NASCAR Picks for Texas
Length: 1.500 miles
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
After slowing things down with a trip to Martinsville Speedway, the Cup Series gets back up to speed so to speak this weekend with a trip to Texas Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile oval is usually among the fastest tracks on the schedule with drivers routinely topping 200 mph down the straightaways. The high speeds also make for some wild restarts as well as some heart-stopping moments on the exit of the corners. Not to mention the fact that there have been some violent, multi-car wrecks at Texas in the past that have produced the carnage that is usually reserved for superspeedways. If you watched the 2010 spring race, you already know what I'm talking about.
On the plus side, a lot of NASCAR's big names have enjoyed a lot of success at the track, and there opportunity exists for fantasy owners to have a big day. That being said, engine issues, tire issues, fuel mileage and the aforementioned Texas-style "Big One" could all throw a wrench in those plans in a hurry. In other words, fantasy owners should be cautiously optimistic about this weekend's race.
Matt Kenseth, #20 Husky/Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
In the last 20 races at Texas, Kenseth leads all drivers with a 7.2 average finish. More importantly, he has reeled off five straight top-five finishes at the track, posting a 3.2 average finish during the stretch. Throw in the fact that Kenseth went to Victory Lane the last time the Cup Series visited a 1.5-mile track this year, and an elite finish should be on tap for Saturday.
Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Johnson delivered for fantasy owners at Texas last year, finishing second and first in the two races at the track. Meanwhile, he has 17 top-15 finishes in 19 starts at the track, compiling a 9.3 average finish overall. Coming off his second win of 2013 last weekend at Martinsville, the five-time champ should be in the mix for another win Saturday.
Kyle Busch, #18 Mars Brands/Interstate Batteries, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
He is one of the hottest drivers in the series, having logged four straight top-five finishes. More importantly, he has finished fourth or better five times at Texas, including a third-place run last fall. Busch is still looking for his first win at the track, but he is on one of his rolls right now when he could win anywhere.
Greg Biffle, #16 3M/Bondo, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
The defending race winner has been on a roll at Texas. He has finished in the top 10 in his last nine starts at the track, and he has six top-five finishes during the stretch. Biffle has had a relatively quiet 2013 thus far, but he should change that this weekend at one of his best tracks.
Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite, Team Penske [Yahoo Class B]
After opening his career with eight straight finishes outside the top 10 at Texas, Keselowski delivered a career-best second-place finish at the track last fall. Considering he has opened the 2013 season with five finishes of sixth or better in six starts, there is a good chance he will be back near the front of the field Saturday. His 22.7 average finish at the track is extremely misleading.
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Although he didn't win the first race at a 1.5-mile track this season, he did lead the most laps and finish a close second. More importantly, he is a former winner at Texas and has finished seventh or better in two of his last three starts at the track. Kahne has always been one of the top 1.5-mile track drivers in the series, and he should remind fantasy owners of that this weekend.
Carl Edwards, #99 Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has been bouncing back nicely from a dismal 2012 effort, and Edwards' resurgence should continue at Texas. After all, he is a three-time winner at the track, and he has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts. During the stretch, he has finished in the top three twice and compiled a 7.3 average finish.
Clint Bowyer, #15 5-Hour Energy, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Bowyer has always been solid at Texas, but lately, he has been stepping up his game. He has a 12.8 average finish in 14 starts at the track, finishing outside the top 20 only once. More importantly, he has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts at Texas.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
His first career Cup win actually came at Texas in his rookie year, and while he hasn't had a top-five finish at the track since 2004, Junior remains a solid option. He has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts at Texas, posting an 8.3 average finish during the stretch. Junior probably won't win Saturday, but there is always room on a fantasy roster for a top-10 finish.
Jeff Gordon, #24 Drive to End Hunger/Axalta, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
He has been enjoying a solid stretch at Texas and has finished in the top 15 in three straight starts. Gordon has two finishes of sixth or better during the stretch to go along with an 8.0 average finish. Keep in mind that he has won at Texas as recently as 2009, so he is a fairly low-risk option with some real upside.
Tony Stewart, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Stewart's start to the 2013 season is slow even by his standards, but there is a chance he could get things rolling at Texas. After all, Stewart is a two-time winner at the track with his most recent win coming in the fall of 2011. Throw in the fact that he finished fifth at Texas last fall, and Stewart could finally prove his worth to fantasy owners this weekend.
Brian Vickers, #55 Aaron's Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although his numbers were never great at Texas, Vickers has become a new man since he last visited the track in 2011. He has piled up excellent numbers for Michael Waltrip Racing in a part-time role, and he will get a chance to drive the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 for the first time this weekend. The car has been to Victory Lane twice at the track with Denny Hamlin driving, and Vickers should be able to bring it home somewhere in the top 15.