Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Subway Fresh Fit 500

by Brian Polking on March 3, 2012 @ 08:25:22 PDT

 


With qualifying for Sunday's Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway scheduled for Saturday afternoon, teams were forced to work on both qualifying and race trim during Friday's two practices. A majority of the drivers chose to focus on qualifying in the opening session, switching to longer runs in Happy Hour. With different agendas at work

Several big names jumped to the top of the charts in the first practice, with defending series champ Tony Stewart pacing the field. Stewart was one of four drivers to finish in the top 10 in both races at PIR last season, and he led the most laps in the fall event. Stewart was by far the driver to beat at the end of 2011, and it looks like he could keep the momentum going to start 2012.

Greg Biffle

Mark Martin was second on the charts, and since the start of the 1999 season, his 9.5 average finish at Phoenix is the second best in the series. During the stretch, he has yet to finish outside the top 20. Considering he has driven for multiple race teams during the span, there is no reason to think he can't deliver a solid outing for fantasy owners in his first start at the track with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five, and Newman and Kahne are the two drivers owners should target. Newman won the February event in 2010, and Kahne won the fall event. Both drivers finished in the top 10 in both races in 2011, and Newman has finished in the top five in his last four starts at Phoenix. If owners are trying to decide between the two, may want to lean toward Kahne. Newman's value took a slight when he wrecked his car in the opening practice and went to a backup.

Only five drivers ran 10 or more consecutive laps in the first session, and while Paul Menard and Jimmie Johnson posted the best 10-lap averages, the small amount of competition should keep owners from putting too much stock in the times. That being said, Johnson does lead all drivers with a 5.4 average finish at Phoenix. He is a four-time winner at the track, and he has never finished outside the top 15 at PIR.

In Happy Hour, Michael Waltrip Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer led the way. Neither driver has been an elite option at Phoenix in the past, although both have had a few top-10 finishes. As a result, fantasy owners may want to take a wait-and-see approach with Bowyer and Truex early in the year.

Juan Pablo Montoya, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five, and Gordon is the best fantasy option of the bunch. He is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and he has averaged a top-10 finish at the track since 1999. He is also coming off a year when he was excellent at flat tracks. Meanwhile, Busch is still an unknown with Phoenix Racing and Montoya is coming off a terrible 2011 season and a rough opening race at Daytona to say the least.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kahne and Johnson led a star-studded top five. Stewart, Kyle Busch and Martin joined the HMS duo, and all five drivers are former winners at PIR. In fact, the top seven drivers in terms of average speed in Happy Hour are all former winners.

Owners looking for a big name to avoid should consider last weekend's winner. Matt Kenseth has been mediocre at best at PIR in recent years, and he was nowhere near the top of the sheets in either practice session. To make matters worse, Kenseth wrecked his car in the final practice, forcing him to a backup for Sunday's race.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
1
56
Toyota
NAPA Filters
139.481
25.810
2
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
139.227
25.857
3
42
Chevrolet
Target
139.001
25.899
4
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
138.841
25.929
5
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
138.243
26.041
6
27
Chevrolet
Tarkett/Menards
137.963
26.094
7
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
137.799
26.125
8
11
Toyota
FedEx Office
137.783
26.128
9
39
Chevrolet
Wix Filters
137.709
26.142
10
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
137.694
26.145
11
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
137.636
26.156
12
83
Toyota
Burger King
137.441
26.193
13
16
Ford
3M Commercial Graphics
137.378
26.205
14
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
137.258
26.228
15
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
136.986
26.280
16
13
Ford
GEICO
136.965
26.284
17
30
Toyota
136.950
26.287
18
93
Toyota
Burger King
136.867
26.303
19
31
Chevrolet
Wheaties
136.840
26.308
20
34
Ford
Barrett-Jackson
136.820
26.312
21
1
Chevrolet
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats
136.794
26.317
22
10
Chevrolet
Accell Construction
136.768
26.322
23
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
136.742
26.327
24
36
Chevrolet
Ollie's Bargain Outlet
136.529
26.368
25
18
Toyota
M&M's Ms. Brown
136.446
26.384
26
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
136.240
26.424
27
99
Ford
Subway
136.235
26.425
28
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
136.219
26.428
29
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
136.132
26.445
30
47
Toyota
Kingsford/Scott Products
136.060
26.459
31
43
Ford
Smithfield "Allez cuisine"
136.049
26.461
32
7
Dodge
Speed Energy
136.018
26.467
33
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
135.962
26.478
34
49
Toyota
America Israel Racing
135.752
26.519
35
9
Ford
Stanley
135.649
26.539
36
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
135.609
26.547
37
26
Ford
Morristown Driver's Service
135.557
26.557
38
17
Ford
Best Buy
135.186
26.630
39
33
Chevrolet
South Point Hotel & Casino
134.791
26.708
40
32
Ford
U.S. Chrome/Southern Pride Trucking
134.725
26.721
41
37
Ford
Poynt.com
134.655
26.735
42
87
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com/Pellet & Wood Stoves
134.585
26.749
43
38
Ford
Rick Santorum for President
134.529
26.760
44
98
Ford
Curb Records
-
-

