Matt Kenseth has opened the 2013 Chase with back-to-back wins, and if his practice times at Dover Saturday are any indication, he might not be done winning just yet. He turned the fifth-fastest lap in the opening session to go along with the third-best 10-lap average speed, and in Happy Hour, he logged the third-fastest lap and the second-best 10-lap average speed. Kenseth has also finished in the top five in eight of his last 11 starts at Dover, and a top-five finish is the bare minimum fantasy owners should expect from him this weekend.
Of course, one driver that always seems to be in the mix whenever the series visits Dover is Jimmie Johnson, and he didn't disappoint in practice Saturday. He posted the sixth-fastest lap and second-best 10-lap average speed in the first session, and he jumped to second on the charts in Happy Hour while recording the best 10-lap average speed. Keep in mind that Johnson is a seven-time winner at Dover, and four of his victories have come in the last 10 races at the track. During the same stretch, he owns a series-leading 5.7 average finish, and Johnson should be considered one of the best options available this weekend regardless of the format.
Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. also appears to be one of the best options for fantasy owners. After winning the pole on Friday, Junior cracked the top five in both practice session Saturday, turning the second-quickest lap in the opening session. Granted, Junior hasn't produced elite results at Dover, but he has finished 11th or better in his last three starts at the track. At the very least, he seems capable of providing a top-10, and a top-five run isn't out of the question.
Defending race winner Brad Keselowski appears poised to contend for a top-fvie finish, as well. After all, he flexed plenty of muscle in practice, posting the 11th-fastest lap in the first session, and topping the charts in Happy Hour. Keselowski also logged the fourth-best 10-lap average speed in the final session. It is also worth noting that Keselowski followed up his victory at Dover last fall with a top-run in June so his value at the track has been trending up anyway.
Another driver that has been trending in the right direction at Dover lately is Kyle Busch, and he cracked the top 10 in both practice sessions Saturday. In addition to the fast times, he has finished seventh or better in six of his last seven starts at Dover, including a fourth-place effort earlier this year when he led the most laps. Busch is also a two-time winner on the concrete oval, and he could certainly add to that total this weekend.
His older brother Kurt also has plenty of upside. He opened the practice sessions at Dover Saturday by turning the fourth-fastest lap, and in Happy Hour, he logged the 11th-fastest lap and the third-best 10-lap average speed. Busch has been hit or miss at Dover throughout his career, but in the last nine races at the track, he has six top-15s. More importantly, he has four top-five finishes during the stretch, including a win in the fall of 2011.
While their ceiling might not be as high as that of the Busch brothers, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. could both make solid additions to fantasy rosters this weekend. Logano ranked 12th and 10th in two practice sessions at Dover Saturday, and Truex ranked 10th and seventh on the charts. Meanwhile, Logano has five top-10s in his last seven starts at the track, including three straight. Truex on the other hand is a former Dover winner, and he has cracked the top 10 in three of his last five starts at the track.
In terms of sleeper options, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. might be the cream of the crop. The rookie ranked 16th and 15th in the two practices Saturday, and he also posted the fifth-best 10-lap average speed in Happy Hour. Meanwhile, Stenhouse has managed to finish in the top 15 in both of his Cup starts at Dover, and he looks primed to continue the trend this weekend.
Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)
Happy Hour 10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)
Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)
Second Practice 10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)