Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

Best Bets - Texas

Be sure to follow on Twitter @TwitVI for the latest NASCAR updates and trends. Daniel E. Dobish, two-time FSWA Racing Writer of the Year, can be followed on Twitter at danieledobish.

Each week during the Monster Energy Cup Series (MENCS) regular season through the Chase, we'll take a look at the best Fantasy plays, as well as Futures and Wagers when applicable, to get you ready for the upcoming race week.

The MENCS heads back west a little to Texas Motor Speedway for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 from Fort Worth on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson (60/1) heads to Texas looking to snap his 65-race winless skid. He'll do so from the front, as he won his first pole of the season with a best speed of 188.890 mph in qualifying on Friday. In fact, it was a banner day of qualifying for the Hendrick team, as William Byron (150/1) and Chase Elliott (25/1) will start second and third respectively after also topping the 188 mph mark. Byron was a respectable 10th and 16th last season at TMS, while Elliott has managed to finish 11th or better in each of his first six career outings at the track. He leads all active drivers with an Average-Finish Position (AFP) of 7.2, turning in five top-10 showings with nine laps led.

Stewart-Haas Racing's Daniel Suarez (100/1) is the highest starting Ford, and one of only two cars from the manufacturer starting inside the Top 11 spots in Sunday's grid. Suarez didn't fare terribly well last season for JGR at this track, finishing 29th in the spring and 28th in the fall race. OVerall in four career starts he has a dismal 22.5 AFP while failing to lead any laps. His best finish was 14th in the fall race in 2017. He'll go off fourth to lead the SHR stable. Kevin Harvick (11/2) heads to Texas with no laps led over either of his previous three laps, which is rather shocking. He has managed two wins with 10 top-5s, 20 top-10s and 495 laps led with an AFP of 10.8 in 32 career starts. NASCAR's Loop Data shows him with a 129.0 Driver Rating across the past five starts, leading all drivers with 379 laps led while running 98.0 perecnt of his laps inside the Top 15.

SHR's Aric Almirola (25/1) goes into this one with zero top-5s and only two top-10s with no laps led in his 16 career starts at Texas with a 19.8 AFP and one DNF. He is set to start from the 21st position.

Penske Racing's Joey Logano (11/2) has managed a 112.1 Driver Rating over the past five stops in Texas, running 88.9 percent of his laps inside the Top 15 with 271 laps led, second only to Harvick. Logano has won this race once, while posting more than half (11) of his 21 starts inside the Top 10. He also has a 14.3 AFP, just ahead of his teammate Brad Keselowski (13/4), who has never won at Texas in 21 starts with a 15.8 AFP. He has led 639 laps at the track, fourth-most of all active drivers, but something always seems to happen near the end to subvert his chances of a checkered flag. He was 33rd and 12th at this race last season. Logano will go off eighth on Sunday, while Kes starts from the 12th position.

Penske's Ryan Blaney (9/1) is third among all active drivers with a 6.3 AFP over his past four Texas starts, showing improvement since some unevent results in his first few outings. He is 12th or better in five straight outings, including sixth or better in each of the past three starts. That includes a runner-up finish in last season's fall race in Fort Worth. He will start from the lucky No. 13 position on Sunday.

JGR's Denny Hamlin (25/1) is the highest starting Toyota in Sunday's grid, as he'll go off from the sixth position. Hamilton has won the wooden boot and silver six-shooters twice in his 26 career runs at TMS, turning in six top-5s, 12 top-10s and 232 laps led with an AFP of 13.7. The red-hot Kyle Busch (23/10) won the Gander Outdoor Truck Series race on Friday night in Texas, and he'll be gunning for the national-series weekend sweep. He has won this race three times in 26 starts, posting 12 top-5 finishes with an 11.8 AFP and 864 laps led. He won the spring race last season, and he has been to Victory Lane in two of the past six Texas starts. Rowdy will be looking to do damage from the 16th starting slot.

Martin Truex Jr. (7/1) has never won at this event in 27 starts while ending up in the Top 5 just four times with an AFP of 13.9. He has 595 laps led, but he also has four DNFs under his belt. MTJ checks in fourth over the past five starts at Texas with a 107.3 Driver Rating, according to NASCAR's Loop Data. He has led 222 laps during the span, too. Teammate Erik Jones (33/1) has had plenty of success at Texas, and he might be a nice sleeper. In five career starts he has two top-5s, three top-10s and 64 laps led with a 10.4 AFP. MTJ will go off from the 20th position, while Jones starts on the inside of Row 6 out of the 11th spot.

Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon (40/1) rolls into Sunday's race with 12 career starts under his belt, but this certainly hasn't been one of his best tracks. He has only one Top 10 while leading only seven laps with an AFP of 22.2. He did a good job in his No. 3 Chevy machine on Friday, qualifying in the fifth position, but he has never finished higher than 10th in this event while posting one DNF.

Alex Bowman (100/1) has been awful at this track in the past, posting a dismal 29.0 AFP in seven TMS starts. Paul Menard (150/1) qualified well, as he'll go off 14th in Sunday's race. However, he has never had a lot of success at this tri-oval, going for a 21.8 AFP in 25 career starts with only one Top 5 and only three laps led with four DNFs.

The top rookie in the field is Daniel Hemric (150/1), as he'll go off seventh after turning in a best speed of 186.819 mph on Friday.

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