With just three races left in the season, the NASCAR field heads to Fort Worth for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway. This 1.5-mile intermediate track was built in 1996 as a quad-oval with 24-degree banking on the turns. The straights are just five degrees of banking and measure at 2,250 feet (or 0.43 miles) and 1,330 feet (0.25 miles).
This track has had a different winner in each of the past six races and nine of the past 10 starts in Fort Worth. Denny Hamlin is the only two-time winner during this stretch. Kyle Busch is the defending champion of this race, as he won from the pole at this track on April 13.
Drivers to Watch
Matt Kenseth (4/1) – When it comes to 1.5-mile tracks, look no further than Kenseth, who has won four times at this distance this season, taking home wins at Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky and Chicago to open the Chase for the Cup in which he’s currently leading. Kenseth has performed well in Texas too with finishes of 4th, 5th and 4th before a disappointing 12th-place showing in the spring. The odds are pretty short, but that’s because Kenseth is the one driver to wager on as the most likely to take home the checkered flag for Sunday’s race.
Greg Biffle (20/1) – After going off at 7-to-1 in the spring race in Texas, Biffle’s odds have nearly tripled for this race. Not only did Biffle win at this track in the spring of 2012, but he’s ripped off 10 straight top-10’s at this track, seven of those which were top-5’s. This run included 4th-place showing in the April race at Fort Worth. Biffle is usually strong on 1.5-mile venues too, as he’s 12th in driver points over the past four races on such tracks. At 20-to-1, Biffle clearly represents the best value on the board for Sunday.
Kevin Harvick (12/1) – Another 1.5-mile track wizard, Harvick has been huge at this distance over the past four races with an average finish of 4.8. After placing 9th in Atlanta, he came in 3rd place at Chicago before winning at Kansas and placing 6th at Charlotte. His career in Fort Worth hasn’t been too shabby either with 10 top-10’s, including six of his past 10 starts in Texas. With five top-6 showings in his past seven starts this season, Harvick is worthy of a sizable wager for Sunday.
Joey Logano (20/1) – If you’re looking for a darkhorse, take a flier on Logano. He placed 11th in last fall’s race at this track, and then finished 5th in the spring. Just as important is his recent success at 1.5-mile tracks, placing 2nd in Atlanta in September and 4th at Kansas in October. Logano’s odds are long enough here to warrant dropping a one-unit wager on in.
Marcos Ambrose (100/1) – The token longshot pick of the week goes to Ambrose who has at least made some noise in the past four starts on 1.5-mile tracks with an average finish of 13.5, including a 9th-place showing in Kansas. He’s also logged a respectable 15.6 average finish in the past five races in Texas that he was able to complete. With six top-10’s on the season, Ambrose provides the best triple-digit odds for the weekend.