Outside of Denny Hamlin winning at Phoenix, Joe Gibbs Racing has had a rather quiet start to the 2012 season. That could change Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin will start from the pole and be joined on the front row by teammate Kyle Busch. Not to mention the fact that Joey Logano qualified eighth, putting all three JGR cars in the top 10. Roush Fenway Racing has been the team to beat thus far, and Michael Waltrip Racing has surprisingly carried the banner for Toyota. If JGR is going to reassert itself as the juggernaut it was from 2008-2010, it needs to build on its stellar effort in qualifying.
Of course, there are plenty of other strong options for fantasy owners starting near the front of the field Sunday. The ageless wonder Mark Martin qualified third, and former ACS winner and current point leader Greg Biffle will roll off fourth. Defending race winner Kevin Harvick will also start up front after qualifying seventh. Harvick is a particularly intriguing option because he tends to be a horrible qualifier. On the rare occasions he does start up front, he usually delivers big-time results.
Rounding out the top 10 during qualifying were Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson, and the two superstars should be on the short list of favorites for fantasy owners. Stewart won at ACS in the fall of 2010, and he has a 7.2 average finish at the track since becoming an owner/driver for Stewart-Haas Racing. Meanwhile, Johnson is a five-time winner at the track and has finished third or better in eight of his last nine starts. Stewart and Johnson finished first and second at the first trip to a larger oval this season, and the two drivers that have combined to win the last seven series titles could be back at the front of the field when the checkered flag waves this weekend.
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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