The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series speeds-on to Texas Motor Speedway for the seventh race of the 2012 season, 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 14, 2012; 7:46 p.m./et.
Weather: Scattered T-Storms with a high around 78; wind out of the S at 21 mph. There is a 40% 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 Saturday.
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 of 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.
47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots on Friday, April 13 at 6:40pm. If the first practice is run, but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. Previously, the top 35 cars lined up in front of all other eligible car owners.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke dominated the fall race at Texas last year. He is our top pick this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth brought one of the fastest cars to Texas last year. He won the spring race and led 87 laps during the fall. He is one of our top picks to return to victory lane Saturday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won the November 2007 race at Texas and in 15 career starts at the track he has 12 top 10 finishes. As always he is a great pick to find victory lane.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has been great in the past seven 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 again will be fast in the Lone Star State.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been great in nine of the last 13 races in the Lone Star State. He won’t struggle to crack the top 10.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won both races at Texas in 2010 and has finished in the top 10 in all but five of his career starts at Texas. We like his chances this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has finished inside the top six in four of the last nine races at Texas. He is a fine pick.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has led laps in seven of the last 1- races at Texas, but we doubt he will get his second win at the track this weekend. A top 15 finish is expected.
11 to 20
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has had one solid race and four average races at Texas. He should be much better this weekend’s visit to the track.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has just four top 15 finishes at Texas in the past 13 races, but he finished third last fall. He is worth rolling the dice on this weekend.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Texas isn't one of Bowyer's favorite tracks to race at, but he has found some recent success at the track. He should finish just outside the top 10.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has finished in the top nine in six of the past 11 races at Texas Motor Speedway. He is a solid pick.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has finished in the top 15 in nine of his last 13 starts at Texas. This isn’t a bad weekend to sneak the No. 56 driver onto your team.
No. 22 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger cracked the top 20 the past four races at Texas. He is a fine buy-low pick.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: Jamie Mac has six top 10 finishes in 15 career starts at TMS. This is a good weekend to get him active on your roster.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard was great at Texas the past four races. He is a good option.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has averaged just a 19th place finish the past 13 races at Texas. He is just an okay pick.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin has a win and eight top six finishes in his career atTMS. He will cruise around in the top 20 and could sneak into the top 15 by the time the race is over.
21 to 30
No. 51Kurt Busch: Busch has 11 top 10 finishes in 18 career starts at Texas during his career, but we still recommend avoiding him. He is too unpredictable in his new ride.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has averaged a top 20 finish at TMS during his career. He is a decent third driver 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. 20 Joey Logano: "Sliced Bread” has been terrible at Texas during his career. Just as my doctor says we recommend passing on the bread.
No. 34 David Ragan: Ragan has been fast at Texas in his career. He could crack the top 25 this weekend with a little luck.
No. 10 David Reutimann: Reutimann has led 45 laps in the past seven Texas races, but it will take a minor miracle for him to get the No. 10 car to the front of the field this weekend.
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. 13 Casey Mears: Mears drove decent at Texas last year. There are worse choices.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged a putrid 30th place at Texas during his career. He will likely improve on his average this trip, but a finish inside the top 25 isn’t likely.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has averaged a top 30 finish at Texas during his career. He isn’t to be used as anything but a fifth driver.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 83 Landon Cassill
No. 33 Hermie Sadler
No. 32 Mr. JaniKing
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 49 J.J. Yeley
No. 23 Scott Riggs
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 74 Stacy Compton
No. 19 Mike Bliss
No. 26 Josh Wise
No. 37 TBD
1. Tony Stewart
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Greg Biffle
1. Martin Truex
2. A.J. Allmendinger
Bust of the Week: