Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: AAA Texas 500

by Brian Polking on November 3, 2012 @ 21:35:17 PDT

 


Jimmie Johnson

Since the Chase began, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson have been chasing each other in the standings and on the track. The two championship front-runners continued the trend in the opening practice session at Texas Saturday, ranking first and second on the charts. Keselowski edged Johnson by just 0.01 of a second, and the two were the only drivers to turn laps under 29 seconds. In terms of numbers at the track, Johnson has a huge edge. He has a win, five runner-up efforts and a 9.7 average finish compared to a 25.3 average finish and zero top-10s for Keselowski. That being said, both drivers have been so strong in the Chase that neither should be written off. Yes, Johnson is the safer pick, but owners shouldn't be afraid to use Keselowski either.

The title favorites weren't the only strong fantasy options to turn quick laps in the first session Saturday. Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five, and all three have at least two victories at Texas. Hamlin swept both races at the track in 2010, and his 10.3 average finish is the third best among active drivers. Meanwhile, Biffle has eight straight top-10s at Texas, including four straight top-five finishes, and he won the spring race at the track earlier this year. Last but not least: Edwards is a three-time winner at Texas, and he has finished eighth or better in his last three starts at the track. Hamlin and Biffle have a little more fantasy value than Edwards, but all three are worthy of roster spots this weekend.

Keselowski also paced the field in terms of 10-lap average speeds, and of the 16 drivers that qualified, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. were the only other drivers to average more than 180 mph. Gordon finished sixth at Texas last fall and fourth earlier this year, and he is definitely capable of providing a top-10 finish this weekend. The same is true for Truex, who finished eighth at Texas last fall and sixth earlier this year. Truex in particular could make a nice addition to fantasy rosters this weekend. He has finished in the top 10 in all three races at 1.5-mile tracks during the Chase, including a second-place finish at Kansas two weeks ago.

In Happy Hour, Keselowski continued his reign atop the charts, leaving little doubt that he has a car capable of ending his top-10 drought at Texas. Johnson and Edwards again joined Keselowski in the top five while Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth made their first appearances. With three top-10s in his last four starts at Texas, Bowyer should have a solid afternoon Sunday. However, Kenseth is the real heavy hitter. He has nine top-10 finishes in his last 10 races at Texas, including four straight top-five finishes.

It was more of the same in terms of 10-lap average speeds as Kenseth, Johnson and Keselowski posted the three best times, and they were the only three to average more than 180 mph. Based on their track records at Texas, Kenseth and Johnson have a slight edge on Keselowski, but given his incredible practice times, Keselowski appears headed to a career day at Texas, as well.

Another big name for fantasy owners to consider this weekend is Kyle Busch. After qualifying third Friday, he ranked seventh and eighth in the two practices Saturday. Busch has also finished in the top 10 in five of the seven Chase races and has finished in the top five four times. He has shown surprising resiliency despite the disappointing way he missed the playoffs, and it looks like he is headed to another solid run.

Owners looking for a sleeper pick may want to consider Aric Almirola. He qualified in the top 15, and he followed it up by posting a top-15 lap in the first practice Saturday. He also ranked in the top 10 in terms of 10-lap average speeds in both sessions. More importantly, Almirola has as much momentum as he has ever had as a Cup driver. His last three races include a 12th-place finish at Charlotte, an outing at Kansas where he battled for the lead during multiple stretches and a fourth-place finish at Martinsville. Another top-15 finish could be on tap for Almirola.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Make Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
2
Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
184.300
29.300
46
2
15
Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy
184.193
29.317
40
3
17
Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost
184.187
29.318
35
4
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's
184.055
29.339
49
5
99
Carl Edwards Ford Aflac
183.830
29.375
44
6
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office
183.624
29.408
39
7
22
Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil
183.287
29.462
48
8
18
Kyle Busch Toyota Snickers
183.045
29.501
46
9
51
A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet Phoenix Construction
182.877
29.528
35
10
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew
182.463
29.595
35
11
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M
182.439
29.599
48
12
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Carlyle Tools by NAPA
182.408
29.604
57
13
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger
182.174
29.642
50
14
5
Kasey Kahne Chevrolet HendrickCars.com / Great Clips
181.861
29.693
42
15
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem / Budweiser
181.812
29.701
47
16
14
Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1
181.690
29.721
27
17
55
Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
181.678
29.723
39
18
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards
181.586
29.738
45
19
20
Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot / redbeacon.com
181.342
29.778
41
20
10
Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com
181.293
29.786
48
21
43
Aric Almirola Ford Farmland
181.008
29.833
50
22
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
180.904
29.850
45
23
13
Casey Mears Ford GEICO
180.850
29.859
34
24
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford Mac Tools
180.499
29.917
39
25
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans
180.469
29.922
29
26
78
Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row
180.132
29.978
30
27
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's
180.072
29.988
40
28
21
Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
179.952
30.008
44
29
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet Huggies
179.706
30.049
43
30
93
Travis Kvapil Toyota Dr Pepper
179.671
30.055
39
31
47
Bobby Labonte Toyota Wounded Warrior Project
179.497
30.084
49
32
38
David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver's
179.105
30.150
28
33
34
David Ragan Ford CertainTeed / 31-W Insulation
178.844
30.194
27
34
83
Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King
177.795
30.372
30
35
95
Scott Speed Ford B&D Electrical / TWD
177.655
30.396
18
36
98
Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing
177.439
30.433
20
37
87
Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
177.334
30.451
4
38
36
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing
176.292
30.631
4
39
19
Mike Bliss Toyota Plinker Tactical / MCM Elegante
176.252
30.638
8
40
26
Josh Wise Ford MDS Transport
176.234
30.641
10
41
91
Reed Sorenson Toyota Plinker Tactical / MCM Elegante
176.039
30.675
12
42
32
Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts
175.810
30.715
38
43
37
J.J. Yeley Chevrolet MaxQworkforce.com
-
-
-

