The second race of the Round of 8 brings the Monster Energy Cup Series to Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500 this Sunday afternoon. Texas is a 1.5 mile Quad Oval Intermediate but is a little different from other mile and a half tracks as they made some big changes following the 2016 season. The banking in turns 1 & 2 was dropped from 24 to 20 degrees and the track in those corners was widened from 60 to 80 feet. This not only presents a challenge for drivers but for crew chiefs as well to get a nice balance in the cars for both ends of the track. This will be the fourth race on the new setup so teams should have plenty of notes to help which should make for some excellent racing this week.
For fantasy, we will be concentrating mostly on dominator points with 334 laps in the race. There has been at least one driver to lead 100 or more laps in each of the last six races and multiple drivers to lead 50 or more laps in five of the last six with three in each of the last two. Place differential will also play a factor this week as some big names will not be starting at the front of the field.
In this article, I will be looking at some of the top targets in each price range looking at track history, current form, and of practice and qualifying information. To check out all of this data, be sure to grab a copy of my DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet. You can also jump into the RotoPros Slack Chat if you have any questions. Let's get into the picks.
Top Tier Targets
Kyle Busch(DK - $12,00 FD - $13,000)
Kevin Harvick(DK - $11,700 FD - $13,500)
The key to this week’s race will be to build around Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. They have dominated the mile and a half tracks this season with three wins apiece and have combined for three wins in the last five Texas races. Harvick starts 3rd this week and will have a tremendous shot at getting up front early and leading a ton of laps and although he was 7th and 8th in the final two practices, he posted the fastest 10-lap average in both of those sessions. Busch offers us some place differential upside this week starting 10th and was 2nd and 8th in the final two practices and finished one spot behind Harvick in the 10-lap averages in both. What I will be doing is building a lineup around one driver then duplicating that lineup with the other and doing this multiple times to get as much exposure as possible.
Mid Tier Targets
Aric Almirola(DK - $8,100 FD - $10,200)
Almirola has been extremely consistent throughout the playoffs with a win, four Top 10’s, and the second best average finish(9.3) over the seven races. he had a fast car here in the Spring but ended up crashing out and will be looking for redemption this time around which would be huge in getting him to the final four at Homestead. He qualified on the second row(4th) which doesn’t give him much place differential upside but he has shown a ton of speed ranking 1st and 9th in the final two practices and 6th and 9th in 10-lap averages. At his price, he makes a nice target in all formats.
Daniel Suarez(DK - $7,300 FD - $7,600)
Texas has not been Suarez’s best track in his young career with finishes of 29th, 14th, and 19th but he provides some salary relief on both sites. The #19 car has also produced some nice speed following a 19th qualifying effort ranking 18th and 10th in the final practices while also posting the 8th and 3rd fastest 10-lap averages in those sessions.
Chris Buescher(DK - $6,200 FD - $5,900)
Value plays are always tough to come by at the intermediate tracks but one that stands out this week is Chris Buescher. I would have preferred him qualifying further back in the field(starting 21st) but he returns to Texas with four straight finishes of 22nd or better and finished 14th in both of the final two practices.