Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Kobalt Tools 400

by Brian Polking on March 9, 2013 @ 16:25:23 PDT

 


He is no stranger to running well and winning at 1.5-mile tracks, but Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been one of the rare exceptions for Kasey Kahne. More specifically, he is winless at Vegas in eight career starts, and he has gone six straight starts without cracking the top five. However, Kahne could be ready to change all that this weekend, and after topping the charts in the first practice session Saturday, he looked a lot more like the driver that has won seven times at 1.5-mile tracks in his career. At the very least, Kahne went from a big name that could possibly disappoint to a driver with a lot of upside.

Greg Biffle posted the second-fastest lap of the session, and fantasy owners looking for a bit of a more proven option should take notice. Biffle has finished in the top 10 in six of his last eight starts at Las Vegas, including a career-best third-place run last year. He also has six career wins at 1.5-mile tracks, and while Las Vegas is currently on the list, that could change this weekend. Owners should consider Biffle an elite fantasy option at Vegas.

Martin Truex Jr.

Nevada native Kyle Busch ranked third on the charts in the opening session, and Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five. Fresh off his victory last weekend at Phoenix, Edwards looks to be the safest bet of the bunch. He is a two-time winner at Vegas, he finished fifth at the track last year, and his 10.3 average finish is the second best in the series. As a former winner at Vegas, Busch is also an intriguing option, especially when you throw in the fact that he posted by far the best 10-lap average speed of the eight drivers that qualified in the first practice. On the flip side, he has finished outside the top 10 in his last three starts at the track and has had engine issues in the first two races of 2013. Busch is a high risk/high reward pick this weekend, but the upside is a potential trip to Victory Lane.

If you are looking for a couple of sleeper options, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. could both do the trick after cracking the top 10 in the first practice. Stenhouse will actually be making his Cup debut at Las Vegas this weekend, but the rookie is off to a solid start in 2013. More importantly, he won at the track in the Nationwide Series and five of his eight Nationwide wins have come at 1.5-mile tracks. Truex on the other hand has quietly scored the most points in the last 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks than any other driver in the series. He also backed up his top-10 time in the first session by topping the charts in Happy Hour, leaving little doubt that he is poised to improve on his 17.4 average finish at Vegas.

Edwards and Kyle Busch cracked also cracked the top five in the final session, along with Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin. Johnson's fast lap merely backs up his status as one of the top options for fantasy owners Sunday. After all, he leads all drivers with a 9.8 average finish at Las Vegas, and he is a four-time winner at the track. Johnson should be rostered in just about any fantasy format. Meanwhile, Busch again posted the best 10-lap average speed of the session, but this time, he was the quickest of 20 eligible drivers. Engine issues aside, Busch may be worth the risk.

Another driver that could be worth gambling on is Aric Almirola. He would definitely be on the extreme end of the list of sleepers, but he did crack the top 15 in both practice sessions. He is also off to a strong start in 2013, opening the year with a pair of top-15 finishes. A top-15 finish Sunday would certainly help fantasy teams, and even a top-20 would make Almirola a valuable addition in many formats.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Tony Stewart. "Smoke" entered the weekend as one of the favorites. After all, he has a 3.3 average finish in his last three starts at Vegas, has led the most laps in the last two races at the track and won the race last season. However, Stewart ranked 30th in the opening practice Saturday and only jumped to 18th in Happy Hour. Granted, Stewart is on the list of drivers that can never be counted out regardless of what the stopwatch says, but at the very least, fantasy owners should probably avoid him in survivor-type leagues and save him for a later date in leagues that limit the number of times each driver can be used.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
28.665
188.383
39
2
99
Aflac Ford
28.876
187.007
35
3
18
M&M's Toyota
28.901
186.845
48
4
48
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
28.950
186.528
45
5
55
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
29.061
185.816
50
6
15
5-hour Energy Toyota
29.063
185.803
45
7
88
AMP Energy Orange Chevrolet
29.066
185.784
43
8
5
Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
29.080
185.695
35
9
27
Menards/Schrock Chevrolet
29.152
185.236
45
10
16
American Red Cross/3M Ford
29.159
185.192
30
11
20
Dollar General Toyota
29.172
185.109
37
12
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
29.234
184.716
40
13
42
AXE Apollo Chevrolet
29.250
184.615
27
14
43
Farmland Ford
29.250
184.615
36
15
39
Quicken Loans Chevrolet
29.268
184.502
30
16
11
FedEx Office Toyota
29.273
184.470
29
17
29
Rheem Chevrolet
29.282
184.414
41
18
14
MOBIL 1 Racing/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet
29.330
184.112
28
19
17
Zest Ford
29.336
184.074
30
20
22
Shell Pennzoil Ford
29.370
183.861
46
21
2
Miller Lite Ford
29.402
183.661
46
22
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
29.419
183.555
42
23
78
Furniture Row Racing/Serta Chevrolet
29.424
183.524
22
24
9
Stanley Ford
29.429
183.492
33
25
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
29.481
183.169
34
26
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
29.497
183.069
44
27
51
Tag Heuer Chevrolet
29.520
182.927
22
28
13
GEICO Ford
29.620
182.309
25
29
47
Kingsford Toyota
29.635
182.217
23
30
10
GoDaddy Racing Chevrolet
29.641
182.180
33
31
93
Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota
29.655
182.094
26
32
7
SANY Chevrolet
29.730
181.635
19
33
33
Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet
29.767
181.409
13
34
30
MGM Grand, Las Vegas/Lean1 Toyota
29.862
180.832
25
35
34
Ford
29.892
180.650
27
36
83
Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota
29.951
180.294
19
37
35
MDS Transport/Riviera Hotel & Casino Ford
29.955
180.270
22
38
36
Accell Construction Chevrolet
29.956
180.264
28
39
38
Long John Silver's Ford
29.969
180.186
11
40
32
Federated Auto Parts Ford
30.136
179.188
30
41
95
Surrender the Sponsor Ford
30.144
179.140
8
42
98
Ambient Edge HVAC Ford
30.163
179.027
8
43
87
Maddie'sPlaceRocks.com Toyota
30.366
177.830
21

