ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 30 FOR TEXAS
1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson led 193 laps at Martinsville en route to his fourth win of 2012. In 18 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Johnson has one win (2007), eight Top 5s and 13 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 9.7. He finished second with a race-high 156 laps led in the April event. He’s led at least one lap in five of his last seven starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid three times. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Johnson ranks fourth in Driver Rating (100.6) and fifth in Average Running Position (11.7). He leads the Chase standings by two points and knows how to close out a championship. His experience alone makes him the top Fantasy option in all formats for the rest of the season.
2. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski fared well at Martinsville, finishing sixth with eight laps led. In 13 Texas starts, Keselowski has an Average Finish of 23.2. He started eighth and finished with a 36th-place DNF in April’s event. He’s led at least two laps in two of his last three starts. Keselowski ranks 28th in DR (63.2) and 27th in ARP (23.2). He’s two points behind Johnson, but it’s fair to raise the question of whether or not to be concerned about how he will respond to being caught by the No. 48. Based on his past performances under pressure, Keselowski will hold up just fine and should be a Fantasy asset until Homestead. Start him in all formats with confidence.
3. Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished third at Martinsville with 12 laps led. In 16 starts at TMS, Kahne has one win (2006), four Top 5s, five Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 18.8. He finished seventh in the spring race. He led five laps in the November 2011 event. Kahne ranks 16thin DR (82.8) and in ARP (16.0). With four Top 5s in the Chase, Kahne has kept himself championship relevant even though he’s 29 points off the pace. He’s especially good on 1.5-mile intermediate tracks and needs to be in all Tiered/Grouping formats lineups.
4. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished 14th with one lap led last week. In 20 TMS starts, Kenseth has two wins (2002, 2011), 11 Top 5s and 14 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 8.6. He started second and finished fifth with 15 laps led in the April event. He’s led at least one lap in 14 of his starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid six times. Kenseth leads all competitors in DR (107.2) and ARP (9.2). He’s out of contention, but two wins in his last four Cup starts can’t be ignored. That trend, combined with his excellent history at Texas makes him the top value play in all formats.
5. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer led a season-high 154 laps and finished fifth at Martinsville. In 13 starts at Texas, Bowyer has three Top 5s and seven Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.3. He finished 17th in the April race. He led 44 laps in the April 2011 event. He’s qualified inside the Top Four twice. Bowyer ranks 10th in DR (90.9) and ninth in ARP (13.4). He sits a distant third in the Chase standings, but has been hot enough as of late (Average Finish of fourth in last three starts) not to be counted out. He’s another must-start Tiered/Grouping format option.
6. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin’s phenomenal 2012 run came to an end at Martinsville as he posted a 33rd-place finish. In 14 TMS starts, Hamlin has two wins (2010 sweep), five Top 5s and eight Top 10s with an Average Finish of 10.3. He finished 12th back in the April race. He’s led at least two laps in three of his last six starts. His best start on the grid is seventh. Hamlin ranks seventh in DR (94.6) and eighth in ARP (12.6). Despite being out of contention, the No. 11 will be highly competitive at a track where he’s enjoyed a lot of success. He’ll come at a solid value because he will be so far off other Fantasy owners’ radars.
7. Jeff Gordon: Gordon finished seventh at Martinsville with 92 laps led. In 23 Texas starts, Gordon has one win (2009), eight Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 16.2. He posted a fourth-place finish and led two laps in the spring race. He’s led at least one lap in eight of his last 11 starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid seven times. Gordon ranks ninth in DR (91.3) and 10th in ARP (14.0). From a Fantasy perspective, things remain status quo for Gordon; blew his chances in the Chase opener but remains a great value play in all formats. He can be started with confidence at Texas.
8. Greg Biffle: Biffle finished in 10th-place at MS. In 17 starts at Texas, Biffle has two wins (2005, 2012), seven Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 16.2. The Biff started third and led 90 laps en route to his second win at the site in April. He’s led at least two laps in seven of his last eight starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid five times. Biffle ranks second in DR (103.3) and seventh in ARP (12.6). He leads all drivers in Laps Led (732). He’s a very sneaky value play this weekend, as Texas is one of his stronger tracks.
9. Tony Stewart: Smoke followed up a Top 5 finish at Kansas with a 27th-place disappointment at Martinsville. In 21 TMS starts, Stewart has two wins (2006, 2011), five Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 13.1. He finished 24th back in the April event. He’s led at least 12 laps in four of his last seven starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid twice. Stewart ranks third in DR (102.5) and second in ARP (9.6). He’s very streaky, but his upside is well documented. Fantasy owners that need to take a chance this weekend would do well to roll Stewart.
10. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. finished 23rd at MS. In 14 starts at TMS, Truex Jr. has one Top 5, seven Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 16.1. He started from the pole and led 69 laps before finished sixth in the April race. He’s led at least two laps in four of his starts. He’s qualified fourth-or-better three times. Truex Jr. ranks 13th in DR (85.0) and 14th in ARP (15.2). He hasn’t led a lap since the Chase began, but is just two races removed from a second-place performance. He should be slotted into all provisional Tiered/Grouping format lineups.
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: One win (2000), three Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 13.9 in 20 Texas starts. 92.8 DR.
12. Kevin Harvick: Three Top 5s and nine Top 10s with an Average Finish of 12.7 in 19 starts at TMS. 84.8 DR.
13. Mark Martin: One win (1998), eight Top 5s and 13 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.3 in 23 starts at Texas. 89.0 DR.
14. Kyle Busch: Four Top 5s and five Top 10s with an Average Finish of 15.8 in 14 TMS starts. 96.8 DR.
15. Carl Edwards: Three wins (2005, 2008 sweep), five Top 5s and seven Top 10s with an Average Finish of 15.0 in 15 Texas starts. 99.2 DR.
16. Kurt Busch: Won the 2009 race at Texas. 89.0 DR.
17. Ryan Newman: Won the 2003 event at Texas. 70.2 DR.
18. Marcos Ambrose: Led at least one lap in two of his last three Texas starts. 84.3 DR.
19. Jeff Burton: Two wins at TMS (1997, 2007). 81.8 DR.
20. Jamie McMurray: Finished 14th in the April race. 76.4 DR.
21. A.J. Allmendinger: 71.4 DR.
22. Paul Menard: 69.7.
23. Sam Hornish Jr.: 55.8.
24. Joey Logano: 61.7.
25. Juan Pablo Montoya: 75.5.
26. Trevor Bayne
27. Aric Almirola
28. Bobby Labonte
29. Danica Patrick
30. David Ragan