The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the seventh race of the 2011 season, the Samsung Mobile 500. Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Saturday.When:
Saturday, April 9, 2011; 7:45 p.m./et.Weather:
Isolated thunderstorms with a high around 86; wind out of the SW at 17 mph. There is a 30% chance of precipitation.The Track:
Texas Motor Speedway
Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 quad-oval. It has intermediate 24 degree banking on the turns. Roush-Fenway cars dominate 1.5 mile tracks and they will be tough to beat on Saturday.Key to Race:
A RACE FOR THE BIG BOYS
Anytime the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits a 1.5 mile track Roush-Fenway Racing is expected to be fast. The lack of success the Roush Boys have on short-tracks is the exact opposite to the continued success they show on the 1.5 mile tracks. The surface at Texas has great grip and thus cars can run wide-open the entire way around. The multi-car teams like Roush-Fenway and Hendrick Motorsports have a huge advantage in the funding of their engine programs. If a Roush-Fenway car doesn't find victory lane a Hendrick car likely will.Qualifying Procedures:
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the final 2011 owners points will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 are determined during qualifying on Friday, April 8 at 6:40 pm/et.Fantasy Cheat Sheet:Top 5
No. 11 Denny Hamlin
: Hamlin won both races at Texas and has finished in the top 10 in all but three of his career starts at Texas. We like his chances this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth
: Kenseth has led at least one lap in 11 of the last 15 races at Texas. He could return to victory lane on Saturday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
: Johnson won the November 2007 race at Texas and in 14 career starts at the track he has 11 top 10 finishes. As always he is a great pick to find victory lane.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon
: Gordon dominated Texas by leading the most laps the past two April races. He will be fast in the Lone Star State again.
No. 18 Kyle Busch
: Rowdy has finished inside the top six in four of the last seven races at Texas. He is a fine pick.6 to 10
No. 14 Tony Stewart
: Smoke has 11 top 10 finishes (including a win) in 18 career starts at Texas. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle
: Biffle has been great in the past five races at Texas. He is worth using in all leagues this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick
: Harvick has been great in eight of the last 11 races in the Lone Star State. His success at the track and this season makes him a top 10 choice.
No. 99 Carl Edwards
: Edwards proved his love for 1.5 mile ovals by sweeping both races at Texas in 2008. He is one of our favorites to take the checkers this weekend.
No. 22 Kurt Busch
: Busch has 10 top 10 finishes in 16 career starts at Texas during his career. He is a great second driver on most fantasy teams this weekend.11 to 20
No. 33 Clint Bowyer
: Texas isn't one of Bowyer's favorite tracks, but he has found some recent success at the track. He should finish just outside the top 10.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
: Junior has led laps in six of the last eight races at Texas, but we doubt he will get his second win at the track this weekend.
No. 5 Mark Martin
: Martin has a win and eight top six finishes in his career at TMS. He will cruise around in the top 15 and could sneak into the top 10 by the time the race is over.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.
: Truex Jr. has finished in the top 15 in eight of his last 11 starts at Texas. This isn't a bad weekend to sneak the No. 56 driver onto your team
No. 31 Jeff Burton
: Burton has finished in the top nine in five of the past nine races at Texas Motor Speedway. He is a solid pick.
No. 00 David Reutimann
: Reutimann has led 45 laps in the past five Texas races. He will bring a fast car to the track once again this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
: Montoya has been hit-or-miss at TMS during his career. We expect he will miss the top 10 this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray
: Jamie Mac has six top 10 finishes in 13 career starts at TMS. This is a good weekend to get him active on your roster.
No. 39 Ryan Newman
: Newman has averaged just a 19th place finish the past 11 races at Texas. He is just an okay pick.
No. 6 David Ragan
: Ragan has been fast at Texas in his career. He could crack the top 20 this weekend with a little luck.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger cracked the top 15 both races at Texas in 2010. He is a fine sleeper pick.21 to 30
No. 4 Kasey Kahne
: Kahne has just three top 15 finishes at Texas in the past 11 races.
No. 27 Paul Menard
: Menard was great at Texas last fall. He is a great option.
No. 20 Joey Logano
: "Sliced Bread" is having a disappointing year. He has just one top 20 finish through six races.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski
: Keselowski has had one solid race and two slow races at Texas. He should crack the top 25 with a little luck.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose
: Ambrose has never cracked the top 10 at this track and isn't anything but a fourth driver in most leagues.
No. 83 Brian Vickers
: Vickers has averaged just a 25th place finish at Texas during his career. He isn't much of an option.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
: Texas native, Labonte looks forward to this race at all season. He could surprise some people with where he finishes on Saturday.
No. 78 Regan Smith
: Smith hasn't done much at Texas. He isn't an option.
No. 13 Casey Mears
: We wish Casey could get back in a good ride. He has decent talent.Field Fillers
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 09 Landon Casill
No. 37 Tony Raines
No. 32 Ken Schrader
No. 46 J.J. Yeley
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 95 David Starr
No. 60 Todd Bodine
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 92 Brian KeselowskiBrownie's PicksTop Four:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Jeff Gordon Sleepers:
1. David Ragan
2. David ReutimannBust of the Week:Ryan Newman