Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie Johnson is a risky fantasy NASCAR option at Texas. Last year his Texas performances were at both extremes. Last spring he raced his way to victory lane, and in the fall he was terrible. In November 2017 he had a tough race and finished 3 laps down in 27th. He made an unexpected pit stop on lap 68 for a vibration that dropped him two laps down and later he got lapped under green. Five laps before his problems started he was running in 15th. Last spring Johnson started in the rear of the field but raced his way to victory lane. Additionally he earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 10th place average running position and led 18 laps. His speed over long runs is where he really shined. This year at 1.5 mile tracks Johnson has been good and bad. At Atlanta he was bad and finished 27th, at Las Vegas he started in the rear of the field and finished 12th. I’ll note Las Vegas is the more similar of the two. Over the last four races this season Johnson has finished between 9th to 15th and has a 12.5 average finish. On Sunday I’m going to play it safe and call Johnson a low-double digits driver who might compete for a top ten.
Aric Almirola – Aric Almirola is a good dark horse fantasy NASCAR option at Texas. This year at 1.5 mile tracks he’s been solid in the #10 and his good performances should translate into success at Texas. This year at tracks of this length he has results of 13th (Atlanta) and 10th (Las Vegas). His strong performance at Las Vegas is notable because it’s the more similar of the two 1.5 mile tracks visited. In that race he started back in 29th after having trouble in qualifying but had no trouble advancing through the running order. Last year at Texas he started 18th twice and finished in the teens both races. Last fall he finished 15th, had a 19th place average running position and earned the 19th best driver rating. Last spring when the checkered flag waved he finished 18th, earned the 19th best driver rating and had a 20th place average running position.
Austin Dillon – Austin Dillon is a solid competitor at 1.5 mile tracks. Don’t look for him to be a flashy performer, but he should prove to be a low-double digits to mid-teens driver. Over the last five races at tracks of this length he’s finished between 11th to 14th. This year at the two 1.5 mile tracks visited he has a 13.5 average finish, the 14th best driver rating and a 15.0 average running position. Last fall at Texas, Dillon had a solid afternoon. He finished 13th, had an 11th place average running position and earned the 11th best driver rating. Additionally in Stage #1 he finished 9th and in Stage #2 he finished 10th. Last spring there’s no fantasy takeaways from his race. When the green flag waved Austin Dillon was in his garage area for repair because of a trailing arm failure. It caused him to miss the first 12 laps which led to his 33rd place finish.