Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Sylvania 300

by Brian Polking on September 21, 2013 @ 16:12:11 PDT

 


The last time Clint Bowyer was making major news, he was being penalized for intentionally bringing out a caution at Richmond and igniting a series of changes to the Chase field. After turning fast laps in practice at New Hampshire Saturday, Bowyer could be in the headlines for a different reason after Sunday's Sylvania 300. He topped the charts in the opening session and ranked fifth on the charts in Happy Hour. He also ranked in the top five in terms of 10-lap average speed in both sessions. Meanwhile, Bowyer is a two-time winner at New Hampshire, and he has a 6.7 average finish at the track since joining Michael Waltrip Racing. He can help fantasy teams in all formats this weekend.

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Keep an eye on Bowyer

The only driver to crack the top five in both practice sessions Saturday was Dale Earnhardt Jr. In fact, he posted the second-fastest lap in the first practice and paced the field in Happy Hour. He also logged the best 10-lap average speed in the opening session. Junior has finished in the top 15 in six of his last seven starts at New Hampshire, including three straight. Considering he was already one of the more reliable drivers available, his fast practice times only make him a more attractive pick.

Of course, one driver that is always an attractive fantasy option is Junior's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, and the three-time New Hampshire winner didn't disappoint in practice Saturday. After turning the ninth-fastest lap in the first session, he jumped to sixth on the charts in Happy Hour. Johnson also posted the second-best 10-lap average speed in the final session. He owns a 9.4 average finish at New Hampshire for his career and a 7.9 average finish in the last 10 races. As usual, Johnson should be owned in all formats this weekend.

Sticking with the Hendrick Motorsports theme, Kasey Kahne is yet another HMS driver fantasy owners may want to target. After logging the sixth-fastest lap in the first session, he jumped to third on the charts in Happy Hour. Meanwhile, Kahne is riding a streak of six straight top-15s at New Hampshire, and in three starts at the track since joining HMS, he has one win and a 5.7 average finish. His value at New Hampshire is as high as it has ever been, and he looks like an elite option this weekend.

Last weekend's winner Matt Kenseth also looks like an elite option for Sunday's race. After turning the seventh-fastest lap and posting the fourth-best 10-lap average speed in the opening practice, he jumped to second on the charts and logged the best 10-lap average speed in Happy Hour. New Hampshire has never been his best track, but he does have four straight top-15s, including a ninth-place run earlier this year. Kenseth appears to be on track for an even better showing in the return trip to New Hampshire.

Don't be surprised if Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch is battling at the front of the field Sunday, as well. Busch turned one of the 10-quickest laps in both practices and posted one of the 10-best 10-lap average speeds in both practices. He is also a former winner at New Hampshire, and he finished second when the series visited the 1.0-mile oval earlier this year. Busch has run a little hot and cold at New Hampshire, but when he is dialed in, he is a top-five driver at the track.

While he didn't make the Chase, Brad Keselowski should still get plenty of consideration from fantasy owners this weekend. He ranked eighth and seventh in the two practices Saturday, and he logged the third-best 10-lap average speed in Happy Hour. Keselowski has also ripped off four straight finishes of sixth or better at New Hampshire, and he looks like a safe bet for at least a top-10 this weekend.

Another non-Chaser worth targeting this weekend is Denny Hamlin. After turning the 11th-fastest lap in the first practice, he moved up to fourth on the charts in Happy Hour. Hamlin also posted one of the five-best 10-lap average speeds in both sessions. Yes, he has been mired in a terrible slump, but New Hampshire has been one of his best tracks. In fact, his 8.8 average finish at the track is the best in the series. Throw in the fact that he has finished in the top three in five of his last eight starts at the track, and Hamlin is worth taking a chance on, especially for owners that are looking to gain ground in their leagues.

