NASCAR Cup Series drivers are setting up their saddles for a ride at Texas Motor Speedway. Let’s get your daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings lineups prepared for Sunday’s (Sept. 24) Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400, airing at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.
Texas is one of the few 1.5-mile racetracks that’s only had one points-paying date each year since 2021. That makes studying for DraftKings a little bit difficult, as things change from one year to the next. However, the Cup Series has visited several 1.5-mile tracks this year, so you can look at those results to see who should perform well at Texas.
One other thing that might make it harder for you to determine who belongs in your fantasy lineup is that last year’s event, Texas’ first with the Next Gen car, was a bit of an anomaly. Many drivers had issues, mostly right-rear tires going down. Several ran in front before their tires blew, including Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick. In the end, Tyler Reddick won after getting out front late.
With a bunch of cars having right-rear tires going flat, how should you apply last season’s race to your daily fantasy research?
Well, you can look at laps led and fastest laps to see which drivers were stronger in those areas. Also, examine past Texas races to see if any drivers are on an upward trend, or if they just remain steady.
And like I mentioned earlier, check out the results from the last several 1.5 milers; competitors who generally run well at those tracks should run up front at Texas, too.
As always, look at practice and qualifying results, as these could be a good indicator of who’s hot and who’s not. Practice is scheduled to get underway at 12:35 p.m. ET Saturday, with qualifying following at around 1:20 p.m. ET. Both will air on USA Network.
Here’s a quick look at the rules for DraftKings:
The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. Tenth scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and it decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats from 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.
Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they started the race. For example, if Kyle Larson started seventh and won, he would gain six points in addition to his finishing position points, totaling 51 fantasy points.
Drivers also can earn 0.45 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 for each lap they lead.
Here are the drivers you should consider for Texas:
DraftKings Picks: Top Tier
William Byron ($10,800)
Career at Texas: 8 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 4 top 10s
Average finish at Texas: 13.5
William Byron has had several good results at 1.5-mile tracks recently. He flat out dominated at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this spring, leading 176 laps. Additionally, he was third at Kansas Speedway in May and second at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Plus, at Kansas last season, he came home in sixth.
The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports driver has also done well at Texas, finishing in seventh place last year when two of his teammates crashed out. Then in the 2021 playoff race there, Byron crossed the line in second. And in spring 2019, he was sixth.
Byron could be a nice pivot off of Larson and Denny Hamlin, as he’s a bit cheaper than both drivers on DraftKings.
Tyler Reddick ($10,200)
Career at Texas: 4 starts, 1 win, 2 top fives, 3 top 10s
Average finish at Texas: 6.8
Reddick’s performance at the 1.5-milers is similar to Byron’s in that he, too, has a couple of wins in recent races. He secured his spot to the Round of 12 with a win at Kansas a couple of weeks ago. And as I mentioned earlier, he took home the victory at Texas last fall after leading 70 circuits. Some other notable results are a fifth at Charlotte, ninth at Kansas in the spring and sixth at Las Vegas last fall.
As far as Texas goes, Reddick has a couple other good finishes there. In the fall 2021 event he was ninth, while in the first Texas event in 2020 he finished second to his then teammate Austin Dillon, thanks to a good pit call from Richard Childress Racing.
Brad Keselowski ($8,900)
Career at Texas: 27 starts, 0 wins, 6 top fives, 12 top 10s
Average finish at Texas: 16.1
Brad Keselowski has only had some flashes of strong finishes at some intermediate racetracks, at least recently. He led 23 laps at Kansas before ultimately coming home in ninth. Then last fall, he finished in eighth place at Texas and fifth at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
But what’s more significant about the No. 6 RFK Racing co-owner is that he’s earned four consecutive top 10s at Texas: two in 2020 and one each in fall 2021 and 2022. Two years ago, Keselowski was fourth in one of his last races with Team Penske, while last season, he led 31 laps en route to eighth.
I’m a bit worried with him, though, as he started on the pole in that event. If he does so again, he would lose points on DraftKings for each position he falls to. Still, he has momentum on his side, earning top 10s in each of the last four races this year.
Look for Keselowski to continue that good run and keep his RFK team in the championship hunt.
Alex Bowman ($7,700)
Career at Texas: 13 starts, 0 wins, 2 top fives, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Texas: 24.8
Alex Bowman missed a good chunk of this season and has struggled since returning. However, he seems to have turned things around at Kansas, gaining 13 spots en route to 10th place. Back in May, he drove from 31st to 12th in the Coca-Cola 600, while in March at Las Vegas he finished in third. And last fall at Kansas Bowman was fourth.
Unfortunately, the No. 48 backed into the wall at Texas last year and though the impact didn’t look severe, he still incurred a concussion. In prior years there, Bowman had earned some good results. He was fifth in the fall 2019 and fall 2020 races and earned three straight fourth places from 2018-spring 2019.
Although Bowman is not in the playoffs, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to close out the season strong.
AJ Allmendinger ($6,600)
Career at Texas: 20 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Texas: 20.5
AJ Allmendinger hasn’t had the year he was hoping for, but he did advance from 27th to 14th at the spring Kansas and Charlotte races. And last year he placed third at Homestead and gained 12 spots to finish in ninth at Las Vegas last fall.
He didn’t visit Texas in a Next Gen car yet (except for maybe an All-Star event), but Allmendinger did earn several good finishes there in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. He was sixth in 2021 and placed ninth and fourth in the spring and fall races, respectively, in 2022. His salary is fairly low, so you might can fit two or three top-tier drivers in your DraftKings lineup.
Justin Haley ($5,900)
Career at Texas: 2 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Texas: 20.0
Justin Haley’s performed similarly to his Kaulig Racing teammate on the 1.5-mile courses. At Kansas in the spring, he drove from 30th to 18th, while last fall he went from 27th to 19th. Also, at Las Vegas in March, he gained 19 spots en route to eighth; in fall 2022 he went from 28th to 14th.
Haley’s only been at Texas twice (in a points race) and his first one ended with a crash. He bounced back last season, driving from 31st to third place. And in Xfinity, he finished between seventh and ninth in each event from 2019 through 2021, except for the fall 2019 race.
His DraftKings salary is even lower than Allmendinger and would definitely help your lineup if he’s able to gain positions again this weekend.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.
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