RaceDayScore NASCAR: AAA Texas 500

RaceDayScore NASCAR: AAA Texas 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

AAA Texas 500

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

Race Preview

The first spot of the final four drivers left standing to compete for the Sprint Cup in Miami was taken by Jimmie Johnson last week at Martinsville. The Hendrick Motorsports driver overcame adversity in the race to pluck his ninth victory at the short oval. The news gets even better for the No. 48 team, too. Johnson has won five of the last eight races at Texas Motor Speedway, and he already has two 1.5-mile quad-oval wins this season. The Texas layout could play into his hands as he looks to gain more momentum as the build up to Miami begins. Kyle Busch won at Texas earlier this year, and another win this weekend would see him through to stand beside Johnson at Homestead.

Key Stats at Texas Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 31
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

2016 spring - Kyle Busch
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

Texas Motor Speedway is a horsepower track. The high-banked turns allow drivers to carry plenty of speed through the turns, and the wide groove enables them to move up and down the track depending on handling. Passing will be easier than it was at Martinsville, but the high speeds mean a team that gets the setup correct can easily drive away from the competition. Fantasy players will want to keep an eye out for drivers who reach the top of the time charts in early practice sessions as that initial speed tends to be an advantage. Track position can play a big role as races at the track wind down, so two-tire pit stops late in the race could jumble the order. However, usually the winner is among the top 10 qualifiers.

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

Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $11,400
Matt Kenseth - $11,100
Jimmie Johnson - $11,000

Tier 2 Values

Joey Logano - $10,900
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,800
Denny Hamlin - $10,600
Chase Elliott - $10,500
Tony Stewart - $10,400

Tier 3 Values

A.J. Allmendinger - $9,800
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $9,300
Casey Mears - $8,600
Brian Scott - $8,500

Long-Shot Values

Chris Buescher - $8,000
Alex Bowman - $7,800
Cole Whitt - $7,400

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($60K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $11,500
Kyle Busch - $11,400
Carl Edwards - $11,100
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,800
Alex Bowman - $7,800
Cole Whitt - $7,400

Keselowski may be out of the Chase, but he continues to be one of the top competitors each week. The Penske Racing driver came on strongly last week in Martinsville to finish second to Johnson. Busch won at Texas earlier this year and remains on a run of top-10 finishes (excluding Talladega) that stretches back to Darlington. Edwards and Truex are both in elite Toyota machinery. Truex dominated at Charlotte in May while Edwards finished second at Kansas, which was the last 1.5-mile oval the series raced on. While Bowman may seem like a longshot, he has proven thus far that he has the speed to compete with the best. He needs to put together a full race distance without trouble, and he should confidently wind up in the top 10. Whitt caps off the lineup with five Texas starts under his belt. His best finish at the track was 26th, and his expectation should be a minimum of a top-30 with a positive finish differential on Sunday.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($60K Salary Cap)

Matt Kenseth - $11,100
Jimmie Johnson - $11,000
Tony Stewart - $10,400
Greg Biffle - $10,100
Clint Bowyer - $8,900
Chris Buescher - $8,000

Kenseth and Johnson balance the higher-risk lineup for Texas by virtue of their current run of performance along with their combined eight wins at the track. Johnson is the most recent winner and appears to be completing a long-awaited return to his dominant self. Stewart has shown that he still has the speed to compete each week despite being on the doorstep of retirement. The veteran driver gabbed a top-10 starting spot at Martinsville and is a two-time Texas winner. He missed the spring Texas race, however. Roush Fenway Racing continues to be behind the competition, but the team performed well at Charlotte in May. Biffle advanced from the Sprint Showdown in those events and also has two Texas wins. Bowyer remains in an uncompetitive situation. He moves out of that ride next season, but must endure the remaining races this season. He crashed out of the spring Texas race, but would be expected to score a top-20 if he has the equipment and support. Lastly, Buescher has yet to replicate the success of his first series win but did manage to work his way six spots forward from where he started in the spring race. He should be expected to do the same again this week, if not better.

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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