Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: AAA Texas 500

by Brian Polking on November 5, 2011 @ 18:19:13 PDT

 


While the suspension of Kyle Busch dominated the headlines Saturday, regular scheduled activities were held as well, including a pair of Cup Series practices. Michael McDowell replaced Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for both sessions and will do so in Sunday's race, and Josh Wise will pilot McDowell's No. 66 machine. With qualifying being held Friday, drivers had the luxury of spending both Saturday practices in race trim.
Current point leader Carl Edwards got things started with a bang, topping the charts in the opening session. The three-time Texas winner finished third in the spring event at the track, and another top-five run seems like a real possibility this weekend. Fantasy owners should consider him an elite option in all formats.

Greg Biffle

Edwards wasn't the only former Texas winner to impress in the opening session. His teammate Greg Biffle ranked second in the practice, and he is gunning for his seventh straight top-10 finish at the track this weekend. Biffle is starting from the pole as well, and he led the most laps at the track last fall. He could end up being Edwards' toughest competition Sunday.

Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and David Ragan rounded out the top five, and all three deserve fantasy consideration. Gordon and Kahne are former winners at Texas, and Ragan has back-to-back top-10 finishes. Not to mention the fact that all three have been particularly strong at 1.5-mile tracks this season. Kahne and Ragan could be particularly valuable as sleeper options in many fantasy formats.

On longer runs, Brad Keselowski's car was among those that came to life. He posted the best 10-lap average speed in the opening practice, and he is likely going to return to his top-10 form after a hiccup at Martinsville last weekend. After all, Keselowski has been a force at 1.5-mile tracks in the second half of the year.

Sleeper candidate Paul Menard posted the second-best 10-lap average, and he enters this weekend's race with finishes of 10th and fifth in his last two starts at Texas. Jeff Burton, David Reutimann and Regan Smith rounded out the top five, although it is worth mentioning that just 14 drivers qualified for the category. In fact, there was sizeable gap in speed between Keselowski and the rest of the top five.

In Happy Hour, Kahne surged to the top of the charts. He has had a rather forgettable year with Red Bull Racing, but a trip to Victory Lane isn't out of the question. Kahne has won a majority of his races at 1.5-mile tracks, and Texas is on the list of past victories. At the very least, he should help out fantasy teams this weekend.

The surprising Marcos Ambrose ranked second in the final session, and owners willing to gamble could receive a huge payoff. Ambrose came out of nowhere to finish sixth at Texas in the spring, and if that performance turns out to be a sign of what's to come Sunday, he could end up being the top sleeper. Ambrose is a still a risky pick, but the fact that his top-10 run came in his first start at the track with Richard Petty Motorsports could mean it was more than a fluke.

Ragan, Smith and Burton completed the top five, and Burton is the interesting option. He has just three top-10 finishes in what has been a miserable 2011 season, but two of those have come in the last two races. He appears to have some momentum, and he has won at Texas as recently as 2006. Burton is by no means an elite option this weekend, but he could be a sneaky top-10 option this weekend.

Edwards continued to flex his muscles, posting the best 10-lap average speed in the final practice. A.J. Allmendinger and Reutimann ranked second and third, while Kahne and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. Harvick is always a safe bet to end up somewhere in the top 10, but Reutimann is the intriguing option. It is easy to assume that he would pack it in following the announcement that he won't be back with Michael Waltrip Racing this season. However, he runs well at 1.5-mile tracks, and he could use Sunday's race as an opportunity to attract a new Cup ride for next season.

