RaceDayScore NASCAR: Duck Commander 500

RaceDayScore NASCAR: Duck Commander 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

Duck Commander 500

Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Texas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad oval
Laps: 334

Race Preview

The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion scored his first victory in 2016 last week and his first in the series, at Martinsville Speedway. Kyle Busch deserved this victory after the strong showings he's had so far this season, and he could be one to beat again this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway where he won in 2013. He will have to square off with 2016's only multiple-race winner Jimmie Johnson, though. Johnson has won the last three Texas races and has six track wins in total. In fact, in the one race so far this season on a 1.5-mile quad oval (Atlanta Motor Speedway) Johnson was also the winner. The No. 48 has been difficult to beat on these particular tracks, but contenders like Busch, Kevin Harvick and the Penske Racing drivers should also be high on the list of roster options for fantasy players this week.

Key Stats at Texas Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 30
Winners from pole: 3
Winners from top-5 starters: 19
Winners from top-10 starters: 24
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 4
Fastest race: 160.577 mph

Last 10 Texas Winners

2015 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2015 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2014 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2014 spring - Joey Logano
2013 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2013 spring - Kyle Busch
2012 fall - Jimmie Johnson
2012 spring - Greg Biffle
2011 fall - Tony Stewart
2011 spring - Matt Kenseth

Like Atlanta earlier this season Texas is a high-speed 1.5-mile quad oval. These tracks (Atlanta, Texas and Charlotte Motor Speedway) have steep banking in the turns and a dog-leg front straight. The tracks allow drivers to move up and down the banking to find the groove where their chassis works best and require as much horsepower as can be coaxed out of the machines. We saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. prefer a line right against the wall in Atlanta on his way to second place, while the new rules package and long green-flag runs forced drivers to mind their tire wear. The drivers universally praised the racing at Atlanta due to the low-downforce rules package, and more excitement should be on tap this weekend at Texas. Fantasy owners need to keep in mind that there weren't many caution periods in Atlanta despite the track's rough surface, so Texas should feature some long periods of green as well. This will separate those cars with speed, which owners can identify by studying practice and qualifying results.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Jimmie Johnson - $12,600
Brad Keselowski - $12,000
Joey Logano - $11,800

Tier 2 Values

Denny Hamlin - $11,000
Matt Kenseth - $10,800
Ryan Newman - $10,700
Austin Dillon - $10,400
Jamie McMurray - $10,200

Tier 3 Values

A.J. Allmendinger - $9,900
Brian Vickers - $9,800
Ryan Blaney - $9,700
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $9,100

Long-Shot Values

Clint Bowyer - $8,700
Danica Patrick - $8,600
Chris Buescher - $7,400
Cole Whitt - $7,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Matt Kenseth - $10,800
Jamie McMurray - $10,200
Greg Biffle - $10,000
A.J. Allmendinger - $9,900
Brian Vickers - $9,800
Clint Bowyer - $8,700

Kenseth's price this week is very attractive given his Texas statistics. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has two track wins, but faltered here last season. He did lead 59 laps in the spring race last season, however. McMurray is usually a respectable choice, but his top-10 placement in the most recent five races at Texas makes him an even more attractive play this week at this price. Though Biffle has been struggling in 2016, Texas could be a place he outperforms. He did just that last year when Roush Fenway Racing gave him a new chassis and he drove it to a 17th-place finish. He also has two wins at the circuit. Last week's performance at Martinsville was a massive boost to Allmendinger, who should be capable of picking up his third Texas top-10 finish this week. This could be the last week we see Vickers in the No. 14 chassis, but his top-10 last weekend at Martinsville could earn him more appearances this season and that's his motivation this week. Bowyer has largely been a disappointment recently, but Texas should be a track where he can surprise. He has an impressive history on this oval and needs to put the pieces together to gain confidence.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $12,600
Brad Keselowski - $12,000
Joey Logano - $11,800
Casey Mears - $8,300
Chris Buescher - $7,400
Cole Whitt - $7,200

Just as Johnson's history at Martinsville pushed him to the top of the fantasy options last week, the same is true for Texas. The Hendrick driver has six wins at the 1.5-mile oval, including four of the last five. The Penske Racing teammates Logano and Keselowski round off the top-three choices in this lineup, and are top-three drivers at the track through the last five races under the RaceDayScore point scheme. Casey Mears doesn't often get a lot of attention, but he consistently punches above his weight with an underfunded single-car team. He finished 14th in Atlanta earlier this season and should be a confident top-15 play for a fourth-choice driver this week. To finish the roster we add Buescher and Whitt. Neither has extensive history at Texas, but both are top-25 cars there in this points format based on the short history they have here, and Whitt was able to lead a lap in Atlanta. They are two drivers racing for points versus just turning laps, which makes them valuable fantasy plays when they're able to avoid trouble.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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