Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Federated Auto Parts 400

by Brian Polking on September 7, 2012 @ 18:54:35 PDT

 


Denny Hamlin

It will be an all Hendrick Motorsports front row when the field takes the green flag in the regular season finale at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night. Dale Earnhardt Jr. bumped his teammate Jeff Gordon from the top spot, winning his first pole since the 2011 Daytona 500. Jimmie Johnson joined the two in the top five, as well, and after the strong showing in qualifying, history says a good night could be on tap for the HMS bunch.

Since the start of the 2003 season, 17 of the 19 races at Richmond have been won by a driver starting inside the top 15. More importantly, 12 of the races during the stretch have been won by drivers starting inside the top five. In fact, Junior, Gordon and Johnson know all about winning at the track after qualifying near the front. The three have combined for eight wins at Richmond, and they have started 13th or better in all eight victories and have won six times from a top-five starting spot.

The HMS drivers aren't the only teammates starting up front. All three Michael Waltrip Racing cars will start inside the top 10, and all three Joe Gibbs Racing cars will start inside the top 15. The JGR bunch is particularly intriguing considering Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin have the two best average finishes at Richmond and have combined to win six of the last seven races at the track. While the MWR guys don't boast the past success, they have already dominated a short track event in 2012. All three MWR drivers finished in the top five at Bristol earlier this year, and fantasy owners shouldn't be surprised to see Truex, Bowyer and Martin challenge for top-10s this weekend.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper pick may want to consider Sam Hornish Jr. He qualified 11th, and in six previous starts at Richmond, he has finished eighth or better twice. More importantly, those finishes came at a time when he was struggling to make it in the Cup Series. Hornish has no doubt been a much improved driver since returning to the Cup level midway through the year, and if he could crack the top 10 at Richmond at the lowest point of his career, he could certainly do the same now that he is running consistently in the top 15 on a weekly basis.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Plinker Team
Starting Pos
1
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
7
2
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
15
3
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
5
4
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
16
5
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
2
6
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
1
7
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
21
8
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
4
9
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
13
10
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
10
11
Mark Martin
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
6
12
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
28
13
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
14
14
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
17
15
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
23
16
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
9
17
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
8
18
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
22
19
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Clorox Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
24
20
Sam Hornish Jr.
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
11
21
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
20
22
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
26
23
Regan Smith
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
3
24
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
25
25
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Medallion Financial Richard Petty Motorsports
18
26
Kurt Busch
51
Chevrolet Tag Heuer Phoenix Racing
30
27
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kingsford JTG Daugherty Racing
29
28
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
12
29
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
42
30
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
33
31
David Ragan
34
Ford 8-Hour Alert Front Row Motorsports
27
32
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
35
33
David Reutimann
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
37
34
Reed Sorenson
91
Toyota Plinker Tactical Humphrey Smith Racing
43
35
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
32
36
Ken Schrader
32
Ford C&J Energy FAS Lane Racing
39
37
David Stremme
30
Toyota Inception Motorsports Inception Motorsports
31
38
Mike Bliss
19
Toyota Plinker Tactical Humphrey Smith Racing
40
39
Stephen Leicht
33
Chevrolet LittleJoesAutos.com Richard Childress Racing
36
40
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Phil Parsons Racing Phil Parsons Racing
19
41
Scott Riggs
23
Chevrolet North Texas Pipe R3 Motorsports
38
42
Josh Wise
26
Ford MDS Transport Front Row Motorsports
41
43
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy NEMCO Motorsports
34
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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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