Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Bank of America 500

by Brian Polking on October 12, 2012 @ 22:03:40 PDT

 


Before I dive into the results from Friday's practices at Charlotte, I'd like to give fantasy owners a little update on the driver roulette that has taken place over the past week. Kurt Busch will be in the No. 78 machine this weekend as he gets a jumpstart on the 2013 season. Smith, who drove the No. 78 the first 30 races of the year, was slated to drive the No. 51 that Busch had been driving. However, the concussion sustained by Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega has put Smith in Junior's No. 88, opening a spot in the No. 51 that was filled by the previously-suspended A.J. Allmendinger. We will take a closer look at the fantasy value of all three during the practice recap, but to sum things up, Smith is in the No. 88, Busch is in the No. 78, and Allmendinger is in the No. 51.

Greg Biffle

As for the practices themselves, the first session went to pole-sitter Greg Biffle. His 17.1 average finish at Charlotte is a bit misleading because he has been much better at the track lately. Biffle has a 9.3 average finish in his last four starts at the track, and he finished fourth at the track earlier this year. Not to mention that Biffle has led the second-most laps of any driver in the last 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks. He could definitely be a top-five fantasy option this weekend.

Biffle wasn't the only heavy hitter to crack the top five in the opening practice Friday. Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin rounded things out, and a strong case can be made for all four drivers. Kahne and Johnson have to be at the top of the list, considering they have combined for 10 wins at the track. Johnson has six of them, but Kahne's four wins at Charlotte since 2006 are the most in the series, and he won the Coca-Cola 600 at the track in May.

Harvick, on the other hand, has five straight finishes of 11th or better at Charlotte, including four straight top-10s. Martin is the biggest question mark of the group, and he has actually finished outside the top 30 in his last three starts at Charlotte. However, he is a four-time winner at the track for his career, and he will start on the front row Saturday night. He could bust out of his mini slump at the track in a big way.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Tony Stewart was the fastest of the 17 drivers that qualified. His record at 1.5-mile tracks is stellar, but Charlotte has been an exception. He has just one top-10 at the track in his last nine starts, and he doesn't have a single top-five finish since winning the fall race way back in 2003. The long run speed is encouraging, but owners may still want to think twice before adding Stewart to their roster this weekend.

When Happy Hour rolled around, Kyle Busch climbed to the top spot. Busch has never won at Charlotte, but he is still an excellent fantasy option this weekend. He has finished eighth or better in nine of his last 10 starts at the track. Busch has six finishes of third or better during the stretch, including two straight. Busch has finished seventh or better in three of the four Chase races thus far, and he could become the first non-Chase to get to Victory Lane during the playoffs.

Smith, Martin, Johnson and Paul Menard rounded out the top five, and Smith should instantly be considered a potential sleeper option for fantasy owners. He posted a top-10 lap in the first session, as well, and in four of his five starts at Charlotte, he has finished in the top 20. Keep in mind that he put up those numbers while driving the No. 78 Furniture Row Motorsports car, and this weekend, he will be driving for Hendrick Motorsports. There is no telling what the upgrade in equipment could do, but a top-10 isn't out of the question.

There were 22 drivers that ran at least 10 consecutive laps in the final practice, and Denny Hamlin was the best of the bunch. He has four straight top-10 finishes at Charlotte, including a career-best second-place run earlier this year. Not to mention the fact that he has six top-10s, including two wins, in his last 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks. Consider him an elite fantasy option this weekend.

Smith continued his impressive practice by posting the second-best 10-lap average speed, and Johnson and Kahne made it three HMS cars in the top four spots. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five, and the point leader could be headed for another strong outing. In addition to his strong 10-lap average speed, he posted one of the 10-fastest laps in both sessions Friday. Keselowski also finished a career-best fifth at Charlotte earlier this year. As well as he has been running, owners should definitely try to make room for him on their rosters.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
18
Toyota
M&M's
188.383
28.665
32
2
88
Chevrolet
AMP Energy/National Guard
188.009
28.722
43
3
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
187.904
28.738
46
4
48
Chevrolet
MyLowe's
187.878
28.742
56
5
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Pittsburgh Paints
187.402
28.815
35
6
11
Toyota
FedEx Ground
187.363
28.821
46
7
99
Ford
Kellogg's
187.175
28.850
47
8
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
187.162
28.852
54
9
5
Chevrolet
Time Warner Cable
186.883
28.895
42
10
43
Ford
Smithfield
186.838
28.902
45
11
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
186.593
28.940
39
12
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Office Depot
186.355
28.977
46
13
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
186.290
28.987
41
14
15
Toyota
5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women
186.258
28.992
49
15
29
Chevrolet
Jimmy Johns
186.226
28.997
39
16
17
Ford
Best Buy
186.201
29.001
32
17
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
186.168
29.006
50
18
16
Ford
3M/IDG
186.008
29.031
46
19
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans
185.899
29.048
6
20
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
185.874
29.052
40
21
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction
185.650
29.087
38
22
31
Chevrolet
Caterpillar
185.478
29.114
26
23
42
Chevrolet
Target/Kellogg's
185.465
29.116
34
24
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
185.414
29.124
28
25
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
185.376
29.130
35
26
21
Ford
Good Sam Club/Camping World
185.084
29.176
35
27
47
Toyota
Scott Products
184.628
29.248
30
28
9
Ford
Stanley
184.628
29.248
21
29
6
Ford
Best Buy
184.238
29.310
38
30
38
Ford
Glory Foods
184.093
29.333
24
31
95
Ford
B&D Electrical
184.068
29.337
20
32
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
183.480
29.431
22
33
34
Ford
Glory Foods
183.355
29.451
26
34
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
183.268
29.465
23
35
37
Ford
MaxQworkforce.com
183.150
29.484
9
36
30
Toyota
182.834
29.535
8
37
13
Ford
GEICO
182.698
29.557
28
38
19
Toyota
Plinker Tactical
182.624
29.569
10
39
98
Ford
K-Love/Curb Records
182.309
29.620
20
40
10
Chevrolet
182.119
29.651
30
41
32
Ford
U.S. Chrome
182.057
29.661
36
42
36
Chevrolet
181.892
29.688
6
43
91
Toyota
Aquaria USA
-
-
-

