That’s it. There’s only one chance left to earn a spot in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship race. Josh Berry and Noah Gragson are locked up. Ty Gibbs has a big advantage on the cut line. And then there are five drivers – AJ Allmendinger, Justin Allgaier, Austin Hill, Sam Mayer and Brandon Jones – battling for the last spot, or the last two spots if something happens to Gibbs.
So, who will advance from Martinsville? Brandon Jones won the first time the Xfinity Series was here this season, while the only other Xfinity winners here on the pitch are Berry and Gragson, who are already locked in Championship 4.
We at RotoBaller want to help you make informed decisions about your DFS lineups, which is why I’m going to detail the slates for the Xfinity Series. Let’s look at some NASCAR Xfinity DFS lineup picks for the Death on the Tools 250 on DraftKings. Also, be sure to check out our NASCAR Premium tools for the Xfinity Series, including our DFS Range Optimizer and powerful Research Station. This slate locks 10/29/22 at 3:34 p.m. ET.
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AJ Allmendinger – starting 9th ($10,900)
The obvious best plays are Noah Gragson and Ty Gibbs, as those two have the best chance of winning a race on a weekly basis. But I think it’s going to leave AJ Allmendinger overlooked on one of his best tracks.
In the Cup Series, Allmendinger has seven top 10 finishes in 22 starts here. It’s tied for its most top-10 finishes at a track with Watkins Glen, and the most top-10 finishes it has at any other track other than a road course or superspeedway is at Homestead and the Kansas, where he has four. He also has a pair of top fives and led 50 laps.
That Cup success hasn’t translated into a Martinsville win in Xfinity…yet. He was third here earlier in the year, his second straight top 10 at this track, and he led 68 laps in the 2020 race. Expect Allmendinger to be a factor.
Austin Hill – starting 36th ($9,500)
There are some really obvious place differential games in this race. Let’s talk about them.
Hill comes into this race with a good shot to advance in theory, as he is only seven points behind AJ Allmendinger for last place. But it will be hard for him to get there, since he will start 36th.
Not good at all for a driver hoping to make his way into Championship 4. But for our selfish, fanciful purposes here, that starting point is pretty good. Hill is a playoff driver starting 36th – there are a lot of advantages here from a place differential standpoint.
Hill’s only visit here to Xfinity came earlier this year, when he started 14th and finished fourth. Getting a top five when he starts this low is probably a bit outside the normal range of possibilities, but if he can keep the car clean he can challenge for a top 10.
Daniel Hemric – 37th starter ($8,500)
After crashing during practice, Hemric and his Kaulig Racing team will start in 37th position.
The argument for Hemric is essentially the same as the argument for Hill, but with fewer advantages, since the car isn’t as good. Hemric’s average result this year is 16.1, while Hill’s is 11.1.
But even if we just go with the most basic math imaginable and say Hemric has five places less of the upside-down place differential, the fact that he starts a place behind Hill actually brings that number up to four. And a lot of Hemric’s struggles have been based on luck, as he’s only raced to the finish in 24 of 31 races so far.
Hemric was 13th here earlier in the year. Last season he finished third in both Xfinity Series races here, but he was also driving a much better Joe Gibbs Racing car.
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Nick Sanchez – 24th starter ($7,700)
Sanchez is back in car 48, and he’s definitely starting to feel like he has a bigger role in Xfinity coming next year based on how much we’ve seen of him lately. This is his fifth race in this 48 car, and he has a pair of top 15s so far.
Homestead was not kind to Sanchez last week as he qualified 11th but only finished 25th, two laps behind race winner Noah Gragson. And his only short-track race in that car was at Bristol, where he finished 29th.
But this Big Machine car has solid speed, and I’m betting on that speed on Saturday. Sanchez is kind of a boring option, but I think because of that he will be underutilized in DFS this week. There is a simple scenario where this car finishes around 12th place, given that this scenario has happened in two of its last three races.
Kyle Weatherman – 38th starter ($6,900)
It looked like Jesse Iwuji was going to be driving this car this week, which would have killed any DFS value, but Weatherman was added to the seat this weekend. That’s good, because Weatherman is really good in this car. He’s finished in the top 20 in four of the last five races, and the one where he wasn’t at Texas where he crashed, but still finished 22nd.
Weatherman had some kind of mechanical problem that caused him to miss qualifying, which is why this car starts 38th. The mechanical problem scares me; I know this team raced well, but I’m always suspicious of a small team’s ability to consistently field a car that doesn’t have issues, and having them so early in the race weekend could be a problem.
But providing the car is at full throttle on Saturday we have a lot of gap in places here.
CJ McLaughlin – 34th starter ($4,800)
I didn’t intend to write about four drivers starting 34th or worse. It’s just kind of how the starting lineup shook. If riders like Hill, Hemric and Weatherman had done qualifying races, I probably would have spent time watching guys like Sam Mayer ($9,700, start 22nd), Landon Cassill ($8,600, 16th) or Ryan Sieg ($8,200, 17th).
But McLaughlin starting at the back is hardly a shock. In 12 races this season, his starting average is just 33.1.
The reason I’m high on him when it comes to DFS is that his average start is what he is, but his average finish is 26.3. He doesn’t have a lot of single-seater racing speed, but he maneuvers well on the track on race day.
McLaughlin has struggled in his last three starts though, with a best finish of 29th. But he also has six top 25 finishes this year. At this price, I will try my luck with him.
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