DFS NASCAR: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

DFS NASCAR: Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500

Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Texas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Laps: 334

Race Preview

Joey Logano held off Kevin Harvick to become the first to claim a spot among the final four drivers to race for the 2020 championship in Phoenix. The Penske Racing driver won a late race off of pit road and nailed the resulting restart to keep Harvick behind him as he put together a masterful defensive drive to the checkered flag. His win means the other seven remaining championship contenders have two races to claim one of the three remaining championship slots. This week's visit to Texas Motor Speedway will be the first of those chances. 

Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick finished first and second in July after pit strategy and well-timed cautions gave them the track position they needed to get out front. The pair then weathered multiple restarts to maintain those positions and get to the finish first. Ryan Blaney had dominated the race up to that point with 150 laps led and wins in the first and second stages.

Key Stats at Texas Motor Speedway

  • Number of races: 39
  • Winners from pole: 4
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 23
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 30
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
  • Fastest race: 160.577 mph

Previous 10 Texas Winners

2020 spring - Austin Dillon
2019 fall - Kevin Harvick
2019 spring - Denny Hamlin
2018 fall - Kevin Harvick
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kevin Harvick
2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2016 fall - Carl Edwards
2016 spring - Kyle Busch
2015 fall - Jimmie Johnson

Like last week, track position at Texas could be a deciding factor. Austin Dillon leveraged clean air and smooth restarts to score an unlikely win while Ryan Blaney and others struggled to get back to the front after losing that positioning. Track position is why drivers starting inside the top 10 tend to win there, too. Late race cautions have enabled multiple surprise winners on 1.5-mile ovals this season, though. Dillon was one beneficiary of that phenomenon, while Cole Custer also got his win with another unique finish at Kentucky. For all of those reasons, teams will work to stretch their fuel windows as long as possible, hoping for a caution to enable them to pit under yellow. Fantasy players should also expect two-tire stops to vault drivers forward in the running order hoping to stave off attacks from fresher tires behind them.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kevin Harvick - $11,000
Denny Hamlin - $10,800
Chase Elliott - $10,500
Ryan Blaney - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Joey Logano - $9,800
Brad Keselowski - $9,600
Jimmie Johnson - $9,400
Alex Bowman - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Erik Jones - $8,900
Clint Bowyer - $8,700
Kurt Busch - $8,500
William Byron - $8,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Tyler Reddick - $7,900
Matt DiBenedetto - $7,700
Christopher Bell - $7,200
Matt Kenseth - $7,100

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,000
Alex Bowman - $9,100
Erik Jones - $8,900
Austin Dillon - $7,500
Christopher Bell - $7,200
Michael McDowell - $6,100

Kevin Harvick (DK $11,000, FD $14,000) looks like the odds-on favorite to win this week's race at Texas. He had the fastest car a week ago at Kansas and finished second. He also won three of the last six Texas races and hasn't finished out of the top 10 there since 2014. Alex Bowman (DK $9,100, FD $10,000) is also a good consideration for rosters this week given his current momentum. He was third in Kansas and has two top-fives from the last four races before this week. He was fifth in this race last season. Erik Jones (DK $8,900, FD $10,700) had a difficult Kansas race but has been excellent at Texas. He finished in the top 10 in six of eight series starts at the track, including sixth in July from the 23rd starting position. Austin Dillon (DK $7,500, FD $9,000) used track position and clean restarts to win at Texas earlier this season, and he has been a consistent top-15 finisher there the past two to three seasons. Christopher Bell (DK $7,200, FD $7,400) finished 21st in July after starting 33rd. His starting spot of 15th should give him a much better chance of a good finish. He was 10th last week at Kansas. Michael McDowell (DK $6,100, FD $6,500) is then a logical option to finish the roster. His three top-15 Texas finishes in the last five trips to the track make him an attractive option with his starting spot of 23rd. 

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Chase Elliott - $10,500
Ryan Blaney - $10,000
Tyler Reddick - $7,900
Matt DiBenedetto - $7,700
Cole Custer - $7,300
Bubba Wallace - $6,600

Chase Elliott (DK $10,500, FD $12,500) has discovered his early-season pace just as the playoffs are heading toward a finale. He won at Charlotte and then finished sixth last week at Kansas. At Texas he has five top-10s and will start this week's race fourth. Ryan Blaney (DK $10,000, FD $11,600) was the one who dominated at Texas in July. He won both stages and then lost track position after a late caution worked against his pit strategy. That race was the second one at Texas where he led more than 140 laps, too. Tyler Reddick (DK $7,900, FD $9,200) was a beneficiary of that late caution and used it to finish second. He finished in that position twice in the Xfinity Series at the track, too. Matt DiBenedetto (DK $7,700, FD $8,000) has top-five finishes this season on the 1.5-mile ovals of Las Vegas and Kentucky. His best Texas finish was in this race last season when he finished 14th. He should have the speed to run in the top 10 this week with his team's partnership with Penske Racing, however. Fantasy players didn't get to see what Cole Custer (DK $7,300, FD $7,600) could do at Texas. He crashed out in July but won at the track in the Xfinity Series and finished in the top five out of six starts. Races are winding down before Bubba Wallace (DK $6,600, FD $6,000) heads to his new team. This could be a good week for him to grab another top finish before handing his current ride over to Erik Jones for the 2021 season. Bubba finished eighth in his first Texas start and then went on to finish 14th there in July.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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