NASCAR Picks for Texas
Kevin Harvick, #29 Budweiser/Rheem, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class A]
He doesn't have a lot of great finishes at Texas, but Harvick does own a respectable 12.5 average finish at the track since 2001. Meanwhile, he has finished in the top 15 in six of his last seven starts, logging five top-10s during the stretch. Harvick finished ninth in both races at Texas last year and should be right around the top 10 again Saturday.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Martin finished third at Texas last spring, and in his last 10 starts at the track, he has finished 12th or better seven times. During the stretch, he has finished sixth or better five times, so a very strong run isn't out of the question. That being said, fantasy owners should count on a top-15 finish from Martin and consider anything more icing on the cake.
Martin Truex, Jr., #56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Texas has always been one of Truex's better 1.5-mile tracks. In 15 career starts, he has finished in the top 15 11 times, including three straight. He has also finished in the top 10 in two of his last three starts, including a sixth-place run last spring. A top-15 finish should be more than reasonable, and don't be surprised if he makes a run at the top 10.
Kurt Busch, #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Busch is a former winner at Texas, and more importantly, he has shown he can deliver solid results at the track while driving for smaller teams. He finished 13th at the track last spring while driving for Phoenix Racing, and he followed it up with an eighth-place run in the fall with Furniture Row Racing. Busch could make a solid sleeper option this weekend for fantasy owners.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Despite having a bit of a down year at Texas in 2012, there is still some hope for Menard. After all, he did reel off three straight top-15 finishes at the track prior to last season, picking up a pair of top-10 finishes during the stretch. Throw in the fact that Menard hasn't finished outside the top 20 since the Daytona 500, and he should at least manage a respectable effort this weekend.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His 23.6 average finish at Texas leaves a lot to be desired, but on the bright side, Logano did manage two of his three best finishes at the track last year. Coming off a season when he cracked the top 20 in both starts at Texas, including an 11th-place run in the fall, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Logano outperform his career averages yet again.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Almirola has had a decent feel for Texas throughout his brief career, finishing 22nd or better in three of his four starts. He has also been getting better at the 1.5-mile oval and is coming off a career-best 15th-place run at the track last fall. At the very least, Almirola figures to be in or around the top 20 Saturday.
Ryan Newman, #39 Quicken Loans/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Despite winning at Texas in just his second attempt, Newman has been rather mediocre at the track overall. His 20.3 average finish is nothing special, and more concerning, he has gone nine straight starts at the track without a top-10 finish. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect too much out of him this weekend.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Early in his career, McMurray was a fantasy stud at Texas, logging eight top-15 finishes in his first 10 starts at the track. However, things have changed dramatically, and he has failed to crack the top 10 in eight straight starts. During the stretch, McMurray has managed just a single top-15 finish, so there just isn't much upside for fantasy owners.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #17 Best Buy/Valvoline/Zest, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class C]
The rookie is coming off his first finish outside the top 20, but a decent rebound could be on tap at Texas. After all, Roush Fenway Racing has enjoyed a lot of success at the track, and Stenhouse did manage an 18th-place finish in the first race at a 1.5-mile track this year. A similar result should be possible Saturday in the Lone Star State.
Jeff Burton, #31 Caterpillar/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Texas had been one of Burton's better 1.5-mile tracks for a long time, but the veteran's production has slipped in recent years. He has gone five straight starts without a top-10 finish and has finished outside the top 25 three times during the stretch. Don't get your hopes too high for Burton this weekend.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
After showing real promise at Texas with three straight top-12 finishes, Ambrose took a step back in 2012. He finished 20th or worse in both starts at the track, compiling a 26.0 average finish. Given his inconsistencies at intermediate oval tracks in general, fantasy owners are asking for trouble if they assume Ambrose will bounce back without at least waiting to see practice times this weekend.
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