AAA Texas 500
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
There are just three races to go in the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season, and the next stop on the schedule is Texas Motor Speedway. The speedy 1.5-mile oval will host Sunday's AAA Texas 500, and as the 10th race of the year at a 1.5-mile track, it is time to lean on a reliable strategy when building DFS NASCAR lineups.
With 334 laps on tap, there are plenty of points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. Equally as important races at 1.5-mile tracks, including races at Texas, tend to be dominated by one or two drivers.
In the last five Texas races alone, nine drivers have led 74 more laps in a single race, and all nine of those drivers have started in the top 10. During the same span, five drivers have led more than 100 laps in a race at Texas, and four of those have started in the top five.
Needless to say, you are going to want to target at least a couple of studs who qualify at the front of the field when building your DFS lineups this weekend. Qualifying is set for 6:45 p.m. ET Friday, and the race is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC.
Jimmie Johnson ($10,800)
Not only is Johnson the defending winner of this weekend's race, but he has won three of the last four races at the track and has won the fall race in each of the last four seasons. He also ranks first in both laps led and fastest laps run at Texas, and with a spot in the championship finale already secured, Johnson can focus solely on dominating Sunday's race at making his seventh trip to victory lane in the Lone Star State.
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)
A questionable pit road strategy likely cost Truex a win at Texas in the spring, but he still led a race-high 141 laps at the track. Overall, he has led by far the most laps at 1.5-mile tracks this year, so there is no doubt he can dominate Sunday's race. If he starts up front, he should be worth every penny.
Kyle Busch ($10,200)
Busch is going for a season sweep at Texas, and he provides a combination of reliability and upside. His 5.0 average finish over the last ten races here is the best in the series, and he also ranks in the top three in both laps led and fastest laps run at the track. History says you can count on Busch for a strong finish and his share of bonus points.
Brad Keselowski ($9,600)
Keselowski had a bit of a lackluster showing at Texas in the spring, but he led 312 of the 334 laps in the fall race here last year. Granted, that was his only dominant run at the track, but he has led 20-plus laps in five of the last six races here, finishing in the top five in three of his last four starts. Keep him in mind as a high-upside contrarian to the top-priced plays.
Kasey Kahne ($8,400)
Texas has been one of Kahne's better tracks, and in the last ten races here, he has seven finishes of 11th or better, including an eighth-place run in the spring. He is also one of the hottest drivers in the series, cracking the top 15 in 10 of the last 11 races. Kahne should be a reliable mid-priced play, and he will enter must-own territory if he starts outside the top 20.
Jamie McMurray ($8,100)
McMurray has been on a roll at Texas the last couple of years. He has an 8.5 average finish over the last four races here and a +10.5 average place differential over the same span. He could post a strong score based on his finishing position alone, and McMurray's value climbs the farther back he qualifies.
Austin Dillon ($7,900)
He finished 11th at Texas last fall, and Dillon is one of the up-and-coming drivers at 1.5-mile ovals. He has a 13.4 average finish in nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, including three finishes of sixth or better. Dillon should provide a useful point total no matter where he starts.
Alex Bowman ($7,400)
Bowman is back in the No. 88 this weekend, and he has already flexed plenty of muscle at 1.5-mile tracks. He finished 10th at Chicagoland to open the Chase and seventh at Kansas a couple of weeks ago. He was also running in the top five at Charlotte before cutting a tire and hitting the wall. With his top 10 potential, Bowman could be a solid mid-priced play no matter where he qualifies.
Aric Almirola ($6,800)
He has found a little extra speed down the stretch of the season, finishing 17th or better in six of his last eight starts. During the stretch, Almirola has gained six or more spots five times, gaining double-digit positions three times. Almirola finished in the top 20 in both races at Texas last year, and if starts toward the year of the field, he should be one of the safer low-priced plays.
Trevor Bayne ($6,700)
Bayne's value is mostly tied to his starting spot, but he if he qualifies in the back half of the field, he should be a decent low-priced play. In 12 starts at Texas, he has seven top 20 finishes, including a 15th-place finish in the spring.
Chris Buescher ($6,200)
He has finished 30th and 28th in two starts at Texas, but Buescher has made strides at the intermediate ovals in recent months. Since September, he has finished 21st or better at Darlington, Charlotte, and Kansas, gaining at least nine spots in all three races. If he starts outside the top 25, Buescher could make a nice source of cap relief this weekend.