Everything is bigger in Texas, including the race this weekend, as the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 kicks off the third round of the Playoffs. With 500 miles scheduled around this 1.5-mile track, that means we’re looking at a long race (334 laps), as most events at this track length are only 400 miles (except for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, of course). Kyle Larson is on the pole for Sunday’s race, and for the full starting lineup you can click here. My FanDuel article for this weekend’s race can be viewed by clicking here, and since there’s so much crossover between these two DFS sites, I always recommend checking that out. Now let’s goooo!!!!

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Also, be sure to check out the Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for this race by clicking here!

Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages

Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott racing side by side at Homestead-Miami Speedway 2021
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Just like at Las Vegas a few weeks ago, we’re focusing on “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this weekend. For this season, that means we’re looking back at both Vegas races, the Kansas race, and the Charlotte race. You can also look into data from the All Star Race here at Texas if you’d like. Included in the data tables below is also the 2020 data from “low wear” 1.5-mile tracks. Also included is the data from this year under the 550hp package, as we’re back to running that this weekend. Statistics included in the tables below are:

  • Starts
  • Finish
  • ARP = average running position
  • DR = driver rating
  • FL = fastest laps (total)
  • LL = laps led (total)
  • T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
  • Total Laps = laps completed (total)

2021 Driver Averages At “Low Wear” 1.5-Mile Tracks

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Busch402.506.2113.8982311241201
Chase Elliott405.507.1108.3914510801201
Brad Keselowski405.808.8104.36210910091201
Denny Hamlin406.006.7114.47119410891201
Kyle Larson407.803.4133.123665711561201
William Byron409.807.2106.91205110371200
Austin Dillon410.312.086.73089391200
Kevin Harvick410.309.993.43009691200
Tyler Reddick411.010.890.556189471200
Ryan Blaney411.010.398.954119681201
Martin Truex Jr411.310.392.413710201192
Matt DiBenedetto412.514.581.2726711198
Joey Logano413.513.180.7678171199
Chris Buescher413.817.773.214134051199
Daniel Suarez416.820.366.19122951196
Michael McDowell417.820.660.2591201197
Alex Bowman418.012.583.42858071197
Ricky Stenhouse Jr418.516.371.012235331191
Erik Jones419.319.267.12603791196
Chase Briscoe419.522.359.7201591196
Kurt Busch420.015.971.060596939
Ryan Newman420.321.861.61301561195
Christopher Bell420.816.176.93336481194
Bubba Wallace421.020.066.81304841194
Ross Chastain424.324.360.81601731157
Cole Custer424.824.948.920451194
Anthony Alfredo424.824.150.724781194
Ryan Preece425.324.251.6401041187
Aric Almirola427.023.953.200681105
Corey LaJoie428.325.646.810311115
Justin Haley429.830.139.900131180
BJ McLeod431.331.936.00031166
Cody Ware432.332.435.40041165
Garrett Smithley433.333.832.90001159
Quin Houff434.034.030.70001156
Josh Bilicki436.336.227.20001136

2021 Driver Averages w/ 550hp Package

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Busch1003.707.1112.919718722642523
Kyle Larson1006.904.7122.8406101623332523
Denny Hamlin1007.507.6108.311824521902523
William Byron1008.507.6107.721120821942521
Ryan Blaney1009.110.399.31044420402522
Kevin Harvick1009.312.190.765018082522
Brad Keselowski1009.910.798.012319319542519
Martin Truex Jr1009.910.193.7806321242514
Alex Bowman1011.210.494.1793919482519
Tyler Reddick1012.713.585.5741817062518
Chase Elliott1012.810.595.712213019842417
Austin Dillon1014.113.083.3521018482442
Chris Buescher1015.116.274.6717610482521
Matt DiBenedetto1015.414.278.424314992518
Kurt Busch1015.812.189.712615815912049
Joey Logano1016.312.882.9433718202507
Bubba Wallace1017.418.270.82359972515
Michael McDowell1017.919.564.520214622514
Daniel Suarez1018.520.563.918146842500
Chase Briscoe1019.022.159.3703242516
Christopher Bell1019.416.474.651911712509
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1020.117.967.9182310132402
Ryan Newman1021.220.163.53407302479
Erik Jones1022.321.958.43104202509
Ryan Preece1022.423.754.71812232505
Aric Almirola1023.021.161.2683562421
Cole Custer1024.222.151.8312702397
Ross Chastain1024.322.062.019105082428
Anthony Alfredo1027.026.445.534952482
Justin Haley928.429.440.890382350
Corey LaJoie928.826.246.7300432107
Cody Ware1030.531.636.710222463
BJ McLeod1031.032.235.300102457
James Davison532.032.534.600181032
Garrett Smithley932.433.132.60092121
Quin Houff1033.333.630.90022437
Josh Bilicki1034.935.727.70002383

