Kyle Busch | No. 18 Snickers Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing
Busch got back to his winning ways at Texas earlier this season by capturing the April race from the pole with a race-high 171 laps led. He was also the only driver to spend all 334 laps running in the top 15. In fact, Rowdy never dropped any lower than ninth at any point in the race. Busch was also sharp in this race a year ago, leading 80 laps and finishing third after qualifying in the same position.
Busch ran well at Martsinville for much of the day but faded late to miss out on his sixth top-five of the Chase.
Greg Biffle | No. 16 3M "Hire Our Heros" Ford | Roush Fenway Racing
Over the last 10 Texas races, Biffle has recorded one victory, in the spring of 2012, and hasn't fallen outside the top 10. After years of strong qualifying efforts at Texas, the Biff slipped to 35th on the grid back in April but still managed his seventh top-five during the aforementioned span.
Biffle hasn't been as strong during the Chase but hasn't finished worse than 16th. He's heading to one of his better tracks with momentum, coming off a top-10 at Martinsville.
Kasey Kahne | No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports
Kahne has recorded an average running position of 12th or better in four straight Texas appearances. He won at the site back in 2006 but owns an otherwise sketchy history at the site until recently.
Outside a runner-up performance at Charlotte, where he led 138 laps, it's been a forgettable Chase for Kahne. However, these 1.5-mile cookie-cutter tracks are where Kahne is it his best, despite some uneven history at Texas.
Martin Truex Jr. | No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing
Over the last four Texas races, Truex has compiled three finishes of eighth or better. He's also qualified fifth or better in three straight. Earlier in the season Truex led 142 laps and finished in second after the first Texas showdown.
Truex has managed only two top-10s in the Chase so far but could prove to be a value if he looks good in practice.
Aric Almirola | No. 43 Farmland Ford | Richard Petty Motorsports
After placing 15th in this race a year ago, Almirola returned to Texas this spring to qualify on the second row and finish seventh.
Almirola didn't have a chance in the Charlotte Chase race due to an early incident but finished 10th at Kansas Speedway and 13th at Chicago Speedway, both 1.5-mile tracks albeit with different banking, earlier in the Chase. If you are looking for answers in the lower tier, Almirola is a driver to target.
Temper your expectations
Dale Earnhardt Jr. | No. 88 AMP Energy Gold/7-Eleven | Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports
At first glance, Earnhardt might look like a good play at Texas. Since 2010 he's scored five top-10s in seven races. The results are pretty sound, but he managed an average running position better than 10th only once during that span.
Earnhardt is riding a streak of six consecutive top-15s this season but could be overvalued on a track where he's been a little more lucky than good.
Carl Edwards | No. 99 Aflac Ford | Roush Fenway Racing
Edwards has finished eighth or better, with three podium finishes, in the last five Texas races. However, he spent less than 60 percent of his laps running in the top 15 in each of the last three.
Despite some good runs in the Chase, Edwards hasn't led multiple laps in a postseason race yet and looks to be running a step or two behind the truly elite drivers.
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.
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