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RaceDayScore Indycar: Firestone 600

C.J. Radune

Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Author's Note: This is a repost of an article that originally ran on June 8. The Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway officially got underway in June before rain forced the event to be postponed after 71 laps were completed. Racing resumes this weekend at the 1.5-mile quad-oval, but two contenders will be missing in Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden. The pair tangled early and will take no further part this week as James Hinchcliffe will resume the final 177 laps as the leader, just as the race was halted.

Firestone 600

Location: Fort Worth, Tex.
Course: Texas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile quad-oval
Laps: 248

Race Preview

After dual races last week in Detroit, the IndyCar series gears up for another fast oval. The four flat turns of Indianapolis will be replaced by the high-banked circuit of Texas Motor Speedway. While Penske Racing continued their dominance of the 2016 season on Detroit’s road course, Honda and Sebastien Bourdais snuck in a win on a weekend that clearly had a Penske flavor. The Honda-powered contingent could continue some of the gains they had at Indianapolis this week in Texas, where the full-throttle action will be more similar to that of a street, too. While Chip Ganassi Racing won the most recent Texas race, Saturday night’s event could be wide open given the races we’ve seen in the past two weeks, and Penske could very well make their cars a dominant force to beat again.

Key Stats at Texas Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 27
Winners from pole: 6
Winners from top-5 starters: 18
Winners from top-10 starters: 23
Lowest starting position to win: 17
Fastest race (current distance): 191.940 mph

Previous Texas Winners

2015 - Scott Dixon
2014 - Ed Carpenter
2013 - Helio Castroneves
2012 - Justin Wilson
2011 Race 2 - Will Power
2011 Race 1 - Dario Franchitti
2010 - Ryan Briscoe
2009 - Helio Castroneves
2008 - Scott Dixon
2007 - Sam Hornish Jr.

Texas Motor Speedway has a knack for producing some of the closest racing in the IndyCar series. Some of the closest finishes in IndyCar history have happened at the track due to the ability to race the cars full throttle throughout a fuel run. The cars have lost the pack racing the track used to produce, but close, wheel-to-wheel action can still be expected this Saturday. Scott Dixon won last year’s accident-free race. He had a seven-second advantage, and some of that gap between cars can be expected again this season. Being that this is the second time the series has visited the track with the current aerodynamic configuration, we should reasonably expect a closer race, however. Penske’s Simon Pagenaud has been the strongest driver so far this season. He led 59 laps here last year, so fantasy players should expect him to be a contender again this year along with his teammates.

RACE DAY SCORE VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

Tier 1 Values

Simon Pagenaud - $12,000
Scott Dixon - $11,500
Juan Pablo Montoya - $10,700

Tier 2 Values

Carlos Munoz - $10,000
Sebastien Bourdais - $9,700
Marco Andretti - $9,100

Tier 3 Values

James Hinchcliffe - $8,700
Takuma Sato - $8,700
Mikhail Aleshin - $8,300

Long-Shot Values

Gabby Chaves - $7,600
Jack Hawksworth - $7,600
Ed Carpenter - $7,400

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Helio Castroneves - $10,900
Juan Pablo Montoya - $10,700
Tony Kanaan - $10,300
Mikhail Aleshin - $8,300
Gabby Chaves - $7,600

Castroneves leads the IndyCar field to Texas as the winningest active driver at the fast oval. His last win at the circuit was in 2013, but he has finished in the top 10 there in all of his last six tries, including third last season. Adding Montoya to the lineup is an easy decision considering he has neither started nor finished worse than fifth in his two seasons in the series, plus he led laps in each event. The 2004 Texas winner Kanaan also has an admirable Texas resume. He has only finished worse than 11th at the track once in his career. He led 57 laps last year in a second-place finish. Aleshin is a relative newcomer to racing at Texas. He finished seventh last season, and now just needs a full race distance to match his stunning qualifying pace. Chaves rounds off the lower-risk fantasy option with just one start under his belt at the track. He finished 10th last year from the 20th starting spot and has improved his finishing position from the start in every race he has taken part in so far this season.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Scott Dixon - $11,500
Will Power - $10,600
Graham Rahal - $10,300
James Hinchcliffe - $8,700
Ed Carpenter - $7,400

Scott Dixon leads this week’s higher-risk lineup due to his engine being a Honda. Chevrolet has held the early-season advantage, but Honda’s are starting to mount a comeback. Dixon won last year’s Texas race leading 97 of the 248 laps. Though not known for his oval skills, Power has improved on these courses, and three consecutive poles at the circuit prove he has the speed to win, not to mention the fact that he led laps in all but two of his eight starts here. Rahal has been on the cusp of greatness this season, and he has three top-fives in the last five races. At Texas, he has been more inconsistent, but he did finish second in 2012. Hinchcliffe’s oval pace was on display when he won the pole for the Indy 500. He also has two top-10 finishes in his last three Texas efforts. Finally, owner-driver Ed Carpenter should be a consideration for everyone’s roster. He won this race in 2014 and is consistently one of the better oval drivers in the series. If his equipment stays with him throughout the distance, fantasy players should expect him to be in contention.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.