Welcome to the NASCAR DFS Truck Series for Saturday’s Truck Series CRC Brakleen 150 from Pocono Raceway. Friday’s practice and qualifying were rained out so we have no data to look over to get a feel for how these trucks will handle. Luckily, there is previous data from prior races that are relevant so we have that at least. For those who don’t know, Pocono is its own beast. It isn’t an oval or a road course, it’s a triangle, a tricky triangle to be exact. Pocono is a 2.5-mile track unique in ways other than its shape. Each of the three corners is modeled after different tracks but only one is consistent with a track NASCAR still runs at. Turn two, or the Tunnel Turn, is modeled after Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is widely known as the most difficult turn among drivers.
With this track being so large, there aren’t a lot of laps in this race, only 60 to be exact, which means we only have 42 dominator points available in this race. You all probably know where I am going with this, yep, we are not hunting dominator points this week. Instead, like with road courses, we want to look for drivers with good place differential upside as well trucks that could finish well.
There is some great value in this field with the starting grid being set by the NASCAR formula so stacking up three drivers from the top tier is easy to do. I expect the majority of my builds to consist of three from the top tier, one mid, and two value for this race.
NASCAR DFS: Top Tier ($9k and up)
Austin Hill ($10,200)
Starting Position: 31st
Austin Hill is going to be the highest-owned driver on Saturday and I really can’t fault anyone for playing him. This truck (#7) is listed as a Spire Motorsports entry, but I am thinking RCR will have some help in preparing this truck for Saturday. Hill is coming off back-to-back top 5’s at Pocono in Truck Series and I expect him to finish in the top 5 again on Saturday.
Zane Smith ($10,800)
Starting Position: 1st
I know I wrote that we aren’t chasing dominator points in this race, but there is no reason you can’t roster a driver who gets a significant amount of them and win this race. Zane Smith is that driver in my opinion. Smith leads all Truck Series regulars in average laps led per race (23.1 P/R), average fastest laps (12.1), and average finishing position (6.1). Smith is also the only driver in the Truck Series to average a top 10 finish on the season as well. Without seeing these trucks on track, Smith is my pick to win on Saturday.
Ryan Preece ($10,600)
Starting Position: 22nd
Preece will probably be the second highest-owned driver behind Austin Hill on Saturday but if you wanted to be different and fade him I can understand that. I plan on being heavily exposed to both Hill and Preece, but I also make 20 lineups. Preece has not finished lower than 11th in any of his previous six races in this truck in 2022 and has led at least three laps in five of his six races. In his last race in this series at Nashville, Preece dominated on his way to victory. I see Preece as a top 5 truck on Saturday with an outside chance at winning.
Other Options: Corey Heim ($10,400 – P17): Heim is another driver with some great place differential in the #51 KBM Toyota. John Hunter Nemechek ($11,100 – P12): JHN is another driver that could dominate this race, but he will need to lead some laps and finish top 3 to pay of this price tag. Carson Hocevar ($9,800 – P3): – Hocevar has some dominator potential, but at his price if he can finish in the top 5 we will be happy. I expect Hocevar to be low-owned making him a good GPP option.
NASCAR DFS: Mid Tier ($7k – $8.9K)
Matt DiBenedetto ($8,300)
Starting Position: 16th
DiBenedetto has never raced a truck at Pocono, but he has done fairly well here in a Cup Series car the last three seasons. In six races here since 2019, DiBenedetto has five finishes of 18th or better including a 6th place finish in 2020. While I think Matty D will be highly owned, you can roster him with three $10K+ drivers if you use the right value plays and I think that build will be different.
Tanner Gray ($7,800)
Starting Position: 18th
Gray is another driver who will carry some ownership in this tier, but not enough (around 20% projection) to warrant a fade. Gray has finished 16th and 12th in his two career races at Pocono and could better both those finishes on Saturday. It has not been a good run for Gray in the last few races, but this is a good truck and he will have Ryan Preece as a teammate this week so that should help him out with the setup for this truck. Tanner Gray has top 10 upside but realistically is a top 15 truck for me.
Tate Fogleman ($7,000)
Starting Position: 36th
I fully expect Fogleman to be the highest owned driver in this tier but he is the safest play in this tier. After wrecking out in his first career Pocono race, Fogleman bounced back in 2021 with a 21st place finish. Fogleman starts dead last and if he can keep his truck in the race he should be a top 25 truck. I see a few trucks that he should be able to pass early and then ride the attrition wave to a solid day for his salary.
Other Options: Ben Rhodes ($8,900 – P11): Too cheap!, Tyler Ankrum ($8,500 – P14), Matt Crafton ($8,000 – P13)
Value Tier (Under $7K)
- Tyler Hill ($5,000) – P35
- Todd Bodine ($6,700) – P34
- Jesse Little ($4,900) – P32
- Max Gutierrez ($6,500) – P27
- Kaden Honeycutt ($5,300) – P33
- Dean Thompson ($5,500) – P26
- Timmy Hill ($6,100) – P20
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Make sure to check out my NASCAR DFS Tutorial to make sure you are ready and understand how I break down the races and build lineups (https://windailysports.com/nascar-dfs-pit-stop-2021-introduction-to-nascar-dfs/).
There were a lot of changes in the cars and what driver is in what car/truck in 2022, check out my What’s new in 2022 article (https://windailysports.com/nascar-dfs-whats-new-in-2022/)