Dickies 500 fantasy NASCAR preview

by Bob Frykholm on October 30, 2008 @ 01:00:00 PDT

 


Texas Motor Speedway

Texas is a 1.5-mile track that is tough on the engines. The cars can actually reach 200 mph in Turn 1 and Turn 3. Another factor that will keep the race interesting is tire maintenance. The asphalt track has very good grip, and when this is coupled with the high speeds, tire durability is a concern. Pay close attention to the drivers as they exit Turn 4 - this is where many cars hit the wall.

The Dickies 500 is the third to last race of the Chase. Legitimately there are only three or four drivers in the hunt. Last year's race had 12 cautions as drivers raced aggressively trying to win the championship. You can expect to see more of the same this year as many top drivers sit in must-win position. A top-10 finish will not win championships - their only goal is a checkered flag.

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Shape: Quad oval

Length: 1.5 miles

Laps: 334

Banking: 24-degree turns; 5-degree straights

Table: Do not bench

Leading the Pack

Martin Truex Jr. | No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet | Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Even though Truex failed to qualify for the Chase, he is a very capable driver. Texas appears to be an excellent opportunity for him to exhibit his driving skills. He has run only six times at Texas but has finished well there. His average finish is a respectable 13.8, which is skewed with a 36th-place result on his last visit due to an engine failure. In his last three Cup races he has an average finish of 13.0. Truex appears to be poised to have a top finish based on his historical track record and recent races. Truex looks to be a good choice for your team this week.

Kurt Busch | No. 2 Miller Lite Ford | Penske Racing

Busch has run 11 times at Texas. His average finish is 13.0, which includes seven top-10 finishes and no DNFs. He has never won at this track. He ran 23rd at his last race here which was not up to his career track record. Busch's average season's finish is 21.0, but he has run much stronger in his last three races with two top-10 finishes and an average finish of 15.0. Remember, Busch is a former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who is a very competitive driver. While most fantasy owners focus on the Chase drivers, Busch deserves consideration and is an interesting pick.

Greg Biffle | No. 16 3M Ford | Roush Fenway Racing

Biffle has caught fire and is racing very well. He is one of three drivers still in a position to challenge Jimmie Johnson for the title. Last week's 10th-place finish in the Pep Boys Auto 500 dropped Biffle further back, though. He needs a win to make up for lost ground, but Biffle's record at Texas does not appear impressive. He has run at Texas nine times and has one victory with an average finish of 26.1. In his nine races he has one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Texas has been a hit-or-miss track as evidenced by his three DNFs. Take into account his prior victory, which is precisely what he needs for this week's race.

Mark Martin | No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet | Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Anytime Martin races, he is a competitive force on the track. Martin has run 15 times at Texas with eight top-10 and five top-five finishes. Martin's experience is irreplaceable. His average finish at the track is 14.4, and he also has a victory. Count on Martin being in a position to win at Texas. Selecting Martin is a safe and wise choice. You can bet that there will be a lot of aggressive driving at Texas, and Martin's coolness is a definite asset. It would be a mistake to not consider Martin.

Clint Bowyer | No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet | Richard Childress Racing

Bowyer's 20th-place finish last week in the Pep Boys 500 race has all but ended his chances of winning the championship. He currently is ranked seventh the Chase standings, 314 points behind Jimmie Johnson. He has run only five times at Texas with two top-10 finishes, one top-five finish and no victories. His last visit at the track resulted in a 10th-place finish. He has shown consistent results at the track, never finishing worse than 19th. Bowyer is in a position to have a strong run at Texas. Don't look past him this week.

Drivers to Keep an Eye On

Kasey Kahne | No. 9 Budweiser Dodge | Gillett Evernham Motorsports

Texas is a track that Kahne has won at. His average finish of 22.0 in nine starts does not appear to be in line with the other drivers. His career record would be much improved without the three DNFs he has at Texas. He has two top-10 and two top-five finishes. In his last running at Texas he placed 25th in the Samsung 500 race. Kahne sits in 14th position in the Cup standings. Kahne has run hot at times this season and has also proven that he can win. He can be streaky, and he hopes he can turn around his consecutive 33rd-place finishes. Selecting Kahne could pay off in a big way.

Casey Mears | No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

Mears has nine starts at Texas. He has four top-10 finishes (including two top-fives) without a win. In those nine starts, Mears has an average finish of 15.4 and no DNFs. In his last race there, he finished 22nd without leading a lap. Currently he sits in a disappointing 21st place in the standings. Mears is a talented racer who races for arguably NASCAR's top team but just hasn't been able to showcase his abilities. Mears will run for Richard Childress Racing next year and wants to finish his season with a string of positive finishes. Mears looks to be in a position to deliver a strong run.

Juan Pablo Montoya | No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge | Chip Ganassi Racing

Montoya has run only three times at Texas. Since he has run at the track only three times, an accurate measurement of his abilities is difficult to gauge. His average finish there is 17.3 without a DNF. Many experts had anticipated Montoya making significant progress this season given his tremendous promise. He currently is in 24th place in the rankings and failed to make the Chase. Many believe that this is a track that he can break through at. Selecting Montoya at Texas might be a bit of a risk, but his talent is difficult to ignore. Montoya is a driver that could surprise many with a strong race.

Jamie McMurray | No. 26 Crown Royal Ford | Roush Fenway Racing

Prior to the season McMurray was counted on to be a serious contender. He has displayed the ability to win. He currently sits in 19th position but has shown some strong finishes this season. His record at Texas is very good with an average finish of 13.8 with five top-10 finishes (with two top-fives) in his nine starts. He has never won a race at Texas but does have a second-place result. Last week he finished seventh for his second top-10 in three races. McMurray's record shows that he can run well here. Select him if you have a spot for him.

David Gilliland | No. 38 CitiFinancial Ford | Yates Racing

Texas has not been a track that Gilliland has had much success with. He has run only four times at the track and his average finish is 20.8. Gilliland has no DNFs or top-10 finishes. He currently resides in 27th place in the standings. However, he did post a very strong second-place finish in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 race back in June. Gilliland has very little experience at Texas but has shown that he can run competitively. He may be a long shot, but most fantasy formats require teams to be partially filled with some low-ranked drivers. Gilliland deserves a look.

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About Bob Frykholm

Frykholm has been a KFFL contributor since February 2008.

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