This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Course: Texas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
NASCAR AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Preview
The NASCAR Cup Series kicks off its next round of championship eliminations this week at Texas Motor Speedway with the AutoTrader EchoPark 400. Denny Hamlin scored the victory last week to enter the next playoff round with momentum on his side. The championship points have been reset and only 12 drivers remain in contention to race for this year's championship. Tyler Reddick was one of the three playoff contenders to have won a race in the opening round, and he will look to do the same in this one by successfully defending his Texas win from last season. He led 70 laps on his way to victory that day, while Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney claimed stage wins. All three of those drivers are still standing in this year's championship fight, and the battle to be one of the final eight drivers gets underway this week at Texas.
Key Stats at Texas Motor Speedway
- Number of races: 42
- Winners from pole: 5
- Winners from top-5 starters: 25
- Winners from top-10 starters: 33
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
- Fastest race: 160.577 mph
Previous 10 Texas Winners
2022 - Tyler Reddick
2021 - Kyle Larson
2020 fall - Kyle Busch
2020 spring - Austin Dillon
2019 fall - Kevin Harvick
2019 spring - Denny Hamlin
2018 fall - Kevin Harvick
2018 spring - Kyle Busch
2017 fall - Kevin Harvick
2017 spring - Jimmie Johnson
Texas Motor Speedway is a high-banked and fast 1.5-mile quad oval. The track configuration is is most similar to Charlotte Motor Speedway, but Texas is a bit unique. What separated the tracks is steepness through each set of corners. Turns 1 and 2 at Texas feature shallower banking than turns 3 and 4, which forces teams to find a setup that will perform well at both ends of the track. The more shallow banking does not mean the lap speeds are much slower, though. Texas enables fast cars to separate themselves from the field early, and long green flag periods make it hard for cars that aren't handling well to stay in contention. Therefore, cautions and restarts are critical in allowing teams a chance to make adjustments or pick up track position. Having the chance to make adjustments early can save a race, while track position gained on pit road can also turn around an otherwise difficult day. Teams will need to stay on top of their adjustments with the impact that dirty air in traffic can have. Cars that work well in the lead may be an entirely different animal in traffic. Staying on top of handling and avoiding mistakes on pit road will be critical enablers of success this week.
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DraftKings Value Picks for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
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DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
NASCAR DFS Picks for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
High prices for the top playoff contenders at Texas make compiling a worthy lineup a challenge this week. The lower-risk option will start with William Byron (DK $10,800, FD $12,500), though. Byron finished seventh at Texas last season and is again joint top of the standings following the points reset. With a total of four top-10s from eight Texas starts Byron brings the potential for a victory as well as significant laps led. He led a total 97 laps the last two times out at Texas. Brad Keselowski (DK $8,900, FD $9,500) has also stood up as a legitimate championship contender. He hasn't won a race yet this season, but he appears to be peaking at the right time. His average finish in the first round of elimination races was 7.7 and he has been productive at Texas through his 26 starts. Last season, he started on pole and led 31 laps before finishing eighth. Similarly, Bubba Wallace (DK $8,600, FD $8,200) is finding his best form of the season. He unexpectedly advanced to this round and poses a threat to advance again with Talladega on the schedule next week. Don't discount him at Texas, though. His best finish at the track was eighth in 2018 and he'll be hunting stage points again this week. Joey Logano (DK $8,100, FD $8,000) is the lineup's first non-playoff driver. Unfortunate results the first three playoff races eliminated his championship hopes, but he remains a threat to steal victories. Team Penske has been fast at Texas in the past, and Logano won there in 2014. He finished second last year, too. Alex Bowman (DK $7,700, FD $7,000) should also have upside potential this week. He has two top-five Texas finishes on his resume and he has moved back into top-15 form through the last five races heading into the weekend. Boosting everyone with more Penske speed should be Austin Cindric (DK $5,800, FD $6,000). While Cindric has struggled as of late, he finished 15th in this race last season, and faster ovals have been the sites of his better finishes this season.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
The first few selections in the higher-risk lineup aren't very risky. Tyler Reddick (DK $10,200, FD $12,000) won a race in the last round of eliminations and finished second in another. Reddick is also this race's defending winner. He starts this round of elimination races on the cutoff line, but a repeat Texas win would see him through to the next. Ryan Blaney (DK $9,400, FD $11,000) didn't advance through the first playoff round with a win like Reddick, but his path here was relatively comfortable. Blaney has work to do, starting 11th in the reset points, but he has been a fixture in the top 10 lately and finished eighth or better in eight of his last nine Texas starts. Like Blaney, Ross Chastain (DK $8,500, FD $8,500) successfully navigated the first round of playoff eliminations. Doing so again only gets harder, but Chastain has also stepped up his finishes since the playoffs began. With a little more consistency, Chastain could be replicating last year's success. He finished 13th at Texas last season, leading one lap. Another top-15 this week would continue his recent run of form and give him a solid base from which to push for the next playoff round in the following two races. Given his breakout season in 2022, last year's 13th-place finish is arguably the most representative of what his potential may be again in this week's race. Ty Gibbs (DK $7,900, FD $7,800) has a lot to be proud of after Bristol. He led 102 laps that night on his way to a fifth-place finish, which was his third of the season. He raced at Texas last year and finished 20th. With a full season under his belt in 2023, he is bound to do even better this week. A top-15 is a minimum expectation from him this week, but a top-10 should be within reach. Erik Jones (DK $7,300, FD $7,500) also has wind in his sails. He has two top-10s from the last three races and is starting to find traction with Legacy Motor Club. Whatever he and the team discovered a handful of weeks ago has paid off with their best finishes of the season. He finished sixth at Texas last season and has only finished lower than 12th at the track twice out of his 11 career starts. A new name NASCAR Cup Series fans should get acquainted with is Carson Hocevar (DK $6,500, FD $5,800). The NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series playoff contender is attempting his fifth Cup start of the season this week. He has a Truck Series win at Texas and ran in the top 10 last week at Bristol. He is preparing for a future step up to this series and is making a name for himself on the way there.