NASCAR Nationwide Series: Gateway

by Adam Ansell, RotoExperts.com on July 14, 2010 @ 18:00:00 PDT

 


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ADAM ANSELL'S TOP 25 FOR GATEWAY

1. Kevin Harvick: In four starts spread out over the past decade at Gateway International Raceway, Harvick has two wins (2000, 2001) and three Top Fives. He boasts an Average Start of fourth and an Average Finish of sixth. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, he ranks sixth in Driver Rating (118.1) and fifth in Average Running Position (5.6). Harvick ranks third in Average Quality Passes (23.5) and fourth with 57 Fastest Laps Run. He's led at least 105 laps in three of his four Gateway starts, with a total of 326 overall. He has 14 Top 10s in 15 2010 Nationwide Series starts with an Average Finish of 6.9. With Kyle Busch and Joey Logano taking the week off, Harvick is the top start in all formats.

2. Brad Keselowski: Last week at Chicagoland Speedway, Keselowski finished outside the Top 10 for the first time since the February Daytona event. Consider it an anomaly. He's the Nationwide Series points leader, a position he's held for the last 11 races, up 227-points on the second-place Carl Edwards. He ranks 16th in DR (88.4) and 15th in ARP (13.8), but as pointed out pretty much every week, ignore the Loop Data. Much like you in elementary school, Keselowski is a special case. In three starts at the site, he has one Top Five, two Top 10s and one pole (2009). He has led at least one lap in two of his three starts. Expect Keselowski to restart that streak of six straight Top Five finishes he had going before Chicagoland.

3. Carl Edwards: With a sixth-place finish at Chicagoland a week ago, Edwards cut Keselowski's Series lead down 50 points. In six starts at the site, he has two wins (2006, 2008), four Top Fives and five Top 10s. Take away his 38th-place DNF in 2002, and Edwards has an Average Start of 3.2, never lower than fourth, and an Average Finish of 2.8. He has led at least four laps in his last four Gateway starts. Edwards ranks third in DR (124.1) and ARP (4.6). He leads all drivers with 957 Laps in the Top 15 and 159 Fastest Laps Run. He'll need some more of that second-half magic that's seen him collect 11 wins, 26 Top Fives and 34 Top 10s over the past two seasons if he's going to hunt down Keselowski atop the standings.

4. Reed Sorenson: In five starts at Gateway, Sorenson has two wins (2005, 2007) and four Top Fives. He has qualified second five times. He ranks fourth in DR (122.9) and sixth in ARP (6.4). Since '05, he is second in Laps Led (155), Laps in the Top 15 (905) and Fastest Laps Run (118). He's been excellent this season, with four Top Fives, 10 Top 10s and an Average Finish of 10.3 in 13 Nationwide Series starts. Gateway marks the first time this season that Sorenson enters a race as an elite Fantasy driver. Get him into any and all line ups, regardless of format.

5. Matt Dibenedetto: In three combined starts behind the wheel of the No. 20 car at Gateway, Logano (126.9) and Denny Hamlin (124.4) rank first and second in DR, respectively. They are also one-two in ARP (Logano 2.4, Hamlin 3.8). Dibenedetto doesn't have the pedigree of the above drivers, but at least we know the No. 20 will be set up for success. In two starts this season, the 18-year-old has done an admirable job helming the No. 20, with one Top 10 (10th at Nashville). With the second "stand-alone" portion of the schedule on the horizon, Dibenedetto should be owned and started in all Tiered/Grouping formats.

6. Brad Coleman: Kyle Busch won this event last season in the No. 18 Toyota. Despite having limited experience on the Nationwide Series circuit, Coleman has considerable familiarity with Gateway International Raceway where he's recorded one Top Five in three starts. Coleman has done his part to keep the No. 18 car in contention for owner's points with an Average Finish of 8.3 this season. He ranks just 23rd in DR (79.1) and 18th in ARP (15.3), but his renewed confidence in the form of two Top 10s in three starts this season makes him a must-start in all formats.

7. Jason Leffler: Leffler's turnaround this season is nothing short of remarkable. In the first half of 2010, he had an Average Finish of 21.6 and one Top 10. In the second-half, he has an Average Finish of 13.9 with three Top Fives and five Top 10s, catapulting himself up to 10th in the Nationwide Series standings. In seven starts at Gateway International Raceway, Leffler has two Top Fives and three Top 10s. He ranks 13th in DR (93.0) and 12th in ARP (12.2). He's finished no worse than 14th in his last four races making him a high-end value start, especially in this weaker field.

8. Justin Allgaier: He finished 11th in his lone start at the site last season with a 100.8 DR, 8.1 ARP, 99.5 percent Laps in the Top 15 and 35 Quality Passes. His Average Finish over his last five Series races, minus the 35th-place finish at Road America, is ninth-place. Given his ability to adapt and improve with experience, Allgaier is a safe bet for a Top 10 finish at Gateway. The reigning Rookie of the Year will pass Busch for third-place in the Nationwide Series standings this weekend.

9. Paul Menard: This weekend will mark Menard's return to Gateway after a three-year layoff. In three starts at the site, he has one Top Five and an Average Start of seventh in his past two starts. He ranks 15th in DR (89.6) and 27th in ARP (17.0). He currently sits sixth in the Nationwide Series standings, which is incredible considering he's led a lap in just one race this season. Whatever he's been doing has worked thus far, and will continue working at Gateway.

10. Mike Bliss: In his first start at the site in 2003, he led 112 laps en route to a 12th-place finish. From 2006-08, he had an Average Finish of 33rd with three straight DNFs. Last season he started sixth and finished fourth, his only Top Five at the site in six starts. He ranks 21st in DR (83.5) and 25th in ARP (18.2). The weaker field gives Bliss a better chance to build on last year's quality start. He's a medium-risk, high-reward start and is worth a start in Tiered/Grouping formats.

11. Brendan Gaughan: Ninth in the Nationwide Series standings, 34-points out of eighth. 69.2 DR.

12. Tony Raines: One Top Five in six starts at the site. 85.3 DR.

13. Michael Annett: Finished seventh in his lone start at the site. 87.4 DR.

14. Kenny Wallace: Three Top 10s in 11 starts at the site. 65.4 DR

15. Trevor Bayne: Finished 27th in his lone start at the site. 56.7 DR.

16. Jason Keller: 84.3 DR.

17. Brian Scott: DR not applicable.

18. Steve Wallace: 59.1.

19. Kelly Bires: 54.8.

20. Michael McDowell: 67.5.

21. Johnny Sauter

22. Colin Braun

23. Ryan Truex

24. Steve Arpin

25. Joe Nemechek

Wanna talk some track? E-mail Adam at ansell@rotoexperts.com. The RotoRacing Show is back! Get up to speed on everything fantasy NASCAR, Tuesday nights at 9PM!

Wake up every morning with RotoExperts on Sirius XM's new Fantasy Sports Radio channel. Listen live starting at 7 am ET as RotoExperts.com covers all Fantasy Sports and takes your calls on Sirius channel 211 and XM channel 147.

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About Adam Ansell, RotoExperts.com

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RotoExperts.com is a deluxe fantasy analysis and information site and content development network. Led by award-winning Fantasy veteran Scott Engel, formerly of ESPN and CBS SportsLine, the RotoExperts.com team provides distinctive and in-depth fantasy insights in all sports. RotoExperts.com is an official content provider for NFL.com, Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated and USA Today. RotoExperts.com was nominated for a total of eight industry awards in 2009, and won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Award for Best Humor Article. RotoExperts.com urges you to look for the X- The Mark of Fantasy Excellence.

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