The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gallops into Texas Motor Speedway for the 34th race of the 2013 season, the AAA 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 3, 2012; 3:16 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a temperature around 67 degrees; wind out of the SSE at 11 mph. There is a ZERO 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 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, Gibbs Racing, 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 Gibbs, or Hendrick car likely will.
43 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson led 324 laps at Texas last year and in 17 career starts at the track he has 15 top 10 finishes. He is a great pick on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle won last year’s spring race at Texas and he has been great in the past nine races at the track. He is worth using in all leagues this weekend.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth brought one of the fastest cars to Texas the past five races including a win during the spring race in 2011. He is one of our top picks to return to victory lane Sunday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy dominated at Texas this spring and has finished inside the top six in six of the last 12 races at the track.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon dominated Texas by leading the most laps during the 2010 and 2011 April races. He again will be fast in the Lone Star State.
6 to 10
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been great in 11 of the last 16 races in the Lone Star State. He won’t struggle to crack the top 10.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. was great at Texas this spring. He has finished in the top 15 in 11 of his last 16 starts at the track and is a must use in all leagues.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has found past success at TMS and is worth rolling the dice on this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards drove a smart race this spring at Texas and notched a third place finish. He should have the No. 99 ride just inside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has led laps in seven of the last 13 races at Texas so we doubt he will get his second win at the track this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has had three solid races and five average races at Texas. He should just miss the top 10 during this weekend’s visit to the track.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Texas isn't one of Bowyer's favorite tracks, but he has found some recent success at the track. He will finish just outside the top 10.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has finished in the top nine in six of the past 14 races at Texas Motor Speedway. He is a solid pick.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has averaged an 11th place finish at Texas during his career. He will be just a touch slower this weekend.
No. 14 Mark Martin: Martin has a win and nine top six finishes atTMS in his career. He will cruise around in the top 20 and could sneak into the top 15 by the time the race is over.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola cranked a seventh place finish at Texas this spring. He is a strong choice.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has averaged just a 19th place finish the past 16 races at Texas. He is just an okay pick.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: Jamie Mac has six top 10 finishes in 18 career starts at TMS. This is a good weekend to get him active on your roster.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano looked like finally figured out how to get around Texas during this spring’s race. His one-time successful run at the track, however, doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence in us.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch has 12 top 10 finishes in 21 career starts at Texas. He is a decent choice this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has been fast at Texas the past six races. He is a fine option.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has averaged a top 20 finish at TMS during his career. He is a decent fourth driver this weekend.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse has had past success at TMS and is worth using as a fourth or fifth driver.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has been hit-or-miss at Texas. We expect he will miss the top 20 this weekend.
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. 55 Elliot Sadler: Sadler has averaged a top 25 finish at Texas. He will finish near his average.
No. 33 Austin Dillon: Dillon was slow his first trip to Texas. He will be better this trip.
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 decent at Texas last year. There are worse choices.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: She isn’t much of an option.
No. 51 Kyle Larson
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
No. 83 David Reutimann
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 30 Parker Kligerman
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 95 Scott Speed
No. 32 Timmy Hill
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 35 Josh Wise
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Matt Kenseth
B. Kyle Busch
B. Greg Biffle
C. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.