Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Good Sam Club 500

by Brian Polking on October 22, 2011 @ 12:06:01 PDT

 


Practice sessions at restrictor-plate tracks always need to be heavily scrutinized by fantasy owners. For starters, there is a good chance a multi-car wreck is going to level a good portion of the field. More importantly, drivers are focused mainly on getting a feel for the draft, finding a drafting partner they are comfortable with, and staying out of trouble, rather than fine tuning setups and watching the stopwatch. What other tracks outside of Daytona and Talladega do drivers opt to skip the practice sessions on regular basis?

That being said, Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards got practice at Talladega started with a bang Friday, topping the charts in the opening session. It was only a few years ago that the two were leading the Chase race at the track before triggering a wreck that ended both of their title hopes. That being said, the two drivers have run well at Talladega in recent years, and Biffle will likely do everything he can to keep Edwards on top of the standings.

A.J. Allmendinger

After dominating at Talladega earlier this year, Hendrick Motorsports looked strong again in practice as Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon ranked third and fourth. Richard Petty Motorsports driver Marcos Ambrose rounded out the top five, and his teammate A.J. Allmendinger ranked sixth. After placing four drivers in the top eight spots in the spring race, all four HMS drivers have to be considered by fantasy owners.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Regan Smith and Kurt Busch topped the charts. The two drivers have developed excellent chemistry at the plate tracks this season, and Smith is one of the top sleepers. Richard Childress Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton ranked third and fourth, while Tony Stewart rounded out the top five. Bowyer is the must-have option out of the group. He is the defending winner of this weekendís race, and he finished second by a few inches at the track earlier this year.

Michael Waltrip Racing teammates David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr. led the way in Happy Hour, and both drivers have had their best runs at the track in recent years. They donít offer the consistency of some other big names, but the duo could make a nice addition to fantasy teams. The same can be said for Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. Logano actually owns the best average finish at Talladega among active drivers, and he and Busch have plenty of practice drafting together because of the time in the Nationwide races. However, Busch will be in backup car Sunday after cutting a tire and smashing the wall in final practice.

Fantasy owners should pay particular attention to Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. this weekend. The two drivers ranked fifth and sixth in the final session, and in the spring race, the two hooked up to make the winning pass on Bowyer on the final lap. Johnson won the race, and considering he is a five-time champ and Junior is a five-time Talladega winner, the duo could be part of a season sweep at the track for HMS.

Most teams cut the final session short in an attempt to save their cars, but Logano did top the charts in terms of 10-lap average speed. Juan Pablo Montoya, who has finished third in two of his last three starts at Talladega, ranked second. Busch ranked third before wrecking his car, and Jamie McMurray and Reutimann rounded out the top five. McMurray is the biggest boom or bust option in the field. He is a proven restrictor-plate winner, but when he doesnít finish up front, he usually wrecks. Owners looking to make a late season run up the standings should definitely consider McMurray.

One name missing from the top of the charts was Kevin Harvick. However, the fact that he didnít even take the track in Happy Hour should tell fantasy owners he is comfortable with his car. He has three straight top-five finishes at Talladega, including a win and a second-place finish last season.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
7
42
Energizer Chevrolet
196.025
48.851
189.431
17
8
1
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
196.025
48.851
188.808
18
18
51
PhoenixConstruction/ThankATeacher Chevrolet
193.275
49.546
188.021
12
17
14
El Monterey/Office Depot Chevrolet
193.275
49.546
187.906
12
15
22
Shell Pennzoil Dodge
194.208
49.308
185.640
5
1
00
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
197.159
48.570
184.851
22
12
6
UPS My Choice Ford
195.122
49.077
184.775
7
2
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
197.143
48.574
184.143
27
3
20
The Home Depot Toyota
196.350
48.770
184.105
32
5
48
mylowes Chevrolet
196.306
48.781
184.066
21
6
88
DietMountainDewPaintthe88/Natl Guard Chevrolet
196.302
48.782
183.953
22
9
5
GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
195.632
48.949
183.875
21
10
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
195.624
48.951
181.396
29
19
4
Red Bull Toyota
192.723
49.688
180.559
6
13
99
Subway Ford
194.567
49.217
179.483
15
4
18
M&M's Halloween Toyota
196.346
48.771
178.180
40
14
16
3M Ford
194.551
49.221
176.771
23
11
17
Jeremiah Weed Ford
195.122
49.077
172.006
8
24
43
Best Buy Ford
178.857
53.540
171.467
9
22
9
Stanley Ford
179.195
53.439
171.165
9
20
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
180.857
52.948
171.138
16
27
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
178.743
53.574
170.631
3
31
66
HP Racing, LLC Toyota
178.371
53.686
169.946
7
36
37
Bradley University Ford
176.650
54.209
169.779
7
28
7
SPEED Energy/MAPEI Dodge
178.687
53.591
169.139
7
21
97
Extenze Toyota
179.480
53.354
169.134
7
32
71
178.049
53.783
168.389
11
30
55
178.490
53.650
168.384
15
23
38
Long John Silver's Ford
179.161
53.449
168.356
14
34
36
Golden Corral Chevrolet
177.133
54.061
167.933
8
33
87
AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wood Stoves
177.953
53.812
167.570
8
37
35
Luke & Associates Inc. Chevrolet
176.046
54.395
167.396
11
26
15
Aaron's/DarrellWaltripNASCARHallofFame
178.763
53.568
166.831
13
35
46
Red Line Ford
176.862
54.144
166.165
15
29
32
C&J Energy Ford
178.553
53.631
166.056
3
25
2
Miller Lite Dodge
178.814
53.553
165.992
5
38
77
174.978
54.727
161.576
13
16
78
Furniture Row Chevrolet
194.208
49.308
155.986
8
39
34
WorldHungerRelief/fromhungertohope.com Ford
155.404
61.620
155.404
1
x
11
FedEx Office Toyota
0
0
0
0
x
13
GEICO Toyota
0
0
0
0
x
27
Serta/Menards Chevrolet
0
0
0
0
x
29
Jimmy John's Chevrolet
0
0
0
0
x
33
Chevrolet 100 Years Chevrolet
0
0
0
0
x
39
U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
0
0
0
0
x
47
Scott Products Toyota
0
0
0
0
x
83
Red Bull Toyota
0
0
0
0

