Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Coca-Cola 600

by Brian Polking on May 25, 2013 @ 12:52:01 PDT

 


Since the start of the 2006 season, Kasey Kahne's four wins at Charlotte are the most in the series, and his three victories in the Coca-Cola 600 also lead all drivers. After topping the charts in both practices at the track Saturday, it appears he is ready to add to both totals. Plain and simple, Kahne knows how to conquer Charlotte, and he knows how to handle 600 miles at the speedy 1.5-mile oval. Throw in the practice times, and fantasy owners should be doing everything in their power to get him on their rosters for Sunday night's race.

Of course, Kahne's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson knows a thing or two about winning at Charlotte. After all, he has done so six times in his career, including twice in the Coca-Cola 600. Granted, he hasn't been quite as dominant at the track in recent years, but he did rank fifth and eighth in the two practices Saturday and posted the best 10-lap average speed in the opening session. Johnson has also been the most consistent driver in the series in 2013 and is coming off a record fourth win in the All-Star Race at Charlotte last weekend. He should be a pretty safe play.

Denny Hamlin

Sticking with the teammate theme, fantasy owners may want to consider loading up on all three Joe Gibbs Racing cars after Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin all ranked in the top 10 in both practice sessions Saturday. All three also boast impressive numbers at Charlotte. Kenseth is a two-time winner at the track and is riding a streak of eighth straight top-15s. Hamlin has a five-race streak of top-10 finishes himself, and he finished second in both races at Charlotte last year. Meanwhile, Busch has tallied 10 finishes of eighth or better in his last 11 starts at the track, logging an impressive eight top-five finishes during the stretch. Kenseth deserves to be given a slight edge given his series-leading three wins in 2013, but fantasy owners can take their pick out of this trio.

Greg Biffle is another driver that had a strong showing in the practices Saturday, ranking sixth in the first session and jumping to fifth in Happy Hour. He has also finished in the top 15 in his last five starts at Charlotte, picking up three top-five finishes during the stretch. In fact, Biffle finished fourth in both starts at the track in 2012 and led the most laps in the Coca-Cola 600. Biffle is as comfortable as any driver at sliding a car around a loose, fast track like Charlotte, and he could definitely deliver big-time results for fantasy owners this weekend.

Outside some of the bigger names, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray could be two drivers that come through for fantasy owners this weekend. In fact, Busch appears to have a car capable of winning. The 2010 Coca-Cola 600 winner followed up his second-place effort in qualifying Thursday by posting the second-fastest lap in both practices Saturday. Meanwhile, McMurray ranked 10th and sixth in the two practices Saturday and will roll off eighth Sunday night. He is also a two-time winner at Charlotte with his most recent victory coming in the fall of 2010. Both drivers could make solid additions to fantasy rosters, and owners may even want to consider making this the week they use Busch in survivor-type formats.

Fantasy owners looking for serious sleepers could turn to Paul Menard or Casey Mears. Menard ranked a respectable ninth in both practices Saturday, and he has finished in the top 15 in two of his last three starts in the Coca-Cola 600. He has also finished in the top 20 in all but two starts in 2013 so he has been a fairly reliable option all year anyway. Mears on the other has cooled off after a hot start, but he did ranked 16th and 15th in the two practices. He also won the Coca-Cola 600 in 2007, and while I'm not suggesting he will come close to repeating that feat this weekend, Mears could deliver a top-20 run and be a serviceable option in deeper leagues.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
5
Kasey Kahne Time Warner Cable Chevrolet
28.633
188.594
31
2
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row Racing / Sealy Chevrolet
28.690
188.219
11
3
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota
28.715
188.055
30
4
20
Matt Kenseth Home Depot / Husky Toyota
28.723
188.003
17
5
16
Greg Biffle Fastenal Ford
28.740
187.891
29
6
1
Jamie McMurray Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet
28.764
187.735
33
7
15
Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
28.768
187.709
19
8
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet
28.784
187.604
33
9
27
Paul Menard Menards / Serta Chevrolet
28.790
187.565
12
10
18
Kyle Busch M&M'sRedWhiteBlueMProveAmer Toyota
28.813
187.415
29
11
22
Joey Logano Pennzoil Shell Ford
28.813
187.415
12
12
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
28.837
187.259
27
13
99
Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
28.839
187.246
30
14
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
28.874
187.019
36
15
13
Casey Mears GEICO Ford
28.890
186.916
29
16
51
Regan Smith Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet
28.915
186.754
29
17
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
28.943
186.574
34
18
55
Mark Martin Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
28.972
186.387
35
19
31
Jeff Burton Cheerios Chevrolet
28.974
186.374
27
20
9
Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
28.989
186.278
28
21
43
Aric Almirola US Air Force Ford
29.008
186.156
25
22
14
Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet
29.052
185.874
46
23
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
29.059
185.829
30
24
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet
29.086
185.656
16
25
39
Ryan Newman Quicken Loans Chevrolet
29.092
185.618
42
26
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford
29.119
185.446
41
27
30
David Stremme Lean 1 / Swan Energy Toyota
29.132
185.363
17
28
95
Scott Speed Leavine Family Racing Ford
29.171
185.115
10
29
93
Travis Kvapil Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.184
185.033
34
30
34
David Ragan Dockside Logistics Ford
29.225
184.773
28
31
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
29.230
184.742
28
32
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
29.293
184.344
9
33
7
Dave Blaney SANY Chevrolet
29.305
184.269
6
34
10
Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
29.308
184.250
35
35
33
Landon Cassill ShopBicycleCards.com/LittleJoe'sAutos Chev
29.419
183.555
18
36
83
David Reutimann Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.430
183.486
18
37
38
David Gilliland Long John Silver's Ford
29.448
183.374
28
38
47
Bobby Labonte Bush's Grillin' Beans Toyota
29.501
183.045
19
39
35
Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford
29.571
182.611
22
40
32
Timmy Hill OXY Water Ford
29.855
180.874
15

