This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Texas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Kyle Larson claimed his seventh win of the season last week at Charlotte with a come-from-behind victory on the road course. The win sends him into the next round of playoff elimination races full of momentum and with a 35-point advantage over rival Denny Hamlin. The next three races will determine which four competitors will have a chance to race for the title in the season finale. The first step on that path comes this week at Texas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch won this race last season, but Larson went to Victory Lane there most recently in the All Star Race. Larson will also lead the field to green this week with Hamlin alongside in second, as the remaining eight championship contenders will occupy the first four rows. Every one of them will hope to claim his spot among the championship four with a victory.
Key Stats at Texas Motor Speedway
- Number of races: 40
- Winners from pole: 4
- Winners from top-5 starters: 23
- Winners from top-10 starters: 31
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
- Fastest race: 160.577 mph
Previous 10 Texas Winners
2020 fall - Kyle Busch
2020 spring - Austin Dillon
2019 fall - Kevin Harvick
2019 spring - Denny Hamlin
2018 fall - Kevin Harvick
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kevin Harvick
2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2016 fall - Carl Edwards
2016 spring - Kyle Busch
Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile quad-oval and is arguably most similar to Charlotte. Atlanta also has a similar configuration, but its rough pavement makes the race a bit different than this track. Throughout the season, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have tended to have the quickest cars on these types of circuits. Larson won at Texas in the All Star Race and also took the win at Charlotte in the Coca Cola 600. Team Penske's Ryan Blaney took the win at Atlanta, though. Some might say Joe Gibbs Racing has closed the gap to Hendrick recently, but a blown pit call for the Hendrick competitors at Las Vegas may be the true culprit behind Hamlin's win on that 1.5-mile oval. This week will be about track position and speed. Texas enables fast cars to separate themselves from the field, and restarts will be the best opportunities others have to make up ground. Pit strategy could shuffle the running order if any untimely cautions arise, but fantasy players will likely want to focus their picks for a winner in the first five starting rows.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Denny Hamlin (DK $9,900, FD $13,500) won the first race of every playoff round so far this season and will hope to keep that trend alive this week, too. He Has three previous wins at the track and finished ninth in this race last season. William Byron (DK $9,600, FD $9,800) will line up 12th for this week's race. He led 30 laps at Texas in the All Star Race and has two top-10 finishes from six career Texas starts. Joey Logano (DK $9,100, FD $10,500) has been one of the quicker drivers recently at Texas. He has one track win from 2014 and finished in the top 10 nine of his last 10 starts there. He has an incredible 11 top-five finishes from 25 Texas starts and will start the race fifth on the grid. Christopher Bell (DK $8,300, FD $9,000) gives this lineup another Gibbs car for those who believe the team closed the gap to Hendrick. Bell has raced here twice in the series, finishing third and leading five laps last fall. Austin Dillon (DK $7,500, FD $8,500) won the spring Texas race last season. He led 22 laps that day and went on to finish 11th in that season's return visit. He consistently is finishing in the top 15 and was sixth at Charlotte in May. Anthony Alfredo (DK $5,600, FD $4,000) takes the final spot in the lower-risk lineup. He scored a top-10 finish two weeks ago at Talladega and was 25th in Charlotte's 600-mile race earlier this season.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Another victory last week makes Larson (DK $10,500, FD $14,500) the championship favorite. His team rallied from behind and now has a comfortable points advantage for the final round of elimination races. To make things better, he also won the All Star Race at Texas earlier this year, his first race at the track since 2019. Ryan Blaney (DK $9,500, FD $11,000) also has a 1.5-mile quad-oval victory on his record this year. He won at Atlanta and has arguably been the fastest of the Team Penske cars all season. He will start this week's race fourth and finished in the top 10 in six of his last seven Texas races. Kurt Busch (DK $8,700, FD $8,700) may no longer be in the championship hunt, but that fact has not slowed him down. He finished eighth on the last 1.5-mile oval at Las Vegas, won at Atlanta, and won at Texas in 2009. He also hasn't finished worse than 10th at the track since 2016 and should be valuable for fantasy players this week. Matt DiBenedetto (DK $7,400, FD $7,500) scored another personal best last week at Charlotte when he finished sixth. He continues to work well with his Wood Brothers Racing team despite knowing he won't be returning with them next season. He scored his best Texas finish of eighth in the fall race last season, and he led six laps in this year's All Star Race, too. Cole Custer's (DK $6,200, FD $6,200) best Texas finish was 14th last fall. He has two series starts at the track and brings back to back top-20 finishes into this week's race.