O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
After slowing things down with a short track race at Martinsville last weekend, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to a high-speed oval this weekend. Texas Motor Speedway will host Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, and the 1.5-mile track is always among the fastest on the schedule.
There won't be as many points available in the dominator categories this weekend as there was last Sunday at Martinsville, but with 334 laps scheduled, there are still plenty of valuable points available in the laps led and fastest laps run categories. When building a DFS lineup, these need to be your main focus.
Like many of the 1.5-mile tracks, many of the lap leaders at Texas tend to start up front. Looking at six races over the last three years, there have been seven drivers that led more than 100 laps in a single race. All seven have started in the Top 10, and six have started in the Top 5.
During the same stretch, ten drivers have led 70-plus laps in a race, and nine of them have started in the Top 5. The Top 2 spots have been particularly valuable. Over the last three seasons, one of the front row qualifiers has led at least 96 laps in all six races at Texas.
Needless to say, the formula for the winning lineup will likely include a couple of big names who qualify at the front who can carry the dominator categories, paired with a few mid-priced and cheaper options who can take advantage of the place differential category.
Make sure to check back for updated driver picks after qualifying and practice, but in the meantime, here is a closer look at the drivers I will likely be targeting this weekend at Texas.
Logano has been a force at Texas since joining Team Penske. He has six Top 5 finishes in eight starts at the track, including finishes of third and second last year. He has led over 100 laps twice during that span, including a race-high 178 laps last fall.
Elliott has wasted no time establishing himself as one of the best drivers at the intermediate ovals. He has finished fifth at Atlanta and third at Las Vegas so far this season, and last year, he finished in the Top 5 in both of his starts at Texas. A breakout performance could be on tap Sunday, and I think he is a great contrarian play to win the dominator categories.
Even with all the hype surrounding him, Jones is exceeding any reasonable expectations. Since being caught up in a wreck at Daytona, the rookie has reeled off five straight Top 15s. He has already shown he can run well at Texas, finishing 12th while subbing for Matt Kenseth in the fall of 2015. Jones could be a Top 10 driver this weekend.