Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: STP Gas Boost 500

by Brian Polking on April 6, 2013 @ 17:14:23 PDT

 


While track position has become a crucial part of racing in the Cup Series these days, an argument can be made that it is more important at Martinsville Speedway than at any other track on the schedule. Since 1979, 56 of the 74 races at Martinsville have been won by a driver that qualified in the top 10. More importantly, 71 of the 74 races have been won by a driver starting inside the top 20. It's not impossible for a driver to recover from a bad qualifying effort to win, but it's pretty darn close.

With the importance of track position obvious, it should come as no surprise that Jimmie Johnson hung on to the top spot in the final driver rankings on the heels of a record-setting pole run. Of course, the strong practice times and his series-leading 122.3 driver rating and 5.5 driver average at Martinsville don't hurt either. We are talking about a driver that hasn't finished worse than 12th at the track for more than a decade and has picked up seven wins along the way. Johnson is an elite option in any format, and for those owners in survival-type league that have been saving him, Sunday's Gas Booster 500 is a golden opportunity to use him.

Although Johnson merely hung on to his spot in the rankings, two drivers that boosted their stick up after qualifying and Saturday's practices were Brian Vickers and Joey Logano. Vickers backed up his third-place effort in qualifying with top-five times in practice, and after starting second and finishing eighth at Martinsville last fall, he appears headed for a similar showing this weekend. Logano on the other hand cracked the top 15 in the driver rankings thanks in large part to his fourth-place qualifying run. He has finished as high as second at Martinsville and has four top-15 finishes in eight starts. Logano will also be driving for the same No. 22 team that finished second at the track last spring with A.J. Allmendinger driving. Assuming Tony Stewart doesn't decide to dish out some payback this weekend, Logano should have a shot at sneaking into the top 10.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper option may want to take a chance on Jamie McMurray. After qualifying a respectable 13th Friday, he showed up in the top 10 on the speed charts in race trim during Saturday's practices. Not to mention the fact that he has cracked the top 20 seven times in his last 10 races at Martinsville and has logged five finishes of 11th or better during the stretch. McMurray also notched his best finish of 2013 thus far when he finished 10th at Bristol, and it looks like he could rekindle the short track magic this weekend. He cracked the top 20 in the final driver rankings, but a top-15 finish isn't out of the question.

On the other end of the spectrum was Mark Martin. He figured to be in prime position for a big weekend after getting the chance to sub for the injured Denny Hamlin for a No. 11 that has won at Martinsville four times since 2009. However, the veteran tumbled outside the top 10 in the driver rankings after a dismal 35th-place effort in qualifying and practicing outside the top 15 Saturday. Maybe Martin will figure things out on Sunday, but it sometimes take time for a driver and crew to figure out how to communicate with each, and a setup that works great for one driver might not yield good results for another. Martin's one-race gig in the No. 11 isn't shaping up to be a memorable one.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
1
2
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
6
3
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
11
4
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
7
5
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
15
6
Matt Kenseth
20
Toyota Dollar General Joe Gibbs Racing
8
7
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
5
8
Brian Vickers
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
3
9
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
21
10
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew Hendrick Motorsports
17
11
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet Quicken Loans Stewart-Haas Racing
10
12
Joey Logano
22
Ford Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
4
13
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Fastenal Roush Fenway Racing
9
14
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
22
15
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
12
16
Mark Martin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
35
17
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Stewart-Haas Racing
26
18
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet McDonald's Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
13
19
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
29
20
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Smithfield Richard Petty Motorsports
34
21
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
2
22
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
19
23
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Target Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
14
24
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
16
25
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
20
26
Regan Smith
51
Chevrolet Guy Roofing Phoenix Racing
18
27
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kroger JTG Daugherty Racing
31
28
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
41
29
David Ragan
34
Ford Detail Doctor Front Row Motorsports
23
30
Ken Schrader
32
Ford C & J Energy Services FAS Lane Racing
36
31
J.J. Yeley
36
Chevrolet Golden Corral Tommy Baldwin Racing
37
32
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
25
33
David Stremme
30
Toyota Swan Racing Swan Racing
24
34
Danica Patrick
10
Chevrolet GoDaddy.com Stewart-Haas Racing
32
35
David Reutimann
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
40
36
Scott Speed
95
Ford Surrender The Sponsor Leavine Family Racing
28
37
David Gilliland
38
Ford Love's Travel Stops Front Row Motorsports
30
38
Landon Cassill
33
Chevrolet Honey Nut Cheerios Richard Childress Racing
33
39
Dave Blaney
7
Chevrolet Florida Lottery Tommy Baldwin Racing
39
40
Josh Wise
35
Ford Blockbuster.com Front Row Motorsports
41
41
Scott Riggs
44
Ford No Labels Watches Xxxtreme Motorsports
38
42
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Ambient Edge HVAC Phil Parsons Racing
27
43
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota Florida DOT NEMCO-JRR Motorsports
43

 

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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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