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
17
Matt Kenseth
1
10
180.462
2
48
Jimmie Johnson
1
10
180.143
3
2
Brad Keselowski
1
10
180.126
4
51
A.J. Allmendinger
24
33
179.985
5
15
Clint Bowyer
1
10
179.826
6
11
Denny Hamlin
1
10
179.587
7
56
Martin Truex Jr.
37
46
179.523
8
16
Greg Biffle
1
10
179.135
9
43
Aric Almirola
1
10
179.115
10
18
Kyle Busch
30
39
179.015
11
99
Carl Edwards
30
39
178.924
12
20
Joey Logano
30
39
178.865
13
55
Mark Martin
22
31
178.726
14
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1
10
178.599
15
24
Jeff Gordon
6
15
178.490
16
5
Kasey Kahne
19
28
178.296
17
22
Sam Hornish Jr.
26
35
178.168
18
31
Jeff Burton
29
38
178.164
19
78
Kurt Busch
19
28
178.158
20
29
Kevin Harvick
35
44
178.124
21
13
Casey Mears
21
30
178.104
22
1
Jamie McMurray
30
39
177.756
23
10
Danica Patrick
39
48
177.671
24
27
Paul Menard
33
42
176.953
25
47
Bobby Labonte
32
41
176.549
26
38
David Gilliland
1
10
176.028
27
93
Travis Kvapil
25
34
175.901
28
98
Michael McDowell
1
10
175.308
29
32
Ken Schrader
1
10
174.251

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Make Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
2
Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
186.929
28.888
36
2
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's
186.864
28.898
25
3
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office
186.066
29.022
27
4
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M
185.950
29.040
34
5
99
Carl Edwards Ford Aflac
185.312
29.140
32
6
15
Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy
185.223
29.154
31
7
18
Kyle Busch Toyota Snickers
185.096
29.174
45
8
14
Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1
185.020
29.186
33
9
5
Kasey Kahne Chevrolet HendrickCars.com / Great Clips
184.874
29.209
18
10
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota Carlyle Tools by NAPA
184.344
29.293
33
11
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger
184.275
29.304
28
12
20
Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot / redbeacon.com
184.080
29.335
38
13
43
Aric Almirola Ford Farmland
183.980
29.351
36
14
17
Matt Kenseth Ford Ford EcoBoost
183.786
29.382
21
15
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem / Budweiser
183.736
29.390
32
16
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew
183.567
29.417
35
17
22
Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil
183.499
29.428
31
18
55
Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
182.896
29.525
31
19
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford Mac Tools
182.679
29.560
25
20
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards
182.587
29.575
32
21
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans
181.953
29.678
33
22
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet Huggies
181.861
29.693
19
23
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's
181.293
29.786
30
24
78
Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row
181.099
29.818
29
25
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
181.032
29.829
43
26
51
A.J. Allmendinger Chevrolet Phoenix Construction
180.138
29.977
38
27
21
Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
178.903
30.184
33
28
34
David Ragan Ford CertainTeed / 31-W Insulation
178.844
30.194
20
29
13
Casey Mears Ford GEICO
178.383
30.272
25
30
93
Travis Kvapil Toyota Dr Pepper
178.100
30.320
24
31
98
Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing
178.042
30.330
17
32
38
David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver's
177.521
30.419
15
33
47
Bobby Labonte Toyota Wounded Warrior Project
177.468
30.428
28
34
91
Reed Sorenson Toyota Plinker Tactical / MCM Elegante
177.288
30.459
6
35
10
Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com
177.101
30.491
29
36
83
Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King
177.078
30.495
23
37
37
J.J. Yeley Chevrolet MaxQworkforce.com
176.991
30.510
4
38
32
Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts
176.499
30.595
32
39
95
Scott Speed Ford B&D Electrical / TWD
176.177
30.651
11
40
26
Josh Wise Ford MDS Transport
176.062
30.671
8
41
36
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing
175.547
30.761
4
42
19
Mike Bliss Toyota Plinker Tactical / MCM Elegante
175.387
30.789
4
43
87
Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
170.816
31.613
2

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
2
Brad Keselowski
1
10
180.665
2
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
180.235
3
56
Martin Truex Jr.
1
10
180.011
4
43
Aric Almirola
1
10
179.450
5
15
Clint Bowyer
21
30
177.719
6
78
Kurt Busch
15
24
177.716
7
55
Mark Martin
18
27
176.829
8
20
Joey Logano
24
33
176.489
9
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9
18
176.446
10
31
Jeff Burton
9
18
176.240
11
18
Kyle Busch
30
39
176.139
12
11
Denny Hamlin
14
23
176.061
13
1
Jamie McMurray
16
25
175.690
14
39
Ryan Newman
24
33
175.616
15
21
Trevor Bayne
22
31
175.525
16
47
Bobby Labonte
17
26
173.797
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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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