The first race of the Eliminator Round is in the books, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. picks up the win. This means that because Dale has already been eliminated from the Chase, at least two drivers will make it to the championship race via points. A couple of the Chase drivers had very poor finishes and now find themselves in a position where they will probably have to win one of the next two races to make it to the championship race.
This week the series heads back to Texas Motor Speedway, the mile and a half track that is very similar to the rest of the intermediate tracks on the circuit. Once again a 500-mile race will take its toll on some engines and tires have been a concern most of the year for various drivers. The drivers who struggle on the short tracks really need to run well this weekend before the final race of this round is run at Phoenix.
AAA TEXAS 500
Jimmie Johnson: I am picking Jimmie to break out of his recent slump and get back to victory lane this week at Texas. Jimmie has won two of the last four races and both of them were during the Chase. Even though Jimmie was eliminated from the Chase, this team is going to fight for another win this season.
Matt Kenseth: Matt has yet to win a race this season and this is one of the tracks that he can get that first win at. Matt has won two races at Texas during his career. He has also finished in the top ten in seventeen of his twenty-four starts here and has the best average finish of any driver at Texas over their careers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Even though this team has been eliminated from the Chase they are still running hard and running well as we come to the last few races of the season. Dale has run well at all types of tracks this season and I think he will have a fast car once again the weekend in Texas. He won the very first race ever run at this track, but that was a long time ago.
Denny Hamlin: Denny swept the races here back in 2010 and was very disappointed with his finish last week at Martinsville. He felt that he had a car capable of winning last week and that would have given him the free pass into the championship race at Homestead. Now they need to run well over the next two races and they have two tracks they are very capable of winning at.
Joey Logano: This team has been fast all season. Now we will see how they perform under extreme pressure on a track that they should be favored to finish in the top five at. Joey won the spring race here and has finished in the top five in his last three starts at this track. They will be looking for the sweep this weekend and they could very well get it.
Brad Keselowski: After winning the race at Talladega to move to the Eliminator round of the Chase, Brad had mechanical trouble at Martinsville and finds himself once again in a must win situation somewhere during the next two races. This team has been just as fast as their teammate, Joey Logano, every week and they lead the series in wins.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin took the biggest hit of all the Chase drivers at Martinsville when he and Matt Kenseth got tangled up on the track and Kevin had to go to the garage to get his car back on the track and try to salvage as many spots as he could. Now they almost have to win one of the next two races, but the good news is that they have a good chance of winning one of the next two races because they run very well at both of these tracks.
Carl Edwards: Carl didn’t have the best race at Martinsville and has some work to do to get back in contention. However, Carl has won three races at Texas and runs well at Phoenix, so he has a good chance of making it to the championship race. They can ill afford another poor finish though, or they will be in the same position as the other drivers who need to win to have a shot.
Jeff Gordon: Jeff leads the point standings at the moment, by virtue of his second place finish at Martinsville. It’s nice to be in the lead, but Jeff would have rather won the race. Now they need to run well over the next two weeks to move into the championship race. Jeff finished second in the race here in April of this year and has shown that he can get the job done on any track he runs on this season.
Ryan Newman: Ryan had a great run once again at Martinsville, where he picked up a third place finish. Even though they are another team that hasn’t won a race yet this season, they have put themselves in position to move on to the next round if they can come away with two more top five finishes. I think Texas will be their toughest test between the next two races.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kevin Harvick
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Brad Keselowski
- Joey Logano
- Denny Hamlin
- Carl Edwards
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Kyle Larson
- Danica Patrick
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Jimmie Johnson
- Joey Logano
- Kevin Harvick
- Matt Kenseth
- Jeff Gordon
Dark Horse: Brian Vickers
Stay Away From: Kurt Busch