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Fantasy NASCAR DFS: O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Post-Qualifying

Following the qualifying round at the Texas Motor Speedway, Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking points out who to target on DraftKings for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500!

O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

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Before this season, pre-qualifying tech inspection was a rarely mentioned aspect of the weekend. Not anymore. A new rule that forces cars that fail any portion of inspection to go through every station again has been creating logjams, and it was a traffic jam of epic proportions at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday.

Kevin Harvick captured the pole with a lap of 198.405 mph in the final round, but the bigger story was all the drivers that never cleared tech in time to run a qualifying lap. As a result, there are a ton of big names starting in the back Sunday, creating huge upside in the place differential category.

Throw in the fact that there are plenty of question marks as Texas prepares to host its first race since undergoing a repave and reconfiguration, and it sure seems like we are headed for a wild race this weekend.

Considering the jumbled starting lineup and all the unknowns with the new track, I am definitely going to have some lineups where a majority of the focus in on the place differential category, similar to a lineup you would use at a restrictor-plate track (Daytona or Talladega).

That being said, I'm not ignoring the dominator categories, and drivers starting up front at Texas have had a big edge when it comes to leading laps. In fact, there have been seven drivers who have led more than 100 laps in a single race at Texas over the last three years, and all seven have started in the Top 10, with six starting in the Top 5.

It is also common for drivers starting up front to run away with races at repaved tracks, and I think the trend could continue Sunday. Goodyear has brought a hard tire, and I think clean air is going to mean a lot as drivers try to figure out the track's new layout.

If you can pin down the driver who leads the most laps and pair them with several of the studs starting in the back, you are going to be headed for a big payday. Let's take a closer look at the drivers to target for Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.

© Aaron Doster / USA Today Sports

Must-Own Drivers

Kyle Larson ($10,300)

His record at Texas has been hit and miss, but Larson has been one of the best on the track week in and week out to start 2017. More importantly, he starts 32nd thanks to the long inspection line, so he is in a position to post a massive score simply by delivering a solid finish. At the very least, Larson looks like a must-own option for cash games.

Kevin Harvick ($10,000)

He stormed to the pole for Sunday's race, and the last time he was on the pole this year, he led almost every lap at Atlanta. After the repave, Texas has drawn lots of comparisons to Kentucky Speedway, and Harvick led a race-high 128 laps at Kentucky last year. He is my favorite to win the dominator categories this weekend.

Kyle Busch ($9,900)

Busch was so happy with his car in practice that he wanted his team to repair it after he got into the wall instead of going to a backup. The No. 18 team got the car fixed, but Busch was unable to make a qualifying run. I'll take Busch and a fast car from the 34th starting spot all day every day, particularly in a Texas track where he has seven Top 5s in his last eight starts.

Chase Elliott ($9,500)

He has to start 33rd in a backup car after a practice crash and missing qualifying, but I'm not worried. Elliott has been a stud at the 1.5-mile tracks since joining the Cup Series, and he has two Top 5s in as many tries at Texas. Expect him to be one of the biggest movers and top scorers Sunday.

Value Plays

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,500)

Throw Junior on the list of drivers who didn't make it through tech inspection, and as bad as he has been to start 2017, he simply has too much upside to ignore now that he has to start 37th. He has finished sixth or better in his last four starts at Texas, and even if he comes anywhere close to the Top 10, he is going to post a huge score.

Erik Jones ($7,600)

Jones is starting outside the Top 30 this weekend, but he will likely be finishing somewhere in the Top 15. He has cracked the Top 15 in every race since Daytona, and he finished 12th at Texas in 2015 while subbing for Matt Kenseth. Expect Jones to exploit the place differential category for a big point total.

Austin Dillon ($7,500)

With so many appealing options starting outside the Top 30, I think Dillon could be overlooked. He starts 25th, so he still has plenty of upside in the place differential category. He has also shown Top 10 potential at the 1.5-mile tracks over the last two years. I'll be targeting him as a contrarian play in GPPs.

Kasey Kahne ($7,300)

I said in my race preview that Kahne needed to qualify in the back to be a useful option, and he is starting in the back. He will roll off 35th Sunday, and with six finishes of 11th or better in his last eight starts at Texas, he should have no problem moving forward. At this price, he could be the biggest bargain of the weekend.

Sleeper Special

Chris Buescher ($6,000)

Buescher hasn't been much more than a Top 25 driver for most of the year, but that's all he needs to be to be a useful source of cap relief this weekend. He starts 38th after missing qualifying, so he is guaranteed to earn a chunk of points in the place differential category. In this price range, he has by far the safest floor.

2017 O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Starting Lineup

Pos.

No.

Driver

Sponsor

Make

1

4

Kevin Harvick

Jimmy John's

Ford

2

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane

Ford

3

14

Clint Bowyer

Haas Automation

Ford

4

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

5

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Ford

6

1

Jamie McMurray

Sherwin-Williams Emerald

Chevrolet

7

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats

Toyota

8

20

Matt Kenseth

Let's Go Places

Toyota

9

31

Ryan Newman

Caterpillar

Chevrolet

10

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation

Ford

11

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Ford EcoBoost

Ford

12

6

Trevor Bayne

Performance Plus Oil

Ford

13

95

Michael McDowell

WRL General Contractors

Chevrolet

14

13

Ty Dillon

GEICO

Chevrolet

15

34

Landon Cassill

Love's Travel Stops

Ford

16

47

AJ Allmendinger

Kroger Click List

Chevrolet

17

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx Office

Toyota

18

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield

Ford

19

10

Danica Patrick

TaxAct

Ford

20

19

Daniel Suarez

Stanley

Toyota

21

38

David Ragan

Camping World/Good Sam

Ford

22

27

Paul Menard

Dutch Boy/Menards

Chevrolet

23

83

Corey LaJoie

Dustless Blasting

Toyota

24

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe's

Chevrolet

25

3

Austin Dillon

Dow

Chevrolet

26

32

Matt DiBenedetto

Can-Am/Kappa

Ford

27

7

JJ Yeley

Accell Construction, Inc.

Chevrolet

28

72

Cole Whitt

RTIC Coolers

Chevrolet

29

23

Gray Gaulding

Dr. Pepper

Toyota

30

15

Reed Sorenson

Xchange of America

Chevrolet

31

33

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Little Joes Autos/Curtis Key Plumbing

Chevrolet

32

42

Kyle Larson

Credit One Bank

Chevrolet

33

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA

Chevrolet

34

18

Kyle Busch

Interstate Batteries

Toyota

35

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance

Chevrolet

36

77

Erik Jones

5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength

Toyota

37

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Axalta

Chevrolet

38

37

Chris Buescher

Scott Products

Chevrolet

39

51

Timmy Hill

Fenton Motors

Chevrolet

40

55

Derrike Cope

Low T Centers

Toyota


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