The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is off this weekend, but the XFINITY Series will be in action at Iowa Speedway. The 7/8-mile oval doesn’t really have a comparable track that is currently on the Cup or XFINITY schedule, but it packs plenty of speed for a short track.
In many ways, Sunday’s American Ethanol E15 250 will be like the Dash 4 Cash events at Bristol and Richmond from earlier this year. Like those two events, this weekend’s race is a short track race, and there won’t be any Cup stars in the field. With 250 laps on tap, you still need to attack the dominator categories, but you will need to attack them with the top XFINITY regulars instead of one established Cup star.
Overall, I feel you need to assemble a more balanced lineup in order to win at DraftKings this weekend. When Cup drivers are in the field, it is pretty easy to identify the top dominators, and it becomes more about fitting pieces around them. Without the Cup regulars, the dominator points are a little tougher to pin down and more spread out.
You can’t count on one driver leading almost all the laps, so you need to own multiple strong options to maximize your exposure to dominator points. This also means that you won’t want to go overboard on punt plays. It’s one thing to give up a roster spot when it allows you to afford someone like Kyle Busch who is going to finish as the top scorer by a wide margin. It’s a little harder to give up a spot and still cash when multiple drivers are going to post strong scores.
The XFINITY teams will qualify and race on Sunday, but in the meantime, here is a closer look at the drivers I’ll be targeting at DraftKings ahead of the American Ethanol E15 at Iowa Speedway.
Elliott Sadler ($11,000)
Sadler has been ridiculously consistent this year, and he has cracked the Top 10 in 12 of the 13 races, notching nine Top 5s. He’s also been excellent at Iowa, logging 13 Top 10s in 14 starts. I also like the fact that Sadler led at least 30 laps in three of the four races without Cup drivers in the field. He always provides one of the highest and safest floors, but Sadler also has solid dominator potential this weekend.
Justin Allgaier ($10,700)
He’s been a little boom or bust at times this year, but Allgaier has also been one of the XFINITY regulars to consistently deliver dominator points. He was particularly impressive in the Dash 4 Cash events, leading more than 30 laps in three of the four races and spending more than 100 laps out front in a win at Dover. Allgaier has also shown upside at Iowa, leading 106 laps in the July race here a year ago. He’s got a huge ceiling Sunday.
Christopher Bell ($10,400)
All season long, Bell has been the one XFINITY regular who has been able to lead laps no matter the competition. He was also running away with this race last year before being caught up in a wreck after leading 152 laps. With the Cup stars sitting this one out, he has a chance to finish what he started at Iowa and go out and absolutely dominate Sunday’s race on his way to being the top scorer at DraftKings.
Daniel Hemric ($9,500)
Hemric continues to be one of the most underrated drivers at DraftKings. He has finished seventh or better in nine of the 13 races this year, finishing third or better five teams. More importantly, he led double-digit laps in all four races when the Cup drivers were ineligible from competing, leading 30-plus three times. Looking at this weekend’s entry list, Hemric could provide a decent amount of dominator points for a discounted price.
Brandon Jones ($9,300)
He’s struggled a bit in recent weeks, but Jones has enjoyed a solid 2018 campaign overall. He was also strong during the Dash 4 Cash events, cracking the Top 10 in all four races while leading more than 100 laps at Bristol and more than 30 laps at Dover. With no Cup stars in the field this weekend, Jones could have sneaky dominator potential.
Justin Haley ($8,300)
The former K&N East champ and ARCA winner will make his first XFINITY start this weekend, becoming the latest driver to get a turn in the GMS Racing No. 23. Experience isn’t on his side, but everyone who has driven the No. 23 this year has been able to run in the Top 10. At this price, Haley’s potential for a solid finish should have him on your radar.
Riley Herbst ($8,200)
Herbst will make his XFINITY Series debut this weekend behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18, and we have seen what young drivers can do when given JGR equipment to work with. Noah Gragson finished second in his XFINITY debut earlier this year for the same team, and last year Ryan Preece and Kyle Benjamin finished first and second at Iowa while driving JGR machines. There is tons of upside here for the price.
Shane Lee ($7,900)
Lee will be back in the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 this weekend, and he has finished inside the Top 15 in his other three starts for the team. There doesn’t appear to be much upside with Lee, but you know what you are going to get. If he has place differential upside after qualifying, he should be good for a solid finish and decent score.
Kaz Grala ($7,800)
You have to respect what Grala and Fury Race Cars have been able to do. This team essentially created an XFINITY ride for Grala three races ago and have since finished 10th, 16th and 12th in three starts. At this point, you have to be interested if he qualifies in the middle of the pack or worse.
Ryan Sieg ($7,200)
He isn’t someone who is normally on my radar, but Sieg has enjoyed a lot of success at Iowa. He has three straight Top 15s at the track and owns a 14.8 average finish in eight starts. Last year, he gained 20 spots and finished second in the first race and gained 11 spots and finished 14th in the return trip. If you don’t want to go with a complete punt play, Sieg is a lower-priced option with a solid floor.
Blake Jones ($5,300)
Jones only has a single XFINTIY start under his belt, but the youngster will get a shot in another B.J. McLeod entry this weekend. We have seen multiple drivers in McLeod’s rides this year, and all of them have been able to compete for Top 25s. If Jones qualifies outside the Top 30, I’ll take a flier on him to free up a bunch of cap space.