Jimmie Johnson projected to win at Texas

Here are the projections for Saturday’s Sprint Cup race at Texas. Our projection system takes into account, among other factors, drivers’ past performances at the current track, pre-race on-track activity (practices and qualifying) and probability of finishing the race. All of the data is then adjusted for the track type (in this case, a 1.5-mile oval speedway) and time of year.

Three drivers have started this season with six consecutive top-10 finishes: Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. Prior to this season, there was only 12 such streaks in NSCS history, and only once was there more than one in a single season (1984: Darrell Waltrip and Ricky Rudd). None of the drivers to start a season with this many consecutive top-10 finishes since 1990 went on to win the championship.

Jimmie Johnson has won three of the last five Texas races, but they’ve all come in the fall race at the track. Johnson hasn’t led a lap in the last two Texas spring races, but has led at least 168 in each of the last three fall races.

Logano has continued the momentum from last year’s breakout season, recording top 10s in all six races this season. Last year at Texas he led 108 laps en route to the win and his average finish at Texas has been much better with Team Penske (5.3) than when he was with Joe Gibbs Racing (23.6).

Kurt Busch was suspended for the first three races of the season but has already led 86 laps since returning and has finished fifth, third and 14th. Busch is already up to 25th in points - ahead of seven drivers that have started all six races.

The projected top 10 finishers for this race are as follows: 1. Jimmie Johnson, 2. Brad Keselowski, 3. Joey Logano, 4. Kasey Kahne, 5. Martin Truex Jr, 6. Kyle Larson, 7. Matt Kenseth, 8. Kevin Harvick, 9. Denny Hamilin, 10. Ryan Newman. Dale Earnhardt Jr is projected to finish 15th and Danica Patrick is projected to finish 30th.