Kyle Busch is the first driver to guarantee himself a shot at the championship this season after winning a hard fought race in Martinsville this past weekend. Once again, Chase Elliott had a great chance to win his first ever race in this series, but was caught up in a late race accident and denied that coveted first win and more importantly a free pass to Homestead. Now he finds himself in a position where he almost has to win one of the next two races to make the championship.
AAA TEXAS 500
This week the series heads to the Texas Motor Speedway for the running of the AAA Texas 500. This is another of the mile-and-a-half tracks that make up the majority of the playoffs. This is one of the fastest tracks on the circuit and the 500-mile race could have motor implications although we haven’t seen a lot of that this year from any of the teams. You will definitely see the intensity pick up in these next two races as seven drivers compete for the final three spots in the championship race at Homestead.
Martin Truex Jr.: I have to stick with Martin on these intermediate tracks. This team even came away with a second place finish at Martinsville last week and they are going to be tough to knock out of the final race because of their huge point lead they accumulated with all of the playoff points they won during the last thirty-three races. Martin has finished in the top ten in his last five Texas races and has to be the odds on favorite to win here once again.
Jimmie Johnson: Once again Jimmie struggled at Martinsville last weekend at a track where he has already won nine times. He spun out during qualifying and had to start at the rear of the field after changing tires after qualifying. He then made his way to the front on pit strategy, but couldn’t stay there for long and had what he would say was a terrible finish. However, Jimmie has won three of the past five races at this track which should give this team something to look back on and give them some confidence going into this race.
Chase Elliott: I will say it once again. Chase will win a race yet this season and this might be the weekend he does it. He has only run three Cup races here, but he has two top five and three top ten finishes in those races. This team has come too close too many times to not believe they are capable of winning races in this series and he has been very good on the mile-and-a-half tracks this season, especially during the playoffs.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has nothing to gain in the next two races, but that won’t keep him from trying to win them all. He has battled Truex in almost every one of the races on these tracks throughout the season and now he can even take more chances on the track and with pit strategy to see if he can beat him. Kyle is one of the best drivers in this series and will not let anything keep him from trying to win the race this weekend.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin hasn’t shown the speed this season that he has in the past, but he has been very good at Texas the past few seasons. In his last five starts he has come away with three top five finishes, with two of those being runner-up finishes and five top ten finishes. This team knows they need another good finish here and hopefully a win even with Phoenix coming up where they have dominated the past few seasons. Still they don’t want to rely on getting in on points.
Brad Keselowski: Brad thought his best chance at getting a win in this round was at Martinsville last weekend. He almost did just that as he ran towards the front of the pack most of the race. This team doesn’t think they have the speed it will take to win this week at Texas, but I wouldn’t count them out. Brad has two top five and three top ten finishes in his last five starts here and has led more laps than any other driver in those five races. That tells me they might know something they don’t want the competition to know.
Ryan Blaney: This team has been impressive all year and definitely on the intermediate tracks. Ryan led 148 laps here in the spring race before coming away with a twelfth place finish in that race. This team knows they have the speed to get the job done here and just has to make sure to keep up with the changing track conditions and not make any mistakes on pit road to put themselves in position to come away with another win this season.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: We haven’t talked about Dale much this season as he never really lived up to expectations. However, he has been running much better since the playoffs started and this is one of the tracks he has been very good on lately. He has finished in the top six in each of his last five starts at this track including a fifth place finish this spring. He could surprise a lot of people who have written him off as he finishes up his full-time career in the next three races.
Joey Logano: Joey is another driver most people have written off this season. He might be someone you might want to take a look at if you are trying to come from behind in your league and are ready to take drivers no one at the top of your league is looking at. Joey has finished in the top four here in four of his last five races. I don’t care how bad a driver has looked, when he has stats like this you have to consider having him on your team, especially if you are behind in your league.
Matt Kenseth: Matt is another driver who hasn’t won a race yet this season and is not on a lot of peoples radar right now. Matt has always run well on the mile-and-a-half tracks and should have a decent car once again. If caution flags fall right for this team they could be another dark horse this week for those of you wanting to take some chances at this stage of the season.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Jimmie Johnson
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Chase Elliott
- Ryan Blaney
- Jamie McMurray
- Kasey Kahne
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Erik Jones
- Ty Dillon
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Chase Elliott
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kyle Busch
- Kevin Harvick
Dark Horse: Joey Logano
Stay Away From: Clint Bowyer
Big 18: Erik Jones