NASCAR

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Win Simulations: XPEL 225

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Win Simulations: XPEL 225

In both the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series, road courses are a staple.

In 2023, those two series combined to run 14 road-course races, giving us a massive sample of who thrives and who falls behind.

In the Craftsman Truck Series? Not so much.

The series ran just two road-course races in 2023 and three in 2022. If you dig back further than that, a healthy chunk of drivers weren't even in the field. Thus, there's a lot more projection involved when modeling this series at Circuit of the Americas than what we have in Cup or Xfinity.

We can still get a decent idea of what to expect, though, both from those races and from other driver-centric tracks. Here's what my model spits out for this weekend's XPEL 225 prior to practice when doing that.

Driver
Win Sims
Podium
Top 5
Christian Eckes17.1%42.2%58.0%
Corey Heim15.3%38.4%53.9%
Ross Chastain14.8%37.5%53.7%
Ty Majeski12.5%33.4%49.8%
Ben Rhodes7.8%23.2%36.8%
Nick Sanchez6.6%21.1%35.2%
Tyler Ankrum5.5%17.7%29.7%
View Full Table

Odds for this weekend's race haven't gone up at FanDuel Sportsbook yet, but you may be surprised to see Christian Eckes that high. In nine career Truck Series road races, he has just four top-10s and two top-fives. So why would he sit ahead of guys with better track records like Corey Heim and Ross Chastain?

It's due to the improvements Eckes has shown recently on road courses and his overall form on driver-centric tracks. Both of those road-course top-fives for Eckes have come in the past two years, and he was sixth in another. Eckes failed to finish in the two poorer runs.

But just generally, Eckes is a terror when the driver matters more. He out-dueled Kyle Busch in Bristol last week and had a top-five average running position in 7 of 13 races at either road courses or tracks shorter than 1.5 miles last year. He converted those runs into two wins and seven podiums.

So, Eckes may not have had a breakthrough on a road course yet, but given how small-sample-y they are, that doesn't mean we should ding him a ton this weekend.

The other noteworthy driver is Nick Sanchez at 6.6%. He had a top-10 average running position at both COTA and Mid-Ohio as a rookie and qualified well in both races.

Sanchez's ARCA record on road courses was more fine than good, but he certainly wasn't bad, either. If FanDuel were to place Sanchez at around +1800 or longer, he'd be interesting as an outright consideration.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.