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NASCAR DFS: AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Picks

The NASCAR Cup Series heads to North Texas for the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400! This is the first race of the Round of 12 for the remaining playoff drivers. With two high-variance races coming up on the schedule, it’s imperative for good intermediate drivers to run well here. As noted in this week’s NASCAR DFS Preview article, this isn’t the best track for pure racing on the schedule. Texas is often criticized for its “single groove,” but we do have a new tire combination. Let’s get right to it and look at the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 picks for Sunday afternoon’s race from Texas Motor Speedway!

With 267 laps on tap, you’ll certainly want to focus on getting those dominator points. Texas is the kind of track that caters to the leader. Clean air is huge here and if you have the lead, it can be difficult for those chasing you down. But the new tire combination can hopefully fix that. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Daniel Suarez conducted the tire test back in June. Those drivers, and their teammate, may have a bit of an edge. Let’s take a look at how qualifying played out.

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AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Picks: The Top 10

  1. Bubba Wallace (#23 23XI Racing)
  2. Chris Buescher (#17 RFK Racing)
  3. Brad Keselowski (#6 RFK Racing)
  4. Ty Gibbs (#54 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  5. Ross Chastain (#1 Trackhouse Racing)
  6. J. Allmendinger (#16 Kaulig Racing)
  7. Daniel Suarez (#99 Trackhouse Racing)
  8. Kyle Busch (#8 Richard Childress Racing)
  9. Christopher Bell (#20 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  10. Denny Hamlin (#11 Joe Gibbs Racing)

Some interesting results from qualifying, as you can see. Bubba Wallace lands on the pole. That’s huge because he’s currently 14 points from the good to make the next round. The pole potentially means he could win the first stage and collect more playoff points. And yet, we know Bubba has had speed on comparable tracks. The Toyotas have been the fastest on these higher-speed intermediates. Additionally, it’s noteworthy that both Trackhouse cars qualified in the top seven. Suarez and company clearly took notes on the tire test and both cars look to have speed for tomorrow’s action.

Which Value-Priced AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Picks Got A Points Movement Bump?


  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – $6,900; Starting P24
  • Chase Briscoe – $6,200; Starting P31
  • Austin Cindric – $5,800; Starting P32
  • Corey LaJoie – $5,700; Starting P27
  • Zane Smith – $5,400; Starting P33


  • Chase Elliott – $9,000; Starting P29
  • Kevin Harvick – $7,200; Starting P22
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – $6,500; Starting P24
  • Chase Briscoe – $4,800; Starting P31
  • Corey LaJoie – $4,200; Starting P27

I included Elliott and Harvick in the FanDuel section. The “average” salary for a driver on FanDuel is $10,000 so technically they’re both values below that threshold. But I’ve noted how difficult it can be to pass at Texas. Take the position differential from the drivers in better equipment. A lot of these value plays might struggle to move up. Zane Smith is an intriguing driver. He’ll run in the Cup Series next year and he steps into Todd Gilliland’s ride on Sunday. He managed a top-10 finish earlier this year at Charlotte. He’s one of the more interesting true “value” plays on the slate. However, in tournaments, we could see drivers in the value tier fail to move up and score well.

Which Higher-Priced Drivers Got A Similar Bump?

  • William Byron – Starting P18
  • Ryan Blaney – Starting P23
  • Chase Elliott – Starting P29 (DraftKings)
  • Kevin Harvick – Starting P22 (DraftKings)
  • Joey Logano – Starting P20

These are the drivers that can be targeted for position differential. Chase Elliott seems like a lock for cash games. He had a very strong car at Kansas two weeks ago. But the speed didn’t translate in practice and qualifying. It’s possible they were experimenting with the setup and missed badly. But he’s still in good equipment and could just as easily finish top 15. William Byron likely has the most top five equity of this group. He’s been fast on all types of tracks this year. I don’t expect that to change following a poor qualifying effort.

AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 400 Picks


  • Kyle Larson – $11,200; Starting P11
  • William Byron – $10,800; Starting P18
  • Bubba Wallace – $8,600; Starting P1
  • Kevin Harvick – $8,300; Starting P22
  • Corey LaJoie – $5,700; Starting P27
  • Zane Smith – $5,400; Starting P33

This is a perfect three-dominator type build. Even if Wallace and Larson lead more of the laps, I still like the PD we get from Byron. We’re rolling the dice with LaJoie and Smith. But we’ve seen plenty of top 20’s from LaJoie, and Zane is a talented young driver in relatively decent equipment. They’re on the more reliable end of the spectrum in their pricing tier. But if we get 30+ laps led from Wallace and he can still grab a good finish, I do like the potential for this build. It seems like most expect Larson or Byron to win so we have win equity.


  • Kyle Larson – $13,500; Starting P11
  • William Byron – $12,500; Starting P18
  • Chase Elliott – $9,000; Starting P29
  • Joey Logano – $8,000; Starting P20
  • Alex Bowman – $7,000; Starting P14

Look at that. We managed a complete Hendrick Motorsports stack. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we could swing a full Hendrick stack and fit in the defending Cup Series Champion with Joey Logano, I would’ve called you a liar. But we have win equity here. We’ll concede the early laps led by fading everyone in the top 10. But there’s an argument to be made, all five drivers have top-10 equity. Larson and Byron can get up to the front later in the race and lead laps. I trust the equipment here and look forward to seeing how this build plays out.

White Flag Thoughts Before You Go

It’s kind of a weird section of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. We have a track everyone hates. Seriously, this track gets such terrible feedback that NASCAR shortened this race from 500 miles to 400. On top of that, there are rumblings they may re-do this track again. I can’t confirm anything, but the fans and drivers have spoken. This track just isn’t very good. And following this race we have Talladega next weekend (yikes) and then the Charlotte Roval. I wouldn’t blame anyone for dialing back their NASCAR DFS exposure. But for myself, I look forward to mixing in some lineups with the NFL. So best of luck today! I hope to see some of you in victory lane!

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