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
5
Kasey Kahne
1
10
186.000
2
18
Kyle Busch
1
10
185.758
3
1
Jamie McMurray
3
12
185.672
4
15
Clint Bowyer
1
10
185.320
5
11
Denny Hamlin
17
26
184.984
6
48
Jimmie Johnson
16
25
184.981
7
14
Tony Stewart
1
10
184.962
8
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1
10
184.561
9
29
Kevin Harvick
1
10
184.458
10
39
Ryan Newman
1
10
184.101
11
51
Regan Smith
1
10
184.012
12
99
Carl Edwards
21
30
183.210
13
2
Brad Keselowski
21
30
182.318
14
31
Jeff Burton
14
23
181.482
15
47
Bobby Labonte
10
19
180.978
16
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
21
30
180.216
17
93
Travis Kvapil
23
32
179.621

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Best Lap
Laps
1
5
Kasey Kahne
191.591
37
2
78
Kurt Busch
191.435
35
3
18
Kyle Busch
190.981
33
4
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
190.954
29
5
48
Jimmie Johnson
190.355
35
6
16
Greg Biffle
190.268
30
7
11
Denny Hamlin
190.101
26
8
20
Matt Kenseth
190.007
30
9
27
Paul Menard
189.920
35
10
1
Jamie McMurray
189.747
36
11
56
Martin Truex Jr.
189.653
30
12
29
Kevin Harvick
189.647
35
13
2
Brad Keselowski
189.627
28
14
24
Jeff Gordon
189.580
27
15
15
Clint Bowyer
189.440
32
16
13
Casey Mears
189.354
24
17
22
Joey Logano
189.182
36
18
39
Ryan Newman
189.135
30
19
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
189.049
27
20
9
Marcos Ambrose
189.016
21
21
43
Aric Almirola
188.943
25
22
38
David Gilliland
188.877
29
23
14
Tony Stewart
188.864
36
24
55
Mark Martin
188.778
28
25
10
Danica Patrick
188.659
10
26
99
Carl Edwards
188.515
27
27
51
Regan Smith
188.324
22
28
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
188.055
19
29
98
Michael McDowell
187.826
16
30
7
Dave Blaney
187.722
22
31
21
Trevor Bayne
187.578
24
32
31
Jeff Burton
187.480
30
33
93
Travis Kvapil
187.337
22
34
95
Scott Speed
187.097
10
35
34
David Ragan
186.072
24
36
47
Bobby Labonte
186.066
25
37
83
David Reutimann
186.059
16
38
30
David Stremme
186.040
18
39
36
J.J. Yeley
185.217
16
40
32
Timmy Hill
184.748
27
41
33
Landon Cassill
184.546
9
42
87
Joe Nemechek
183.755
11
43
35
Josh Wise
182.846
18

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
48
Jimmie Johnson
3
12
188.348
2
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
188.217
3
56
Martin Truex Jr.
1
10
188.124
4
14
Tony Stewart
1
10
187.625
5
27
Paul Menard
1
10
187.419
6
18
Kyle Busch
18
27
187.282
7
1
Jamie McMurray
17
26
187.249
8
78
Kurt Busch
25
34
186.886
9
10
Danica Patrick
1
10
186.589
10
2
Brad Keselowski
15
24
186.235
11
15
Clint Bowyer
13
22
186.173
12
22
Joey Logano
25
34
185.661
13
43
Aric Almirola
14
23
185.093
14
11
Denny Hamlin
1
10
182.191

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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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