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
11
1
10
185.194
2
88
1
10
184.931
3
48
1
10
184.891
4
5
4
13
184.857
5
2
1
10
184.729
6
15
3
12
184.659
7
56
1
10
184.617
8
43
1
10
184.578
9
27
1
10
184.427
10
99
1
10
184.419
11
55
27
36
184.414
12
17
1
10
184.169
13
14
1
10
184.135
14
1
1
10
183.984
15
24
32
41
183.138
16
22
26
35
182.847
17
42
23
32
182.788
18
78
19
28
182.641
19
20
30
39
182.053
20
83
2
11
181.962
21
6
28
37
181.517
22
93
1
10
181.136

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
16
Ford
3M/IDG
187.065
28.867
32
2
5
Chevrolet
Time Warner Cable
186.593
28.940
35
3
29
Chevrolet
Jimmy Johns
186.574
28.943
30
4
48
Chevrolet
MyLowe's
186.361
28.976
39
5
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
186.278
28.989
34
6
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
186.271
28.990
38
7
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
185.989
29.034
44
8
88
Chevrolet
AMP Energy/National Guard
185.701
29.079
38
9
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans
185.471
29.115
21
10
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
185.401
29.126
26
11
99
Ford
Kellogg's
185.338
29.136
36
12
15
Toyota
5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women
185.230
29.153
40
13
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
185.179
29.161
42
14
18
Toyota
M&M's
185.166
29.163
42
15
11
Toyota
FedEx Ground
184.919
29.202
24
16
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Office Depot
184.748
29.229
49
17
43
Ford
Smithfield
184.691
29.238
23
18
17
Ford
Best Buy
184.691
29.238
37
19
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Pittsburgh Paints
184.584
29.255
23
20
31
Chevrolet
Caterpillar
184.540
29.262
39
21
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
184.401
29.284
39
22
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
184.175
29.320
21
23
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction
184.080
29.335
39
24
42
Chevrolet
Target/Kellogg's
183.574
29.416
28
25
47
Toyota
Scott Products
183.181
29.479
23
26
21
Ford
Good Sam Club/Camping World
183.175
29.480
25
27
95
Ford
B&D Electrical
183.107
29.491
21
28
13
Ford
GEICO
182.914
29.522
25
29
6
Ford
Best Buy
182.828
29.536
33
30
9
Ford
Stanley
182.673
29.561
24
31
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
182.617
29.570
18
32
38
Ford
Glory Foods
182.463
29.595
20
33
98
Ford
K-Love/Curb Records
182.383
29.608
12
34
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
182.272
29.626
26
35
91
Toyota
Aquaria USA
182.162
29.644
6
36
19
Toyota
Plinker Tactical
181.708
29.718
10
37
34
Ford
Glory Foods
181.500
29.752
18
38
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
181.311
29.783
26
39
30
Toyota
181.214
29.799
4
40
32
Ford
U.S. Chrome
181.068
29.823
7
41
10
Chevrolet
180.911
29.849
19
42
36
Chevrolet
180.168
29.972
3
43
37
Ford
MaxQworkforce.com
179.647
30.059
1

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
14
1
10
182.929
2
55
17
26
182.721
3
18
20
29
181.897
4
20
25
34
181.883
5
15
27
36
181.876
6
22
25
34
181.633
7
43
28
37
181.318
8
38
1
10
181.152
9
24
17
26
181.116
10
95
1
10
180.895
11
2
21
30
180.503
12
31
20
29
180.490
13
9
15
24
180.260
14
48
30
39
180.235
15
88
29
38
180.105
16
98
1
10
180.001
17
6
14
23
178.266

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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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