Fantasy NASCAR: AAA Texas 500 Driver Picks

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Fort Worth, Texas this week for the AAA Texas 500. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game.

Jimmie Johnson captured his ninth grandfather clock last week and secured his spot in the championship race at Homestead. Three of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers (Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch) are in a good position after their top-five finish Sunday. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards will need to finish up front at Texas to avoid a must win situation in the last race at Phoenix. The tension in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is building as the season comes to an end.

Fantasy NASCAR players must continue to focus on the drivers who are competing for a championship. They will have the best cars their organization can provide, will do anything to finish up front and will receive extra room on the track from the non-Chase drivers. The cream always rises to the top in these races and fantasy players need to take advantage.

The stats I used this week to determine which drivers have the best chance at finishing up front at Texas are the average running position in the three Chase races on intermediate tracks (Chicago, Charlotte and Kansas). Some teams tend to test different setups throughout the season to prepare for the Chase. Once the playoffs begin each team reveals their hand, showing how strong their cars really are. Some drivers run well in the race but something happens that prevents them from finishing up front. That is why I like to focus on the average running position instead of the average finishing position.

Here are the drivers with the best average running position in the three races on intermediate tracks in the Chase…

Track position is not as important this week as it was at Martinsville. Fantasy teams need to select the top drivers who qualify outside the top 10 this week. The scoring system for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game rewards drivers who improve their position in the race more than the drivers who lead the most laps. It will be important to try and capture as many of these bonus points as possible Sunday.

Pick to Win

Jimmie Johnson ($11,000) has been the best driver since the Chase began. His average finishing position on the non-restrictor plate tracks is 5.5, including two wins (Charlotte and Martinsville). Texas is one of Johnson’s best tracks. He has won five of the last eight races in the Lone Star State, including the last four fall races at the track. The No. 48 team would love to win the race Sunday and prevent another driver from securing a spot in the Championship Round. Johnson should be shooting the guns in Victory Lane Sunday.

Contenders

Kevin Harvick ($13,400) has backed himself into a hole after a 20th place finish at Martinsville. That is nothing new for the No. 4 team. It seems as though they are at their best when their backs are against the wall. Harvick has finished three of the last four races at Texas in the top three. He should add another top-five finish to his resume this week.

Brad Keselowski ($11,900) would love to play the role of spoiler and take away a win from one of the Chase drivers. He almost did it last week at Martinsville (Keselowski finished 2nd) and his chances are better Sunday. Keselowski has the second-best driver ranking and the third-best average finishing position in the last five races at Texas. He has finished four of the last five races at the track in the top five. I expect him to finish up front again Sunday.

Kyle Busch ($10,800) should have the best chance to win from the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. Busch qualified 15th and lead 34 laps on his way to Victory Lane in the April race at Texas. Busch has not finished outside the top four at Texas since 2013. He has been playing it safe so far in the Chase, but I expect the No. 18 team to go for the win this week at one of their best tracks.

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,400) has been the best driver this season on the 1.5-mile tracks. He won at Charlotte, Darlington and Chicago. The No. 78 team is not going to lie down just because they are eliminated from the Chase. Truex led 141 laps in the April race at Texas and he should be one of the drivers to beat Sunday. Truex should finish in the top five again this week.

Value Picks (Drivers under $9,000)

Carl Edwards ($8,700) has the most ground to make up from the eight Chase drivers. Edwards is 32 points from the transfer position and he almost needs to win at Texas or Phoenix in order to advance. This is good news for fantasy teams. There is no reason for the No. 19 team to hold anything back. They will have their best car and take every chance to win the race Sunday. Edwards has three wins at Texas on his resume so he knows how to get the job done.

Greg Biffle ($6,900) will not be a very popular pick this week, but he is a driver who can score well at Texas. Biffle has an average finishing position of 15.84 at the track. That is not bad for a driver who starts most races outside the top 25. If the No. 16 car qualifies outside the top 25 again this week, it will be wise to select Biffle as your fifth driver. He will have a good chance to improve his position by 10 spots in the AAA Texas 500.

Alex Bowman ($5,700) will once again be driving the No. 88 car. He has been running well in this car and should be a great choice for your team this week. Texas is one of the best tracks for the No. 88 team. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished four consecutive races at the track in the top six. I expect Bowman to easily finish in the top 15 Sunday.

Here are my picks for the AAA Texas 500 for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing:

Driver 1: Brad Keselowski $11,900

Driver 2: Jimmie Johnson $11,000

Driver 3: Kyle Busch $10,800

Driver 4: Martin Truex Jr. $10,400

Driver 5: Alex Bowman $5,000

FOX Fantasy Auto Resources

– Driver Owner Percentage

– Driver Salaries

And don’t forget – prizes are on the line each race of the fantasy season!  First, second and third place each win a prize.  Plus, each race builds your point total for larger segment and season prizes.

*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

If you need any further advice with your team or want to see my updated picks after Happy Hour practice, look for me on Twitter (@MrFantasyNASCAR) or LIKE my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook.

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