The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the 34th race of the 2011 season, AAA Texas 500. Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, November 6, 2011; 3:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Showers with a high around 74; wind out of the NE at 9 mph. There is a 30% chance of precipitation.
The Track: Texas MotorSpeedway
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 Sunday.
Key to Race: ARACE 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 atTexashas 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.
48 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, November 4 at 4:40 pm/et.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth dominated the spring race at Texas this year. On top of the win he has led at least one lap in 12 of the last 16 races at Texas and is our pick to return to victory lane Sunday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won the November 2007 race at Texas and in 14 career starts at the track he has 12 top 10 finishes. As always he is a great pick to find victory lane.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke has 11 top 10 finishes (including a win) in 19 career starts at Texas. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has been great in the past six races at Texas. He is worth using in all leagues this weekend.
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.
6 to 10
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. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been great in eight of the last 12 races in the Lone Star State. His success at the track and this season makes him a top 10 choice.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has finished inside the top six in four of the last eight races at Texas. He is a fine pick.
No. 22 Kurt Busch: Busch has 11 top 10 finishes in 17 career starts at Texas during his career. He is a great second driver on most fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won both races at Texas last year and has finished in the top 10 in all but four of his career starts at Texas. We like his chances 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 seven of the last nine races at Texas, but we doubt he will get his second win at the track this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has finished in the top nine in six of the past 10 races at Texas Motor Speedway. He is a solid pick.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has been fast at Texas in his career. He could crack the top 15 this weekend with a little luck.
No. 5 Mark Martin: Martin has a win and eight top six finishes in his career atTMS. 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 12 starts at Texas. This isn’t a bad weekend to sneak the No. 56 driver onto your team.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann has led 45 laps in the past six 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 atTMSduring his career. We expect he will miss the top 10 this weekend.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: Jamie Mac has six top 10 finishes in 14 career starts at TMS. This is a good weekend to get him active on your roster.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger cracked the top 20 the past three races at Texas. He is a fine sleeper pick.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was great at Texas the past three races. He is a good option.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has had one solid race and three average races at Texas. He should be much better this weekend’s visit to the track.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has averaged just a 19th place finish the past 12 races at Texas. He is just an okay pick.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has just three top 15 finishes at Texas in the past 12 races.
No. 20 Joey Logano: "Sliced Bread" is having a disappointing year. He has just two top 20 finishes in the last nine races.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has never cracked the top 10 just once 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 Sunday.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears drove a decent ride at Texas this spring. There are worse choices.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith hasn’t done much at Texas. He isn’t an option.
No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 51 Landon Casill
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
No. 177 Robby Gordon
No. 32 Mike Bliss
No. 46 Scott Speed
No. 55 J.J. Yeley
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 7 Reed Sorenson
No. 36 Geoff Bodine
No. 35 Dave Blaney
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 95 David Starr
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 277 T.J. Bell
No. 37 TBD
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Tony Stewart
4. Greg Biffle
1. David Ragan
2. Jamie McMurray
Bust of the Week: