Matt Kenseth (Contender) : Texas has always been friendly to Roush Fords. Almost all of the current Roush drivers have had success at Texas. Matt Kenseth’s the only active driver who has an average finish in the single digits at Texas (9.3). In 15 races at Texas Kenseth has finished in the top five nearly half the time (7), and in two-thirds of his Texas races he’s finished in the top ten (10).
When you evaluate Texas from a fantasy racing standpoint its important to look back at what happened in the earlier Atlanta race. At Atlanta Kenseth finished 2nd and ran in the top ten for almost the entire race.
Ryan Newman (Pretender) : Ryan Newman is fresh off his win at Phoenix but I don’t expect that momentum to carry over to Texas. In 2003 Ryan Newman won at Texas and out dueled Dale Earnhardt Junior on just two tires. That two tire finish wasn’t anything like what happened at Phoenix on Saturday night.
The last time Ryan Newman won on an intermediate track was 2004. Early in his career the cookie cutters were his strength, but at this point in his career his original strengths and weaknesses have been flip-flopped.
Kasey Kahne (Contender) : This season hasn’t been friendly to Kahne so far, but at Texas good things can happen for him. As I said earlier for Texas its important to look at what happened at Atlanta. Kahne arguably had the best car at Atlanta but he wasn’t able to capitalize on the situation at the end of the race. His driver rating at Atlanta was the highest among all drivers (138.1).
Carl Edwards (Pretender) : Carl Edwards is the all time wins leader at Texas with three career victories. So you’re wondering how can you go wrong here? Carl Edwards basically either wins here, or he doesn’t finish inside the top ten (4 top tens here in his career). His other finishes outside the top ten are 39th, 26th, 12th, 15th, 36th and 19th. Sounds a lot more risky now doesn’t it. All of Carl’s wins happened when the 99 team was a top 3 team in the series. Do you think their an elite team now?
Mark Martin (Contender) : Martin didn’t farewell at Atlanta (33rd) but don’t let that deter you. Hendrick Motorsports as a whole was over aggressive on their set ups. I think HMS learned their lesson and will bring a more conservative package this weekend.
In the last 4 races at Texas Mark Martin has an average finish of 7.5. At tracks like Texas where drivers play such a crucial role in the needed longevity of the car there is no one better at it then Mark Martin.
Denny Hamlin (Pretender) : At Phoenix he proved that he’s not going to hop out of the car but by no means should you be hopping on the Denny Hamlin Texas bandwagon. His 10.6 average finish is second to only Matt Kenseth at the track. Running the full race appears heroic, but is it really the right thing to do?