We continue on in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season with the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. This will be a 500 mile race, which equates to 334 laps around this 1.5-mile track. Texas is a “low-wear” 1.5-mile venue and was repaved before the 2017 events were ran here, so we have eight races of relevant data to look at. NASCAR is using the 550hp package this weekend, which gives us ten races to look at this year that were ran with that package. When you throw it all together, it’s very clear who should be fast in Texas on Sunday.

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Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections

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

  • Kyle Larson
  • Ryan Blaney
  • William Byron
  • Kurt Busch
  • Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Confidence Rating = 7.6/10. This is a pretty solid lineup, as Larson/Blaney/Byron all have solid top 5 potential while Kurt Busch could sneak in a top 10 and Stenhouse could run top 15. The biggest weakness here is if Kyle Larson doesn’t lead the most laps and/or doesn’t win the race. But if things go as expected, this is a really solid lineup. You could also switch out Kurt Busch for Kevin Harvick if you’d like.

FanDuel “Safe” DFS Picks for Texas (Cash Lineups)

William Byron leading with his #24 Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

William Byron ($9,800) – It’s always a good day when you can get a potential top 5 finisher on FanDuel with a salary of less than $10,000. William Byron has been one of the best cars on the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this season as well as in the 550hp package overall, he just sometimes has difficulty finishing the races out. Still, Willy B has finished in the single digits in three of the four “low-wear” 1.5-mile races this season and 9th or better in seven of the ten 550hp events (with four top 5s). Byron’s career best finish here at Texas Motor Speedway is 6th but that could change on Sunday.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($5,700) – FanDuel… what is this pricing? Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. starts back in 27th but should easily be a top 20, if not a top 15 car on Sunday afternoon. Stenhouse has finished 16th or better in five of the eight Texas races since the repave happened pre-2017, and in the 550hp package this season, he’s 7-for-10 when it comes to finishing in the top 15. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the #47 Chevrolet ends up in the wall on Sunday, but as long as that doesn’t happen, Stenhouse is a great pick.

FanDuel “Risky” DFS Picks for Texas (Tournament Lineups)

Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon racing at Michigan International Speedway 2020
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Ryan Blaney ($11,000) – The bulk of the laps led this weekend should go to “The Big Three” of this track type and package: Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Busch. But let’s not count out Ryan Blaney, who will start from 4th on Sunday. Team Penske always seems to turn things up a notch when the postseason comes around, and this year is no exception, as all three drivers have made it into the Round of 8. Looking specifically at Blaney, he’s finished 6th or better in seven of the ten 550hp package races this year, and that includes a win at Michigan, where the teams ran this exact tire combination. They also ran this tire combination in both Las Vegas races, where Blaney finished 5th in each. Here at Texas, Blaney has finished 8th or better in six of the last seven races, and he’s led 403 total laps over the eight races ran here since the repave before the 2017 event.

Austin Dillon ($8,500) – Austin Dillon is popping in my FanDuel projections this week, and probably for good reason: he’s finished 14th or better in six of the last seven races at Texas Motor Speedway and even has a win on his resume thanks to some strategy in the summer race last season. Looking at the 550hp package races this year, Dillon has posted three top 10s and has just two results worse than 13th over that ten-race data set. I don’t mind rolling the dice with his teammate, Tyler Reddick ($8,200), either, who starts a little further up this weekend but has higher finishing upside than AD. Both have similar speed on similar tracks this year.

FanDuel Driver Projections for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas

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 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.

DriverFanDuel SalaryAvg Proj PtsStarting PositionCeiling Proj PtsDollar Per Pt
Kyle Larson$14,50082.95192.20$175
Denny Hamlin$13,50078.25287.50$173
Kyle Busch$13,00076.33388.00$170
Ryan Blaney$11,00071.90481.90$153
Martin Truex Jr.$11,50071.82884.90$160
William Byron$9,80070.651277.40$139
Kevin Harvick$10,00069.902476.40$143
Chase Elliott$12,50069.25674.70$181
Kurt Busch$8,70067.801776.30$128
Brad Keselowski$9,50067.05773.80$142
Austin Dillon$8,50066.651572.10$128
Alex Bowman$9,20065.601475.10$140
Tyler Reddick$8,20063.65973.90$129
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$5,70062.552765.40$91
Matt DiBenedetto$7,50062.401371.90$120
Joey Logano$10,50060.95572.40$172
Christopher Bell$9,00059.401168.70$152
Ross Chastain$7,70058.052565.90$133
Chase Briscoe$6,70057.052664.90$117
Ryan Newman$5,50056.453159.90$97
Bubba Wallace$7,00054.801863.90$128
Chris Buescher$7,30054.301064.40$134
Daniel Suarez$6,50052.301956.90$124
Michael McDowell$5,00051.801659.90$97
Erik Jones$6,00051.202156.40$117
Aric Almirola$8,00050.452253.90$159
Anthony Alfredo$4,00048.852850.90$82
Ryan Preece$5,20048.702358.90$107
Corey LaJoie$4,50046.252949.90$97
Cole Custer$6,20045.102051.40$137
Justin Haley$4,00043.403246.90$92
B.J. McLeod$2,00042.903546.90$47
Cody Ware$3,00042.153443.40$71
Joey Gase$2,00040.803746.40$49
Garrett Smithley$2,00040.303642.90$50
Josh Bilicki$2,50037.203341.40$67
Quin Houff$3,50036.803039.90$95
Timmy Hill$2,00036.503939.90$55
David Starr$2,00034.503837.90$58
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.