Bristol master Kyle Busch was up to his old tricks in practice Friday. After posting the fourth-fastest time in the opening session, he topped the charts in Happy Hour. Meanwhile, his 6.9 average finish in the last 10 races at the track is by far the best in the series, and his five wins at the track since 2007 are the most in the series. The bad news is that Busch crashed in qualifying and will start dead last in a backup car. Busch probably isn't the best play in survivor-type leagues, but he should still land somewhere in the top 10.
Other than Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon was the only driver to crack the top five in both practice sessions at Bristol Friday. In fact, he posted the third-fastest time in both practices. Gordon has also finished in the top 15 in five of his last seven starts at Bristol, and he has finished third in the last two August races at the track. A top-10 seems reasonable, and a top-five finish isn't out of the question for Gordon this weekend.
A top-five could also be on tap for Kurt Busch this weekend. He ranked sixth in the first practice session at Bristol Friday, and he jumped to second on the charts in Happy Hour. Busch is also a five-time winner at Bristol, and in his first start at the track earlier this year with Furniture Row Racing, he finished fourth. As well as he has been running in recent weeks, a win isn't out of the question.
Last weekend's winner Joey Logano appears to have a fast car once again. He posted the eighth-fastest time in the first practice at Bristol and climbed into the top five in the final session. Granted, his record at the track isn't great, but he has reeled off four straight top-20 finishes, including a top-10 finish at the track last August. Don't rule out another top-10 finish Saturday night.
Fellow Penske Championship Racing driver Brad Keselowski also deserves heavy consideration from fantasy owners. He cracked the top 15 in both practices Friday and posted the fifth-fastest lap in the opening session. More importantly, Keselowski has finished third or better in three of his last four starts at Bristol and has a pair of wins during the stretch.
Although it is a little risky, Juan Pablo Montoya was also one of the strongest drivers in practice Friday. He ranked sixth in the first session and moved up to fourth in Happy Hour. Although he has just three top-10s in 13 starts at Bristol, he has finished in the top 15 in two of his last three starts at the track. Owners willing to take the gamble could be rewarded with a top-10 finish.
Fantasy owners that want to play it a little safer should consider Clint Bowyer. He cracked the top 15 in both practices at Bristol Friday, and he has finished in the top 10 in all three starts at Bristol since joining Michael Waltrip Racing. In fact, he has finished in the top 10 in all nine of his short track starts with MWR. Expect the trend to continue this weekend.
Bowyer's teammate, Brian Vickers, should also be good for a top-10 finish this weekend. He cracked the top 15 in both practices Friday and posted a top-10 lap in the opening session. Meanwhile, Vickers has finished eighth or better in three starts at Bristol with Michael Waltrip Racing, including a fourth-place run last August.
Owners looking for a sleeper option this weekend may want to go with David Ragan. After all, he topped the charts in the first practice session at Bristol Friday. He also finished 21st in the first race at Bristol this year, and with a better car, a top-20 could be possible this weekend.
Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)
Happy Hour 10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)
First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)
10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)
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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