FREE NASCAR DFS Cup Series Nashville Breakdown, Cheat Sheet, and Core Plays

Welcome to my Run Pure Sports, FREE NASCAR DFS breakdown for today’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville “Superspeedway”. It’s been awesome to see Nashville back on the NASCAR calendar for the past two years, and even better seeing the Cup series take the track here. Just seems like NASCAR and Nashville are a perfect combination. Plus, the winner gets a guitar as a trophy, how awesome is that!

This weekend’s races have already been a lot of fun between trucks and Xfinity. Yesterday’s Xfinity race on a hot slick track was chaotic.  It’s going to be interesting to see how drivers adapt today; as we start in similar conditions in the heat of the sun and finish under the cooler night lights. There’s something exciting about a Sunday night race, and I’m here for it regardless of how early work comes on Monday. Hopefully, we’ll be calling off Monday because we were up late celebrating a DFS takedown! Let’s get into the breakdown!

Breakdown

Nashville Superspeedway is a distinctive 1.33-mile intermediate concrete track. Its unique size, banking, and surface contribute to its distinctive character. When looking for comparable tracks, one should consider Dover, another concrete track, as well as Kansas and Las Vegas, intermediate tracks that used the same tire code that we’ll be seeing in today’s race. Mainly though we want to focus on track history at this unique track.

Spanning 300 laps, today’s contest will transition from the blistering afternoon heat to a cooler, under-the-lights night race. Concrete track surfaces are notably sensitive to temperature shifts. We’re starting with a 90-degree scorch, resulting in a hot and slick track. As the sun dips and the temperature drops, we’ll see a transformation in track conditions, bringing forth new contenders.

Last year’s race demonstrated this with cars surging forward as the temperatures cooled after a weather delay. Notably, Chase didn’t make an impact until the sun had set. Today’s advantage will lie with the drivers and teams capable of adapting to these evolving track conditions.

When looking at the scoring trends of the two NASCAR Cup Series races held at Nashville Superspeedway, we notice some interesting dominator points data. Out of these races, we’ve had five instances where a driver accumulated 19 dominator points or more.

In the 2021 race, Larson had a commanding performance, garnering a staggering 125 dominator points. The driver with the second most dominator points in that race only managed to accumulate 19.

However, the story changed in 2022 with the introduction of the next-gen car. That race saw three different drivers achieving 30 or more dominator points. Interestingly, three out of these five top dominator performances over the last two years were produced by drivers who started within the top five. Exceptionally, Kyle Busch managed to accumulate over 30 dominator points last year, even though he started from the very last position.

Position differential also played a key role in both Nashville races. Ten drivers across these two races scored 15 or more position differential points. Each of these performances ranked within the top nine in DraftKings scoring.

Roster construction today should reflect a typical strategy for an intermediate race. Begin by focusing on 2-3 potential dominators, then populate the remainder of your lineup with drivers who demonstrate a significant upside in position differential.

As we focus on potential contenders for today’s race, I find myself gravitating heavily towards Team Toyota. In the dog days of summer, when tracks become hot and slippery, Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing tend to ascend to the top of the rankings. Last year, they brought a powerful fleet of cars to Nashville, and their performance on this particular tire code at Kansas this year was equally impressive. My confidence in Team Toyota coming into this week has only been reinforced by their stellar practice times. So, today, I’m putting my eggs firmly in the Toyota basket.

Cheat Sheet

Below is my comprehensive cheat sheet for tonight’s Cup Series race at Nashville. The sheet is organized from left to right, starting with the most crucial data points and ending with less significant ones. Notably, we had an extended 50-minute practice session for this race, and the insights gathered during this practice – conducted under similar track conditions to what we’ll be starting with today – are invaluable.

In addition, I’ve also included data from the two previous Nashville races, as well as from comparable tracks in 2023 – namely Kansas, Dover, and Vegas.

Drivers that I’m particularly keen on for today’s race are highlighted: those in dark green are drivers I regard as core plays that can form the foundation of your lineup. On the other hand, those highlighted in pink could be less popular picks, hence offering great potential value for GPP tournaments due to their potentially lower ownership.

Driver Notes

I already mentioned how much I love Toyota today and that theme will become even more apparent as I go through these driver notes. Arguably the best car in last year’s race before the sun went down last year was Martin Truex with 47 fast laps and 82 laps led. He’s the hottest Toyota running right now after picking up his 2nd win of the season at Sonoma 2 weeks ago. His first win of the season was on another concrete surface track in Dover. We also saw how strong Toyota was the last time we ran this tire code which was at Kansas, Truex led the 2nd most laps in that race before finishing 8th. Unloaded with great speed in practice as well. Love me some Truex today.

The 2nd best Toyota in that race last year was Denny Hamlin. Denny makes a great GPP option today as I think he might potentially go overlooked. 2nd in Fast laps % and Laps Led % in the 2 Nashville races to date and he has been one of the fastest cars on the track in recent weeks. If you love Toyota today, and I do, then you are going to have to have some shares of ol’  dirty Denny.

