Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Wonderful Pistachios 400

by Brian Polking on September 9, 2011 @ 19:26:07 PDT

 


Clint Bowyer

Last weekend at Atlanta, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson finished first and second. They picked up where they left off at Richmond this weekend, ranking first and second in the opening practice session Friday. Gordon and Johnson have a combined nine championships in their careers, and both are clearly in championship form. While Gordon and Johnson focus their attention on the Sprint Cup title, fantasy owners may want to ride both drivers to titles of their own.

Casey Mears surprised in the first practice, posting the third fastest time. He was followed by Clint Bowyer and A.J. Allmendinger. Bowyer is a stud at Richmond, and he finished 12th or better in all but one of his starts. He is a former winner at the track as well, and he needs to win this weekend to keep any hope of making the Chase alive. Meanwhile, Allmendinger continued a recent roll that started when he changed crew chiefs. He has back-to-back top-10 finishes at RIR, and he could make a strong sleeper option for fantasy owners.

In terms of 10-lap average speed, Joey Logano led the way. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has never finished outside the top 20 at Richmond, and he finished fourth at the track last fall. JGR is currently riding a five-race winning streak at RIR, and Logano could extend it this weekend. At the very least, he should make a solid addition to fantasy lineups.

Three-time Richmond winner Tony Stewart recorded the second best average speed, and he will be looking for a solid finish to seal his spot in the Chase. Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr., Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five, and Busch is the driver fantasy owners want to target. He is a three-time winner at RIR, and his 4.9 average finish leads all active drivers. In 13 career starts, he has 11 top-five finishes.

In Happy Hour, Carl Edwards climbed to the top of the chart. He has never won at Richmond, but he has finished in the top 10 in three straight starts, notching a pair of fifth-place finishes during the stretch. Of the big names, Edwards could be the most underrated option.

The other Hendrick Motorsports teammates impressed in the final session as well, with Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. ranking second and third. Junior and Martin have both struggled at Richmond lately, but their career numbers remain solid. Kyle Busch and Bowyer rounded out the top five, and both should draw strong consideration from fantasy owners.

Hendrick Motorsports dominated in the average speed category. Gordon, Johnson and Martin swept the top-three spots. After an impressive performance last weekend, the HMS organization appears headed to a repeat performance. Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five, and after a third-place run at Richmond in April, Kahne could make a nice wild card pick.

One driver missing from the top of the charts was defending race winner Denny Hamlin. He is a two-time Richmond winner, and his 7.5 average finish is the second best in the series. Despite the slow times, Hamlin remained confident during interviews. Considering his outstanding record, fantasy owners may want to make an exception for Hamlin this weekend.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
1
99
Carl Edwards Cheez-It/Kellogg's Ford
122.755
21.995
122.186
6
26
66
Michael McDowell HP Racing Toyota
120.741
22.362
120.577
5
29
87
Joe Nemechek AM FM Energy Toyota
120.719
22.366
119.898
8
18
46
Scott Speed T&T Performance Ford
121.109
22.294
119.814
7
19
60
Mike Skinner Big Red Chevrolet
121.049
22.305
119.720
11
39
38
Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
120.326
22.439
119.700
14
25
35
Dave Blaney Pepsi Max Chevrolet
120.751
22.360
119.609
10
23
30
David Stremme Inception Motorsports Chevrolet
120.795
22.352
119.481
5
14
16
Greg Biffle 3M Honoring Our Heroes Ford
121.327
22.254
119.468
19
38
37
Erik Darnell Max Q Motorsports Ford
120.391
22.427
119.426
8
16
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
121.283
22.262
119.176
40
44
7
Robby Gordon SPEED Energy Dodge
119.427
22.608
119.111
7
21
43
A.J. Allmendinger Best Buy Ford
120.897
22.333
119.090
47
2
5
Mark Martin Quaker State/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
122.366
22.065
119.023
27
4
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
121.814
22.165
119.015
32
8
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
121.676
22.190
119.004
43
7
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Power of Pride Chevrolet
121.737
22.179
118.956
32
3
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet
122.166
22.101
118.941
25
17
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Brakes Toyota
121.125
22.291
118.904
51
15
83
Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
121.294
22.260
118.849
29
5
33
Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
121.797
22.168
118.798
30
32
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
120.600
22.388
118.796
27
11
1
Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
121.457
22.230
118.788
33
30
20
Joey Logano Home Depot/Celebration of Service Toyota
120.633
22.382
118.747
44
37
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
120.401
22.425
118.707
27
41
55
J.J. Yeley Front Row Motorsports Ford
120.053
22.490
118.694
11
10
4
Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
121.550
22.213
118.685
39
31
39
Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
120.616
22.385
118.679
38
40
22
Kurt Busch Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
120.117
22.478
118.676
35
36
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
120.460
22.414
118.663
48
33
27
Paul Menard Moen/Menards Chevrolet
120.525
22.402
118.523
41
35
17
Matt Kenseth Ollie's Ford
120.487
22.409
118.370
23
22
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
120.849
22.342
118.277
43
12
51
Landon Cassill SecurityBenefit/ThankATchrToday Chev
121.403
22.240
118.260
17
34
78
Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
120.520
22.403
118.238
44
43
34
David Gilliland Honoring Our Heroes Ford
119.665
22.563
118.044
23
20
6
David Ragan UPS Ford
121.017
22.311
118.034
51
9
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
121.594
22.205
118.030
54
28
13
Casey Mears GEICO Toyota
120.719
22.366
118.020
33
24
36
Stephen Leicht Golden Corral Chevrolet
120.762
22.358
117.966
31
27
14
Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
120.730
22.364
117.964
56
6
32
Mike Bliss Safe Skies TSA Luggage Locks Ford
121.742
22.178
117.886
19
13
47
Bobby Labonte Scott Brand Toyota
121.348
22.250
117.859
51
42
00
David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
119.947
22.510
117.722
52
45
50
T.J. Bell Green Smoke Chevrolet
118.504
22.784
117.287
14
46
71
Andy Lally Interstate Moving Services Ford
118.105
22.861
116.508
30

