This track type tends to reward the same drivers and the QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway was one of the best examples of the Rotoworld Cheat Sheets accuracy, predicting the field within 4.77 positions of their actual finishes. While slightly different in size, the Auto Club 400 was 4.81 spots different than actual.
So far this year, nine drivers – Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, and Gray Gaulding – have all landed within five positions of our predictions on average and it’s time to see if we can keep up with that record.
1. Martin Truex Jr.
The No. 78 team entered Auto Club thinking they had something to prove. They feel the same way about Texas. It's hard not to put Truex at the top of the list this week.
2. Kevin Harvick
It's going to be hard to bet against Harvick this week because he won the last three races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks - including the AAA Texas 500.
3. Kyle Busch
Busch added one more runner-up finish to his total last week at Martinsville. That was the fourth consecutive top-three by a driver who desperately wants to win.
4. Joey Logano
Seven of Logano's last 10 Texas races ended in top-fives and one of these was a victory in the 2014 edition of this race. Last fall, he missed that mark but still finished seventh.
5. Brad Keselowski
Keselowski swept the top 10 at Texas last year, finishing sixth in the spring and fifth in the fall. He failed to score a top-10 in 2016, but had three straight top-fives before that.
6. Ryan Blaney
No matter who he drives for, Blaney has been strong on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks with a current streak of seven races 12th or better.
7. Kyle Larson
This is the kind of track that Larson likes: fast. He has a pair of top-10s on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks in 2018, but ended last year on a sour note with a 37th at Texas.
8. Chase Elliott
Elliott keeps showing promise, but there seems to be problems at Hendrick Motorsports that need to be resolved before he challenges for a win. He has four straight Texas top-10s.
9. Kurt Busch
Busch will probably eke out a top-10 this week, but he won't dominate leading up to the checkered flag.
10. Denny Hamlin
After sweeping Victory Lane in 2010 on this track, Hamlin has been much less consistent with only four top-10s in 13 starts. Hedge your bets with him.
11. Jimmie Johnson
The No. 48 team struggled last year almost as much as they have in 2018, but managed to score a victory in this race nonetheless.
12. Aric Almirola
Dating back to the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas last fall, Almirola has swept the top 15 on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks without earning a better result than ninth.
13. Erik Jones
In his last three attempts on this track type, Jones has hovered around the 10th-place mark. He will probably do that again.
14. Clint Bowyer
Bowyer's win last week at Martinsville could open a floodgate for the thirsty driver, but we remember his modest 18th in the Pennzoil 400 at Vegas and are being cautious.
15. Alex Bowman
A lot is expected from Bowman and part of the reason for that was the 13th he scored in the 2016 fall Texas race while driving in relief for Earnhardt.
16. Austin Dillon
With a worst of 19th in his last nine similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track races and an average of 13.6, Dillon is a predictable value.
17. Paul Menard
Menard has been hard to predict this year because his results have been a little erratic. It is best to evaluate him for a couple of weeks to see if a clearer pattern emerges.
18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse has been solid on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks in the past two years. He should be expected to finish somewhere in the mid-teens like he did at Atlanta and Vegas.
19. Daniel Suarez
Now that the enthusiasm of his rookie season is behind Suarez, it is time to handicap him by the numbers. He has a career-average finish of 17.1 on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks.
20. Jamie McMurray
No one is certain what is going on with the No. 1 team, but until they start contending for top-10s it is best to leave McMurray in the garage.
21. Kasey Kahne
Kahne seems to be getting more out of the car on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks than originally expected, so he should be valued as a sleeper.
22. Chris Buescher
Buescher has finished outside the top 25 only once in his last 12 attempts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. He will not be on a lot of radar screens this week, which makes him a good differentiator.
23. Ryan Newman
Newman finished 22nd at Atlanta and cut that in half at Vegas, but since most of his other recent results on this track type have been in the 20s, it's hard to predict a strong finish.
24. William Byron
Two of Byron's better finishes this year came on unrestricted, intermediate speedways, but the book is still too thin to make him one of your picks unless he has a stellar practice.
25. Ty Dillon
Dillon has not been all that bad on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks with an average finish of 23 in his last 12 attempts and a best of 14th at Kansas last spring.
26. David Ragan
One simply doesn't get much more consistent than this: Ragan finished 23rd in both of the previous races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year and was 25th on the two-miler.
27. Darrell Wallace Jr.
With the exception of his miraculous runner-up in the Daytona 500, this has been the type of track on which Wallace is performing best with results in the low-20s.
28. Trevor Bayne
It's hard to know which Bayne is going to show up this week. He finished 20th in two of his last four similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track races and 28th or worse in the other two.
29. Matt DiBenedetto
Five of DiBenedetto's last seven races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks have ended in the mid-20s and that could make him one of this week's best dark horses.
30. AJ Allmendinger
While his teammate Buescher has shown promise on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, Allmendinger finished 29th at Atlanta and 30th at Vegas this year.
31. Michael McDowell
We had a lot of hope for McDowell after his 24th-place finish at Atlanta, but a 37th at Vegas crushed that enthusiasm. Look for something in between those two marks this week.
32. Landon Cassill
Last week, Cassill was thinking about the changes he would have made to his NASCAR Fantasy Live team while circling Martinsville at speed. You've got to appreciate that dedication.
33. Ross Chastain
Fantasy players will not want to overcommit to Chastain, but if they need a reliable pick who is likely to finish about 30th, that is where he's run on this track type in 2018.
34. Cole Whitt
He has not burned up the track, but Whitt has been consistent in his last three Texas starts with results of 29th or 30th each time.
35. Gray Gaulding
This team is still in the evaluation mode to determine if they can operate profitably in the Cup series, but Gaulding is giving the all he has.
36. Reed Sorenson
Last year, Sorenson started all 10 of the races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks and finished most in the 30s. He was 35th in the O'Reilly 500.
37. Harrison Rhodes
This is not Rhodes' first trip to one of the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks in the Cup series; he finished 33rd earlier this year at Atlanta.
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