There weren't many sleeper options that stood out in practice Saturday, but Paul Menard was the best of the bunch. He cracked the top 20 in both practices, turning the 11th-fastest lap in Happy Hour. Granted, he has never been great at New Hampshire and is still looking for his first top-10 at the track. However, he has finished in the top 20 in his last four starts at NHMS, and he finished a career-best 12th last September. A top-15 isn't out of the question.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Time Warner Cable Chevrolet
28.625
133.059
45
2
20
Matt Kenseth Home Depot / Husky Toyota
28.651
132.938
48
3
5
Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevrolet
28.666
132.868
54
4
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota
28.681
132.799
52
5
15
Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
28.726
132.591
32
6
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
28.730
132.572
51
7
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
28.736
132.545
46
8
22
Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
28.756
132.452
41
9
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Peanut Butter Toyota
28.813
132.190
39
10
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target / Gillette Chevrolet
28.834
132.094
37
11
27
Paul Menard Menards / Sylvania Chevrolet
28.871
131.925
37
12
16
Greg Biffle 3M Ford
28.889
131.843
35
13
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
28.897
131.806
33
14
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
28.899
131.797
51
15
99
Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
28.923
131.688
27
16
55
Brian Vickers Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
28.924
131.683
44
17
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row / Denver Mattress Chevrolet
28.936
131.628
54
18
31
Jeff Burton Cheerios Chevrolet
28.969
131.478
42
19
1
Jamie McMurray Linksys Chevrolet
29.001
131.333
46
20
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Zest Ford
29.002
131.329
37
21
9
Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
29.010
131.293
32
22
14
Mark Martin Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet
29.017
131.261
34
23
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
29.021
131.243
56
24
43
Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford
29.023
131.234
37
25
39
Ryan Newman Quicken Loans Chevrolet
29.066
131.040
35
26
10
Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet
29.082
130.968
40
27
47
Bobby Labonte Bush's Beans Toyota
29.145
130.685
33
28
93
Travis Kvapil Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.146
130.680
34
29
13
Casey Mears GEICO Ford
29.148
130.671
20
30
34
David Ragan Taco Bell Ford
29.157
130.631
31
31
38
David Gilliland Long John Silver's Ford
29.244
130.242
26
32
40
Landon Cassill Moonshine Attitude Attire Chevrolet
29.286
130.055
15
33
98
Johnny Sauter Phil Parsons Racing Ford
29.304
129.975
4
34
83
David Reutimann Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.324
129.887
34
35
7
Dave Blaney Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
29.387
129.608
23
36
51
Michael McDowell SEM Products Chevrolet
29.429
129.423
30
37
36
J.J. Yeley United Mining Equipment Chevrolet
29.484
129.182
35
38
30
Kevin Swindell Genny Light Toyota
29.615
128.611
16
39
95
Scott Riggs Leavine Family Racing Ford
29.701
128.238
13
40
33
Tony Raines LittleJoesAutos.com Chevrolet
29.711
128.195
22
41
32
Timmy Hill U.S. Chrome Ford
29.822
127.718
24
42
35
Josh Wise ThePeteStore.com Ford
29.892
127.419
2

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
20
Matt Kenseth
35
44
132.128
2
48
Jimmie Johnson
2
11
131.847
3
2
Brad Keselowski
3
12
131.776
4
15
Clint Bowyer
2
11
131.675
5
11
Denny Hamlin
14
23
131.507
6
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2
11
131.406
7
22
Joey Logano
24
33
131.197
8
5
Kasey Kahne
2
11
131.183
9
18
Kyle Busch
2
11
131.132
10
78
Kurt Busch
30
39
131.015
11
56
Martin Truex Jr.
2
11
130.934
12
55
Brian Vickers
1
10
130.817
13
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
1
10
130.779
14
29
Kevin Harvick
29
38
130.758
15
24
Jeff Gordon
24
33
130.754
15
24
Jeff Gordon
25
34
130.754
17
31
Jeff Burton
2
11
130.750
18
1
Jamie McMurray
2
11
130.732
19
27
Paul Menard
9
18
130.710
20
14
Mark Martin
2
11
130.622
21
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
1
10
130.617
22
39
Ryan Newman
24
33
130.313
23
16
Greg Biffle
26
35
130.278
24
9
Marcos Ambrose
23
32
130.224
25
47
Bobby Labonte
18
27
129.789
26
10
Danica Patrick
1
10
129.201
27
7
Dave Blaney
3
12
129.111
28
51
Michael McDowell
19
28
128.575
29
34
David Ragan
21
30
127.674

