Texas AAA 500 Fantasy NASCAR Front Runners
Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Kasey Kahne – Kahne is a former Texas winner but what I really like about him is his momentum. Red Bull employees must be working extra hard in the shop because both the 4 and 83 have been performing better in recent weeks. Kasey Kahne is just outside the top tier elite group of drivers but don’t hold that against him. Kahne almost won at Kansas and at Charlotte he made a late charge up to fourth. Look for Kahne running fast up around the high line. (Yahoo B Driver)

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Brad Keselowski – Keselowski has only finished in the top fifteen once at Texas. I really don’t care though because we’re talking about Brad Keselowski here! I said it last week but he’s the Tim Tebow of fantasy NASCAR, he’ll get the job done at the end (if people don’t spin him). After Kurt’s complaints at Charlotte look for the Dodges to come out “guns a blazing” with horsepower this week. (Yahoo B Driver)

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin hasn’t been up to par this season when you compare him to previous seasons. Even his 15th place Texas finish earlier this year wasn’t reminiscent of what he’s done in years past. In the three preceding races prior to the spring race Hamlin finished 1st, 1st and 2nd. I think fantasy racers should pencil him in for about an 8th through 15th place finish. There’s potential but he’s been a high risk driver this year at traditional strongholds. At Charlotte (similar track) Hamlin finished 9th. (Yahoo A Driver)

Clint Bowyer – In April Bowyer finished second to Matt Kenseth. His finish was the only thing that stopped Roush Fenway Racing from finishing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. He was strong for the entirety of the race (3rd place avg. running position) and led 44 laps. His overall history is good as well. His 13.4 average finish ranks as the 7th best in the series. Bowyer has finished in the top ten in five out of the last seven races at TMS. In the Chase Bowyer finished 7th at both Chicagoland and Kansas. (Yahoo B Driver)

Jeff Gordon – I like Jeff Gordon but things haven’t been going very good for him in the Chase. Texas is a track that has been really rough on Gordon. It took him 17 tries before he got his first win (2009) and since he visited victory lane he hasn’t finished in the top ten. Earlier this year Gordon started 32nd and finished 23rd. His 22nd place average running position should be of great concern. Last year things went so badly he crashed under caution and had to take an ambulance ride with Jeff Burton who he just fought. (Yahoo A Driver)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – In 2000 Dale Earnhardt Jr won his first race at Texas Motor Speedway. It also seems like it’s been since 2000 since he last won. Texas has traditionally been one of Dale Junior’s better tracks. In two out of the last three races he’s finished in the top ten. He’s had some success on this style of track this year and I think he has a good chance for a top ten finish. (Yahoo B Driver)

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Marcos Ambrose – SLEEPER ALERT, Don’t overlook Marcos Ambrose this week. He’s had success at Texas in the past and he’s been good on similar tracks this season. He finished 6th earlier this year and in the 2009 fall race I feel like he actually may of had the best car but pit road problems hindered him greatly. Charlotte is a similar track and just last month he finished 5th. In the Texas, Charlotte and Atlanta track type Ambrose has scored the 5th most points this year. (Yahoo B Driver)

Kurt Busch – Busch won this race in 2009 and he’s finished in the top ten in four out of the last five races. Earlier this year he finished 10th, led 50 laps and had an 8th place average running position. I am a little concerned about his Charlotte performance though. His 13th place finish was nothing special and his comments about dialing back horsepower are concerning. Things have been going downhill for the 22 team lately and I certainly don’t see Kurt Busch pumping them up. (Yahoo A Driver)

Ryan Newman – In 2003 Ryan Newman out dueled Dale Earnhardt Jr. with two tires for the win. Those days are long gone but not his fantasy viability. Since the fall 2007 race Newman has a 13.6 average finish. Another aspect I like about Newman is how well he’s performed on intermediate tracks in general this year. On high speed intermediate tracks in 2011 he’s scored the 7th most points (32.6 pts per race) and has a 12th place average running position. Newman has finished in the top ten in two out of the three Chase intermediate track races (excluding Dover). (Yahoo B Driver)

AJ Allmendinger – Allmendinger has been really good on the cookie cutter Texas, Charlotte and Atlanta style of tracks this year. In 2011 he’s scored the 8th most points and he’s tied for fifth in average finish position (10th). He success is no surprise though. The 43 Ford is essentially a Roush car and they dominate here. AJ has finished in the top fifteen in three out of the last four Texas races. (Yahoo B Driver)

David Ragan – Texas is unquestionably a Roush track so look for him to be fast in his Ford. In April David Ragan won the pole (qualifying points) and finished 7th (5th place avg running position). Last fall he finished 8th so he’s getting better. Since 2008 he’s finished in the top seventeen in all but one race. Ragan has had some success at recent intermediate tracks so I think he’s a lock for a top fifteen finish (Charlotte – 11th, Chicagoland – 11th, Michigan – 12th). (Yahoo C Driver)

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