Heading into the weekend, five-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch was sitting atop the rankings, and after pacing the field in Happy Hour Friday, it appeared he was going to stay there. However, Busch crashed during his qualifying run, and he will start dead last in a backup car in Saturday night's race. While Kyle drops in the final rankings, his older brother Kurt Busch takes advantage to claim the top spot. He qualified on the outside of the front row and was strong throughout both practice sessions. Not to mention the fact that he is a five-time winner at Bristol and finished fourth at the track earlier this year.
Vickers, MWR a match at Bristol
Holding on to the No. 2 spot in the final rankings is Brad Keselowski. He had a solid 12th-place effort in qualifying and cracked the top 15 in both practice sessions. Meanwhile, he has finished third or better three times in the last four Bristol races, and he has two wins during the stretch.
Two drivers inside the top 10 that move up in the final rankings are Brian Vickers and Denny Hamlin. Vickers qualified fourth and has finished eighth or better in all three starts at Bristol since joining Michael Waltrip Racing. Hamlin on the other hand qualified on the pole and is the defending winner of this weekend's race. Despite the fact that he has been in a horrible slump, it's tough to ignore his potential.
Another driver that jumps up in the final rankings is Joey Logano. On the heels of a sixth-place effort in qualifying, he lands in the top 15 of the final rankings. His record at Bristol has been up and down, but he did finish in the top 10 at Bristol last August. He is also coming off a win last weekend at Michigan, and momentum never hurts.
Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper option this weekend may want to consider Mark Martin. The veteran lands just outside the top 15 in the final rankings, and he has been solid so far in his first start in relief of the injured Tony Stewart. Martin will roll off 11th Saturday night, and while he hasn't raced at Bristol since 2011, he did have three top-12s in his final six starts at the track.
In deeper leagues, David Ragan could be worth a roster spot. He actually topped the charts in the first practice session Friday, and after qualifying in the top 20, he cracks the top 25 in the final rankings. Ragan also finished 21st at Bristol earlier this year, and he appears to have an even faster car this time around. A top-20 isn't out of the question.
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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