NASCAR heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, USA).
Texas is all about track position, and it’s going to be hot and slick. That means drivers will get all they can on restarts, and solid pit stops will be at a premium.
As a result, we’ll focus on track position, avoiding pit stop errors, and pit stop speed. These of course are in addition to the thing that should trump everything — projected racing speed.
Thankfully with practice in the heat of the day Saturday, and the weather forecast for Sunday’s race expected to be similar, practice times should translate well to race pace.
Before we jump into my picks, don’t forget all my NASCAR projections can be found in the NASCAR Models on FantasyLabs, complete with floor, ceiling, median, and ownership projections.
Let’s not skip the best part — my Perfect% metric — a metric that tells you how often certain racers appear in the optimal lineup when running 10,000 race simulations.
So let’s dive into my NASCAR DFS picks for Sunday’s Auto Trader EchoPark 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Texas DraftKings DFS Cash Game Picks
Brad Keselowski ($6800): I often don’t like taking the polesitter if they don’t project to finish well, because it usually means any laps led they grab are negated by negative place differential.
However, there are two reasons to buy in on Keselowski here.
The first comes from what I talked about in the intro — track position. As long as he gets a good initial restart, there’s a solid chance he leads a ton of laps. Add in the optimal pit stall, and he should have multiple opportunities to lead.
Second, he was actually fast! He posted the fourth-fastest time over five consecutive laps in practice.
Good enough for me. That’s plenty enough to hold off any cars that may be slightly faster thanks to the almighty track position.
Joey Logano ($8900): I’m okay with playing both front-row starters in cash games thanks to their cheap price points and tremendous speeds.
Logano — Keselowski’s former teammate at Team Penske — starts second and had arguably the fastest car in practice. He posted the fastest five- and 10-lap times in practice and backed it up with a solid qualifying effort.
Look for Logano and Keselowski to both lead at various points. As long as each brings home a finish in conjunction with their speeds, they are both cash-game worthy to boost your floor, and possibly your ceiling, with dominator points.
Tyler Reddick ($9400): Reddick should be extremely quick on the short run.
At Kansas, he said his car was set up well for the short run but struggled on longer runs. In practice, he was quick over all metrics, and his teammate Austin Dillon said he had a blazing fast car on the short run.
That translates to fastest laps.
On a hot, slick day, Reddick should be able to lay down some fastest laps.
Alex Bowman ($8400): It appears we’re taking the balanced approach in cash games this week.
Bowman starts 17th, giving you plenty of place-differential opportunity. He also was blazing fast in practice, setting the second fastest time over five and 10 consecutive laps.
My model has him at 7.1% to win the race, and he should easily have a top-10, and possibly race winning, car.
Texas DraftKings DFS Tournament Picks
Denny Hamlin ($10,800): Going off of practice times, you’d be forgiven if you skip over this week’s most expensive driver.
Hamlin was not fast in practice, and he didn’t even get to make a five-lap run.
However, despite never making it out for a longer run, the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team adjusted that car multiple times in practice to get the car more to Hamlin’s liking.
That showed in his qualifying laps, and in his interview between the two qualifying rounds, Hamlin sounded much more positive about his car than at the start of practice.
Hamlin said they got the car adjusted really well for turns 1 and 2, and with some work they’d be just as good in 3 and 4. He felt like he could be in contention Sunday.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that he has the fastest pit crew pitting him in a track-position race.
Austin Dillon ($7300): When we look at fast pit crews, we shouldn’t look much further than Dillon’s crew.
That No. 3 team has pitted his car among the fastest all year, placing inside the top five, or even the top three, in various metrics.
Add in Dillon’s ridiculous short-run speed, and we have a guy who could steal a race late either with a quick pit stop or strategy by staying out and laying down some fast laps on a short run.