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

Rank
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
5
46
55
136.451
2
48
24
33
135.758
3
14
32
41
135.534
4
18
34
43
135.495
5
55
26
35
135.428
6
29
33
42
135.416
7
24
37
46
135.248
8
78
44
53
135.212
9
27
25
34
135.178
10
56
3
12
135.063
11
2
7
18
134.994
12
11
21
30
134.97
13
31
49
58
134.968
14
20
22
31
134.909
15
9
46
55
134.722
16
22
24
33
134.641
17
47
34
43
134.555
18
13
4
13
134.533
19
16
7
16
134.384
20
42
1
10
134.208
21
15
2
11
134.037
22
33
13
22
131.34

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
1
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
138.680
25.959
2
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
138.611
25.972
3
16
Ford
3M Commercial Graphics
138.568
25.980
4
39
Chevrolet
Wix Filters
138.493
25.994
5
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
138.408
26.010
6
42
Chevrolet
Target
138.360
26.019
7
18
Toyota
M&M's Ms. Brown
138.344
26.022
8
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
138.313
26.028
9
1
Chevrolet
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats
138.249
26.040
10
17
Ford
Best Buy
137.963
26.094
11
9
Ford
Stanley
137.947
26.097
12
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
137.836
26.118
13
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
137.810
26.123
14
43
Ford
Smithfield "Allez cuisine"
137.799
26.125
15
31
Chevrolet
Wheaties
137.746
26.135
16
99
Ford
Subway
137.678
26.148
17
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
137.599
26.163
18
27
Chevrolet
Tarkett/Menards
137.294
26.221
19
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
137.190
26.241
20
36
Chevrolet
Ollie's Bargain Outlet
136.856
26.305
21
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
136.540
26.366
22
56
Toyota
NAPA Filters
136.415
26.390
23
32
Ford
U.S. Chrome/Southern Pride Trucking
136.405
26.392
24
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
136.245
26.423
25
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
136.204
26.431
26
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
135.875
26.495
27
34
Ford
Barrett-Jackson
135.675
26.534
28
83
Toyota
Burger King
135.563
26.556
29
13
Ford
GEICO
135.517
26.565
30
47
Toyota
Kingsford/Scott Products
135.481
26.572
31
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
135.476
26.573
32
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
135.303
26.607
33
11
Toyota
FedEx Office
135.044
26.658
34
10
Chevrolet
Accell Construction
134.882
26.690
35
30
Toyota
134.857
26.695
36
33
Chevrolet
South Point Hotel & Casino
134.589
26.748
37
49
Toyota
America Israel Racing
134.424
26.781
38
87
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com/Pellet & Wood Stoves
134.313
26.803
39
38
Ford
Rick Santorum for President
134.118
26.842
40
7
Dodge
Speed Energy
134.108
26.844
41
26
Ford
Morristown Driver's Service
134.088
26.848
42
93
Toyota
Burger King
133.949
26.876
43
98
Ford
Curb Records
133.869
26.892
44
37
Ford
Poynt.com
133.497
26.967

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

Rank
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
27
44
53
135.519
2
48
29
38
135.011
3
11
22
31
134.070
4
2
1
10
132.269
5
49
2
11
131.297
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