With four wins in the last seven races at Indianapolis, Jimmie Johnson was going to be tough to dethrone from the top spot in the driver rankings heading into the weekend activities. After posting fast lap times in practice and qualifying on the outside of the front row, he easily holds on to the No. 1 ranking heading into Sunday's race. Three of Johnson's four wins at Indianapolis have come when he qualifies sixth or better, and he appears primed for another chance to kiss the bricks this weekend.
Sliding in behind Johnson in the final rankings is Tony Stewart. The Indiana native is a two-time winner at the Brickyard, and his 8.2 average finish at the track is the best in the series. Stewart has also posted eight top-10s in his last nine starts at Indianapolis and has yet to finish outside the top 10 at the track since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He will roll off fifth Sunday, and a top-five finish and a trip to victory lane is a real possibility.
A victory also looks like a possibility for Kasey Kahne this weekend, and he vaults into the top 10 on the strength of strong practice times and a top-10 qualifying effort. Granted, his only top-five finishes at Indianapolis came in his first two starts, but he does have six top-15 finishes in nine career starts. More importantly, Kahne will be making his second start at Indy for a Hendrick Motorsports organization that has been dominant at the track. Don't be surprised if Kahne has one of his best runs at Indianapolis this weekend.
Another driver that jumps into the top 10 in the final rankings is Juan Pablo Montoya. The former Indianapolis 500 winner paced the field in the first practice session of the weekend, and he followed up a solid set of practices with a top-10 effort in qualifying. Montoya is no stranger to success at Indy in a Cup car, either. He finished second at the track in his rookie season, and he had the 2009 event won until a speeding penalty on pit road derailed an otherwise dominant performance. Yes, Montoya has cracked a bit under the pressure of Indianapolis in the past, but no sleeper option has a better chance at getting to victory lane this weekend.
Fantasy owners in deeper leagues looking for a sleeper option may want to consider Austin Dillon. The youngster cracks the top 25 in the final driver rankings thanks to a solid showing in practice, which included the third-fastest lap in the opening session. Dillon has already shown flashes of his potential in a Cup car this year, finishing as high as 11th and posting consistent top-25 finishes. He shouldn't kill fantasy rosters this weekend, and he could deliver a top-15 finish.
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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