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April 12, 2024

NASCAR survivor pool: NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 picks for Texas


A general graphic saying 36 for 36
NASCAR

NASCAR.com’s 36 for 36 continues at Texas Motor Speedway.

With 36 races and 36 full-time Charter cars, our players select one car per race, but there’s a simple twist: once they’ve made the pick, they can’t choose that car again for the rest of the 36-race season. Yes, that means every car will be selected exactly once … a survivor pool, by another name.

Follow along weekly as our panel of pickers — Dustin Albino from Jayski, along with Steve Luvender and Cameron Richardson from NASCAR.com — embarks on a season-long journey to think like strategists and prove their picking prowess.

We’ll also feature a fourth “community” 36 for 36 pick each week, as decided by fan vote on the r/NASCAR subreddit. Can the collective vote topple our trio of full-timers?

Current Standings:

RankNamePointsBehind
T-1Steve Luvender284
T-1Dustin Albino284
3Cameron Richardson235-49
4r/NASCAR Community219-65

Race 9 of 36: Texas

Last week at Martinsville, each of our four pickers selected a Stewart-Haas Racing car, leading to mixed results and a tightened second-place battle in the standings. The r/NASCAR community pick of Josh Berry didn’t fare well following pit issues for the No. 4 team, picking up just 15 points for Berry’s 25th-place finish. For Cameron Richardson, a late charge by Ryan Preece earned 28 points from a ninth-place finish, while 10th-place finisher Chase Briscoe tallied 38 points for Dustin Albino and Steve Luvender.

Now, our pickers face Texas Motor Speedway, with its unique characteristics that don’t position it quite like an ordinary intermediate track and not much like a drafting track. Seven different drivers won the past seven Texas races, so it’s not an easy one to predict.

Jayski’s Dustin Albino: No. 99, Daniel Suárez

Dustin’s pick last week: No. 14, Chase Briscoe
Points earned last week: 38 (10th-place finish)
Total season points: 169 (fourth place)

Dustin:
Ever since Suárez won at Atlanta in one of the most thrilling races of all time, the No. 99 team has slid down the regular-season standings to 17th. That triumph remains his only top-10 finish of the season through the opening two months. However, Suárez has been relatively consistent at Texas in recent seasons, finishing eighth last fall. In three starts with Trackhouse Racing at the 1.5-mile track, he has an average finish of 10th. If he can snag a top 10 this weekend, it will be a solid points day for yours truly.

NASCAR.com’s Steve Luvender: No. 21, Harrison Burton

Steve’s pick last week: No. 14, Chase Briscoe
Points earned last week: 38 (10th-place finish)
Total season points: 237 (first place)

Steve: I’ve been fortunate to build a points lead solid enough to afford a gamble, and this weekend I intend to do just that. Texas is the site of Harrison Burton’s third-best average finishing position of tracks on this year’s schedule (19.0, behind Charlotte Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway, where I already have my picks in mind), and he won an Xfinity Series race at the track in 2020. And, not for nothing, Burton also led 15 laps — the most he’s led in any single Cup event — in the 2022 Texas race. Ranked 34th through eight races, it’s been a rough season so far for the No. 21 team, but maybe Texas is the place to turn things around.

NASCAR.com’s Cameron Richardson: No. 6, Brad Keselowski


Cameron’s pick last week: No. 41, Ryan Preece
Points earned last week: 28 (ninth-place finish)
Total season points: 171 (third place)

Cameron: Amid a winless streak that has lasted nearly three years and spans over 100 Cup races, the 2012 champion is hungry to return to Victory Lane and do it for the first time as co-owner of RFK Racing. One of the best bets for Keselowski to find pay dirt again will be this Sunday in Texas. He’s scored top-10 finishes in the last five outings at the 1.5-mile facility and won the pole in the 2022 edition. With an inconsistent start to 2024 so far, Texas should be the weekend where the No. 6 really gets firing on all cylinders to succeed the rest of the season.

r/NASCAR Community: No. 77, Carson Hocevar


r/NASCAR’s pick last week: No. 4, Josh Berry
Points earned last week: 15 (25th-place finish)
Total season points: 180 (second place)

The r/NASCAR community hopes to make up some ground on first place in the standings with a back-to-back rookie pick. Carson Hocevar won the weekly vote, following the subreddit’s Martinsville selection of Josh Berry. Hocevar finished 16th in last year’s Texas race driving for Legacy Motor Club in an interim role.

From this week’s voting thread:

u/LeapsFrog: “I think Texas is a track where you can’t reliably pick a strong driver due to the high DNF rate and unpredictability. Picking Hocevar because he has done solid so far on 1.5 mile tracks and isn’t someone I think needs to be saved for a track like Talladega.”

u/KrustyWaffles6 (in reply to u/LeapsFrog): “I agree, although I was leaning towards Gragson until you commented. I do think this is a solid time to pick Hocevar, I just worry about him being over aggressive “

u/FridgusDomin8or: “He was sneaky good at Vegas, was able to drive through most of the field up into the top 15 multiple times, and won here in the Trucks last season. I don’t think he’s gonna win the race ofc but the last two races here the leaders have crashed out late.”

Check back next week to see how our pickers fared at Texas as the season-long 36 for 36 journey continues.

And, if you’ve got a competitive itch beyond meticulously managing your Fantasy Live lineup each week, feel free to save or print your own 36 for 36 sheet and see if you can beat our pickers and the Reddit community!

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