A recently repaved track… 1.5 miles in length… using the same tire combination as the Las Vegas race.
Does this story sound familiar?
It should, because it’s exactly what we went through in Kentucky last Sunday. Except now it’s a week later and we’re visiting Texas Motor Speedway for 500 miles of racing instead of 400. We’re also heading to the Lone Star State in the middle of the summer for the first time ever. But all in all, we have a very similar race this weekend as we did last, and you should expect it to play out in similar fashion–maybe even with another surprise winner.
My driver-by-driver DraftKings breakdown for this race went live on Saturday morning, don’t miss it! Click here to see it.
Speed Report in 2020 After Kentucky
It was rookie Cole Custer in victory lane at Kentucky last week, but he didn’t have the best car. Hell, he probably didn’t even have the best car late in that race, but he had the guy who was restarting the best all day behind him pushing him. That was Matt DiBenedetto. But in terms of Green Flag Speed, Ryan Blaney was #1 at Kentucky, which should come as no surprise, really, since he had the best green flag speed at Las Vegas, too.
Over the last six races here are the fastest drivers in terms of Green Flag Speed:
- Kevin Harvick (6.7 average rank)
- Ryan Blaney (8.0 average rank)
- Matt DiBenedetto (8.3 average rank)
- Chase Elliott (8.7 average rank)
- Brad Keselowski (9.0 average rank)
You can click here to check out the updated Cheat Sheet on Green Flag Speed and see how every driver ranks in that category plus more, not only for the last six races but for the whole season.
Now, since we’re at a 1.5-mile track again this week, and since we already have six races under our belt this season on this track length, I’ve went ahead and put together an additional post to show you which drivers have been the strongest on this track type. In addition to Green Flag Speed, there are also additional statistics for each driver, including:
- Avg. DraftKings points on 1.5-mile tracks
- Avg. DraftKings dominator points on 1.5-mile tracks
- Avg. Finish on 1.5-mile tracks
- Avg. Fastest Laps on 1.5-mile tracks
- Avg. Laps Led on 1.5-mile tracks
- Avg. Starting Position on 1.5-mile tracks
Click here to access the statistics for this season on 1.5-mile tracks. I’ve also broken each statistic down to just the races on the low wear 1.5-mile tracks in that post. I hope you find it helpful.
Additionally, with this upcoming Texas race being so similar to the Las Vegas and Kentucky races this year, it’s not a bad idea to just single those two out and look at relevant statistics.
The following drivers ranked inside the top 10 in Green Flag Speed at both Las Vegas and Kentucky this year: Ryan Blaney (1st and 1st), Joey Logano (3rd and 4th), Martin Truex, Jr. (8th and 2nd), Jimmie Johnson (7th and 5th), Chase Elliott (4th and 10th), Alex Bowman (6th and 9th), and Brad Keselowski (10th and 7th).
In terms of fastest laps, here are the leaders in those two races:
- Chase Elliott – 60 fastest laps (48 at Vegas, 12 at Kentucky)
- Ryan Blaney – 51 fastest laps (18 at Vegas, 33 at Kentucky)
- Martin Truex, Jr. – 45 fastest laps (18 at Vegas, 27 at Kentucky)
- Aric Almirola – 39 fastest laps (3 at Vegas, 36 at Kentucky)
- William Byron – 36 fastest laps (35 at Vegas, 1 at Kentucky)
- Kevin Harvick – 34 fastest laps (31 at Vegas, 3 at Kentucky)
- Kurt Busch – 31 fastest laps (3 at Vegas, 28 at Kentucky)
- Alex Bowman – 29 fastest laps (18 at Vegas, 11 at Kentucky)
- Jimmie Johnson – 25 fastest laps (11 at Vegas, 14 at Kentucky)
- Joey Logano – 15 fastest laps (12 at Vegas, 3 at Kentucky)
- Brad Keselowski – 14 fastest laps (8 at Vegas, 6 at Kentucky)
I had to double check on those final two rankings, but they’re accurate. Somehow Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have combined for only 29 total fastest laps over those two races this year.
DraftKings Strategy for Texas
After two months, DraftKings finally realized that the super pricing up of Christopher Bell ($9,100) wasn’t working, and now they have him priced down to about where he should be considering he keeps drawing awful starting spots. They’re also forcing us to pay up for the really good guys, as Kevin Harvick ($11,300) and Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,400) are priced higher than we’ve seen them in a month.
With this being a 500-mile race, you’re going to need to put at least two dominators in your lineup, and possibly even three depending on how it shakes out. We have 334 laps to run this week as opposed to 267 laps last week at Kentucky. Kevin Harvick has led 100+ laps in two of the last three Texas races, and last fall, him and Almirola combined to lead for 181 of the 334 laps. In the spring race last year, nobody led more than 66 laps and we basically had four (at least dominators).
