Daily Fantasy NASCAR Track Preview: South Point 400

Sunday's South Point 400 in Las Vegas is a race format we've seen multiple times already in 2020. What can we learn from those past races for our NASCAR DFS lineups?

The arrival of fall means the return of the world's greatest comforts. Sweatshirts, campfires, and sweet, delicious, non-controversial candy corn all leap back into the fold, allowing us to get cozy and slide into our happy place.

Our comforts don't just come from the nature's greatest sugary snack, though. We also get back to a race format with which we are hyper familiar in NASCAR DFS.

This weekend's South Point 400 is a 400-mile race at a 1.5-mile track where the top 12 drivers in points will occupy the top 12 spots in the starting grid. It's a format we spent all summer after the COVID-19 layoff perfecting, and we know how we should play things from a strategy perspective.

What are the optimal strategies for Sunday's race in Las Vegas? Let's check it out.

Learning From Perfect Lineups

Because of the importance of laps in dictating NASCAR DFS strategy, it's important we draw our conclusions from just races of this same length. Since the end of the COVID layoff, there have been three races at 1.5-mile tracks that were 267 laps, leaving 26.7 FanDuel points available for laps led.

It helps that -- as mentioned -- the qualifying format for this week is similar. With the playoff field having been trimmed to 12 remaining drivers last week, the top 12 drivers in points will start in the top 12 spots in the race. That's what we had earlier in Homestead, Kentucky, and Kansas due to the old methodology for setting the starting order.

In other words, this race is nearly identical to those three, outside of the fact that this one is in the playoffs while the others weren't.

Because of this, we can learn a lot from looking at the perfect lineups from those races. They can tell us what kind of roster construction works best and where we should look in the starting grid for both our studs and our value plays.

Here are the perfect lineups from those three races.


Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Denny Hamlin$12,200 1st137
Ryan Blaney$11,300 11th70
Aric Almirola$8,500 21st0
Tyler Reddick$8,300 24th3
Christopher Bell$6,600 36th0


Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Martin Truex Jr.$12,300 9th57
Aric Almirola$9,800 4th128
Christopher Bell$9,000 34th0
Matt DiBenedetto$8,600 10th1
Cole Custer$7,700 29th5


Perfect LineupSalaryStartLaps Led
Denny Hamlin$13,00010th57
Brad Keselowski$11,6007th30
Erik Jones$10,00021st0
Cole Custer$7,50024th0
Ty Dillon$5,00036th0

All three perfect lineups had two drivers who started in the top 12. The Kentucky race had three. This should provide us with a solid blueprint for Sunday.

In each lineup, you should pick two playoff drivers you think have the upside to lead laps and win the race. This is the ninth race at a 1.5-mile track for the season, so we should have a good read on who will be fast. You can use the Racing Reference fantasy tool to see who has run best on this track type; they'll likely be a great play again on Sunday.

The third spot in your lineup is a swing position. If you have the salary to afford a third playoff driver, that's fully in play. Finishing points matter quite a bit, and the drivers in the playoffs are there for a reason: they've got speed. So you can justify a third playoff driver.

You just don't have to force one in. We had the same situation in the regular-season races above; the fastest cars were at the front. Yet we still saw drivers ranked 13th through 36th in owner points run well and make the perfect lineup. Four playoff drivers were eliminated last week, and they're scattered throughout the field. They've got that speed, too, so you can easily justify standing pat after two playoff drivers.

The final two drivers should be drivers in position to get place-differential. Two of the three perfect lineups above had three drivers who started outside the top 20 make the list. The other had two. We'll see drivers make up ground during the race, and that'll be big for their DFS upside.

Because there are some likely speedy drivers starting between 13th and 19th, you don't need to limit yourself to those starting outside the top 20. Those higher-starting drivers have a shot at snagging you a top-10 or top-5 finish. It's moreso to say that you can feel comfortable targeting drivers further back as long as you think they'll have the speed to get a good finish.

This is a race format with which we are very familiar. We should take advantage of that familiarity by learning from what we've seen previously and applying that to our lineups on Sunday.

That means a straightforward approach of two or three playoff drivers followed by two or three who can scoop you place-differential. Punting is less viable on this track type than others, so you'll have to make sure drivers are fast enough to pay off. Thankfully, with all the data we've got from tracks like Las Vegas, we know what to expect.

It's a good week not to get cute. Don't overthink things, adopt the knowledge we've gained from these races in a wild 2020 season, pull up a bowl of candy corn, and fill out lineups capable of taking down a tournament on Sunday afternoon.