Texas Motor Speedway has had a major makeover since the last time NASCAR visited the Lone Star state. The banking has been decreased in turns 1 & 2 from 24 to 20 degrees while the racing groove has increased from 60 to 80 feet. Turns 3 & 4 are unchanged with the exception of the resurfacing of the entire track. There were no tire tests prior to this weekend and Goodyear has brought what might be a hard tire in the nature of being conservative on this untested surface. The drivers who competed in the Xfinity race gained valuable track time that will be well served for the 500.
The big story is that several high-profile cars either did not make a qualifying run (#3, #5, #18, #42, #48, #77, and #88) due to repeated failures of inspection or had incidents during practice, and therefore will start from the rear of the field. These are some of the best cars from week to week that will have to really be on their game in order to have a chance to be in final contention. The deepest that anyone has won this race is Matt Kenseth who started 31st back in 2002.
When you combine a new and altered surface along with historically strong Texas drivers starting from the rear it makes for some excitement! The fast cars starting in the back will likely not have an easy time moving up front. Passing is going to be difficult and there is always the increased chance for incidents. Taking a shot or two on a lower priced driver with a better starting spot in DFS may turn out to be a wise move instead of going for the position +/- points.
DFS – Drivers are ranked by DraftKings pricing tiers. Drivers that are not listed below did not make the formula’s cut for performance to value. Being unlisted does not mean that they will not win or perform well, it simply means that they did not qualify as a selection this week in comparison to fellow priced drivers. Drivers are not listed in any particular order within their respective tier. Notes are established so its clear to know where they stand this week. There is not a surplus of value drivers at the bottom of the pool this week so balance especially in cash games could be more critical than usual.
In large tournaments DO NOT feel compelled to spend every last dollar as this is an outstanding way to create a contrarian line-up. Remember accidents happen so never get too tied to any one driver.
B. Keslowski – Appears to be in for an outstanding day and deserves to be one of the favorites this week. Great cash (50/50, double up, H2H) play.
K. Larson – If anyone coming from the back is a threat to win than Larson is that driver. This is a risky play but he appears to have the best handling car starting deep.
K. Harvick – The laps led and the fastest lap points are the attraction here along with running the Xfinity race. The #4 is NOT my selection to win the race at current odds however.
J. Logano – The best cash play of the tier with a solid chance to win the race.
Kyle Busch – Coming from the back and showing speed all weekend makes the #18 a good tournament/cash choice. Being able to move up cleanly is the major challenge here.
J. Johnson – Very similar spot as the #18 this weekend. I give the edge to the #18 in terms of reward but he comes with a higher risk. ***UPDATE – SLIGHT DOWNGRADE – TOURNAMENT ONLY***
C. Elliott – Tournament play mainly. He has been solid in two starts at Texas and has the car to come from the back to make up many spots. However, due to his competition and risk from the back he should be looked at in multi-entry tournaments.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – I have been hesitant to start him but if he is going to get this season on track Texas is a likely spot. Moving up will be a challenge but he looks to have a capable car. He is not a cash game option currentl but rather a tournament flyer.
J. McMurray – Starting near the front I like his potential for scoring well. McMurray can be used in cash games or tournaments this week.
Kurt Busch – Under the radar but based on value he makes the cut. Starting near the front does not hurt his cause either.
R. Blaney – Good starting spot and with the help of the Xfinity series competition he could be a threat to get his first win.
E. Jones – Excellent car and track time with a win in the Xfinity race. If he can stay out of trouble based on price he has as much chance to move up and gain points as any of the other drivers starting deep in the field. Tournament option mainly.
Suarez – There is a lack of depth and security at this price tier. There are holes in every driver but Suarez is a good tournament option with a strong car and extra track time this weekend.
A. Almirola – The car is has been excellent all weekend but he has a bad wrist injury that could hamper his overall performance.
Ty Dillon – Save some money if needed and still have potential.
C. Buscher – Priced cheaply with the ability to make up spots. However be cautious with the drivers needing to make up ground for position points. Passing might be best done in the pits.
M. McDowell – Appears to be one of the only real options below $6K. This is a home race for his team as well and there is the thought they will push it a bit harder. Tournament cash saving option only.
L. Cassill – Cash saving option and a good replacement for McDowell in multi entry tournaments.
Wagering – The #4, #14, #18, #20, #24, #48, and #78 all missed the cut at their current prices. The #4 in particular @ 4.5/1 is much too low, his true odds should be closer to 7/1. However, as we have seen in weeks past the odds have been moving quite a bit leading up to the race and this can create value for other drivers. The group listed below all hit value for wagering at their current odds. There are two high selections but overall we went deeper in the field for value with a race that has a lot of question marks.
B. Keslowski – 6.5/1
J. Logano – 7.5/1
K. Larson – 12/1 minimum odds
R. Blaney – 20/1
Kurt Busch – 22/1
J. McMurray – 24/1
***UPDATES TO COME AT ANYTIME PRIOR TO RACE***
Stats courtesy of http://www.Driveraverages.com