Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Brickyard 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com

by Brian Polking on July 30, 2011 @ 14:47:47 PDT

 


With its sweeping, tight corners and massive straightaways, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a track that demands a good handling car. Drivers that can't get back in the gas quick enough in the corners are going to struggle down the long straightaways. Passing is tough through Indy's flat turns, making the straightaways the ideal spot for drivers to make their moves. Any driver that isn't up to speed on those straightaways isn't going to be kissing the bricks this weekend.

After a majority of the teams focused on qualifying trim in the first practice Friday, most of the top drivers switched to race trim for the second session. Greg Biffle topped the charts with a lap of 178.310 mph, giving fantasy owners hope that he can put his mediocre 2010 season behind him and continue his recent dominance at Indianapolis. Biffle has finished eighth or better in his last three starts at the Brickyard, including a career-best third-place effort. He definitely deserves some attention this weekend.

David Ragan

He was followed by Martin Truex Jr. and three-time Brickyard winner Jimmie Johnson. Meanwhile, Casey Mears and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. Johnson and Harvick are the obvious fantasy studs of the group, having combined for four victories at Indy. Harvick is the more consistent option of the two, averaging a top-10 finish and having finished sixth and second in his last two starts. Johnson has been a bit more boom or bust, but owners can't deny his three wins in the last five starts at Indianapolis.

Only three drivers ran 10 or more consecutive laps in the session, but four-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon was the best of the bunch. In terms of production, no driver has been better. He has more wins, top-10 finishes, top-five finishes and has led more laps than any other driver in Indy history. In short, Gordon is the safest play this weekend for fantasy owners.

In Happy Hour Saturday, Biffle topped the charts again with a lap of 182.567 mph. He was followed by the underrated Kasey Kahne, and the red hot Kurt Busch. Busch hasn't had a lot of luck of Indy in his career, but there is no denying that he has been one a tear the last month or so. Sometimes momentum can mean as much as past statistics, and fantasy owners will definitely want to consider Busch this weekend. He could be headed for a career day at the 2.5-mile track.

Busch was followed by potential sleeper David Ragan, current point leader Carl Edwards, and Juan Pablo Montoya. Edwards has finished as high as second at the track and has been a consistent top-10 driver. While Edwards is a solid pick, Montoya is the intriguing one. He finished second in his Indy debut and has been focused on becoming the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400. Montoya has led the most laps in back-to-back races at Indy, only to watch a speeding penalty and poor pit strategy end his chances at winning. He may collapse under the pressure as he has in years past, but he is also very capable of kissing the bricks Sunday.

Denny Hamlin was among the big names that didn't show much in practice. Losing a motor at the end of Friday's second session didn't help, and starting dead last will make winning next to impossible. Two-time Brickyard winner Tony Stewart failed to impress as well, along with Kyle Busch. It's tough to rule out either driver considering their past success, but owners may want to move them down a few spots in the rankings.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing 

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
5
99
Ford
181.514
49.583
181.209
5
10
48
Chevrolet
181.229
49.661
180.559
9
15
21
Ford
180.912
49.748
180.395
5
11
29
Chevrolet
181.181
49.674
178.997
14
33
34
Ford
178.664
50.374
178.148
3
1
16
Ford
182.567
49.297
177.840
19
23
9
Ford
179.950
50.014
177.750
16
39
32
Ford
177.736
50.637
177.736
1
40
46
Ford
177.725
50.640
177.656
3
32
30
Chevrolet
178.735
50.354
177.376
11
2
4
Toyota
182.441
49.331
177.357
24
19
39
Chevrolet
180.563
49.844
177.090
17
8
17
Ford
181.258
49.653
177.016
23
45
60
Toyota
177.350
50.747
176.985
8
4
6
Ford
181.800
49.505
176.924
22
17
14
Chevrolet
180.654
49.819
176.862
28
13
33
Chevrolet
180.937
49.741
176.858
23
3
22
Dodge
181.829
49.497
176.829
26
6
42
Chevrolet
181.368
49.623
176.775
19
42
50
Chevrolet
177.644
50.663
176.739
9
22
5
Chevrolet
180.317
49.912
176.712
20
25
37
Ford
179.347
50.182
176.654
3
28
11
Toyota
179.229
50.215
176.503
45
7
43
Ford
181.346
49.629
176.471
26
26
24
Chevrolet
179.311
50.192
176.419
27
43
77
Dodge
177.396
50.734
176.402
5
14
2
Dodge
180.915
49.747
176.394
38
21
18
Toyota
180.353
49.902
176.299
26
37
71
Ford
177.869
50.599
176.299
9
20
47
Toyota
180.408
49.887
176.285
20
36
55
Ford
178.091
50.536
176.235
7
34
20
Toyota
178.341
50.465
176.202
37
29
78
Chevrolet
179.101
50.251
176.173
34
35
38
Ford
178.232
50.496
176.165
9
9
83
Toyota
181.251
49.655
176.026
29
16
88
Chevrolet
180.781
49.784
175.972
27
27
31
Chevrolet
179.240
50.212
175.948
40
24
27
Chevrolet
179.845
50.043
175.936
36
12
00
Toyota
181.170
49.677
175.899
24
38
87
Toyota
177.757
50.631
175.872
5
30
51
Chevrolet
178.898
50.308
175.674
20
31
56
Toyota
178.873
50.315
175.483
19
41
1
Chevrolet
177.722
50.641
175.470
26
18
13
Toyota
180.639
49.823
175.419
16
46
36
Chevrolet
175.200
51.370
173.411
21
47
23
Ford
173.554
51.857
172.974
3
44
7
Dodge
177.361
50.744
172.762
6
x
66
Toyota
0.000
0.000
0.000
0

