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Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
Chris Durell will be bringing you his weekly race breakdown, top trends, and pre-qualifying targets to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. You can also grab a copy of his free DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet that includes a ton of stats and a customizable model.
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O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
Texas Motor Speedway - Fort Worth, TX
Track - 1.5 Mile Quad-Oval Intermediate
20° of Banking in Turns 1 & 2
24° of Banking in Turn 3 & 4
This week the Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Sunday afternoon. Like the Fontana and Las Vegas races, the Cup Series will be back to the full rules package this weekend with the tapered spacer, 550 HP setup, air ducts at the front of the car, and the high downforce rear spoiler.
If you remember those two other races, qualifying was a bit of a sh*t show with drafting playing such a huge role with this package. No one wanted to be first off pit road and in the final round at Fontana none of the 12 cars made a lap which led to a ton of boos from fans. Because of this, NASCAR has made a change where cars who leave the staging area(pit stall) they must proceed right to the track and cars not making a time will now start from the rear, not just 12th(final round) or 24th(second round). From a fantasy perspective, this really doesn't have much impact as we are still going to see some fast cars starting further back due to drafting or lack thereof.
With all the talk about it being hard to pass the front cars, it puts more emphasis on getting a dominator into our lineups. Looking at the other two races that have used this package, Kyle Busch led 134 laps in Fontana and Joey Logano(86) and Kevin Harvick(88) both led 80+ laps in Las Vegas. Looking at the just Texas track history, there has been at least one driver to lead 100+ laps in six straight races. There has also been three drivers in each of the last three races to all lead 50+ laps. The tough part is predicting those dominators with all the drafting in practice. I tend to lean much more on 10-lap averages over one lap speed which can be more deceiving. Be sure to check the updates on my cheatsheet as each session completes. Below is the weekend schedule:
- Practice #1 - Friday @ 3:05 pm ET
- Qualifying - Friday @ 7:40 pm ET
- Practice #2 - Saturday @ 9:05 am ET
- Practice #3 - Saturday @ 11:30 am ET
- Race - Sunday @ 3:00 pm ET
Last Six Winners at Texas
- Kevin Harvick(started 3rd, led 177 laps)
- Kyle Busch(started 8th, led 116 laps)
- Kevin Harvick(started 3rd, led 38 laps)
- Jimmie Johnson(started 24th, led 18 laps)
- Carl Edwards(started 9th, led 36 laps)
- Kyle Busch(started 15th, led 34 laps)
Track History at Texas
Is Texas the track Kevin Harvick gets his first win in 2019? The odds definitely favor him and the #4 team who have dominated here at Texas with wins in two of the last three races and Top 10 finishes in nine straight with seven Top 5's and 487 laps led.
Kyle Busch won this race last year but has been very up and down lately as that win was his only Top 10 in the last two years(four races). Don't overlook him, however, as before that he had tallied five straight Top 5's with another win in there.
Looking at just the last two years, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano are the only other drivers not named Harvick to finished each of the last four races inside the Top 10. Logano has been the better of the two as he has Top 10's in six straight and 10 of his last 12 trips to Texas.
Ryan Blaney had three straight 12th place finishes or better here to close out his time with the Wood Brothers and then jumped into the #12 for Team Penske last season and recorded a Top 5 in both races here at Texas. That is a 7.4 average finish with 188 laps led in that time.
While he has yet to win here, Erik Jones joins Blaney and Harvick as one of three to finish both races inside the Top 5 last season. For his career now, he has finished 12th or better in four of five races for a 10.4 average finish.
One name that stands out in the punt/value range this week is Ty Dillon who finished 22nd(started 24th) and 13th(started 23rd) here last year and has finished inside the Top 25 in all five races in his young career.
Track Type History(Intermediate Tracks)
Let's start with mile and a half performance from this season, with the new package, which so far includes Atlanta and Las Vegas. Brad Keselowski stands out above the rest as he won Atlanta and was runner-up at Las Vegas. Since the start of 2017, he has four wins on mile and a half tracks and the fourth-best average finish(9.7) in that time.
Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick join Keselowski as the only other two drivers finish Top 5 in both of those races. Harvick has the edge over the last couple of seasons with four straight Top 5's and 17 in the last 26 races.
Joey Logano struggled at Atlanta finishing 23rd but rebounded at Las Vegas winning the race and leading 86 laps. It also happened to be the first race with the complete new rules package.
The only other drivers with Top 10's at both Atlanta and Las Vegas this season are Kyle Busch(6th, 3rd), Martin Truex Jr.(2nd, 8th), and Aric Almirola(8th, 7th). Since the beginning of 2017, no one has been as good as Truex who has eight wins, 19 Top 5's and 24 Top 20's in those 26 races.
From a value standpoint, Chris Buescher has crushed this season with a 9th at Atlanta and 18th at Las Vegas after starting 30th and 27th respectively.
It is currently a three-team race at the top as Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, and Stewart Haas Racing make up the Top 8 in the point standings through six races. Kyle Busch leads the way with two wins and is the only driver with five Top 5's and a Top 10 in every race of the season. Brad Keselowski is not far behind as he has also won two races and is second with four Top 5's. After his dominating performance last week, he also now leads the series with 538 laps led. His teammate Joey Logano actually leads him in points despite having one less win but has picked up more stage points. Teammates Kevin Harvick and have yet to win a race but each have finished Top 10 in five of the six races. Kyle Busch's teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are the only other two drivers with five Top 10's on the season.
Pre Qualifying/Practice Targets
Team Penske has been dominant so far this year and this week I am looking at Joey Logano as the leader of the team. Not only has he won with this new package on a mile and a half track this season but he also returns to Texas with Top 7 finishes in six straight and 10 of his last 12 races here including a win back in 2014.
I refuse to fade Busch during this stretch in which he has finished 6th or better in eight straight races dating back to his win at ISM Raceway back in November. This hasn't been his best track as he has been very up and down but won this race last year, leading 116 laps, which was his third career win here.
In the mid-tier, I am looking at Erik Jones who impressed here a year ago with 4th place finishes in both race. I like his chances for at least another Top 10 here at Texas this week.
Buescher has been an excellent value play so far in 2019. Since crashing out in 37th at the Daytona 500, he has finished 21st or better in five straight races with one Top 10. That Top 10 came at another mile and half track in Atlanta and he also finished 18th at Las Vegas. Looking at his Texas history, he has finished Top 25 in five straight races here.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for five years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.