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ADAM ANSELL'S TOP 25 FOR DAYTONA
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt Jr. enters this week as the best Fantasy choice in Elimination formats. In his lone 2010 Nationwide Series start at the February Daytona event, he started third and led seven laps, but ultimately finished a disappointing 29th after being collected in a wreck. However, history suggests that "Junior" will turn it around. In 18 starts at Daytona, he has five wins, eight Top Fives, 10 Top 10s and one pole. Four of those five wins came in succession from February 2002 to February 2004. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Earnhardt Jr. ranks fifth in Driving Rating (104.0) and ninth in Average Running Position (10.9). He also leads in Fastest Laps Run (64) and is second in Laps Led (188). Although, "Junior" has more than history going for him. Daytona marks the final time he'll ever drive his fathers' No. 3 Wrangler Chevrolet. "After this, I'll probably never drive a car with a 3 on it again," he said. If it is indeed the last time, I guarantee he'll
make it a good one.
2. Kyle Busch: Coming off his three-week "stand-alone" hiatus, Busch showed no signs of rust after his win at Loudon, in which he scored a 149.3 DR. In the February event at Daytona, Busch started from the pole and led 10 laps en route to a disappointing 18th place finish. In 13 starts at the site, Busch has one win and five Top Fives. Busch ranks third in DR (105.7) and ARP (9.6). He leads all drivers in Laps in the Top 15 (1,004) and Laps Led (208). Busch rides a three-race win streak as well as a streak of five consecutive Top Fives into Daytona. He's the elite Fantasy play amongst the Series regulars in all formats.
3. Kevin Harvick: He comes to Daytona riding an 11-race streak of Top 10 finishes. Harvick has one win (Feb. 2007), 10 Top Fives, 13 Top 10s and two poles in 16 starts at Daytona. He is third in DR (105.7) and seventh in ARP (9.8) since '05. He is fifth in Fastest Laps Run (40) and Laps Led (97). The three "stand-alone" races caused him to drop to fifth in the Nationwide Series standings, but will start his ascent up the standings at Daytona.
4. Brad Keselowski: He remains atop the Nationwide Series standings and is coming off a second-place finish at Loudon. Keselowski has just two Top Fives in five Daytona starts, but as he has proven time and time again, he can outperform any of his past performances at any track. He is 10th in DR (95.4) and Laps Led (37) and 12th in Fastest Laps Run (19). He ranks second in ARP (9.7). In 15 starts this season, Keselowski has finished outside the Top 10 once. That particular start happened to be the season opener at Daytona in the form of a 13th place finish. He's good for at least a Top 10 this time around.
5. Carl Edwards: He followed up his first win of 2010 with a third place finish at Loudon a week ago. In 11 starts at Daytona, Edwards has five Top Fives and seven Top 10s. He ranks eighth in DR (97.5) and 12th in ARP (13.4). He ranks second in Fastest Laps Run (51) and seventh in Laps Led. Edwards currently sits second in the Nationwide Series standings, 247 behind Keselowski and 193 up on Justin Allgaier. He's finished second in the standings the past two seasons, so expect Edwards to really push for the top overall spot every remaining race.
6. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has been a disappointment so far this season, with an Average Finish of just 21.3 and two Top 10s in six starts. Daytona is the perfect venue for Bowyer to turn things around. He has one win (July 2009), seven Top Fives, eight Top 10s and one pole in 10 starts at the site. He ranks second in DR (110.6), fourth in Laps Led (120) and ninth in Fastest Laps Run (24). He leads all drivers in ARP (6.9). He's an elite Tiered format start.
7. Joey Logano: He finished 20th in the February event at Daytona, but still managed to sneak in one Lap Led. In just three starts at the site, he has one Top Five and two Top 10s. In his last three Nationwide Series starts, Logano has one win and three Top Five finishes, leading at least three laps at each event. He ranks sixth in DR (98.6). He is second in ARP (8.9), and has never held an ARP below 10.8 in any of his three starts. The numbers add up to a surefire Top 10 once again.
8. Justin Allgaier: Allgaier proved his 35th-place finish at Road America was an aberration with a sixth place finish at Loudon last week. He now has two Top Fives and four Top 10s in his last five starts. He finished a miserable 40th in his first career start at Daytona, but followed that up with eighth-place (July 2009) and fourth-place (February 2010) finishes. Over his last two starts, he ranks 10th in DR (95.5) and ARP (12.1). With two consecutive impressive showings at Daytona, Allgaier should be started in all formats with confidence.
9. Ryan Newman: This week will mark Newman's Daytona debut on the Nationwide Series, but that doesn't mean he lacks experience, as he's made 17 Sprint Cup Series starts at the site. Despite having just moderate success with one win, two Top Fives and three Top 10s, Newman has been a force in the Nationwide Series. In limited 2010 action, he finished second at Dover, fifth at Charlotte, and is a lock for Top 10 finish.
10. Paul Menard: Menard finally turned things around after 32nd and 16th place finishes, with a ninth-place showing at Loudon. Despite the minor slip, he sits sixth in the Nationwide Series standings. He finished an impressive sixth-place at the February event at Daytona, but didn't manage to lead any laps. In seven starts at the site, Menard has two Top 10s. He ranks 14th in DR (87.5) and 13th in ARP (14.6). Menard is a very solid play in all formats.
11. Reed Sorenson: Three Top 10s in six Daytona starts. 83.1 DR.
12. Jason Leffler: Four Top 10s and one pole in 13 Daytona starts. 77.9 DR.
13. Joe Nemechek: Two wins, four Top Fives, seven Top 10s and four poles in 23 Daytona starts. 62.3.
14. Mike Bliss: One Top Five and two Top 10s in 12 Daytona starts. 65.8 DR.
15. James Buescher: One Top 10 in his lone Daytona start. 88.8 DR.
16. Steve Wallace: 64.5.
17. Brendan Gaughan: 66.6 DR.
18. Brian Scott: 59.7.
19. Brian Ickler: N/A.
20. Trevor Bayne: 51.6.
21. Chrissy Wallace
22. Jason Keller
23. Mike Bliss
24. Michael McDowell
25. Morgan Shepherd
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