The MENCS will compete at Texas Motor Speedway this week in the AAA Texas 400. This is one of the longer races of the season on the 1.5-mile tracks so starting position is not that important. Drivers will have plenty of time to make their way to the front Sunday.
There were a lot of good drivers who did not qualify well Friday evening. This is a good race to try and score as many place differential points this week, instead of chasing the 20 bonus points for winning the race. Kevin Harvick looks like he has the car to beat but the extra 100 miles means 10-12 pit stops Sunday. Can the No. 4 team avoid mistakes on that many stops? I am not sure.
Martin Truex Jr. has finished 8 of the 9 races on the 1.5-mile tracks this season in the top 5. The only race he failed to finish in the top 5 was at Texas in April, but the No. 78 was running 2nd when they had a tire go down. Truex qualified 13th and he is almost a lock to finish in the top 5.
Chase Elliott is almost in a must win situation if he wants to advance to Homestead. He qualified 16th so he will have a long way to go to get to Victory Lane. He can do it though. Elliott won from the 13th starting position 3 weeks ago at Kansas.
Kyle Larson started 40th in the last race at Texas and he quickly made his way to the front. He will have to do it again Sunday. Larson qualified 22nd. I am not worried about him starting this far back. He usually gets extra motivated when he has a lot of cars to pass.
Austin Dillon did it again. He qualified outside the top 20. He qualified outside the top 20 in 5 of the last 6 races. Dillon will start 26th Sunday. He qualified 23rd and finished 11th at Kansas 3 weeks ago. I think the No. 3 car can have a similar race Sunday.
Michael McDowell qualified 29th so he has the ability to score a lot of place differential points if he can simply stay out of trouble. I am not expecting much from McDowell, but his cheap price allows us to score a lot of points with our other drivers.
Martin Truex Jr. ($12,100) (Starts 13th)
Chase Elliott ($11,600) (Starts 16th)
Kyle Larson ($11,000) (Starts 22nd)
Austin Dillon ($9,500) (Starts 26th)
Michael McDowell ($5,800) (Starts 29th)
Good luck this week!
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