want to save a little money you can certainly pivot to Chandler Smith ($8,200) who is coming off a disappointing weekend at Portland. Smith did finish top five in the Truck Series race at Sonoma two years ago. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a former teammate of AJ Allmendinger’s.

Boris Said ($7,700)

I don’t want to marry myself to this play. If I’m being completely honest, I struggled with whether I wanted to put him in this Playbook. 

What he has going for him is that he has a road course background. He’s a former 24 Hours of Daytona winner and he’s won the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as plenty of other wins in the Sports Car series. The background fits this track and he’s raced here plenty of times.

The equipment is also going to be very good. He gets the 17-car for Hendrick Motorsports this week. Kyle Larson drove this car to a win at COTA earlier in the year and Chase Elliott won at Charlotte in this ride. Larson also led 53 laps in this very race last year in the 17-car. So the equipment isn’t the concern.

The bigger issue with Said is that he’s 61 years old and you have to wonder how he can hold up physically in this race. We saw him race at COTA a couple years ago, but overall, it’s been quite some time since he’s regularly driven a stock car.

I’ll mostly have interest if he starts deep in the field because he should be able to move up into the top 15. But in this scenario, he will be a popular option.

If you want to roll the dice once again on Jesse Love ($7,800) I’m more than happy with that. He had a disappointing day at Portland last week. But remember, he was scored from P12 and had to drop to the rear at the start of the race and at one point was running as high as sixth. I still believe he’s a sneaky good road racer.

Update: Said wrecked the car pretty bad in practice and will go to a backup. He starts deep in the field but the backup didn't flash a ton of speed. I would likely be underweight on him and play him in cash games.




Value Price Core Plays

Ed Jones ($6,600)

Ed Jones is a driver who benefitted greatly from a little chaos last week. The Sam Hunt Racing cars were both running well, but Jones scored the top five finish at Portland.

This week, the team is only bringing one car as it looks like Sage Karam shifts over to Joey Gase’s team for this race. I’m not opposed to more resources being filtered to Jones. Jones did have an average running position of 15th last week so he definitely finish better than where he spent most of the race. Karam was running in the top 10 consistently before wrecking.

The upside is huge but a back-to-back performance like Portland is the absolute ceiling for him. We should be a bit more modest with expectations, but this is still a solid price tag for a driver who can grab a top 15 and then some.

Josh Bilicki ($6,300)

Bilicki is priced way down from where he was a week ago. And it makes sense because he was fortunate to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing last week. And he did fine at Portland as he finished 12th.

This week he’ll be with DGM Racing. This is a team that is normally not very good, but they can bring some competitive cars to a road course. And Bilicki comes from a road racing background so it looks like a perfect match with this team. 

He managed to grab a top 20 in this race last year, but the better story was when he grabbed a top 10 at his “home” track at Road America last year. 

Update: Bilicki did wreck in practice so we'll have to see what they can do with the car ahead of qualifying Saturday morning.

Josh Williams ($6,200)

Williams is the forgotten driver of Kaulig Racing. But we know there’s win equity with teammates AJ Allmendinger and Shane Van Gisbergen. Williams is the “wet blanket” of sorts, but he surprised us all with a top 10 finish last week at Portland.

He had a bit of a shaky start to the season, but it does feel like he’s settled in. He continues to be relatively bad at qualifying, but in his last eight races entering Sonoma, he has five finishes in the top 12.

He does have the added benefit of learning from the two best road course drivers in the field so as long as he can keep the car clean, he should have an easy path to 5X-6X value if he starts deep in the field once again.

Leland Honeyman ($4,800)

I’m going to feature a fourth driver in this section since I only elaborated on two in the mid-price core drivers. And honestly, this is a bit of an off-the-wall recommendation. He’s the cheapest driver in the field after all, and I like him more than at least five of the drivers priced in the $5,000 range.

But I was actually impressed with his performance last week. He started P32 and finished 26th last week at Portland. However, he did have an average running position of 22nd. And this is on the heels of him finishing 23rd at Charlotte, 21st at Dover, and fourth at Talladega.

Now those tracks have nothing in common with Sonoma, but he was top 20 at COTA earlier in the year and as the ultimate punt in this race, he doesn’t need to do much to hit 5X value if he starts outside the top 30.




Zip Buy Now, Pay Later 250 NASCAR DFS Driver Pool

Pricing TierDrivers
Top TierTy Gibbs ($11,000; Starting P2)
Shane Van Gisbergen ($10,700; Starting P1) - Very Fast
AJ Allmendinger ($01,500; Starting P4) - Downgrade From Initial Write-Up
Justin Allgaier ($10,000; Starting P5) - Was A Better Play Last Week
Cole Custer ($9,700; Starting P12)
Mid-TierParker Kligerman ($9,000; Starting P14)
John Hunter Nemechek ($8,800; Starting P7) - GPP Only
Jesse Love ($7,800; Starting P6) - GPP Only
Boris Said ($7,700; Starting P35) - Cash Games Only
Brandon Jones ($7,500; Starting P27)
Value TierJeremy Clements ($6,800; Starting P23)
Ed Jones ($6,600; Starting P17)
Alex Labbe ($6,500; Starting P19)
Josh Bilicki ($6,300; Starting P31)
Josh Williams ($6,200; Starting P28)
Brennan Poole ($5,800; Starting P33)
Leland Honeyman ($4,800; Starting P29)