A = Really, Really Good Pick
Matt Kenseth – Earlier this year Matt finished 2nd at Atlanta and he’s the only driver who doesn’t have a double-digit finish average at Texas. The last time Kenseth didn’t finish in the top 10 at Texas was back in 2006 when he finished 12th.
Jimmie Johnson – When isn’t he a really, really good pick? The Champ finished 2nd last spring, but in the fall race he fell victim to Sam Hornish Jr.
A- Really Good Pick
Mark Martin – Last year he finished 6th and 4th at Texas. Over the last two years his average finish is 7.5.
Kurt Busch – Kurt won at Atlanta earlier this year and last fall he won at this track. It’s hard to go wrong by picking him here.
Jeff Gordon – Earlier in his career Texas was bad news for Gordon fans. Now Gordon is consistent at Texas and has finished in the top 15 in twelve of the last 14 races. Seven of those finishes are top fives.
Tony Stewart - Last year he finished 6th and 4th at Texas. Stewart also had strong performances earlier this season at the other intermediate tracks (9th,7th, and 13th).
Kyle Busch – Remember who had the dominant car last fall? Good guess, it was Kyle Busch. What happened is that the race became a fuel mileage race and he didn’t have enough of it. Last fall he led 232 laps.
B+ = Good Pick
Juan Pablo Montoya – Don’t let his history deter you. Montoya will be a contender at Texas. Earlier this season he finished in the top five at Atlanta. He may have won that race if it stayed green.
Jeff Burton – The two-time Texas winner has an average finish of 7.3 over the last 6 Texas races. Expect Burton to have another good outing Sunday.
Clint Bowyer – His average finish here is 12.4 but in the spring race his average is nearly 17th. He had problems at Atlanta earlier this year late in the race but in the other two intermediate tracks (Las Vegas and California) he finished 8th.
Greg Biffle - He’s been hovering around at about 10th this season on the intermediate tracks. If a good finish eludes him this weekend then his next top ten might very well be next month at Darlington.
Kasey Kahne – The future Hendrick driver has been pretty bad at Texas but his performance earlier this season at Atlanta proved that he will be a contender.
Kevin Harvick – He started off the season strong but lately things haven’t been good for him. This season he’s finished second twice on two out of the three earlier intermediate tracks.
Joey Logano – Last fall he finished 9th. Earlier this season he finished 5th at California and 6th at Las Vegas (wrecked at Atlanta). I see promise here.
B = Just A Tier Below The Good Picks
Brad Keselowski – He had a top 6 car at Atlanta and if he can keep all four wheels on the pavement than good things can happen for Brad at Texas.
Marcos Ambrose – If you just look at numbers you’ll overlook him. At ifantasyrace.com I pride myself with watching the races, last fall Ambrose was a top 3 car but finished 15th because he was negatively affected by the fuel mileage scenario that played out at the end of the race, pit problems and more. Check out his Yahoo! race graph by clicking HERE.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – He has a better average finish then Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle BUT the last time he finished in the top 10 here was in 2006.
B- = You Can Pencil Them In For About 20th
AJ Allmendinger – Last fall he finished 10th at Texas and earlier this spring he finished 6th at Atlanta. I think it’s probably worth rolling the dice on Allmedinger this weekend.
Martin Truex Jr. – It’s easy to say he’ll do better than what I’m grading him as but I simply don’t trust him.
Ryan Newman – I would avoid Newman at all costs at Texas despite his win last week. In 13 races at Texas Newman has only finished in the top 10 three times. If you can’t see the warning sign here then I can’t help you. His average finish this season on the intermediate tracks is 23.6.
Brian Vickers – I know there’s a lot of Brian Vickers fantasy racing believers out there and since I hate being the bearer of bad news did you know that he’s never finished in the top 10 at Texas. His best Texas finish ever was 12th in his first career start.
David Reutiman – Reutimann has had many good runs this season but for whatever reason he’s never able to capitalize on the situation. Over the last three Texas races his average finish is 12.3.
Jamie McMurray – Texas has been a relatively friendly intermediate track for McMurray. Last year he finished awful here but over 12 races his average Texas finish is 15.4.
C+ = Got Some Question Marks Here
Paul Menard - Earlier this season he finished 5th at Atlanta. So far this season Menard’s finished in the top 20 in all but one race (Phoenix).
David Ragan – Ragan was actually pretty good last spring at Texas despite his DNF. Check out his Yahoo! graph from last year by clicking HERE. So far this season his intermediate track average finish is 16.6.
Denny Hamlin – He had a strong car at Atlanta but since undergoing surgery things have changed. His injury is a serious problem despite the fact that he didn’t jump out of the car at Phoenix.
Scott Speed – The ray of hope here is that he finished 10th at Atlanta earlier this year. Since then he hasn’t finished in the top 20.
C = I’m Not Picking Them
Elliott Sadler – At Phoenix he celebrated his 400th start. My question is how has he managed to stay around that long? Oh that’s right, he sued to keep his job last year. Sadler’s last Texas top ten was back in 2005.
Sam Hornish Jr. – I think Hornish would be a good sleeper at Texas but in doing so its relatively risky. Three out of his four finishes are below 20th.