10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
27
1
10
177.414
2
2
1
10
177.339
3
11
1
10
177.317
4
33
1
10
177.124
5
78
1
10
177.057
6
18
1
10
177.049
7
14
13
22
176.900
8
0
11
20
176.024
9
88
14
23
176.022
10
31
26
35
175.954

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing 

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
12
66
Toyota
176.762
50.916
176.668
3
8
00
Toyota
176.984
50.852
176.245
7
16
37
Ford
176.457
51.004
175.538
3
20
60
Toyota
176.184
51.083
175.121
6
6
99
Ford
177.228
50.782
175.022
19
5
29
Chevrolet
177.249
50.776
174.741
27
1
16
Ford
178.310
50.474
174.719
27
3
48
Chevrolet
177.669
50.656
174.698
36
9
31
Chevrolet
176.904
50.875
174.571
29
33
46
Ford
175.104
51.398
174.451
7
18
11
Toyota
176.350
51.035
174.396
27
13
4
Toyota
176.720
50.928
174.375
32
10
83
Toyota
176.817
50.900
174.239
29
25
1
Chevrolet
175.908
51.163
174.211
24
11
88
Chevrolet
176.800
50.905
174.142
22
2
56
Toyota
178.172
50.513
174.126
12
19
2
Dodge
176.191
51.081
174.106
22
7
20
Toyota
177.019
50.842
174.047
15
17
33
Chevrolet
176.436
51.010
174.019
20
28
9
Ford
175.713
51.220
173.980
23
29
17
Ford
175.702
51.223
173.949
24
15
22
Dodge
176.588
50.966
173.910
27
14
39
Chevrolet
176.661
50.945
173.895
31
24
78
Chevrolet
175.912
51.162
173.813
22
22
14
Chevrolet
176.005
51.135
173.807
15
32
18
Toyota
175.258
51.353
173.635
20
31
42
Chevrolet
175.268
51.350
173.608
17
36
50
Chevrolet
174.327
51.627
173.583
7
21
6
Ford
176.036
51.126
173.529
28
30
5
Chevrolet
175.552
51.267
173.514
34
4
13
Toyota
177.288
50.765
173.445
13
23
27
Chevrolet
175.915
51.161
173.430
30
37
55
Ford
174.297
51.636
173.324
7
26
24
Chevrolet
175.812
51.191
172.929
30
40
87
Toyota
173.722
51.807
172.791
5
35
47
Toyota
174.523
51.569
172.641
28
38
23
Ford
174.253
51.649
172.197
5
41
21
Ford
173.400
51.903
172.152
25
34
51
Chevrolet
174.717
51.512
171.765
21
46
36
Chevrolet
172.543
52.161
171.592
12
47
77
Dodge
172.358
52.217
171.583
5
45
34
Ford
172.751
52.098
171.121
21
39
7
Dodge
174.230
51.656
171.072
9
44
30
Chevrolet
173.067
52.003
171.059
15
48
38
Ford
172.058
52.308
169.597
17
42
71
Ford
173.264
51.944
168.690
12
27
43
Ford
175.809
51.192
168.392
29
43
32
Ford
173.110
51.990
165.202
16

10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
24
18
27
174.536
2
27
14
23
173.697
3
33
4
13
173.317

Combined Average Speeds (weighted by # of laps run in each session)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Average Speed
Total Laps
1
66
Toyota
176.668
3
2
99
Ford
176.311
24
3
29
Chevrolet
176.194
41
4
60
Toyota
176.186
14
5
37
Ford
176.096
6
6
16
Ford
176.008
46
7
00
Toyota
175.977
31
8
48
Chevrolet
175.870
45
9
14
Chevrolet
175.796
43
10
11
Toyota
175.713
72
11
4
Toyota
175.653
56
12
20
Toyota
175.580
52
13
2
Dodge
175.555
60
14
33
Chevrolet
175.538
43
15
9
Ford
175.527
39
16
17
Ford
175.450
47
17
46
Ford
175.413
10
18
31
Chevrolet
175.369
69
19
50
Chevrolet
175.358
16
20
22
Dodge
175.342
53
21
42
Chevrolet
175.279
36
22
78
Chevrolet
175.246
56
23
88
Chevrolet
175.150
49
24
18
Toyota
175.141
46
25
83
Toyota
175.133
58
26
39
Chevrolet
175.027
48
27
6
Ford
175.023
50
28
56
Toyota
174.958
31
29
1
Chevrolet
174.866
50
30
27
Chevrolet
174.797
66
31
55
Ford
174.780
14
32
5
Chevrolet
174.698
54
33
24
Chevrolet
174.582
57
34
13
Toyota
174.534
29
35
87
Toyota
174.332
10
36
47
Toyota
174.159
48
37
77
Dodge
173.993
10
38
30
Chevrolet
173.732
26
39
51
Chevrolet
173.672
41
40
21
Ford
173.526
30
41
36
Chevrolet
172.750
33
42
23
Ford
172.488
8
43
43
Ford
172.211
55
44
34
Ford
171.999
24
45
71
Ford
171.951
21
46
38
Ford
171.871
26
47
7
Dodge
171.748
15
48
32
Ford
165.939
17
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About Brian Polking

Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.

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