2020 Driver Averages At “Low Wear” 1.5-Mile Tracks

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Brad Keselowski906.410.297.311010820252617
Kevin Harvick907.209.2106.918632821412616
Ryan Blaney907.706.2114.223622524332616
Kyle Larson109.009.995.950249267
Martin Truex Jr909.408.3105.920825721702603
Kyle Busch910.810.996.112717220122616
Joey Logano911.008.8105.66821921332526
Kurt Busch911.811.991.4778520402546
Denny Hamlin912.115.190.214424715342609
Matt DiBenedetto912.612.588.2224018242525
Austin Dillon913.612.884.6202318922594
Chase Elliott913.908.8103.622625720952615
Alex Bowman914.908.7100.217826922072600
Aric Almirola914.914.784.69016414752615
Cole Custer915.718.872.02158372502
Erik Jones915.914.580.463914512615
Tyler Reddick916.015.575.843514602505
Christopher Bell916.917.872.24259392601
William Byron917.712.685.5865718342534
Ryan Newman819.920.562.01114712328
Chris Buescher920.321.165.122105372507
Ricky Stenhouse Jr921.120.668.120315812289
Corey LaJoie922.124.852.0811622607
Michael McDowell922.323.755.2512542591
Ty Dillon922.624.753.7301552537
Ross Chastain224.520.164.280149668
Daniel Suarez926.328.744.440202590
Bubba Wallace927.123.955.1402901957
Ryan Preece929.124.252.811852252
Josh Bilicki732.034.433.09031842
James Davison132.034.534.2000258
Quin Houff932.633.934.12012496
Joey Gase934.636.128.84012145
BJ McLeod435.034.730.7108980
Timmy Hill935.335.529.414052051

DraftKings Strategy & Dominators for Texas

  • With Texas Vegas Motor Speedway being a 1.5-mile track, and this race being 500 miles, we’re looking at 334 laps for Sunday night’s race. We should see a couple of dominators, and maybe even three depending on how it all turns out. Or, Kyle Larson could dominate the whole thing like he did at Charlotte this year. Still, I think your best bet this weekend is to go with a two-dominator build.
  • Expect a lot of green flag racing this weekend. I’m estimating 305 of the 334 laps will be ran under green, which means 137.25 DraftKings FPTS for fastest laps. For laps led this week, the math on 334 laps is 83.5 DraftKings FPTS.
  • NASCAR is running the 550hp package this weekend. Other tracks where this package has been ran this season are: Homestead, both Las Vegas races, both Atlanta races, Kansas, Charlotte, both Pocono races, and Michigan.
  • Comparable tracks ran at this season would be the Charlotte, Kansas, and Las Vegas. The tire combination Goodyear is bringing this weekend is the same from the Las Vegas and Michigan races, and they’re using the same right side from Kansas. Charlotte, Kansas, and Las Vegas are the three “low wear” 1.5-mile tracks raced at this year, and if you go back to the 2020 season, you also have to throw in Texas (obviously).

Dominators

These are the potential dominators for this weekend’s race at Texas, and are listed in the order of likelihood according to my projections:

  • Kyle Larson
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Kyle Busch
  • Ryan Blaney
  • William Byron
  • Chase Elliott
  • Martin Truex, Jr.

Some “surprise” dominators that could happen on Sunday night include: Brad Keselowski, Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, and Alex Bowman.

