Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Food City 500

by Brian Polking on March 16, 2013 @ 10:47:02 PDT

 


Jimmie Johnson

Engine issues have slowed Kyle Busch this season, but nothing seems to be slowing him down this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. He was already on the short list of favorites thanks to a series-leading five wins at the track since 2007, but after winning the pole Friday and shining in Saturday's practices, Busch surged to the top spot in the final set of driver rankings. With a series-leading 8.4 average finish at Bristol in the last 10 races, Busch brings reliability to the table. Meanwhile, the upside is obvious, and considering all five of his previous wins at Bristol have come after he qualified outside the top 10, a downright dominant performance could be on tap for Sunday.

Ironically, his two toughest competitors could be his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, who both landed in the top five of the final rankings thanks to solid efforts in qualifying and even stronger efforts in the practice sessions. Not to mention the fact that Hamlin is the most recent winner at Bristol while Kenseth is a two-time winner and has eight top-10s in his last 10 starts in Thunder Valley. Fantasy owners may want to seriously consider loading up on JGR drivers this weekend.

If you are looking for some sleeper picks, Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears could do the trick. After following a sixth-place effort in qualifying with a solid showing in practice, McMurray snuck into the top 20 of the driver rankings. With five finishes of 11th or better in his last seven starts at Bristol, he could be a sneaky source for a top-15 finish or maybe even a top-10. Mears, on the other hand, worked his way into the top 25 of the rankings thanks to a 15th-place run in qualifying and respectable practice times, particularly on longer runs. A top-20 finish isn't out of the question.

On the flip side, Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were among the big names that have had success at Bristol in the past that saw their stock fall a bit in the final rankings. Both qualified outside the top 20, and their practice times were average at best. Granted, both drivers are off to hot starts in 2013, but based on the speeds they have shown so far this weekend, neither is headed for a spectacular showing.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
1
2
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
7
3
Matt Kenseth
20
Toyota Dollar General Joe Gibbs Racing
12
4
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
3
5
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
13
6
Brian Vickers
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
4
7
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
2
8
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
18
9
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
23
10
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
9
11
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
11
12
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Fastenal Roush Fenway Racing
21
13
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Stewart-Haas Racing
8
14
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
5
15
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew Hendrick Motorsports
32
16
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
16
17
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
24
18
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet McDonald's Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
6
19
Joey Logano
22
Ford Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
10
20
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
19
21
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
22
22
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Smithfield Richard Petty Motorsports
20
23
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
15
24
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet Quicken Loans Stewart-Haas Racing
31
25
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Target Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
17
26
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
28
27
A.J. Allmendinger
51
Chevrolet Guy Roofing Phoenix Racing
29
28
David Gilliland
38
Ford Love's Travel Stops Front Row Motorsports
14
29
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kroger JTG Daugherty Racing
39
30
Danica Patrick
10
Chevrolet GoDaddy.com Stewart-Haas Racing
41
31
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
37
32
Dave Blaney
7
Chevrolet Florida Lottery Tommy Baldwin Racing
33
33
David Ragan
34
Ford Detail Doctor Front Row Motorsports
30
34
J.J. Yeley
36
Chevrolet Golden Corral Tommy Baldwin Racing
35
35
David Reutimann
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
25
36
David Stremme
30
Toyota Swan Racing Swan Racing
26
37
Scott Speed
95
Ford WRL Leavine Family Racing
27
38
Landon Cassill
33
Chevrolet Honey Nut Cheerios Richard Childress Racing
42
39
Josh Wise
35
Ford Blockbuster.com Front Row Motorsports
40
40
Terry Labonte
32
Ford C & J Energy Services FAS Lane Racing
43
41
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Ambient Edge HVAC Phil Parsons Racing
34
42
Mike Bliss
19
Toyota Plinker Tactical Xxxtreme Motorsports
36
43
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota Florida DOT NEMCO-JRR Motorsports
38

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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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