I mentioned earlier that this track will go through some changes and even though I love Toyota, I do expect the HMS guys to get stronger as the sun goes down. Usually this means Larson, and he should absolutely be considered today, but for me I think it is his teammate Byron that has a better shot at finding his way to the front in this race. This 24 team has been fast on EVERY track type this year and had the fastest car at Dover AND Las Vegas. I don’t think the guy who dominates this race ends up being the guy that wins. Byron has the ability to hang around in contention all day and I think he’s the one with the best chance at being in position late. Pit crew has been lights out as well which could be the difference maker if we get a late caution.

You know I love some Chastain but it pains me that I am off him today. You can’t play everyone and I am planting my flag in the Toyota camp. I’m sure he will garner some ownership with a great track history and starting on the pole. Honestly this is one I will be ok being wrong on, If he dominates and I don’t have him, as a fan I will still be happy. I just can’t trust him until I see that fire back in him for a whole race.

Bell is a great position differential option today starting 22nd. Price is great on him today at only $9400. He has Top 10 finishes in both previous Nashville races and he was running inside the Top 5 for much of the beginning of the race last year. If he can just have a mistake free race for once then he should easily deliver value on his price tag today.

Another great value today is going to be the 23XI Toyota of Tyler Reddick. Reddick looked to have one of, if not the fastest car in Friday’s extended practice session. My love for Reddick and this car is a big reason I am not playing Chastain today. I think Reddick is the clear cut favorite to get out and lead some laps early, despite not having a ton of past success here. This car finished 2nd in last years race here with Kurt Busch and looks set up for another strong run today.

Harvick is another solid PD option today. Has been consistently one of the best Fords and his “veteraness” will give him an advantage on this ever changing concrete track surface. Top 5 finish here in 2021 and finished 10th in this race last year. Tied for 3rd in Avg running position in the 2 races here so far.

Bubba Wallace is going to make a great option in GPP tournaments today. Another one of those Toyota’s that showed speed in practice. He also had a great run here last year. Was running inside the Top 10 before getting caught by a caution during a green flag pit cycle that put him a lap down. He rebounded in that race to make it back in to the Top 10, before being on the wrong end of late race strategy that marred his finish. Bubba has Top 5 upside once again today with the outside possibility of finding the front and scoring fast laps.

Another Toyota that could potentially go overlooked today is Ty Gibbs. No doubt he has been running much better in recent weeks. We have seen him securely inside the Top 10 on many occasions, he just needs to put a complete race together and come home with the finish. Will today be the day? Top 10 upside for Ty today with the outside chance of hitting a Top 5. Great GPP tournament option.

Ricky Stenhouse is having a career year after winning the Daytona 500 to start 2023. He has 5 Top 10s and 12 Top 15 finishes through 16 races this season. One thing that Stenhouse does really well is adjusting to changing track conditions throughout a race, so he typically does well on concrete surfaces. He has 4 career top 10’s at Dover and 6 at Bristol. Nashville seems to be playing right in to his strengths with finishes of 6th and 16th in his two starts here so far. 25 fast laps here in 2021 as well. Practice speeds weren’t great which is concerning, but hard to ignore his PD upside today.

Yesterday’s Nashville Xfinity series winner AJ Allmendinger is another solid option today that could go under owned with his P19 starting position. The Dinger ran inside the Top 15 for much of the race here last year before finishing 19th. Kaulig looks to have brought some solid cars to the track this week as Dinger was Top 10 in practice speeds, and Haley went out and qualified Top 3. Top 10 upside here for only $6500.

Erik Jones and Legacy Motorsports are not having the season they hoped for, but they could be positioned for a get right spot here. He finished 11th in this race last year after starting in the exact same spot he starts this year, 23rd position. The car looked great in practice putting up Top 10 speeds. This is probably the best we have seen this car perform in practice this season. Provides solid PD upside potential today.

Michael McDowell is going to be one of the more chalkier value options today, and rightfully so. McDowell has been having another solid year and practice would indicate he has another solid car under him today, despite an abysmal qualifying effort. He has finishes of 17th and 13th in the 2 races here so far. He only needs to finish 23rd to hit value today, should do that comfortably as long as he doesn’t find trouble.

No doubt that Corey Lajoie is running way better this year than he has in years past and now we are coming to a track that Lajoie has ran well at in his first 2 races here with finishes of 16th and 20th. Has been a solid source of value all season, he provided a Top 15 finish at Dover earlier this year and finished Top 20 the last time we were on this tire code at Kansas. Expect more of the same out of him this weekend as he only needs to finish 26th to return 5x value.

Core Plays

Below are my core plays for today’s Draftking’s slate. These are guys that you can use as foundation for your line ups. Look to complete your builds with drivers that can score 10 – 15+ position differential points. Reddick and Truex are my two favorites to dominate, but you don’t HAVE to play them both together. A pivot to a lower owned Hamlin or Byron may be the ticket to GPP’s.

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