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
120.550
2
48
Jimmie Johnson
1
10
120.232
3
5
Mark Martin
1
10
120.214
4
56
Martin Truex Jr.
13
22
120.174
5
4
Kasey Kahne
1
10
120.056
6
1
Jamie McMurray
1
10
120.021
7
29
Kevin Harvick
26
35
120.009
8
14
Tony Stewart
1
10
119.956
9
18
Kyle Busch
1
10
119.929
10
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1
10
119.764
11
11
Denny Hamlin
29
38
119.704
12
2
Brad Keselowski
1
10
119.637
13
20
Joey Logano
1
10
119.573
14
83
Brian Vickers
6
15
119.497
15
47
Bobby Labonte
1
10
119.453
16
43
A.J. Allmendinger
31
40
119.415
17
27
Paul Menard
1
10
119.351
18
22
Kurt Busch
18
27
119.350
19
39
Ryan Newman
20
29
119.296
20
78
Regan Smith
1
10
119.248
21
13
Casey Mears
1
10
119.212
22
34
David Gilliland
1
10
118.989
23
00
David Reutimann
29
38
118.907
24
33
Clint Bowyer
17
26
118.867
25
6
David Ragan
32
41
118.737
26
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
18
27
118.652
27
9
Marcos Ambrose
11
20
118.213
28
71
Andy Lally
1
10
117.311

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
32
30
David Stremme Inception Motorsports Chevrolet
122.962
21.958
121.258
10
34
17
Matt Kenseth Ollie's Ford
122.889
21.971
121.253
34
36
7
Robby Gordon SPEED Energy Dodge
122.443
22.051
120.996
7
19
46
Scott Speed T&T Performance Ford
124.401
21.704
120.980
11
21
87
Joe Nemechek AM FM Energy Toyota
124.024
21.770
120.935
11
39
37
Erik Darnell Max Q Motorsports Ford
122.177
22.099
120.836
17
26
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
123.643
21.837
120.789
43
29
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Brakes Toyota
123.406
21.879
120.633
44
12
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
125.139
21.576
120.087
56
37
35
Dave Blaney Pepsi Max Chevrolet
122.299
22.077
120.065
29
30
14
Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
123.361
21.887
120.059
49
6
99
Carl Edwards Cheez-It/Kellogg's Ford
125.570
21.502
120.050
50
31
83
Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
123.198
21.916
119.944
60
35
55
J.J. Yeley Front Row Motorsports Ford
122.644
22.015
119.932
23
23
20
Joey Logano Home Depot/Celebration of Service Toyota
123.819
21.806
119.927
64
40
60
Mike Skinner Big Red Chevrolet
121.913
22.147
119.871
12
28
27
Paul Menard Moen/Menards Chevrolet
123.609
21.843
119.771
55
14
1
Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
124.867
21.623
119.690
41
17
4
Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
124.694
21.653
119.687
59
4
33
Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
125.921
21.442
119.678
57
38
66
Michael McDowell HP Racing Toyota
122.205
22.094
119.668
7
2
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Power of Pride Chevrolet
125.962
21.435
119.654
59
27
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
123.638
21.838
119.547
30
10
5
Mark Martin Quaker State/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
125.261
21.555
119.509
62
1
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
126.292
21.379
119.444
63
42
34
David Gilliland Honoring Our Heroes Ford
121.337
22.252
119.322
46
18
39
Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
124.636
21.663
119.260
51
5
43
A.J. Allmendinger Best Buy Ford
125.611
21.495
119.256
70
25
22
Kurt Busch Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
123.711
21.825
119.231
60
20
16
Greg Biffle 3M Honoring Our Heroes Ford
124.184
21.742
119.142
66
44
38
Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
121.185
22.280
119.061
36
8
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
125.290
21.550
119.005
66
13
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
125.058
21.590
118.982
68
24
6
David Ragan UPS Ford
123.757
21.817
118.947
65
43
32
Mike Bliss Safe Skies TSA Luggage Locks Ford
121.332
22.253
118.894
41
16
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
124.723
21.648
118.831
69
11
78
Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
125.214
21.563
118.824
67
7
00
David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
125.523
21.510
118.802
62
9
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
125.273
21.553
118.677
70
22
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet
123.933
21.786
118.596
60
45
50
T.J. Bell Green Smoke Chevrolet
120.795
22.352
118.511
24
41
51
Landon Cassill SecurityBenefit/ThnkATchrToday Chev
121.507
22.221
118.474
25
3
13
Casey Mears GEICO Toyota
125.927
21.441
118.335
66
15
47
Bobby Labonte Scott Brand Toyota
124.861
21.624
118.197
64
46
36
Stephen Leicht Golden Corral Chevrolet
120.552
22.397
117.449
48
33
71
Andy Lally Interstate Moving Services Ford
122.900
21.969
116.643
44

