Kevin Harvick is on the pole for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Is the two-time Texas winner — both victories coming since the 2017 repave — worthy of a spot on your roster? How should you navigate the playoff game format? We’ve dissected the numbers to offer a suggested lineup worthy of your Fantasy Live consideration.
RJ Kraft’s Fantasy Live lineup for race day at Texas
Playoff driver 1: Kevin Harvick
Playoff driver 2: Denny Hamlin
Non-playoff driver 1: Kurt Busch
Non-playoff driver 2: Erik Jones
Garage: Kyle Larson
Analysis: For the playoff plays, Harvick and Hamlin — the two most recent winners at Texas — will anchor my lineup. I already have five points in the bank with Harvick as my pole pick. Both Harvick and Hamlin had strong cars on the lap average board and the recent history for Harvick is extremely favorable — two wins in his last four here. Larson is my garage play because the long-run averages are right there with Harvick and a tick above Hamlin. The Texas history has been hot and cold for Larson, so I like the safety net of having him in the garage and seeing what happens.
On the non-playoff side, Kurt Busch is at the top of my list. The recently-extended Chip Ganassi Racing driver has the third-most points on the repaved 1.5-mile track and has been fast all weekend. For the other spot, I am taking a bit of a gamble with Jones. The gamble isn’t in his Texas numbers of late — three straight fourth-place finishes. It’s in his recent 2019 results with five races of three points or less in the past eight. That said, I think the upside and track history are extremely favorable. Alex Bowman was a consideration for me if I wanted to play it a little safer.
For the bonus picks: I’ll take Harvick for everything — the Stage 1 win, the Stage 2 win and the race win with Ford as the manufacturer.
Each week in this space, we’ll also highlight two Props Challenge items for players.
1. A playoff driver below the cutline wins on Sunday: Yes or No. Simply put, I think Harvick has THE car to beat and will win on Sunday. He is currently below the cutline to advance, so I am a YES on this one.
2. O/U 4.5 Fords finish in the top 10. The over has been hit in three of the past four Texas races. We have five Fords starting in the top 10 and does not include playoff drivers Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, who, based on their history at the repave, are two drivers I’d expect to see in the top 10 when the checkered flag falls. I think two other Blue Ovals join them with Harvick so I’ll take the OVER here.