Sunday, September 26, 2021

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OPR Staff Fantasy Picks for NNS and NSCS at Texas Motor Speedway

The stars of the Sprint Cup Series head from one of NASCAR’s smallest tracks to the Lonestar state to tackle the 1.5-mile oval known as Texas Motor Speedway. They say that everything is bigger in Texas so perhaps this’ll be the biggest race of the season so far.

Meanwhile after having a week off, the stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be back this weekend looking for a win. Will it be another dominating performance by the Sprint Cup double-dippers? Or will one of the series regulars take home the win?

With both scheduled race this weekend, each OPR staff member was welcomed to post their picks that they had for this weekend’s race. Each member was asked to submit three picks for the Cup race and three picks for the Nationwide race. The Nationwide Series fantasy pick will have special rules as one of their three drivers must be a series regular.

After checking the statistics and their guts, here is what they came up with.


Nationwide Series

Journalist Name: Marshall Gabell
Pick #1: Kyle Busch – How can you deny Kyle Busch’s talent, especially in the Nationwide Series? This weekend in Forth Worth, Texas Busch will have an outstanding performance, winning the race, and leading the most laps. His average finish at the Texas Motor Speedway is 8.1 – best among active drivers. Also, 85 percent of his laps at Texas in the NNS have been run inside the top 15 – again, best among active drivers. Those are just a few of the many reasons why the No. 54 will be sitting in victory lane, again, this weekend.
Pick #2: Kevin Harvick – Busch won’t easily cruise to the victory this weekend; he’ll be irritated by Kevin Harvick all afternoon. Harvick’s average in the lone star state is 9.2 – second to the Busch. With the new team, JR Motorsports, I think Harvick will run strong on Saturday, and if Busch has issues, he could be the one celebrating.
Pick #3: Ty Dillon – Saturday will be the breakthrough race for Ty Dillon, a race where he can prove his legitimacy to the entire NASCAR fan base with a good showing. His NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stats in Forth Worth are also quite impressive. He won at the difficult 1.5 mile track in the Truck Series last year, and has finished in the top 10 at Texas in the NCWTS five times, and has only five starts at the track. Therefore, Dillon will carry that prior success into the NNS and could possibly shock the nation with a victory.

Journalist Name: Tayler Stiles
Pick #1 & #2: Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick
– Whenever these two are racing in the Nationwide Series, they’re always at the front of the field contending for the win.
Pick #3: Chase Elliott – He has had a good run the last couple of weeks, and I don’t think a small hiatus is going to change that.

Journalist Name: Ashley McCubbin
Pick #1: Kyle Busch – In the Nationwide Series races this year, it’s been Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski at the front battling for the win (besides Daytona). Busch has won at Texas in the past in the Nationwide Series and Keselowski isn’t in the race this weekend so he should be clear for the win.
Pick #2: Kevin Harvick  – In each of the Nationwide races this year that Harvick has ran, he has finished inside the top five each week and put his JR Motorsports Chevrolet in contention to win. Don’t expect that to change this weekend.
Pick #3: Chase Elliott – In both intermediate races this year, Elliott has finished inside the top six with a six that Fontana despite getting into the wall and a fourth at Las Vegas. Elliott continues to run inside the top 10 each week and Texas has produced first time winners in the past. Could this be the weekend?

Sprint Cup Series

Journalist Name: Marshall Gabell
Pick #1: Matt Kenseth – It’s time for last year’s, championship form, Matt Kenseth to return – and that will occur when he shoots the guns in Texas on Sunday. It’s hard to bet against the former Cup champion at this track, he’s just that good. His average finish is 6.5 – no typo, it’s really 6.5 – which is astounding at any track in today’s NASCAR society. With that stat, you can almost assure yourself that the No. 20 will be riding into victory circle this weekend, giving him a spot in this year’s Chase.
Pick #2: Greg Biffle – Again, no typo. Greg Biffle loves Texas, and this weekend, if circumstances present themselves, and the No. 16 team gambles on strategy, then Biffle could be standing in victory lane come Sunday. His average finish at the track is 13.5 – which isn’t the best, but still decent. With the new Chase system, wins are everything, and this might be the best opportunity for the Biff to breakthrough and get that elusive playoff clinching win.
Pick #3: Jimmie Johnson – Jimmie Johnson might be in my top three picks every week, he’s just hard to pick against. This weekend, however, he won’t be winning, he’ll finish third. JJ and Chad Knaus just haven’t been able to seal the deal this season, and I don’t think it’ll happen in Texas either. His average finish is 8.5 in Texas, which is second best among active drivers, but it doesn’t seem 6-time has the swagger or confidence to cruise into victory lane this weekend.

Journalist Name: Tayler Stiles
Pick #1: Dale Jr – Jr is in the middle of a strong year and I don’t see it fading soon.
Pick #2: Jimmie Johnson – He is starting to get faster cars, and I would expect to see him in victory lane soon.
Pick #3: Matt Kenseth – Kenseth is typically great at Texas and I don’t expect him to stop now despite the rocky season.

Journalist Name: Ashley McCubbin
Pick #1 – Dale Earnhardt Jr – Jr is in the midst of a strong start this year and that definately helps confidence. When Earnhardt is confident, he runs strong. If you add in that Texas Motor Speedway has been a strong track for him in the past, it should be a good combination
Pick #2 – Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has been strong the past couple of weeks and on the edge of breaking through the door for his first Sprint Cup win of the season. Don’t think you can keep the six-time champ out of victory lane much longer as this could be the win.
Pick #3: Kyle Busch – A couple weeks ago at Fontana, it was Kyle Busch that found victory lane. Success on one intermediate track normally brings success on another. Busch also had been successful at Texas in the past, winning last year’s spring event.


Feel you can do better than the journalists? Post your picks to the facebook page or e-mail them to me at

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