Let’s line ’em up and do it again! Last week we raced at Kansas Speedway and this week we’re at Texas Motor Speedway. Both of these tracks are what are considered low-wear 1.5-mile venues, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the same drivers up front for two weeks in a row. Of course, as we’ve seen with almost all of the 1.5-mile tracks this season, it’s all going to be about track position after the final restart. The last time we were here at Texas, Austin Dillon used a strong final restart to get his lone win of the season.
Tire-wise, Goodyear is bringing back the D-4976/D-4986 combination for Sunday’s AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500, which is the same one that was used in the second Las Vegas race this season (the one back in September). This is also the same left side tire that was used in both Michigan races this year, as well as the first Texas race and the Kentucky race. The right side tire is the same one that was used at Kansas last weekend.
Kevin Harvick is on the pole for Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, and if you need to see the full starting lineup, you can do so by clicking here.
Now before we get into this write-up, I want to remind everyone that @RotoDoc and I will be doing a LIVE STREAM driver-by-driver breakdown on Sunday before the race (at 1:30 pm ET). Make sure you tune in! Click here to tune in.
Speed Report in 2020 After Kansas 2
Joey Logano may have officially got the win at Kansas last weekend, but Kevin Harvick had the best car. Now when looking at Green Flag Speed, Harvick has ranked 1st or 2nd in seven of the last nine non-superspeed and non-road course races. Just ridiculously fast right now.
Over the last six races here are the fastest drivers in terms of Green Flag Speed:
- Kevin Harvick (2.5 average rank)
- Chase Elliott (3.7 average rank)
- Alex Bowman (6.0 average rank)
- Joey Logano (6.8 average rank)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (7.3 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.
One more thing we can look at is which drivers have had the best Green Flag Speed on low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this season. Those that have been the fastest on this track type in 2020 are:
- Ryan Blaney (3.6 average rank)
- Joey Logano (6.3 average rank)
- Chase Elliott (6.6 average rank)
- Kevin Harvick (7.6 average rank)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (9.0 average rank)
Alex Bowman (9.0 average rank)
DraftKings Strategy for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas
This section is going to look extremely similar to last week’s section, and that’s because we’re looking at the same data. Both Kansas and Texas are what we consider low-wear 1.5-mile tracks, so I personally rely heavy on the data from the eight races we have had on that track type this season. With Logano’s win at Kansas, he because our first two-time winner on them this season. Here’s the full list of low-wear 1.5-mile races and the winners:
- Las Vegas in February (won by Joey Logano)
- Charlotte (won by Brad Keselowski) **night race**
- Charlotte 2 (won by Chase Elliott) **night race**
- Kentucky (won by Cole Custer)
- Texas (won by Austin Dillon)
- Kansas (won by Denny Hamlin) **night race**
- Las Vegas in September (won by Kurt Busch) **night race**
- Kansas 2 (won by Joey Logano)
I talked about the tire that Goodyear is bringing this weekend and how it’s the same one from the Las Vegas race in September. While that’s obviously on the table as another low-wear 1.5-mile race to analyze, note that that race was one of the night races this season, and the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas seem to have an advantage under the lights this year. As far as Texas goes, lately it has been the Fords–specifically Stewart-Haas Racing–that have had an advantage.
I have updated the 1.5-mile charts for you summarizing how this season has gone so far. First up is the averages for drivers on low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this season, and the second chart shows the averages for drivers on all 1.5-mile tracks. Both charts are, by default, sorted by average DraftKings points per race, but you can click on the column headers to sort by average finish, average DraftKings dominator points, average starting position, average number of fastest laps, or average laps led.
Driver DraftKings Statistics on Low-Wear 1.5-Mile Tracks in 2020
|Driver||Avg. Finish||Avg. DraftKings Pts||Avg. DK Dominator Pts||Avg. Start||Avg. Fastest Laps||Avg. Laps Led|
|Martin Truex Jr||10.38||49.13||17.75||08.13||22.75||25.50|
|John H. Nemechek||21.00||27.72||01.22||24.50||02.38||00.13|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||22.25||23.16||01.78||21.88||01.63||03.88|
Driver DraftKings Statistics on All 1.5-Mile Tracks in 2020
|Driver||Avg. Finish||Avg. DraftKings Pts||Avg. DK Dominator Pts||Avg. Start||Avg. Fastest Laps||Avg. Laps Led|
|Martin Truex Jr||09.80||51.18||18.58||08.20||23.70||26.90|
|John H. Nemechek||21.00||26.18||00.98||23.20||01.90||00.10|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||21.10||25.08||01.68||21.60||01.80||03.10|
This is a long race on Sunday, so you need to nail the (probable) two dominators, but there may be three if Kevin Harvick doesn’t run away with it. The rest of the lineup is all about place differential and finishing position. There’s a ton of value in that $7,000 – $9,600 range, and the optimal lineup could very well come down to who has all of the pieces right with those guys.
In total, we’re looking at just around 228.5 DraftKings dominator FPTS up for grabs on sunday–83.5 for laps led, and around 145 for fastest laps.