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
18
3
12
185.647
2
55
3
12
184.380
3
29
16
25
183.517
4
56
8
17
183.479
5
27
3
12
183.126
6
88
17
26
183.091
7
48
23
32
182.905
8
15
34
43
182.700
9
11
18
27
182.517
10
20
26
35
181.988
11
22
25
34
181.908
12
24
22
31
181.375
13
2
27
36
181.206
14
10
1
10
181.030
15
43
25
34
180.848
16
9
24
33
180.827
17
1
32
41
180.801
18
51
12
21
180.260
19
39
21
30
180.245
20
31
18
27
179.165

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
5
Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
28.703
188.134
38
2
16
American Red Cross/3M Ford
28.745
187.859
32
3
18
M&M's Toyota
28.783
187.611
29
4
29
Rheem Chevrolet
28.864
187.084
44
5
99
Aflac Ford
28.866
187.071
29
6
11
FedEx Office Toyota
28.884
186.955
46
7
17
Zest Ford
28.899
186.858
36
8
48
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
28.903
186.832
30
9
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
28.911
186.780
18
10
22
Shell Pennzoil Ford
28.941
186.587
35
11
43
Farmland Ford
28.984
186.310
26
12
42
AXE Apollo Chevrolet
29.001
186.200
28
13
15
5-hour Energy Toyota
29.030
186.014
36
14
2
Miller Lite Ford
29.062
185.810
36
15
9
Stanley Ford
29.075
185.727
36
16
88
AMP Energy Orange Chevrolet
29.081
185.688
20
17
27
Menards/Schrock Chevrolet
29.104
185.542
31
18
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
29.113
185.484
35
19
20
Dollar General Toyota
29.121
185.433
25
20
55
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
29.127
185.395
39
21
39
Quicken Loans Chevrolet
29.172
185.109
34
22
10
GoDaddy Racing Chevrolet
29.174
185.096
27
23
78
Furniture Row Racing/Serta Chevrolet
29.184
185.033
27
24
51
Tag Heuer Chevrolet
29.203
184.913
29
25
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
29.207
184.887
31
26
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
29.268
184.502
20
27
13
GEICO Ford
29.273
184.470
23
28
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
29.296
184.326
35
29
98
Ambient Edge HVAC Ford
29.312
184.225
5
30
14
MOBIL 1 Racing/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet
29.324
184.150
25
31
7
SANY Chevrolet
29.436
183.449
20
32
47
Kingsford Toyota
29.479
183.181
16
33
93
Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota
29.520
182.927
28
34
95
Surrender the Sponsor Ford
29.567
182.636
14
35
36
Accell Construction Chevrolet
29.620
182.309
20
36
34
Ford
29.624
182.285
24
37
32
Federated Auto Parts Ford
29.627
182.266
21
38
30
MGM Grand, Las Vegas/Lean1 Toyota
29.636
182.211
24
39
33
Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet
29.652
182.113
12
40
35
MDS Transport/Riviera Hotel & Casino Ford
29.662
182.051
24
41
38
Long John Silver's Ford
29.727
181.653
17
42
83
Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota
29.986
180.084
15
43
87
Maddie'sPlaceRocks.com Toyota
30.188
178.879
11

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
18
18
27
186.428
2
29
31
40
185.027
3
11
31
40
184.819
4
55
29
38
183.513
5
39
25
34
182.707
6
21
25
34
182.463
7
9
18
27
181.870
8
17
25
34
180.562

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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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