The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

NASCAR DFS: AutoTrader Echopark Automotive 400 Preview

Another week in the books for the 2024 NASCAR season. Unfortunately, it was another dry and spiritless race in the short-track package. That’s a tough stretch when you consider three of the last four races have been run on short tracks. At least Bristol was run in the intermediate package. But for the upcoming week, we have to Texas Motor Speedway. This is routinely regarded as the worst track on the schedule. Surprisingly, it used to have two races each year. But when this track was reconfigured, it resulted in boring racing. Texas often gets criticized for being a single-groove track. Track position matters in the sense that the leader gets the clean air, and everyone after that driver struggles to pass. So this isn’t a particularly exciting week. However, we can still dig into this week’s AutoTrader Echopark Automotive 400 preview.

Texas Motor Speedway is one of those cookie-cutter, 1.5-mile tri-ovals. It’s long faced criticisms for poor racing. They made an effort in 2016 to repave the track after several complaints about how long the track took to dry in the event of rain. So they finally re-paved the track and it still hasn’t provided great racing. Even with the NextGen car thriving on intermediate tracks, Texas has struggled. As recent as last July, there were rumors the track would be renovated once again. Alas, no official word yet. So we push forward toward another underwhelming race.

Never played Fantasy NASCAR? Head on over to Fantrax and give one of our public leagues a go. Leagues are still filling up! There’s no better time than now to give it a try!

AutoTrader Echopark Automotive 400 Preview: The Top Plays

William Byron (#24 Chevrolet)

We get started with the AutoTrader Echopark Automotive 400 preview with the winner of last week’s race. Going with Byron this week isn’t all that bold. And yet, can he win his third race in four weeks? He already has three wins this year: a superspeedway (Daytona), a road course (COTA), and a short track (Martinsville). It’s time for an intermediate win in 2024. Byron won at Texas last September and in 2021 he led 42 laps at this track but finished seventh. The big thing with Texas this weekend will be track position. And we’ve seen Byron win without the best car. That’s largely because his pit crew is so outstanding because they help him gain spots on pit road. Perhaps we see the 24-car in victory lane once again.

Kyle Larson (#5 Chevrolet)

We pivot right to Byron’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Larson’s NextGen results aren’t great at Texas. However, he’s had plenty of speed. He led 99 laps in this race last year but wrecked. He also led 19 laps in 2022. So 118 laps led in the NextGen car in two races at Texas. Moreover, we can’t forget the 2021 race at Texas where he led 256 laps (and Byron led 55). We just saw Larson lead 181 laps at Vegas last month in a winning effort. If there’s one track type he can go out and take advantage of the clean air, it’s one like Texas.

Ryan Blaney (#12 Ford)

Blaney appeared in the “Wouldn’t Bet Against Them” section when we previewed this race last September. Blaney went on to showcase great speed in that race. But the finish wasn’t what we were hoping for. Ryan from iFantasyRace sums up Blaney’s performance perfectly. The wreck was just a death sentence. However, the reason he was back there was because of a costly pit road penalty. At a track that can be difficult to pass at, we can’t afford penalties. Blaney did finish third at Vegas last month in a race where he said he just couldn’t compete with Larson and Reddick. But he is the defending Cup Series champion and he finished fourth here in 2022. We also shouldn’t forget that he won the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race which was held at Texas while leading 84 laps.

AutoTrader Echopark Automotive 400 Preview: Wouldn’t Bet Against Them

Denny Hamlin (#11 Toyota)

It’s definitely odd to not have Hamlin in the section above. If we were to expand that section to four drivers, he’d get in. We know how awesome the Toyota’s have been in recent years at an intermediate track like Kansas. At Vegas last month, Hamlin started P28 and finished eighth with 16 laps led. Hamlin finished fifth here last year and 10th in 2022’s playoff race at Texas. Hamlin’s pit crew if definitely good enough to help him get to the front. He also has three career wins at Texas and he’s led laps in every race this year. Call it more of a gut feeling, but I just like Blaney a little bit more this week.

Tyler Reddick (#45 Toyota)

Reddick did grab a win at Texas in the NextGen car back in 2022. He followed that up by leading 36 laps last year but finished 25th. But overall, speed last year on intermediates was there for Reddick. He was routinely top 10 in speed on the intermediates and even top five at a couple as well. I’m just a little weary of putting him in the section above. Reddick was second at Vegas, which is great when dissecting intermediate data. However, we likely need a little more than just a good finish from him to be optimal in our NASCAR DFS lineups. He enters Texas with three straight top 10 finishes, but just five laps led in his last four races.

Brad Keselowski (#6 Ford)

Yes, yes, yes. After a couple of weeks away, Keselowski makes his return for the AutoTrader Echopark Automotive 400 preview. I just couldn’t resist. The track history speaks for itself. In the last five points-paying races at Texas, Keselowski hasn’t finished worse than ninth. He even led 31 laps in the 2022 race. And if we do include the two All-Star races at Texas, he’s also finished second and ninth. Obviously, he’s not thrilled that he doesn’t have a win in over 100 races. But there’s been speed in the 6-car even if the results haven’t been there. I won’t go out of my way to allude that he wins. But he’s qualified P1 and P3 in the two NextGen races at Texas. If he can get out front early, he’s a candidate to get some dominator points and a top 10 finish.

The Sleepers and Values

Daniel Suarez (#99 Chevrolet)

I thought about going with Ross Chastain in one of the sections above. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite make the cut. So I’ll mention his teammate instead. Oddly enough, this is a good track for Suarez. And it makes sense as this may be considered one of his “home” tracks given his close ties and heritage to Mexico. Suarez has finished 8th and 12th in the NextGen car at Texas while also finishing fifth in the 2022 All-Star Race. But even if you go back to 2019, his lone year with Stewart-Haas Racing, he finished third in both Texas races, then was top 10 in his first year with Trackhouse Racing back in 2021. Sneaky win potential here? It’s actually possible. He finished 11th with 15 laps led at Vegas this year and he pulled off the stunning win at Atlanta.

Chase Briscoe (#14 Ford)

This probably isn’t the prototypical track type we want for Briscoe. He started P6 and finished 21st at Vegas earlier this year. But he’s finished 13th or better in four of his last five races entering Texas. However, none of those races have been on comparable tracks. But Briscoe has done a great job with qualifying. He’s qualified P9 or better in five races this season. Texas has strangely been one of Briscoe’s best tracks. To be fair, he’s avoided unnecessary carnage at this track. His driver rating in both races at Texas in the NextGen era has been under 70. And yet he’s still started P30 and P31 but finished top 10 in both races. It’s not easy to move up at this track. But if we can get some more chaos, who is to say Briscoe can’t excel once again?

Ty Dillon (#16 Chevrolet)

After back-to-back disappointing outings, even after appearing in the NASCAR DFS preview articles, I won’t mention Austin Dillon this week. Even with a new crew chief and engineer, he couldn’t put it together at Martinsville. Instead, I’ll write up his brother. Ty Dillon is no longer a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. However, he is on the entry list in the 16-car for Kaulig Racing. Full disclosure, Kaulig has been fairly bad this year aside from the drafting races. But Dillon does have experience in the NextGen car, especially at Texas. He’s finished top 20 in both Texas races the last two years. We aren’t targeting him for win equity. However, he likely qualifies poorly and should start deep in the field once again. Thus, he’ll likely offer some position differential at a cheap price.

Fantrax is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites in the fantasy sports industry, and we’re not stopping any time soon. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.