NASCAR Picks for Texas
Length: 1.500 miles
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
After back-to-back races at Talladega and Martinsville, the Cup Series gets back to its bread and butter this weekend with a trip to the always fast Texas Motor Speedway. Sunday's AAA Texas 500 will be the 10th race of the season held at a 1.5-mile oval and the fourth during the Chase. Compared to a restrictor-plate track and a short track, an intermediate oval like Texas is generally easier to predict. When the race is held this late in the year at the most common type of track on the schedule, it takes even more guesswork out of the equation. Keep in mind that Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson have been three of the top scorers at 1.5-mile tracks in 2013, and it is no coincidence that they are also three of the top-four drivers in the current Chase standings. Granted, it still takes a few well-chosen sleepers to make a great roster, but fantasy owners should have a pretty good idea of which big names to build their rosters around this weekend.
Matt Kenseth, #20 Husky/Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
He won his first race at Texas in 2002, and he hasn't slowed down since. In the last 20 races at the track, Kenseth leads all drivers with a 6.8 average finish and has 15 top-10s -- including eight finishes of third or better, during the stretch. He has actually been even better at Texas recently, posting five top-five finishes in his last six starts and compiling a 4.7 average finish during the span.
Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Johnson is the defending winner of this weekend's race and a two-time winner at Texas overall. Meanwhile, his 9.1 average finish at the track is the second best in the series. In 20 starts at Texas, Johnson has nine top-five finishes, and he has finished in the top 15 in 18 starts -- including seven straight. In his last three starts at the track, he has a 3.0 average finish.
Kyle Busch, #18 Mars Brands/Interstate Batteries, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He is going for the season sweep at Texas after winning the spring race, and Busch has been dialed in at the track in general recently. Since the start of last season, he has a 5.0 average finish in three starts at Texas. In addition to winning at the track earlier this year, Busch also finished third in last fall's race.
Greg Biffle, #16 3M/Bondo, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
No driver has been better in the last 10 races at Texas than Biffle. He has a series-leading 5.5 average finish during the stretch and doesn't have a single finish outside the top 10. More importantly, Biffle has seven top-five finishes during the stretch -- including five in his last six starts at the track.
Carl Edwards, #99 Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Edwards leads all drivers with three wins at Texas Motor Speedway, and he has been on the doorstep of getting back to victory lane the past couple of years. He has four top-10s in his last five starts at the track, and he has finished inside the top three in three of his last five starts during the stretch -- including a third-place effort in the spring race earlier this year.
Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class A]
While his overall numbers at Texas aren't great, Keselowski has been dialed in at the track in his two most recent starts. He finished a career-best second at Texas last fall, leading 75 laps and coming within a few laps of winning the race. Keselowski also landed in the top 10 at the track earlier this year, so his fantasy value is definitely trending in the right direction.
Kevin Harvick, #29 Budweiser/Rheem, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class A]
In his last 12 starts at Texas, Harvick has piled up 10 top-15 finishes, including four straight. Granted, he has just one top-five finish during the stretch, so he probably isn't going to be in victory lane this weekend. That being said, Harvick's consistency and reliability should make him a solid addition to fantasy rosters this weekend.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Junior had a rough outing at Texas earlier this year, but overall he has enjoyed a lot of success at the track recently. He has five top-10s in his last seven starts at Texas, including four in his last five starts at the track. Meanwhile, Junior has quietly strung together six straight top-15s since a disastrous Chase opener, and he should continue his stretch of quality finishes this weekend at Texas.
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Although he only has two top-five finishes in 15 starts at Texas, Bowyer almost never has a poor run at the track either. In fact, he has a 12.9 average finish at Texas and has finished outside the top 20 only twice. Bowyer also has four top-10s in his last six starts at the track, and he hasn't finished worse than 17th during the stretch. He should be a low-risk fantasy option this weekend.
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
While Kahne has been a bit sporadic at Texas overall, he is a former winner at the track and he has also been running particularly well recently. He has finished 11th or better in three of his last four starts at Texas and has finished as high as third during the stretch. Kahne has also scored the fourth-most points of any driver in nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this year and has finished second in four of the events. Needless to say, he offers plenty of upside.
Martin Truex, Jr., #56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Plain and simple, Truex has been brilliant at Texas lately. He has four straight top-15s at the track and has compiled a 7.3 average finish during the stretch. Truex also finished a career-best second at Texas earlier this year, so the potential for a great result is definitely there.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His 21.7 average finish at Texas isn't great, but when Logano made his first start at the track with Penske Racing earlier this year, he looked like a new man. He finished fifth in the spring race, marking just the second time he has cracked the top 10 at Texas. Granted, one strong finish isn't a guarantee of continued success, but Logano does have some intriguing upside.