Truck Night in America lives on! The NASCAR Trucks DFS and Betting slate appropriately returns to Sin City for the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 this Friday night. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs continue with the Round of 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as Bristol’s fireworks popped the first two drivers out of the mix last Thursday.
Austin Hill and Todd Gilliland were the first two drivers eliminated from the playoffs last week. These are two drivers that won races this year and performed well throughout the season and were somewhat unexpected early exits. Hill won two consecutive races entering the playoffs, so he is certainly a shocker.
Fortunately for Hill, we head to one of his best tracks. Las Vegas has been his best career track statistically: in his last 4 starts, he has 2 wins and 4 Top 3 finishes. The books are already severely undervaluing Hill this weekend as he sits at +900 to win via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Speaking of insane, that Bristol finish that catapulted Chandler Smith into championship contention was incredible. The driver who he knocked out of the way to get there, Sheldon Creed, led a race-high 89 laps in this race last year before finishing 2nd. Sheldon has boasted some spectacular speed over the past several weeks heading into the championship crunch.
Now with all that considered, we haven’t raced at an intermediate track since Pocono on June 26th. There’s one team that swept the intermediates this season: Kyle Busch Motorsports. If you’re new to the show, that’s what we call KBM.
In 6 races at ovals of 1.5 miles or greater, all 6 were won by KBM. 4 of those 6 were won by John Hunter Nemechek, including his win at Las Vegas in the spring. In the 2 races Nemechek did not win, he finished 3rd and 5th.
In addition to the KBM/Austin Hill show, it’s worth noting that Toyota has won 5 consecutive Vegas races and 7 of the last 8.
Had Nemechek not “slipped up” to allow Chandler Smith to win, Nemechek would’ve ended his winless streak at Bristol. I know I yapped about it in the last article, and I’m about to do it again.
John Hunter Nemechek is so due.
Let’s get right into it.
— dale tanhardt (@daletanhardt) September 22, 2021
NASCAR Trucks DFS Las Vegas Picks for DraftKings
John Hunter Nemechek: #4 KBM Toyota – $10,400
Do I need to say it again? Yeah; I’m saying it.
Nemechek. Is. Due.
The speed KBM has brought to the intermediates along with the two races that he outdueled Kyle Busch is all I need to know to validate JHN as a top play this weekend. But for good measure, I’ll reiterate the stats from earlier in the article: in 6 races at ovals of 1.5 miles or greater, all 6 were won by KBM. 4 of those 6 were won by John Hunter Nemechek, including his win at Las Vegas in the spring. In the 2 races Nemechek did not win, he finished 3rd and 5th.
He’s a 5-time winner this year and hasn’t won in his last 5 starts. He starts P1 on Friday night, and I expect him to stay there. I’d be surprised if JHN doesn’t pull it into victory lane this weekend.
Did I mention he’s due?
Austin Hill: #16 Hattori Racing Toyota – $9,800
Speaking of due: Austin Hill’s bread and butter is the intermediates. 5 of his 8 career wins occurred at intermediate tracks, with his last win coming in this race a year ago. If there’s another guy who’s due, it’s Hill.
The disappointment of missing the playoffs must be a factor in his odds and pricing. Because I don’t understand it. Las Vegas has been nothing but a statistical masterpiece for Hill and this #16 team over the past two years.
I think these guys will have a major chip on their shoulders and will compete for the win. Regardless of who wins of the two, I really think that he and JHN will finish 1st and 2nd. Book Austin Hill as the most valuable play on the board as he starts 10th on Friday night.
Christian Eckes: #98 ThorSport Toyota – $7,300
I think Eckes is another strong value play. In his last two starts here (one with KBM and one with ThorSport) he finished 8th and 9th. In four starts on intermediates this season, he is averaging a finish of 9.0.
Eckes finished 4th at Kansas earlier this year and has boasted some speed in this #98 in limited opportunities. If he finished at his intermediate average of 9th, he would score 41 fantasy points just from his final placing and place-differential from a 15th place starting spot.
I believe his ceiling is higher though. I think he has solid potential for a Top 5 finish, which would make him a guaranteed optimal play on Friday night. I love Eckes as a middle-tier play based on his salary and potential.
Tanner Gray: #15 DGR Ford – $7,700
It has been a tough year for these guys. Wrecks have been the kryptonite for this aggressive driver, but I’m seeing some light at the end of the tunnel here at the roulette table, and I’m putting some dime on #15.
Gray has delivered excellent speed many times this season, but like many other young guns in this series, has been unable to capitalize and finish. He has personally killed me on DraftKings multiple times this season, but I’m sensing redemption this weekend.
In three starts at Vegas, Gray’s finishes are 8th, 3rd, and 12th. This is by far his best track statistically.
Intermediates in general are his best tracks as well. In 6 starts at intermediates in 2021, he has finished in the Top 19 in 5 of those 6, with a worst of 22nd at Charlotte and a best of 9th at Texas. His average finish is 16.0.
He’s had opportunities to accumulate several Top 10’s this season based on the speed in his truck. I think it’s about time for Gray to get the job done and be an excellent play this weekend as Vegas doesn’t typically cause a lot of attrition, and it’s been a great track for him overall.
NASCAR Trucks Best Bets
John Hunter Nemechek +320
Austin Hill +900
Stewart Friesen +1400
Johnny Sauter +2800
Austin Hill +250
Stewart Friesen +200
Johnny Sauter +450
Austin Hill over Zane Smith -105