Kevin Harvick appeared to be sitting pretty Sunday at Kansas, having led 85 of the 219 laps run. However, a pit stop with 48 laps remaining would wind up costing him in the end. After beating Harvick out of the pit stalls, Joey Logano would manage to get the jump he needed on the final restart. For the next 41 laps, Logano would use every advantage he could in order to hold Harvick at bay.
On a few occasions, it looked like Harvick would make the pass for the lead and leave Logano in the dust. However, to Logano’s credit, he was able to perform some well-timed blocks and rely on the dirty air in order to capture the win. Alex Bowman, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch would round out the top five. With the win, Logano is the first of four drivers to have secured his spot for the Championship Four in Phoenix.
Of the remaining seven drivers, Harvick currently sits in the best position, 41 points above the cutoff line. Denny Hamlin is 21 points back of Harvick, as a late brush with the wall this past Sunday cost him valuable positions. Of the four top drivers, Keselowski is certainly in the most vulnerable situation. He nurses an eight point lead over Chase Elliott for the final spot in the round of four.
Now, it is onto Fort Worth, TX for the second of three round of 8 races. Texas Motor Speedway is an Intermediate Course, 1.44 miles in length, and has a quad-oval design. Austin Dillon was the latest Cup Series winner here back in late July. Previous runner-up Harvick will start on pole this Sunday, opposite last week’s winner in Logano.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the driver options for this Sunday’s event. Here are the high salary, mid-range, and value selections for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500. Best of luck to everyone with your lineups this weekend.
Ryan Blaney (11,600 FD | 10,000 DK)
Blaney is a bit overlooked as a potential dominator this week. It was here in July that he would lose out on the win due to an ill-timed pit-cycle, after having led 150 of 334 laps. In fact, over his last seven visits to Texas, Blaney ranks behind only Harvick in laps led, having racked up 383 in total. Slated to start in the 10th position, Blaney should be a dark horse to capture points through fastest lap, laps led, and place differential. Keep in mind that Blaney has picked up five top-eight finishes in his last six Texas races.
Erik Jones (10,700 FD | 8,900 DK)
After many weeks of not knowing where Jones would land in 2021. News came down this past week that he would take over the No. 43 car next season. Jones now gets an opportunity at Texas, a track on which he has been quite convincing during the last couple seasons. Consider that in four of his past five visits to the Speedway, Jones has nailed down a top six or better result. Slated to come off the line 17th, he should hold tough inside the top 10. In July, Jones cracked the top six after starting out 23rd.
Tyler Reddick (9,200 FD | 7,900 DK)
Reddick rolled the dice with a fuel-only strategy during the late-race caution here in July. The gamble would pay off, as Reddick advanced to the race lead on lap 308 of 334. He finished as the runner-up after being bested by RCR teammate Dillon. In two of his last three Xfinity meetings at Texas, Reddick has put together a pair of runner-up performances. Tabbed to start in the 19th position, expect Reddick to be a strong challenger for a top 12 result.
Matt Kenseth (7,200 FD | 7,100 DK)
Kenseth let us down last week due to an early crash involving Jones. However, he is in a great spot to reward owners with a solid bounce-back performance this weekend. Over his 31 series visits to Texas, Kenseth has finished outside the top 20 just three times. Coming off the starting line in the 32nd position Sunday, Kenseth should be able to put together around a dozen or more bonus points due to place differential. He could make for a nice bookend addition to fill out the back end of your roster.
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