I started this blog to provide a casual, recreational level of fantasy NASCAR advice and discussion. I've been playing these contests for a number of years and am annoyed by lineup sellers and groups of players using the same lineup. I'm hoping to give the casual player some help in building solid lineups that can beat that annoying crowd most of the time. I'm not a "tout" and don't do this for a living, so proceed accordingly. I hope you enjoy the discussion here and Good Luck!
We're back racing this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Before we talk Texas, just a few last words about Martinsville.
My lineup cashed because of Clint Bowyer. I took a chance on a minimum salary guy in Landon Cassill because it was really the only way to get Bowyer into the lineup. I won't act like I thought Bowyer was going to dominate the second half of the race, but I did think he had a Top 5 finish in him. If you look back at my notes, I pointed out how he had great long run speed in practice and that he had great finishes at Martinsville in 2017. I hope you were on Bowyer too and cashed in two weeks ago. Now, onto Texas.
We have a traditional weekend schedule this week. Friday has one practice and qualifying, Saturday has two practice sessions and Sunday has the race. Our driver targets may look a whole lot different by Saturday night.
If you're looking for historical success at Texas, remember the track was repaved and reconfigured somewhat between the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The two races in 2017 are the only two races run on the current pavement and layout.
Here are the drivers I'm targeting going into the weekend:
Martin Truex -- We have noted repeatedly that Truex is The Man at the 1.5 mile tracks like Texas. He has six consecutive Top 10 finishes at Texas. Last year, he finished 8th in the Spring and 2nd in the Fall. He led 156 of the 668 laps run at Texas last year. He had similar results in 2016 before the repave. That year, he finished 6th in the Spring and 3rd in the Fall and led 207 of the 627 laps run. I fully expect him to lead laps and qualify and finish in the Top 10.
Kevin Harvick -- Last year, Harvick finished 4th in the Spring and won the Fall race at Texas. Altogether, he led 115 of the 668 laps run at Texas in 2017. He has also finished in the Top 10 at seven consecutive Texas races. Finally, he not just won -- but absolutely dominated -- the two races run at 1.5 mile tracks so far this year. At Atlanta, he started 3rd and led 181 laps en route to his victory. At Las Vegas, he started 2nd and led 214 laps. At this point, I'm projecting Truex and Harvick as the two most likely "dominators" for the Texas race.
Joey Logano -- Logano has four consecutive Top 10 finishes at Texas. Last Spring, he started 4th, led 38 laps and finished 3rd. In Fall, he started 36th, led 1 lap and finished 7th. He's been strong on the 1.5 mile tracks so far this year -- finishing 6th at Atlanta and 7th at Las Vegas.
Chase Elliott -- He's due for a break through performance at some point. And Texas is a good track for him. He's run four Cup races at Texas and finished in the Top 10 all four times.
Jimmie Johnson -- Jimmie has won four of the last seven Texas races, including last year's Spring race. But he has not dominated a race at Texas since 2015. Even in last Spring's win, Johnson led only 18 of 334 laps. He's definitely someone to watch, and possibly use in a large tournament, but I'm thinking there will be better plays for cash games in his expected salary range.
Ryan Blaney -- Last Spring, Blaney started 2nd and led 148 laps before fading to a 12th place finish. He later finished 6th in the Fall race. I'm looking for a Top 10 finish from him this weekend and he is a dark horse "dominator" like Bowyer was two weeks ago.
Kyle Larson -- Larson started at the back in the Spring race last year, but rallied for a 2nd place finish. In the Fall, he started 11th and led 74 laps before having an accident and finishing 37th. He carries risk and is probably more of a tournament play, but he too has "dominator" potential at a reduced price from the big guns.
None of the cheaper lower tier drivers has a particularly strong or noteworthy history at Texas. Those low end targets will all depend on qualifying position and Saturday practice showings.
We'll be back with updates as the race weekend starts to unfold on Friday and Saturday. In the meantime, hit us with any questions or comments on Twitter @illinisjc
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My name is Steve and I've won thousands playing NASCAR fantasy racing games. This blog will share my advice for enjoying and winning your fantasy racing games.