Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. for winning the race at Martinsville this past weekend and becoming the first driver to be qualified for the championship race. He won in dominating fashion leading 464 of the 500 laps run in that race and now he can relax a bit over the next two weeks if he wants to. Chase Elliott on the other hand had major mechanical issues and now finds himself in almost a must win situation over the next two weeks if he wants to make the championship race himself.
AAA TEXAS 500
This week the series heads to the Texas Motor Speedway for the running of the AAA Texas 500. This is another of the intermediate tracks and will be the most similar track to Homestead where the final race of the year will be run. That means this could be a real test for the drivers who are going to be heading to Homestead with a shot to win a championship and now Martin can do some serious testing this week while the others are still in a battle to make that race in contention yet.
Kevin Harvick: I’m picking Kevin to win this race and get himself qualified for the championship race without having to worry about winning at Phoenix. He has six top three finishes in his last ten starts including two wins and three runner-up finishes. He came on strong late in the year on this type of track and won this race the past two seasons. He would like nothing more than to make it three in a row and take the pressure off of himself until the final race of the season.
Erik Jones: Erik has struggled a bit since the playoffs started, but he has finished fourth here in each of his last three starts. This team is working on getting ready for next season and this is one of those tracks where he can gain a little confidence and feel good about himself and his team heading into the off season. I look for him to have a good run this weekend.
Joey Logano: We saw how dominant Joey was at Michigan earlier this year and even though that is a 2-mile track and this is a mile and a half he usually runs well here. In face he has finished in the top three at Texas in four of his last seven starts and that should give this team a lot of confidence heading into this weekend. If another playoff driver wins this week that will mean only one or two of the eight drivers would make the championship race on points and no one wants to go to Phoenix wondering if they need to win.
Chase Elliott: As I mentioned earlier, Chase had a major mechanical failure at Martinsville and now finds himself in an almost must win situation in the next two races. The good news is that in seven career starts at Texas Chase has never finished worse than thirteenth. The bad news is that his best finish has been a fourth place finish. He will need to run well and gain as many points as he can during each of the stages to try and get himself closer if he can’t come away with the win this weekend.
William Byron: William had a great run at Martinsville last weekend coming away with a second place finish. Also on his side this weekend is the fact that he has only run three races at Texas and finished in the top ten in two of them. He finished sixth here in March and lead fifteen laps in that race. I think this teams confidence is going to be sky high this week and we know that Chad Knaus can set up the car to win here.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan also had a great run at Martinsville last weekend and he finished second in this race last season. He knows he might need to win a race to make the championship and we have seen how fast the Penske teams have been all season. I think Ryan just needs to be a little patient early in the race this week and keep relaying good information to his crew chief to get the car handling to his liking late in the race and then go for broke.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top five here in six of his last ten starts including two wins. This team has struggled quite a bit in terms of how they are used to running over the past few months and they can’t afford to have any type of trouble in the pits or on the track. Aric Almirola said he was going to make life difficult for Kyle on the track for the rest of the season and that might come into play here.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is still looking for his first Texas win in his career, but he has finished in the top ten here in seven of his last nine races.That includes a second place finish in this race two years ago. This team looks like they will be the odds on favorite to win the championship right now no matter who else qualifies. They have been great on the track and in the pits throughout the playoffs and that momentum should keep carrying them.
Denny Hamlin: Denny won the race here in March and is a bit disappointed to say the least in his finishing position at Martinsville in a race he thinks he should have won. Add to that the fact that he isn’t real happy with the Penske drivers and they are not real happy with him right now might make for some more excitement on the track this week. I think tempers are going to be short all around over the next three weeks.
Kurt Busch: Kurt is on a streak of five straight top ten finishes at Texas. I’m not real confident in him on the intermediate tracks right now and will be saving my final start for his for the Phoenix race. If you have more than one start left with him you should put him on your roster this week and see how he does in practice and qualifying and then decide if you want to take a chance on him this week.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
Driver Group Game Group B
- Ryan Blaney
- Erik Jones
- William Byron
- Aric Almirola
Driver Group Game Group C
- Chris Buescher
- Daniel Hemric
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
- Denny Hamlin
- Ryan Blaney
- Martin Truex Jr.
Dark Horse: William Byron
Stay Away From: Ryan Newman
Big 18: William Byron