…well that happened. The cutoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL did not disappoint one bit, and we’re now down to just eight drivers left to compete for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. The first stop in this third round of the Playoffs will be Texas Motor Speedway for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday afternoon. Last year, this race was the one that was delayed by rain and fog for several days before Kyle Busch (a non-Playoff driver) took the checkered flag in the end. This time around, Rowdy has a lot more to gain by getting another win in Texas, but he should definitely be one of the favorites this weekend.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Tyler Reddick – After his 2nd-place performance at the Charlotte ROVAL last weekend, Tyler Reddick has now finished runner-up three times in his young Cup Series career, including once here at Texas Motor Speedway (in the spring race last season). But that’s not the only reason to be optimistic with Reddick on Sunday; in the 550hp package this year, Tyler has the 10th-best average finish (12.7) and he also ranks 10th-best on the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this year in both average finish (11.0) and average running position (10.8). It’s very possible that we could see another strong run from Reddick on Sunday.

Ross Chastain – Surprised to see Ross Chastain ranked so low by the algorithm this weekend? Well, it shouldn’t be too surprising when you actually dig into the numbers. For whatever reason, Chastain just hasn’t been good in the 550hp package this season, ranking 25th-best in average running position (22.0) and 28th-best in average finish (24.3). Ross has even struggled quite a bit specifically on the “low-wear” 1.5-mile tracks this season, with an average running position and average finish of 24.3, but I will note that he came home 14th at Kansas.


Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

1.Hamlin, Denny37.38
2.Larson, Kyle36.04
3.Busch, Kyle35.90
4.Blaney, Ryan30.77
5.Elliott, Chase30.10
6.Truex, Jr., Martin29.29
7.Byron, William28.73
8.Harvick, Kevin28.48
9.Keselowski, Brad26.17
10.Logano, Joey25.12
11.Dillon, Austin24.31
12.Reddick, Tyler23.85
13.Bowman, Alex20.30
14.Busch, Kurt19.65
15.Bell, Christopher16.81
16.Buescher, Chris12.70
17.DiBenedetto, Matt11.82
18.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky08.36
19.Wallace, Bubba05.02
20.Jones, Erik-06.32
21.Almirola, Aric-10.81
22.Briscoe, Chase-11.15
23.Suarez, Daniel-11.75
24.Chastain, Ross-13.13
25.Newman, Ryan-24.53
26.McDowell, Michael-26.01
27.LaJoie, Corey-26.58
28.Custer, Cole-28.97
29.Preece, Ryan-29.46
30.Alfredo, Anthony-31.80
31.Haley, Justin-36.15
32.Ware, Cody-38.50
33.McLeod, BJ-39.83
34.Gase, Joey-40.66
35.Smithley, Garrett-41.97
36.Houff, Quin-42.45
37.Bilicki, Josh-42.57
38.Hill, Timmy-46.77
39.Starr, David-48.10
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.