As mentioned last week, we have plenty of 1.5-mile track races to analyze this week, as well as how the main dominators played out. The vast majority of these races had three dominators. Here are those numbers with the Kentucky race from last weekend added:
- Las Vegas = Elliott with 41.5 total DraftKings dominator points, Harvick with 38.5, and Logano with 54 laps led and the win
- Charlotte-1 = Bowman with 67 DraftKings dominator points, Truex with 49.75, Elliott with 34.5
- Charlotte-2 = Harvick had 34.25 DraftKings dominator points, Bowman had 26.75, then Elliott got the win with 15.5 dominator points (remember this was a short race)
- Atlanta = Harvick had 57.25 DraftKings dominator points, Truex had 42.75, and Clint Bowyer had 29.5
- Homestead = Hamlin had 49.75 DraftKings dominator points, Blaney had 31, Reddick had 24.75, and Elliott had 20.75
- Kentucky = Almirola had 50 DraftKings dominator points, Truex had 27.75, and Blaney had 21
Potential Dominators on Sunday
The likely dominators all start inside the top 5. Pole sitter Aric Almirola ($8,100) has to be near the top of your dominator list. Last week at Kentucky, he led 128 laps and had 36 fastest laps and ended up finishing 8th. That’s six straight races that he’s finished 8th or better now. Also, the last time we were at Texas, Aric led 62 laps, had 50 fastest laps, and finished 2nd. I wouldn’t be surprised if Almirola is the highest-owned driver on the slate.
Next most likely dominator is his Stewart-Haas teammate, Kevin Harvick ($11,300), who rolls off from the 5th starting spot. Like like at Atlanta a month and a half ago, Texas has been a playground for Harvick, as he is averaging 83 laps led per race since the repave along with a series-best average of 53 fastest laps per race in the Lone Star State. There’s a reason Vegas has him as such a heavy favorite. The third most-likely dominator on Sunday is Ryan Blaney ($8,900), who starts 2nd. What it’s going to come down to for Blaney is if he can get around Almirola before Harvick takes the lead. Blaney is averaging 20.5 fastest laps per race on 1.5-mile tracks this year and is also averaging 21.3 fastest laps per race over the six races at Texas since the repave. Both are 3rd-best in the series.
Others with legitimate dominating potential on Sunday include: Chase Elliott ($10,000) and Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,400). Honestly, it’s hard to imagine any other drivers outside of those five listed as getting significant DraftKings dominator points on Sunday, but those with some possibility include: Kurt Busch ($7,900), Brad Keselowski ($9,700), and Joey Logano ($9,500).
Additionally, guys that should pick up a decent amount of fastest laps but probably won’t lead much are William Byron ($8,000), Jimmie Johnson ($9,000), and Alex Bowman ($8,400).
You may be thinking, what about the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Kyle Busch ($9,400) and Denny Hamlin ($10,800)? They have both definitely have had good stats here at Texas, and Hamlin went to victory lane last season while Rowdy took the checkered in 2018, but after seeing the races at Las Vegas and Kentucky this year, I’m not sure how you can have any confidence in those two. They’re not having bad luck, they’re both off entirely. Even extending it to include the two Charlotte races, Kyle Busch has an average finish of 17.5 and Denny Hamlin has an average finish of 15.3, plus they’re both averaging less than 5 DraftKings dominator points per race. There’s a reason my algorithm hates them this week, too.
GPP / Tournament Picks I Love for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
Ryan Blaney ($8,900) – Honestly, the starting build for many lineups is going to include Kevin Harvick ($11,300) and Aric Almirola ($8,100) and then they’ll build from there. Which is probably going to be the strategy I take as well. But picking the drivers starting 1st and 5th should automatically put your brain into “okay, let’s go a little further back now” mode. So I honestly don’t mind stacking Blaney with them, because if this turns into a three dominator race, he could easily be the third one. I also don’t mind pivoting from Almirola to Blaney. As far as the 1.5-mile tracks, Blaney has been the clear cut #1 this year, with a series-best average finish of 5.2 and while averaging 14.9 DraftKings dominator points per race. At Las Vegas and Kentucky, where we used the same tire combination we’ll have here at Texas on Sunday, Blaney had the best Green Flag Speed in both races. All he needs is some good fortune for track position and he will have a dominating race on this track type.
Kurt Busch ($7,900) – As I mentioned before, I include Kurt Busch in my “not super likely to dominate this week but there’s a possibility.” Kurt is averaging the 6th-most fastest laps on low wear 1.5-mile tracks this season (14.3 per race) and when you look at the last six Texas races specifically, he ranks 5th-best with 18.3 fastest laps per race. With that type of consistency, all that needs to happen for Kurt Busch to have a really good DraftKings day on Sunday is for him to get out front and lead a portion of this race, and then finish top 5. He starts 3rd so it’s not like it would be surprising, and it’s worth noting he’s never finished worse than 10th here at Texas since the repave.
Ty Dillon ($6,700) – I’ll say this: DraftKings made it kind of difficult this week with the driver pricing, as I could make a case against everyone priced under $6,500. But in addition to Austin Dillon ($6,900), I don’t mind his brother Ty Dillon either, and I could honestly see stacking them in some races. Ty has never finished worse than 24th here at Texas and he has three teens finished in his six Cup Series starts on this new surface. He also has an average finish of 22.7 on the low wear 1.5-mile tracks this season, including a 16th at Kentucky one week ago. Ty starts back in 30th while Austin starts back in 21st.
Texas DraftKings Projections
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems. Also included are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||Starting Position||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Proj Fastest Laps||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||10||$10,400||72.8||02.8||39||28||$143|
|John H. Nemechek||28||$6,000||24.3||24.6||0||3||$247|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||13||$7,200||21.3||18.6||0||3||$338|