Driver-by-Driver Breakdown Video

Now for the video breakdown! Be sure to go here and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t already.

Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections

The optimal DraftKings lineup for Texas on Sunday according to my Projections is:

  • Kyle Larson
  • Denny Hamlin
  • Kyle Busch
  • Austin Dillon
  • Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
  • BJ McLeod

Confidence Rating = 6.8/10. It’s hard to be super confident with a punt like BJ McLeod in your lineup, but if you watch the breakdown video this week (above), it could end up making sense. The issue with this lineup is that you’re really needing Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch to all run top 3, and all pick up some dominator points. Is it possible? Absolutely. This is definitely a risky build, though…

GPP / Tournament Picks

Ryan Blaney #12 Bodyarmor Ford at Atlanta 2021
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

First and foremost, I like being underweight on Kevin Harvick ($10,900) and Ross Chastain ($8,900) this weekend. Honestly, I doubt either of those two make it into my high-dollar DraftKings lineups this weekend. A 6th-place finish out of Harvick gets him 56 DraftKings FPTS, and has barely any dominator potential. Meanwhile, a guy like Kyle Busch ($9,800) can outscore Harvick with a 3rd-place finish, 25 laps led, and 20 fastest laps. I hate over-paying for purely place differential in DraftKings outside of superspeedways and road courses. As far as Chastain goes, he’s just been awful in this package and on “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this year.

Ryan Blaney ($9,500) – I’m a little concerned that too many people are talking about Ryan Blaney this weekend and that could shoot his ownership up, but at the same time, he’s a pretty solid play. Since Texas Motor Speedway was repaved before the 2017 season, Blaney has led 40+ laps in four of the eight races here, and a total of 403 over those races (an average of 50.4 per race). Looking at other tracks where this tire has been used this season, Blaney won at Michigan and finished 5th in both Las Vegas races. He’s also put up 10+ fastest laps in all four “low-wear” 1.5-mile races this season. Blaney is a legitimate top 5 threat on Sunday, and if he can get up there and lead, he’ll make a great pivot off of the Hamlin/Kyle Busch chalk.

Austin Dillon ($7,500) – In addition to getting a surprise strategy win here at Texas last year, Austin Dillon has just been solid at this race track over the years, with finishes of 14th or better in six of the last seven races here. Over the last five, he’s finished 11th or better in three of them. This year on the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks, AD came home 12th and 13th in the two Vegas races while finishing 6th at Charlotte and 10th at Kansas. A mid-$7,000 DraftKings driver has top 10 upside, and a little bit of place differential, too, as Austin starts 15th on Sunday. That’s a great value.

Bubba Wallace ($6,400) – Joe Gibbs Racing has a little bit of an advantage here at Texas Motor Speedway, and even though Bubba Wallace is a bit of a risky play starting 18th, he does have mid-teens finishing potential (or better). Bubba ran 16th in the Las Vegas Playoff race a few weeks back and also came home 14th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte this year. Additionally, he’s finished 16th or better in six of the ten 550hp package races this year, with only three results outside of the top 20. With Richard Petty Motorsports, Bubba had some decent runs here at Texas, including an 8th back in 2018 and a 14th in the summer race here last season.

Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc

Cash Core Drivers

Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, waits on the grid prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Verizon 200 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 15, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Kyle Larson ($10,500) – If you have an argument against playing Kyle Larson this weekend, I’d love to hear it. “Yung Money” has had 43+ fastest laps in every single “low-wear” 1.5-mile race this season and has led 95+ laps in all four of them as well. He is at or near the top in every significant statistical category for both 1.5-mile tracks and in the 550hp package this season, plus he starts on the pole. Sometimes this #5 Chevrolet isn’t great to start off a race, but with Sunday’s event being 500 miles, that kind of helps Larson if that happens, because this team is masterful at making the car faster throughout the race. I’ll go 100% Larson on Sunday and not think twice about it.

