The Setup – O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Race Preview
By Tyler Miller – @rickybobby_jr

 

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This week, NASCAR visits Texas Motor Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, the first of two visits to Texas for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Race Distance: 334 laps. Stage 1 ends on lap 85, Stage 2 ends on lap 170.
Lineup Lock 3 pm eastern Sunday
Last year’s winners – Kyle Busch (Spring) – Kevin Harvick (Fall)
Last year’s pole sitters: Kurt Busch (Spring) – Ryan Blaney (Fall)

Fantasy Relevant News:

NASCAR in response to the controversial 3rd round of qualifying at Auto Club Speedway updated qualifying procedures. If any driver fails to record a lap in any round of qualifying they will start at the back of the field on Sunday. This change unlocks potential differential points in DFS. A driver failing to log a lap in round 3 of qualifying will have already demonstrated top 12 speed, but will start the race at the back of the field.

What to watch for in practice/qualifying:

Watch to see if teams have caught up. Teams that fell behind during the west coast swing have now made adjustments to their cars, especially the 4 and 48. Both SHR and Hendrick Motorsports struggled during the west coast swing. Harvick has consistently run in the top ten, but has not been competing for wins. Jimmie Johnson returns following one of the worst performances of his career last week at Martinsville. Take note if either Harvick or Johnson outpace the Penske cars or Kyle Busch in practice. A Hendrick resurgence could also make William Byron a viable DFS play.

Which Penske Car is best? Brad Keselowski dominated at Martinsville last week. Joey Logano won the most recent race at a 1.5 mile track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ryan Blaney finished second from the pole at Texas last fall. Deciding which Penske driver to use will be vital in DFS lineups this week.

What about Kurt Busch? Kyle Busch is the favorite to win on Sunday, but what about older brother Kurt? Jamie McMurray was top 15 in both driver rating and average running position during his time in the 1 car at Texas. Kurt Busch ranks 7th in both of those categories at Texas. Kurt Busch has improved the performance of the 1 team this season and could easily contend for a top 5 finish at Texas this weekend.

What Vegas thinks (via FanDuel Sportsbook):

No surprise, Kyle Busch is favored to win. However, Harvick at +550 suggests that Vegas believes SHR will be in contention with Kyle Busch and the Penske cars.

Kyle Busch +300
Keselowski +500
Harvick +550
Logano +700
Truex +750
Chase Elliott +1100
Denny Hamlin +1300
Ryan Blaney +1300
Kyle Larson +1600

Driver Ratings at Texas:

1. Jimmie Johnson 102.9
2. Kyle Busch 101.3
3. Kevin Harvick 96.3
4. Chase Elliott 95.6
5. Martin Truex Jr 94.6
6. Erik Jones 93.1
7. Kurt Busch 89.9
8. Brad Keselowski 89.2
9. Joey Logano 88.0
10. Denny Hamlin 88.0
11. Kyle Larson 86.1
12. Ryan Blaney 85.1
13. Clint Bowyer 83.7
14. Jamie McMurray 78.9
15. William Byron 77.5

Average Running Position at Texas:

1. Chase Elliott 9.687
2. Erik Jones 11.197
3. Kyle Busch 11.252
4. Jimmie Johnson 11.643
5. Kevin Harvick 12.308
6. Martin Truex Jr 12.328
7. Kurt Busch 13.463
8. Kyle Larson 14.420
9. Denny Hamlin 14.516
10. William Byron 14.850
11. Brad Keselowski 15.042
12. Joey Logano 15.340
13. Clint Bowyer 15.554
14. Jamie McMurray 17.242
15. Ryan Blaney 17.280

2018 Spring top 10:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Jamie McMurray
4. Erik Jones
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Joey Logano
7. Kurt Busch
8. Bubba Wallace
9. Clint Bowyer
10. William Byron

2018 Fall top 10

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Joey Logano
4. Erik Jones
5. Kyle Larson
6. Chase Elliott
7. Kurt Busch
8. Aric Almirola
9. Martin Truex Jr.
10. Austin Dillon

Stay tuned for updated content following qualifying Friday at 7:40 pm eastern and final practice on Saturday at 11:30 am eastern.

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