Fantasy owners wondering about title contender Tony Stewart and April's winner Matt Kenseth shouldn't worry. Both drivers were consistent and solid in the sessions. Stewart ranked eighth and ninth in the two sessions, while Kenseth jumped from 14th in the first practice to seventh in Happy Hour. With both drivers starting inside the top five Sunday, owners should have no worries inserting both into their fantasy lineups.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
8
99
Aflac Ford
185.033
29.184
182.347
37
1
4
Red Bull Toyota
185.912
29.046
181.707
44
2
9
DeWalt Ford
185.656
29.086
181.675
46
12
33
Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
184.596
29.253
181.637
38
17
11
FedEx Office Toyota
184.300
29.300
181.613
35
20
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
184.175
29.320
181.427
30
10
16
Scotch Blue Ford
184.767
29.226
181.393
44
9
14
Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
184.944
29.198
181.358
47
22
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
184.093
29.333
181.325
42
25
42
Target Chevrolet
183.861
29.370
181.313
33
7
17
Crown Royal Ford
185.198
29.158
181.306
44
4
78
Furniture Row Chevrolet
185.331
29.137
181.233
52
26
13
GEICO Toyota
183.331
29.455
181.222
23
36
55
Ingersoll Rand Ford
181.245
29.794
181.180
15
18
29
Rheem Chevrolet
184.294
29.301
181.074
49
31
88
National Guard by Tradition/AMP Chevrolet
182.624
29.569
180.928
33
19
27
Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet
184.193
29.317
180.887
45
23
51
Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Chevrolet
184.087
29.334
180.844
44
13
43
Immortals/Best Buy Ford
184.483
29.271
180.741
54
24
22
AAA Dodge
183.905
29.363
180.691
42
27
5
CARQUEST/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
183.026
29.504
180.644
45
35
87
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
181.391
29.770
180.590
2
28
2
Miller Lite Dodge
182.908
29.523
180.463
43
11
83
Red Bull Toyota
184.609
29.251
180.450
52
3
6
UPS My Choice Ford
185.446
29.119
180.333
52
14
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
184.420
29.281
180.282
34
5
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
185.268
29.147
180.189
54
6
00
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
185.217
29.155
180.179
38
21
39
Quicken Loans/Carrier Classic Chevrolet
184.118
29.329
180.172
45
16
48
mylowes Chevrolet
184.326
29.296
180.113
38
30
20
The Home Depot Toyota
182.698
29.557
180.028
44
29
18
M&M's Toyota
182.890
29.526
179.580
45
15
1
Bass Pro Shops/Arctic Cat Chevrolet
184.351
29.292
179.473
45
32
47
Wounded Warrior Project Toyota
182.550
29.581
179.390
45
39
66
HP Racing LLC Toyota
180.282
29.953
179.327
14
34
34
181.500
29.752
179.150
18
38
37
MaxQ Motorsports Ford
180.578
29.904
178.361
9
41
46
Green Stuff Absorbent Ford
179.754
30.041
177.759
10
33
35
Big Red Chevrolet
181.886
29.689
177.718
34
37
38
Long John Silver's Ford
180.796
29.868
177.618
33
40
32
Street King Ford
179.958
30.007
177.567
29
43
36
Luke & Associates, Inc. Chevrolet
178.707
30.217
176.298
32
42
71
179.259
30.124
176.279
24

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
99
1
10
183.230
2
43
1
10
182.836
3
00
2
11
182.800
4
4
29
38
182.780
5
29
2
11
182.698
6
17
1
10
182.601
7
16
28
37
182.497
8
42
18
27
182.227
9
1
1
10
182.183
10
33
1
10
182.163
11
78
31
40
182.141
12
24
1
10
181.948
13
27
1
10
181.913
14
48
22
31
181.907
15
14
21
30
181.895
16
20
1
10
181.725
17
5
1
10
181.710
18
51
27
36
181.678
19
11
25
34
181.396
20
22
8
17
181.344
21
31
41
50
181.310
22
83
33
42
181.304
23
39
29
38
181.157
24
2
27
36
180.830
25
18
24
33
180.824
26
56
20
29
180.746
27
47
1
10
179.626
28
38
23
32
177.013