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
20
2
11
193.707
2
42
2
11
193.703
3
18
2
11
193.664
4
1
2
11
193.660
5
00
3
12
193.205
6
56
3
12
193.163
7
99
4
13
192.157
8
16
4
13
192.157
9
51
3
12
191.396
10
14
3
12
191.354
11
48
2
11
186.643
12
88
2
11
186.629
13
24
2
11
186.596
14
5
2
11
186.532

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
3
5
GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
198.545
48.230
190.917
21
4
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
198.384
48.270
190.826
21
13
33
Chevrolet 100 Years Chevrolet
196.354
48.770
190.273
14
14
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
196.350
48.770
189.935
15
11
78
Furniture Row Chevrolet
196.709
48.680
189.924
30
12
22
Shell Pennzoil Dodge
196.705
48.680
189.907
30
9
14
El Monterey/Office Depot Chevrolet
196.733
48.680
189.551
15
19
2
Miller Lite Dodge
196.113
48.830
189.260
24
7
4
Red Bull Toyota
197.021
48.600
189.100
31
20
36
Golden Corral Chevrolet
196.109
48.830
189.020
24
8
83
Red Bull Toyota
197.017
48.600
188.977
31
2
99
Subway Ford
198.936
48.140
188.617
27
5
9
Stanley Ford
197.061
48.590
188.213
25
6
43
Best Buy Ford
197.053
48.600
187.752
25
24
11
FedEx Office Toyota
194.995
49.110
187.508
25
15
6
UPS My Choice Ford
196.294
48.780
187.502
23
10
47
Scott Products Toyota
196.729
48.680
187.441
21
17
29
Jimmy John's Chevrolet
196.133
48.820
187.240
24
1
16
3M/O'Reilly's Auto Parts Ford
198.940
48.140
187.206
29
18
27
Serta/Menards Chevrolet
196.129
48.820
187.167
24
23
39
U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
194.999
49.110
186.286
27
22
48
mylowes Chevrolet
195.261
49.040
185.259
27
27
20
The Home Depot Toyota
192.719
49.690
184.954
14
16
17
Jeremiah Weed Ford
196.290
48.780
184.838
24
21
88
DietMountainDew/Natl Guard Chevrolet
195.269
49.040
184.706
27
26
18
M&M's Halloween Toyota
192.719
49.690
181.731
23
30
55
191.310
50.060
177.637
4
25
51
PhoenixConstruction/ThankATeacher Chevrolet
194.267
49.290
177.434
9
31
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
191.306
50.060
173.580
7
29
00
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
191.313
50.050
172.702
6
28
34
World Hunger Relief/fromhungertohope.com
191.321
50.050
172.199
7
37
71
177.692
53.890
170.173
4
40
13
GEICO Toyota
176.770
54.170
169.909
9
33
42
Energizer Chevrolet
178.940
53.520
169.826
3
34
15
Aaron's/DarrellWaltripNASCARHallofFame
178.677
53.590
169.559
3
36
87
AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wood Stoves
178.175
53.740
168.856
3
32
32
C&J Energy Ford
179.966
53.210
168.839
7
35
38
Long John Silver's Ford
178.294
53.710
168.627
7
43
35
Luke & Associates Inc. Chevrolet
174.968
54.730
166.961
3
41
37
Bradley University Ford
175.636
54.520
165.387
3
38
7
SPEED Energy/MAPEI Dodge
177.567
53.930
165.359
3
39
1
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
176.996
54.100
164.949
5
42
46
Red Line Ford
175.237
54.650
163.594
2
44
97
Extenze Toyota
167.284
57.240
159.613
2
x
21
Motorcraft Ford
0
0
0
0
x
66
HP Racing Toyota
0
0
0
0
x
77
0
0
0
0

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
78
6
15
194.879
2
22
6
15
194.835
3
33
4
13
194.234
4
31
4
13
194.190
4
14
3
12
193.990
6
47
3
12
193.948
7
9
13
22
193.802
8
43
13
22
193.759
9
88
14
23
193.746
10
5
3
12
193.705
11
48
14
23
193.703
12
24
10
19
193.683
13
4
3
12
193.444
14
83
3
12
193.401
15
99
4
13
193.279
16
16
4
13
193.236
17
2
15
24
193.020
18
36
15
24
193.019
19
17
14
23
192.557
20
6
14
23
192.515
21
11
16
25
192.236
22
39
16
25
192.194
23
27
3
12
191.376
24
29
3
12
191.372
25
18
11
20
188.256
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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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