GPP / Tournament Picks I Love for Texas
Chase Elliott ($10,500) – With the Kansas race last weekend, the main reason I bet on Joey Logano to win at 17-to-1 odds was because his Green Flag Speed ranking on low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this season has been 2nd-best in the garage. Same thought process here with Elliott, except Chase is one notch down with the 3rd-best Green Flag Speed average. Additionally, this #9 Chevrolet is currently averaging the most DraftKings dominator FPTS on low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this season. Here at Texas, Chase has struggled recently, with four finishes of 11th or worse in his last five starts. Still, he’s wound up between 4th and 9th in five of his nine career Texas starts, and with how this #9 Chevrolet is running right now, I actually think Chase could contend for the win here on Sunday as well.
Alex Bowman ($9,100) – Last week at Kansas, I wrote up Alex Bowman as a GPP/tournament play and he ended up with a 3rd-place finish with 54 DraftKings FPTS scored. Unfortunately DraftKings bumped up his salary a bit this weekend at Texas, but I still love the play here. Earlier this year, this #88 team had some major issues with fading in the second half of races, but they seem to have gotten over that now that the Playoffs have started; over the last nine Cup Series races overall, Bowman has finished 9th or better seven times, including top 5 results in each of the last two 1.5-mile races. Here at Texas, AB’s record is awful–he has an average finish of 25.6–but don’t forget he started and finished 5th in this race one year ago. This is a 334-lap race we have on Sunday, which means there’s time for Bowman to get to the front. If he can do that and lead for a while, that $9,100 price tag will be well worth it.
Michael McDowell ($6,100) – I really like both Front Row Motorsports Fords this weekend, but since my projections have John Hunter Nemechek ($6,300) as scoring more FPTS, I’ll use this section to talk about Michael McDowell. On the low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this season, McDowell has actually been a nice sleeper; in the eight races, he’s finished between 15th and 19th in four of them, with the other races all ending with him inside the top 25 except for one. And here at Texas, McDowell has finished top 15 in each of the last three spring races, including a 15th-place finish earlier this year despite starting back in 34th. McDowell starts 23rd so he’ll need a mid-teens finish to end up in the optimal lineup.
BONUS: Corey LaJoie ($5,600) – Hell, I’d even run Corey LaJoie in cash lineups with his price, as he’s a more reliable finisher on the low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this season than Ryan Preece ($5,900). Call it luck or skill, but LaJoie caught a timely caution again at Kansas last weekend and wound up 23rd when the checkered flag flew. He now has an average finish of 21.8 on this track type in 2018 and is averaging 29.9 DraftKings FPTS per race (which is 19th-best in the series). Corey starts 28th here at Texas on Sunday and that’s also the position of his worst finish on low-wear 1.5-milers this season. For what it’s worth, he came home 16th here at Texas last time we ran here.
Cash Core Drivers I Love for Texas
Kevin Harvick ($11,000) – As you can see below, I have Kevin Harvick projected for nearly 100 DraftKings FPTS on Sunday, and I even think that’s a little conservative. Harvick is fresh off of a dominating performance at Kansas, as he posted 85 laps led and 61 fastest laps, giving him 51.75 DraftKings dominator FPTS on the day. For comparison, Joey Logano was 2nd-best in that category with 15.25 FPTS. Now we’re at Texas Motor Speedway, where Kevin Harvick has absolutely dominated the last three fall races, and he’s also starting on the pole. Hit that lock button. There have been many times on 1.5-mile tracks this year that pole sitters have been DraftKings duds, and even Kevin Harvick himself has been one, but it’s going to take a mechanical failure on this #4 Ford for that to happen on Sunday. “The Closer” is pissed off about not winning last week, and Rodney Childers has been masterful with the setup on this car for this race for the last three years. Just to throw some numbers at you, Harvick has averaged–yes, averaged–67.3 fastest laps per race in the last three Texas fall events and averaged 111.3 laps led in those races. He’s won every single one of them as well. As I tweeted out on Monday (see below), I’ll go 100% Harvick in DraftKings this weekend and not blink. That’s how much of a lock I consider him.
Ryan Blaney ($10,000) – There is a ton of potential value in drivers priced under Ryan Blaney this weekend, but with my cash lineup I’m going for consistency–and that is exactly what Young Ryan Blaney has been on the low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this year. In addition to having the best Green Flag Speed on them (by a wide margin), Blaney is also averaging the most DraftKings points per race on them this season and is 2nd-best when it comes to fastest laps. Also, the last time we were here at Texas, Blaney put up a monstrous performance with 86 fastest laps and 150 laps led. I don’t see that domination playing out again here on Sunday but the #12 Ford should be fast enough for at least a top 5 finish and some fastest lap points as well. Blaney starts 10th so he has place differential potential as well.
Ryan Newman ($6,400) – It was kind of a disappointing effort from this #6 team at Kansas last weekend, but once again DraftKings has Ryan Newman priced too low and he’s starting back in 25th so he will be in my cash lineup for sure. Overall, Newman has been decent on the low-wear 1.5-mile tracks this season. finishing between 13th and 17th in four of his seven starts. Here at Texas, “The Rocketman” has finished between 11th and 18th in each of his last four starts. As long as he doesn’t pull a Matt Kenseth from Kansas and wreck out of this race, Newman is a very safe cash play option.
Texas AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500 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 six 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||6||$10,200||58.5||05.7||30||22||$174|
|John H. Nemechek||24||$6,300||30.0||20.5||0||5||$210|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||22||$6,900||27.8||21.0||0||3||$248|