Kyle Busch ($9,800) – It’s a tossup for me on Denny Hamlin ($9,900) and Kyle Busch in this second spot. I’m going to recommend Kyle Busch simply because he comes at a $100 discount and also starts one spot further back, but both of these drivers have similar upside and should both contend for the win. Looking at the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this year, Busch has an average finish of 2.5 and has posted 22+fastest laps in three of the four races despite only leading a total of 23 laps. In other words, Rowdy is fast even when he’s not out front, and that’s what you like to see. In the ten races with the 550hp package this season, Busch has another ridiculous average finish (3.7) and has the 3rd-most dominator points behind Larson and Byron.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,200) – There’s always a tiny bit of risk when you roll with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. since he sometimes wrecks out, but we don’t see many cars have issues at Texas Motor Speedway, so I’m not overly worried about that happening on Sunday. On the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this season, Stenhouse has finished 17th, 11th, 12th, and 34th, and in the 550hp package race he’s came home 15th or better in six of the ten races (and also has a 17th to his credit as well). Ricky starts 27th here at Texas on Sunday and should be a strong DraftKings play.

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas DraftKings Driver 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 factored in 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.

NOTE: If you’re using my projections this week in an optimizer, I’d recommend making a rule of only using two of Larson/Hamlin/Kyle Busch. It’s worth having some lineups with all three, but for the most part, I’d do a rule with just two of them. The optimizer will try to force all three in to most lineups if you don’t.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSProj OwnershipStarting PositionCeiling Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Kyle Larson$10,50088.4342.26%1124.1002.5$119
Kyle Busch$9,80070.8334.45%3100.5003.3$138
Denny Hamlin$9,90070.4535.28%299.9503.2$141
William Byron$9,60054.5322.62%1270.8507.2$176
Ryan Blaney$9,50054.5019.96%467.0005.3$174
Martin Truex Jr$10,30053.1015.43%878.4505.5$194
Kevin Harvick$10,90048.7523.03%2459.7511.0$224
Chase Elliott$10,10048.6822.12%659.7006.8$207
Brad Keselowski$8,50044.9317.22%758.0508.5$189
Kurt Busch$8,70044.5219.30%1761.3510.7$195
Austin Dillon$7,50040.9018.76%1551.2510.5$183
Tyler Reddick$7,70040.5515.52%955.6010.5$190
Alex Bowman$9,30040.5024.36%1457.7510.7$230
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$7,20037.4030.25%2743.6016.8$193
Ross Chastain$8,90031.8024.55%2541.8019.2$280
Joey Logano$9,10031.7014.48%551.9010.8$287
Matt DiBenedetto$7,40031.5714.28%1346.8012.3$234
Christopher Bell$8,30031.1018.62%1145.9513.7$267
Ryan Newman$7,00029.1214.96%3134.4522.2$240
Chase Briscoe$7,90028.8311.73%2640.3520.2$274
Bubba Wallace$6,40025.6315.52%1838.1519.0$250
Chris Buescher$6,50023.924.70%1036.7016.7$272
Daniel Suarez$6,90021.4016.71%1926.9021.0$322
Erik Jones$6,60020.8516.69%2127.8022.3$317
Michael McDowell$5,80018.626.17%1629.9020.3$312
Anthony Alfredo$5,60018.4518.68%2820.4526.2$304
Aric Almirola$8,10017.507.48%2222.4523.2$463
Ryan Preece$6,00017.1217.61%2330.9024.7$351
Corey Lajoie$5,70015.4520.16%2919.9028.2$369
BJ McLeod$4,90012.175.24%3517.0032.3$403
Cole Custer$6,20011.2816.24%2019.3526.0$549
Justin Haley$6,80011.003.24%3216.0031.0$618
Cody Ware$4,70009.834.25%3411.0032.5$478
Joey Gase$5,10009.502.55%3716.0034.3$537
Garrett Smithley$4,80008.672.80%3611.0034.3$554
Timmy Hill$5,40004.330.66%3908.0037.7$1,246
Josh Bilicki$5,00003.670.97%3308.0035.3$1,364
David Starr$5,30002.170.68%3805.0038.3$2,446
Quin Houff$4,50001.830.47%3005.0034.7$2,455
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.