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
20
Joey Logano
1
10
122.283
2
14
Tony Stewart
1
10
122.196
3
56
Martin Truex Jr.
1
10
122.001
4
83
Brian Vickers
1
10
121.918
5
18
Kyle Busch
6
15
121.557
6
78
Regan Smith
4
13
121.162
7
13
Casey Mears
4
13
120.772
8
34
David Gilliland
1
10
120.744
9
27
Paul Menard
38
47
120.472
10
00
David Reutimann
10
19
120.144
11
99
Carl Edwards
33
42
120.045
12
43
A.J. Allmendinger
7
16
120.028
13
2
Brad Keselowski
11
20
119.979
14
24
Jeff Gordon
42
51
119.957
15
9
Marcos Ambrose
10
19
119.813
16
33
Clint Bowyer
15
24
119.793
17
5
Mark Martin
39
48
119.583
18
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
41
50
119.525
19
6
David Ragan
14
23
119.507
20
39
Ryan Newman
10
19
119.432
21
11
Denny Hamlin
43
52
119.183
22
31
Jeff Burton
51
60
119.016
23
47
Bobby Labonte
12
21
118.733
24
22
Kurt Busch
40
49
118.656
25
16
Greg Biffle
53
62
118.002
26
71
Andy Lally
17
26
117.059

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

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Average Speed
Total Laps
23
30
David Stremme Inception Motorsports Chevy
120.666
15
18
46
Scott Speed T&T Performance Ford
120.527
18
29
87
Joe Nemechek AM FM Energy Toyota
120.498
19
38
37
Erik Darnell Max Q Motorsports Ford
120.385
25
1
99
Carl Edwards Cheez-It/Kellogg's Ford
120.279
56
35
17
Matt Kenseth Ollie's Ford
120.090
57
44
7
Robby Gordon SPEED Energy Dodge
120.054
14
26
66
Michael McDowell HP Racing Toyota
120.047
12
16
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevy
120.012
83
25
35
Dave Blaney Pepsi Max Chevy
119.948
39
19
60
Mike Skinner Big Red Chevy
119.799
23
17
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Brakes Toyota
119.705
95
4
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
119.697
88
15
83
Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
119.587
89
41
55
J.J. Yeley Front Row Motorsports Ford
119.531
34
30
20
Joey Logano Home Depot/Celebration of Service Toyota
119.446
108
7
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Power of Pride Chevy
119.409
91
5
33
Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevy
119.375
87
2
5
Mark Martin Quaker State/GoDaddy.com Chevy
119.362
89
10
4
Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
119.288
98
11
1
Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevy
119.288
74
8
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevy
119.266
106
39
38
Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
119.240
50
33
27
Paul Menard Moen/Menards Chevy
119.238
96
14
16
Greg Biffle 3M Honoring Our Heroes Ford
119.215
85
21
43
A.J. Allmendinger Best Buy Ford
119.189
117
37
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevy
119.149
57
40
22
Kurt Busch Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
119.027
95
31
39
Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY Chevy
119.012
89
32
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevy
118.944
93
27
14
Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy
118.942
105
43
34
David Gilliland Honoring Our Heroes Ford
118.896
69
36
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
118.850
116
3
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy
118.697
85
22
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
118.618
112
34
78
Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevy
118.592
111
6
32
Mike Bliss Safe Skies TSA Luggage Locks Ford
118.575
60
20
6
David Ragan UPS Ford
118.546
116
9
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
118.395
124
12
51
Landon Cassill SecurityBenefit/ThankATchrToday Chev
118.387
42
42
00
David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
118.309
114
28
13
Casey Mears GEICO Toyota
118.230
99
45
50
T.J. Bell Green Smoke Chevy
118.060
38
13
47
Bobby Labonte Scott Brand Toyota
118.047
115
24
36
Stephen Leicht Golden Corral Chevy
117.652
79
46
71
Andy Lally Interstate Moving Services Ford
116.588
74
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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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