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
15
Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
28.705
132.688
41
2
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Time Warner Cable Chevrolet
28.766
132.406
47
3
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row / Denver Mattress Chevrolet
28.829
132.117
45
4
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Peanut Butter Toyota
28.851
132.016
60
5
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
28.859
131.980
40
6
5
Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevrolet
28.861
131.970
38
7
20
Matt Kenseth Home Depot / Husky Toyota
28.862
131.966
50
8
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
28.873
131.916
42
9
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
28.895
131.815
51
10
16
Greg Biffle 3M Ford
28.896
131.811
47
11
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Ground Toyota
28.899
131.797
51
12
99
Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
28.900
131.792
31
13
22
Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
28.901
131.788
45
14
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target / Gillette Chevrolet
28.925
131.678
42
15
31
Jeff Burton Cheerios Chevrolet
28.940
131.610
46
16
55
Brian Vickers Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
28.946
131.583
32
17
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
28.954
131.547
34
18
27
Paul Menard Menards / Sylvania Chevrolet
28.955
131.542
36
19
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
28.987
131.397
35
20
1
Jamie McMurray Linksys Chevrolet
28.999
131.342
51
21
43
Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford
29.092
130.923
36
22
14
Mark Martin Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet
29.104
130.869
39
23
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Zest Ford
29.135
130.729
46
24
39
Ryan Newman Quicken Loans Chevrolet
29.141
130.702
31
25
9
Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
29.145
130.685
39
26
47
Bobby Labonte Bush's Beans Toyota
29.151
130.658
38
27
13
Casey Mears GEICO Ford
29.189
130.488
33
28
93
Travis Kvapil Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.253
130.202
49
29
34
David Ragan Taco Bell Ford
29.274
130.109
38
30
10
Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet
29.277
130.095
49
31
38
David Gilliland Long John Silver's Ford
29.287
130.051
35
32
51
Michael McDowell SEM Products Chevrolet
29.303
129.980
33
33
7
Dave Blaney Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
29.369
129.688
23
34
40
Landon Cassill Moonshine Attitude Attire Chevrolet
29.473
129.230
35
35
30
Kevin Swindell Genny Light Toyota
29.490
129.156
34
36
98
Johnny Sauter Phil Parsons Racing Ford
29.496
129.129
8
37
83
David Reutimann Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.497
129.125
33
38
36
J.6.J Yeley United Mining Equipment Chevrolet
29.497
129.125
34
39
33
Tony Raines LittleJoesAutos.com Chevrolet
29.700
128.242
16
40
32
Timmy Hill U.S. Chrome Ford
29.791
127.851
30
41
95
Scott Riggs Leavine Family Racing Ford
29.820
127.726
9
42
87
Tony Raines Toyota
32.329
117.814
2

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
30
39
131.627
2
15
Clint Bowyer
26
35
131.418
3
11
Denny Hamlin
34
43
131.093
4
20
Matt Kenseth
40
49
131.049
5
22
Joey Logano
30
39
130.917
6
18
Kyle Busch
35
44
130.823
7
1
Jamie McMurray
34
43
130.818
8
78
Kurt Busch
14
23
130.808
9
27
Paul Menard
13
22
130.677
10
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
32
41
130.675
11
56
Martin Truex Jr.
3
12
130.553
12
48
Jimmie Johnson
42
51
130.539
13
2
Brad Keselowski
3
12
130.246
14
55
Brian Vickers
2
11
129.966
15
14
Mark Martin
30
39
129.950
16
16
Greg Biffle
1
10
129.716
17
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
5
14
129.490
18
93
Travis Kvapil
34
43
129.394
19
10
Danica Patrick
4
13
128.796
20
7
Dave Blaney
2
11
128.784
21
83
David Reutimann
2
11
128.496
22
36
J.J. Yeley
2
11
127.599
23
38
David Gilliland
2
11
127.139
24
32
Timmy Hill
3
12
126.449
25
5
Kasey Kahne
29
38
117.867

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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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