We’ve come to the final 1.5-mile race of the season… well kind of. Technically Homestead-Miami Speedway is a 1.5-mile track, but it’s so unique that it’s hard to consider it among the other “cookie cutter” tracks. So, in my mind, this is the final race. We have tons of other races to use for data this weekend to know what to expect, and if you want to check out some of those statistics, be sure to hit up Fantasy Racing Online’s in-depth article on it by clicking here.
NASCAR went with a very interesting schedule this weekend, with there being one practice session on Friday afternoon, one practice sessions Friday evening, and then qualifying on Saturday night. You can see the official starting lineup by clicking here. Click here to see the speeds from Friday’s two practice sessions: Practice #1 — Happy Hour. You should also read our in-depth notes for those practices: Practice #1 — Happy Hour.
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Final Top 25 Fantasy NASCAR Rankings for Texas 2
1. Kevin Harvick – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $10,400 – FanDuel Price: $14,000 – Slingshot Price: $13,300
Kevin Harvick was my #1 ranked driver heading into the AAA Texas 500 race weekend and nothing has happened to make me waver from that. All four Stewart-Haas Racing Fords have shown a ton of speed all weekend long, and in terms of Harvick specifically, he laid down the 4th-fastest lap in Happy Hour on Friday with the 2nd-best ten-lap average. He also won the pole on Saturday and had the rest of the field covered by a tenth. Here at Texas, Harvick has won the last two fall races, and last year’s was an absolutely dominating performance. I think we’ll see the same thing here on Sunday, which would surprisingly be Harvick’s first win on a 1.5-mile track this season.
2. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 17th – DraftKings Price: $11,500 – FanDuel Price: $15,000 – Slingshot Price: $13,200
Don’t count out the hottest driver in the Playoffs right now. If Kevin Harvick doesn’t win this race on Sunday, it’s probably going to be Martin Truex, Jr. This #19 team has won three of the seven Playoff races thus far, and that includes the Las Vegas race to kick off the postseason (another 1.5-mile track). On the 1.5-milers specifically this year (excluding Atlanta), Truex has an average finish of 9.4 with an average running position of 10.4. Those rank as 4th- and 3rd-best in the Cup Series garage. Specifically at Texas, Truex has single-digit finishes in seven of his last nine starts here, including a 2nd-place run in the 2017 fall race (after leading 107 laps). I’m obviously expecting something like that to happen again here on Sunday. Speed-wise, I had Truex as the 2nd-fastest car overall over the two practice sessions, slower only than his teammate, Denny Hamlin.
3. Denny Hamlin – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $10,800 – FanDuel Price: $13,500 – Slingshot Price: $11,600
Sometimes you just have to throw out this history book. Coming into this year, Denny Hamlin had ONE top 5 finish in his last 15 starts at Texas Motor Speedway. And then he went to victory lane in the March race, for the third time at this track. Hamlin is never the first guy you think of when we stop at 1.5-mile race track, but this season, he’s turned into that. Over the eight races on this type (not including Atlanta), Denny has an average finish of 10.0 (5th-best in the series), and when you take away everyone’s worst result, his average jumps up to 9.0 (but he goes back to 7th-best in the series). Still, though, Hamlin is a legitimate Championship contender this year–never thought I’d say that, by the way–and a big reason for that is because this #11 team has improved on the intermediate tracks. And let’s not forget, Hamlin won at Kansas two weeks ago in pretty dominating fashion. This weekend, the #11 Toyota rolled off the truck fast, ending up 3rd-fastest in Practice #1 before posting the 2nd-fastest lap in Happy Hour and 3rd-best ten-lap average. I personally don’t like the guy but he’s going to be a factor in the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday.