Race Preview: Texas II

This late-race crash in the spring Texas race took out the top two cars in the 24 and 14. (Photo Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

This week the Sprint Cup series returns to the lightning-fast cookie-cutter track known as Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). TMS is a 1.5-mile D-shaped track with progressive banking. The NASCAR tracks at Charlotte and Atlanta are almost identical, and the Las Vegas and Homestead tracks are pretty close, too.

Handicappers therefore have a wealth of historical data to review this week in the numbers from practice, qualifying and the race from each event at these tracks this year.

Handicapping Texas II
I examined the practice, qualifying and race data for the 2010 races at Charlotte, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Homestead and of course Texas to produce initial rankings. Then I crunched the numbers for the just the April race at Texas and merged those results with the initial rankings to bias the results toward the Texas numbers. In addition, for the first time I factored in the loop data from the 2010 races at the cookie cutter tracks. Finally, I tweaked the rankings after reading my race recap from the April race at Texas.

I came up with this top 10:

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Tony Stewart
  5. Kurt Busch
  6. Greg Biffle
  7. Clint Bowyer
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Ryan Newman
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Johnson, Kyle Busch and Gordon are the cream of the crop this week. Stewart should also be tough—he might’ve won the spring Texas race had not a big wreck taken him out near the end. (Gordon’s outstanding day was ruined in that wreck, too.)

My Yahoo! Fantasy Picks
Group A
I’m out of Johnson starts, so I’ll probably activate Kyle Busch and Gordon, though Stewart is pulling at me a bit. Kurt Busch and Biffle also offer good value this week.

Group B
I’m out of Bowyer starts, so I’ll activate Newman and Dale Jr. I like Jeff Burton next, and for the four hole I’m considering Martin Truex, Jr., Jamie McMurray and David Reutimann.

Surprisingly, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick rate below Reuty on my chart.

Group C
A.J. Allmendinger looks tops in C once again, but I’ve used him up. I like Sam Hornish Jr. and Paul Menard next (in that order), and that’s who I’ll activate.

I rate Scott Speed and Regan Smith #4 and #5, respectively.

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