Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Subway Fresh Fit 500

by Brian Polking on March 3, 2012 @ 16:50:10 PDT

 


Jimmie Johnson

There is an old saying in NASCAR that says it's not about where you start, but where you finish. At Phoenix International Raceway, starting up front has a direct correlation to going to Victory Lane. Nine of the last 11 races at the track have been won by a driver starting inside the top 10, and no driver starting outside the top 20 has won a race during the stretch.

The statistic is bad news for several big names, including defending race winner Jeff Gordon, last week's winner Matt Kenseth and championship favorite Carl Edwards. All three drivers qualified 24th or worse, and even though all three drivers are former winners at Phoenix, the numbers say that their chances of getting to Victory Lane are next to nothing. Granted, qualifying outside the top 20 doesn't eliminate them from having a decent afternoon, but depending on the fantasy format, picking a driver with little chance of winning doesn't make much sense.

Fortunately for fantasy owners, there are several intriguing options that did qualify near the front. Mark Martin and Tony Stewart will share the front row, and Jimmie Johnson will start in the top five, as well. Johnson (5.4) and Martin (9.5) own the two best average finishes at Phoenix, and Johnson is a four-time winner. Meanwhile, Stewart finished in the top 10 in both races at PIR last season, leading the most laps and finishing third in the fall.

Dropping back a bit further, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne are a couple of other top-10 qualifiers for owners to target. Newman has reeled off four straight top-five finishes at the track, and Kahne won the fall event last year. Kahne's stock receives an added boost because Sunday will mark his first start at PIR with Hendrick Motorsports. Seven of the last 10 races at Phoenix have been won by an HMS driver.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
2
2
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
4
3
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
8
4
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
6
5
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
10
6
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
24
7
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
12
8
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
13
9
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
30
10
Mark Martin
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
1
11
A.J. Allmendinger
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
15
12
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
11
13
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
14
14
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
7
15
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
26
16
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
9
17
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
28
18
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
29
19
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
16
20
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
25
21
Kurt Busch
51
Chevrolet Hendrickcars.com Phoenix Racing
19
22
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
20
23
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Target Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
5
24
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kroger JTG Daugherty Racing
17
25
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
21
26
David Reutimann
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
32
27
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Smithfield Helping Hungry Homes Richard Petty Motorsports
18
28
Regan Smith
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
3
29
David Ragan
34
Ford Scorpion Truck Bed Liners Front Row Motorsports
34
30
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
22
31
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
31
32
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tomm Tommy Baldwin Racing
23
33
Mike Bliss
32
Ford C & J Energy Services FAS Lane Racing
42
34
Robby Gordon
7
Dodge SPEED Energy Robby Gordon Motorsports
39
35
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
36
36
Brendan Gaughan
33
Chevrolet South Point Casino Richard Childress Racing
40
37
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
41
38
Josh Wise
26
Ford MDS Trucking Front Row Motorsports
33
39
J.J. Yeley
49
Toyota American Israel Racing American Israel Racing
35
40
Scott Riggs
23
Chevrolet North Texas Pipe R3 Motorsports
27
41
Michael McDowell
98
Ford K-Love/Curb Records Phil Parsons Racing
37
42
David Stremme
30
Toyota Inception Motorsports Inception Motorsports
43
43
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM-FM Energy NEMCO Motorsports
38
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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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