There are only two more Cup races left after this week’s event at Texas Motor Speedway, the AAA Texas 500. Kyle Busch won last week’s race at Martinsville, and now there are only three spots left for drivers in the playoffs to claim as we get closer to the upcoming fight for the championship at Homestead Miami Speedway.
TOP PRICED PICKS
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,000 on DraftKings) can become the first driver in Cup Series history to win five consecutive races at 1.5 mile tracks if he wins this week. In 24 starts at Texas, Truex has 13 Top 10 finishes and 488 Laps Led, which is fifth of active drivers. Since 2005, Truex has the fifth-best Average Running Position of 12.0, the seventh-most Fastest Laps at 244, and the fifth-best Driver Rating of 94.1. He was fourth in first practice, seventh in second practice, fifth in final practice, and starts seventh. Considering his performances at 1.5 mile tracks this season and his faster practice speeds compared to the rest of the field, Truex is a big threat to win.
Kyle Busch ($10,600) has been very solid at Texas in the past. In his last 10 starts at the site, he has finished outside of the Top 10 only three times with his worst finish being 15th in that span. In 23 starts at Texas, he has two wins, 12 Top 10 finishes, and 741 Laps Led, which is third of active drivers. Since 2005, Kyle Busch has the fourth-best ARP of 10.9, the second-most Fastest Laps at 420, and the third-best DR of 101.5. He was eighth in first practice, had the third-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in second practice, was ninth in final practice, and starts fifth. Kyle Busch’s practice speeds indicate a finish around his starting position in the Top 10.
Kyle Larson ($9,700) may not be in the playoffs anymore, but he still is one of the best picks for Texas. In eight starts at the site, Larson has three Top 10 finishes, which includes a second-place finish from earlier this season. He has the ninth-best ARP of 13.9, and the 10th-highest percentage of Laps in the Top 15 at 61%. Larson was 10th in first practice, and had the best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in second and final practices. He starts 11th. Larson has been great throughout practices, is one of the best options, and will compete for the win.
Joey Logano ($9,400) and Chase Elliott ($9,100) will both be starting at the rear of the field after failing pre-qualifying inspection. Logano and Elliott both finished in the Top 10 in their last three starts at Texas with Logano’s worst finish being third, while Elliott’s worst was ninth. Logano was 22nd in first practice, 13th in second practice, and 17th in final practice. Elliott was sixth in first practice, fifth in second practice, and 14th in final practice. Logano starts 36th while Elliott starts 34th. Both drivers will gain plenty of points from Place Differential and finish well ahead than their starting positions, but Elliott has looked better in practices compared to Logano, making him the better pick between the two.
MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS
Matt Kenseth ($8,900) has only three Top 10 finishes at Texas since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. In 29 starts at the site, Kenseth has two wins, 18 Top 10 finishes, and 854 Laps Led, which is second of active drivers. Since 2005, Kenseth has the best ARP of 9.4, the third-most Fastest Laps at 397, and the second-best DR of 103.6. He was fifth in first practice, 10th in second practice, 11th in final practice, and starts 35th after failing pre-qualifying inspection. Kenseth’s practice speeds point to a Top 10 finish, and he will collect plenty of points from PD.
Denny Hamlin ($8,800) will be a very good pick this week. In 23 starts at Texas, Hamlin has two wins and 11 Top 10 finishes. Since 2005, Hamlin has the 10th most Fastest Laps at 188, the fourth-most Quality Passes (Passes of Cars in the Top 15 under Green Flag conditions) at 924, and the eighth-best DR of 88.8. He was second in first and second practices, first in final practice, and starts second. Expect Hamlin to lead laps and compete for the win based on practice speeds.
Ryan Blaney ($8,500) has never finished better than 12th at Texas, but led 148 Laps at the site in the Spring race this season. He has three Top 10 finishes in the last four races in 2017. He was first in first practice, eighth in second practice, third in final practice, and starts eighth. As indicated by practice speeds, Blaney will score his first Top 5 finish at Texas this week.
Texas is the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s ($7.900) first career Cup Series victory. In 29 starts at the site, Earnhardt has 18 Top 10 finishes, which include six consecutive Top 6 showings in his last six starts at the site. Since 2005, Earnhardt has the sixth-best ARP of 12.3, the third-most Laps in the Top 15 at 6,075, and the sixth-best DR of 93.6. Earnhardt was 12th in first practice, 15th in second practice, 11th in final practice, and starts 17th. Earnhardt’s practice speeds are better than his starting position and he has favorable history at the site, making him a solid option.
Chris Buescher ($6,600) finished 21st earlier this season at Texas, matching his career best finish at the site. In four starts at Texas, Buescher has two Top 25 finishes. He was 27th in first and final practices, 20th in second practice, and starts 26th. Buescher’s practice speeds mark a finish around his starting position.
A.J. Allmendinger ($6,500) has three Top 20 finishes in his last four Texas starts. In 17 starts at the site, Allmendinger has 10 Top 20 finishes. He was 18th in first and second practices, 20th in final practice, and starts 16th. Watch for Allmendinger to finish in the Top 20 based on practice speeds.
Michael McDowell ($5,700) finished 23rd in the Spring race at Texas, which matches his best finish at the site. He starts 23rd, was 20th in first practice, 28th in second practice, and 24th in final practice. Based on his practice speeds, McDowell will finish around his starting position.