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
2
16
Scotch Blue Ford
188.897
28.587
183.999
19
7
9
DeWalt Ford
188.101
28.708
183.846
22
17
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
186.942
28.886
183.614
26
21
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
185.803
29.063
183.542
20
4
4
Red Bull Toyota
188.495
28.648
183.499
20
8
14
Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
188.075
28.712
183.425
20
9
11
FedEx Office Toyota
187.937
28.733
183.201
21
1
99
Aflac Ford
188.897
28.587
183.181
24
18
43
Immortals/Best Buy Ford
186.580
28.942
183.133
21
26
33
Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
184.704
29.236
183.037
20
5
6
UPS My Choice Ford
188.193
28.694
182.985
25
14
17
Crown Royal Ford
187.279
28.834
182.962
22
29
78
Furniture Row Chevrolet
184.382
29.287
182.909
21
13
29
Rheem Chevrolet
187.428
28.811
182.874
24
28
1
Bass Pro Shops/Arctic Cat Chevrolet
184.552
29.260
182.836
19
19
42
Target Chevrolet
186.188
29.003
182.630
26
22
27
Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet
185.784
29.066
182.607
24
6
2
Miller Lite Dodge
188.153
28.700
182.475
33
15
88
National Guard by Tradition/AMP Chevrolet
187.227
28.842
182.431
22
10
39
Quicken Loans/Carrier Classic Chevrolet
187.735
28.764
182.390
27
30
13
GEICO Toyota
183.899
29.364
182.203
15
12
48
mylowes Chevrolet
187.435
28.810
182.145
35
11
22
AAA Dodge
187.650
28.777
182.103
29
31
5
CARQUEST/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
183.705
29.395
182.081
19
24
51
Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Chevrolet
184.887
29.207
182.024
25
34
55
Ingersoll Rand Ford
183.237
29.470
181.672
11
37
87
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
181.421
29.765
181.421
1
23
20
The Home Depot Toyota
184.925
29.201
181.150
32
27
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
184.565
29.258
181.029
31
16
00
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
187.045
28.870
181.023
35
3
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
188.745
28.610
180.812
32
32
38
Long John Silver's Ford
183.524
29.424
180.707
8
20
83
Red Bull Toyota
185.854
29.055
180.678
38
41
46
Green Stuff Absorbent Ford
180.638
29.894
180.638
1
36
34
182.008
29.669
180.331
13
25
47
Wounded Warrior Project Toyota
184.811
29.219
180.276
37
33
18
M&M's Toyota
183.449
29.436
180.210
32
35
35
Big Red Chevrolet
182.266
29.627
180.151
17
39
71
180.802
29.867
179.674
14
38
32
Street King Ford
181.099
29.818
179.541
20
40
66
HP Racing LLC Toyota
180.699
29.884
179.313
6
42
36
Luke & Associates, Inc. Chevrolet
178.047
30.329
175.099
19

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
2
1
10
184.439
2
27
1
10
183.780
3
31
1
10
183.476
4
00
1
10
183.120
5
78
9
18
183.036
6
29
5
14
182.983
7
33
11
20
182.546
8
83
1
10
182.504
9
18
1
10
182.356
10
48
7
16
182.165
11
47
14
23
181.888
12
20
20
29
181.225
13
24
12
21
180.275
14
22
20
29
180.003

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

Car
Driver Team
Average Speed
Total Laps
99
Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
182.675
61
9
Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
182.377
68
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
182.273
50
4
Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
182.267
64
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota
182.209
56
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
182.200
68
16
Greg Biffle Scotch Blue Ford
182.179
63
33
Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
182.120
58
14
Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
181.975
67
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
181.893
59
17
Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Ford
181.858
66
78
Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
181.715
73
29
Kevin Harvick Rheem Chevrolet
181.666
73
13
Casey Mears GEICO Toyota
181.609
38
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard by Tradition/AMP Chevrolet
181.529
55
27
Paul Menard Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet
181.485
69
43
A.J. Allmendinger Immortals/Best Buy Ford
181.411
75
55
J.J. Yeley Ingersoll Rand Ford
181.388
26
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
181.337
76
51
Landon Cassill Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Chevrolet
181.272
69
22
Kurt Busch AAA Dodge
181.268
71
6
David Ragan UPS My Choice Ford
181.194
77
48
Jimmie Johnson mylowes Chevrolet
181.087
73
5
Mark Martin CARQUEST/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
181.071
64
39
Ryan Newman Quicken Loans/Carrier Classic Chevrolet
181.004
72
87
Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
180.867
3
00
David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
180.584
73
83
Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
180.546
90
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
180.539
66
20
Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
180.500
76
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
180.495
85
1
Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Arctic Cat Chevrolet
180.471
64
18
Michael McDowell M&M's Toyota
179.842
77
47
Bobby Labonte Wounded Warrior Project Toyota
179.790
82
34
David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
179.645
31
66
Josh Wise HP Racing LLC Toyota
179.323
20
35
Dave Blaney Big Red Chevrolet
178.529
51
32
Mike Bliss Street King Ford
178.373
49
60
Mike Skinner Max Q Motorsports Ford
178.361
9
38
Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
178.221
41
46
Scott Speed Green Stuff Absorbent Ford
178.021
11
71
Andy Lally TRG Motorsports Ford
177.530
38
36
Geoff Bodine Luke & Associates, Inc. Chevrolet
175.851
51
Facebook Twitter Google +

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.

Don't miss these great reports....


What do you think? Sound off!



Recent KFFL releases