Last weekend at Martinsville Speedway, Jimmie Johnson won the pole and went on to win the race. Apparently, he enjoyed it so much that he decided to try to do it again this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. He grabbed the pole for Sunday's race with a blistering lap Friday evening, and recent history says starting up front gives him a leg up on the competition. Five of the last seven winners have started in the top five, including three straight. It's not like Johnson needed much help anyway. He is a former winner at Texas, and he has finished second on five other occasions, including in the spring race earlier this year. After taking the top spot in the standings last weekend, the five-time champ could be stretching his lead this weekend.
Joining Johnson on the front row will be Greg Biffle, and he has all the makings of a strong fantasy option, as well. He has eight straight top-10 finishes at Texas, including four straight top-five finishes. Not to mention the fact that he is gunning for the season sweep at the 1.5-mile oval after outdueling Johnson for the victory in April. In general, Roush Fenway Racing was one of the big winners during qualifying with all three team cars qualifying in the top 10. As stout as Biffle has been at Texas, his teammates Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards have been equally impressive. Kenseth has four straight top-five finishes at the track, including a win last April. Meanwhile, Edwards is a three-time Texas winner, and he has finished eighth or better in his last three starts.
The other big winner was Michael Waltrip Racing. All three MWR drivers qualified 11th or better, led by championship contender Clint Bowyer's fourth-place effort. While his recent performances in the Chase alone are enough to earn him a spot on fantasy rosters, Bowyer has also finished in the top-10 in three of his last four starts at Texas. His teammate Martin Truex Jr. qualified in the top five, as well, and he has back-to-back top-10s at Texas. Last but not least, veteran Mark Martin has finished sixth or better in five of his last seven starts at the track, including a third-place run earlier this year.
Between RFR and MWR, fantasy owners have six cars starting in the top 11 with a proven history of success at Texas, and that doesn't even include the pole-sitter Johnson and fellow title contender Brad Keselowski, who qualified eighth. However, owners looking for a couple of sleeper options may want to consider Trevor Bayne and Aric Almirola. Bayne qualified seventh and has finished 17th in three of his four Cup starts at Texas. Almirola, on the other hand, has been on a roll lately. He finished 12th at Charlotte, was fighting for the lead at Kansas and finished fourth last weekend at Martinsville. Both drivers could crack the top 15 this weekend.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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