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ADAM ANSELL'S TOP 25 FOR ROAD AMERICA
1. Carl Edwards: With no Loop Data stats for Road America, past road course performances will provide the best insights into what we can expect this week. From 2005-08, Edwards posted an Average Finish of 23.8 at Watkins Glen. The inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007 provided much of the same, as he came in 30th. But Edwards persevered and showed his versatility, taking the Checkered Flag at Montreal last season, while finishing third at Watkins Glen. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Edwards doesn't have impressive stats at Montreal and The Glen. However, he does own the top road course stats from 2009, with a Driver Rating of 126.7, Average Running Position of 7.3, 28 Laps Led and eight Fastest Laps Run. He will finally remove that rather large monkey off his back and get to Victory Lane for the first time this season.
2. Ron Fellows: The road course specialist will make his 2010 Nationwide Series debut at Road America. In seven road course starts since '05, Fellows has been fairly inconsistent with an Average Finish of 17.1. But when he's good, he's great. In his four "quality starts" at road courses, Fellows had an Average Finish of 4.8 with one win, three Top Fives and four Top 10s. In his 2008 victory at Montreal, Fellows posted a 122.8 DR, 6.6 ARP, seven Laps Led, three Fastest Laps Run and 15 Quality Passes. He's one of several drivers who has experience racing a stock car at Road America, with one win in five starts in the Trans-Am Series and one win and one pole in five races in the American Le Mans Series GT1 class. Of all road course ringers, Fellows has best chance to win.
3. Brad Keselowski: In four road course starts (two at each) since 2008, Keselowski has one Top Five and three Top 10s, with an Average Finish of eighth. His best finish was a fifth-place showing last season at Montreal, where he posted a 79.6 DR, 19.9 ARP and 13 Quality Passes. Despite out-performing his ARP by nearly 15 spots, Keselowski has been too good to overlook this week. He holds a commanding lead over Edwards for the Nationwide Series' top spot, and has a streak of 13 consecutive Top 10 finishes. Number 14 awaits him at Road America.
4. Jacques Villeneuve: The Canadian has just two Nationwide Series road course starts, both at Montreal, where he finished 16th (2008) and fourth (2009). In his Top Five performance, Villeneuve posted a 102.1 DR, 9.4 ARP, three Laps Led and spent 86.8 percent of his Laps in the Top 15. If your league awards bonus points for qualifying, take note that Villeneuve started fifth and sixth, respectively. He's another driver who has run laps at Road America, winning in the CART IndyCar World Series in 1994 (started second) and '95 (started from the pole). He also led a total of 61 laps in both races. Villeneuve should be the top-ranked Elimination format play of the week.
5. Paul Menard: In five career road course starts, Menard owns an Average Finish of 14.8 with one Top Five and two Top 10s. His best finish (fourth) came in '07 at Watkins Glen, where he posted a 110.6 DR and a 6.4 ARP. He also led three laps in his eighth-place finish at the '05 Watkins Glen event. In 2001, the Wisconsin native captured a win in the former NASCAR Re/Max Challenge Series at Road America. Menard currently sits sixth in the Nationwide Series standings, and will use the final "stand-alone" event to close in on fifth-place Kevin Harvick.
6. Brad Coleman: Road America will likely be Coleman's final race behind the wheel of the No. 18 ride for a while. In five road course starts, he has one Top Five and three Top 10s. In the 2007 Watkins Glen event, Coleman finished fifth while posting a 91.2 DR and a 13.6 ARP. When he was just 16 years old, Coleman finished 11th in the Star Mazda Series at Road America. In two starts this season, Coleman qualified second both times, had an Average Finish of 9.5, an ARP of 6.0. and led two laps. Expect him to go out on a high-note at Road America.
7. Ron Hornaday Jr.: Hornaday will helm Kevin Harvick's No. 33 ride in his first Nationwide Series start of 2010. He finished fourth in the '08 Montreal event, with a 98.7 DR, 10.5 ARP and 85.4 percent Laps in the Top 15. Hornaday finished 13th in '07 at Montreal in his only other road course start on the Nationwide Series. The favourable equipment and past success on road courses gives Hornaday a legitimate shot at a Top Five finish.
8. Justin Allgaier: After starting the season with five consecutive Top 10s, Allgaier went cold, posting none the following six races. In his last three races, he's finally back on track with two Top Fives and three Top 10s. In two Nationwide Series road course events, he owns an Average Finish of just 26.5, but don't expect that to keep Allgaier out of the Top 10 this week. He finished 17th last year at Watkins Glen, with a 74.1 DR and 20.4 ARP and will improve on that this week at Road America.
9. Matt DiBenedetto: With the "stand-alone" portion of the schedule coming to a close, Road America will be DiBenedetto's Nationwide Series swan song. In just his second Series start two weeks ago at Nashville, he finished 10th, posting a 90.0 DR, 11.2 ARP, he spent 100 percent Laps in the Top 15 and had 33 Quality Passes. He's done a good job keeping Joe Gibbs Racing in the Top Two in the Owners' Standings and, like his teammate, DiBenedetto will do everything he can to go out in style.
10. Brendan Gaughan: Gaughan finished ninth at last year's Montreal event, posting a 73.4 DR and a 20.5 ARP. He has two Top Fives and four Top 10s this season, and ranks ninth in the Nationwide Series standings. With one Top 10 in two road-course races already on his resume, Gaughan is in prime position to show some versatility at Road America.
11. Michael McDowell: Two wins (2003 and '04) at Road America in the Star Mazda Series.
12. Tim George Jr.: One win and three Top Five finishes in the Skip Barber Series at Road America.
13. Patrick Long: Won the 2006 American Le Mans Series in GT2 class at Road America.
14. Tony Ave: Posted a record-breaking 115.675 mph Fastest Lap in Trans-Am competition in 2009 at Road America.
15. J.R. Fitzpatrick: Owns the seventh-best 2009 road course race DR (81.6).
16. Steve Wallace: Average finish of 12.7 in last three road course starts.
17. Mike Bliss: Average Finish of 13.5 at The Glen.
18. Jason Leffler: Two Top 10s in seven road course starts.
19. Tony Raines: Finished sixth at Montreal in 2009.
20. Victor Gonzalez Jr.: Finished 14th at Montreal in 2009.
21. Brian Scott
22. Owen Kelly
23. Trevor Bayne
24. Robb Brent
25. Colin Braun
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