Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Camping World RV Sales 500

by Brian Polking on October 18, 2013 @ 19:35:05 PDT

 

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Most weeks, drivers and teams can't turn in enough laps in practice as they try to dial in their cars for race day. At Talladega Superspeedway, many teams usually opt to sit out at least one of the practices completely, and that is exactly what happened at the track Friday when only 29 teams even took the track in Happy Hour. Yes, drivers and teams are still concerned with making sure their cars are handling well in the draft, but keeping their cars in one piece is even more important.

One of the few drivers who did run in both sessions Friday and turned in fast laps in both was Jimmie Johnson. In fact, he topped the charts in Happy Hour after posting the 11th-fastest lap in the opening session. Johnson has actually been up and down at Talladega throughout his career, but he is a two-time winner. Meanwhile, he has enjoyed an incredible year at the plate tracks, sweeping both races at Daytona and finishing fifth at Talladega in the spring. Fantasy owners will still want to save Johnson for another week in survivor-style leagues simply because of the unpredictability of Talladega, but in just about any other format, he should be starting.

NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray
McMurray: easily overlooked?

Fantasy owners should also strongly consider starting Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. For one, Junior cracked the top 10 in both practice sessions at Talladega Friday, and he posted the third-best 10-lap average speed in the first practice. Not to mention the fact that he is a five-time winner at Talladega, and he also leads all drivers with a 10.4 average finish at plate tracks since the start of last season.

Another set of teammates that performed well in practice Friday was the Roush Fenway Racing duo of Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle. The two ranked fifth and sixth on the charts in the opening session, and both have been fairly reliable at Talladega recently. Biffle has four top-15s in his last five starts at the track and has three finishes of seventh or better during the stretch. Meanwhile, Edwards has five top-15s in his last eight starts at Talladega, including a third-place finish earlier this year.

Martin Truex Jr. also wowed on the practice charts Friday. He turned in the fourth-fastest lap in the opening session and posted the best 10-lap average speed. In addition, he has quietly been one of the more consistent drivers at Talladega for a while now. Truex has six top-15s in his last seven starts at track, including a seventh-place run earlier this year.

Veteran Jeff Burton has also been one of the more consistent performers at Talladega lately, and he turned in the second-fastest lap in the opening practice at the track Friday. Burton has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts at Talladega, including finishes of second and 10th in the last two fall races. He has also scored the fifth-most points of any driver at plate races since the start of the 2012 season. He could make a solid addition to fantasy rosters in just about any format.

Of course, one driver who has had a ton of success at Talladega the past couple of seasons is David Ragan. In fact, he is going for the season sweep at the track this weekend after a wild win in the spring. He has also finished seventh or better in his last three starts at Talladega, posting a 4.0 average finish during the stretch. Ragan cracked the top 10 in the first practice session Friday, and his hot streak at Talladega could certainly continue.

While he has been a bit more up and down than some of the other top fantasy options, there is no denying Jamie McMurray's upside at Talladega. He turned in the ninth-fastest lap during the first practice session Friday to go along with the second-best 10-lap average speed. McMurray is also a former winner at the track and a three-time winner at plate tracks in the Cup Series.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
48.873
195.936
9
2
35
Josh Wise A&W All American Food Ford
48.884
195.892
6
3
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
49.024
195.333
15
4
5
Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
49.033
195.297
24
5
47
Bobby Labonte Scott Products Toyota
49.040
195.269
15
6
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
49.041
195.265
11
7
93
Travis Kvapil Dr Pepper Toyota
49.052
195.221
18
8
38
David Gilliland Long John Silver's Ford
49.128
194.919
6
9
24
Jeff Gordon Axalta Chevrolet
49.259
194.401
10
10
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Mountain Dew/XBox One Chevrolet
49.270
194.358
15
11
27
Paul Menard Menards/Duracell Chevrolet
49.559
193.224
3
12
99
Carl Edwards Subway Ford
49.651
192.866
13
13
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
49.782
192.359
11
14
22
Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
49.975
191.616
8
15
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
49.985
191.577
3
16
16
Greg Biffle Scotch Blue Ford
49.998
191.528
17
17
20
Matt Kenseth Home Depot Let's Do This Toyota
50.070
191.252
8
18
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
50.239
190.609
3
19
12
Sam Hornish Jr. SKF Ford
50.282
190.446
5
20
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nationwide Insurance Ford
50.291
190.412
7
21
51
Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet
50.375
190.094
11
22
36
J.J. Yeley Golden Corral Chevrolet
50.395
190.019
6
23
43
Aric Almirola Charter Ford
50.494
189.646
12
24
98
Michael McDowell Phil Parsons Racing Ford
50.511
189.582
14
25
30
Cole Whitt Black Clover Toyota
50.720
188.801
6
26
83
David Reutimann Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota
50.795
188.522
3
27
7
Dave Blaney Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
50.836
188.370
12
28
40
Tony Raines Hillman Racing Chevrolet
51.058
187.551
11
29
33
Landon Cassill ERC Acquired TMone Chevrolet
51.313
186.619
7

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
5
Kasey Kahne
2
11
193.600
2
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
2
11
193.552
3
11
Denny Hamlin
2
11
192.468
4
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1
10
189.106
5
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
188.631
6
93
Travis Kvapil
1
10
176.741

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
43
Aric Almirola Charter Ford
47.406
202.000
18
2
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
47.409
201.987
20
3
9
Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
47.435
201.876
21
4
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
47.440
201.855
19
5
99
Carl Edwards Subway Ford
47.499
201.604
26
6
16
Greg Biffle Scotch Blue Ford
47.561
201.341
24
7
34
David Ragan Safecar.gov Ford
47.602
201.168
15
8
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Mountain Dew/XBox One Chevrolet
47.620
201.092
31
9
1
Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet
47.625
201.071
21
10
13
Casey Mears GEICO Ford
47.663
200.911
21
11
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
47.856
200.100
26
12
20
Matt Kenseth Home Depot Let's Do This Toyota
48.002
199.492
20
13
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
48.006
199.475
32
14
35
Josh Wise A&W All American Food Ford
48.020
199.417
7
15
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
48.038
199.342
33
16
14
Austin Dillon Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
48.039
199.338
28
17
39
Ryan Newman WIX Filters Chevrolet
48.075
199.189
11
18
12
Sam Hornish Jr. SKF Ford
48.079
199.172
16
19
22
Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
48.081
199.164
25
20
24
Jeff Gordon Axalta Chevrolet
48.100
199.085
20
21
15
Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
48.113
199.031
12
22
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nationwide Insurance Ford
48.157
198.850
26
23
55
Michael Waltrip Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
48.173
198.784
21
24
10
Danica Patrick GoDaddy Breast Cancer Awareness Chevrolet
48.239
198.512
27
25
38
David Gilliland Long John Silver's Ford
48.283
198.331
8
26
83
David Reutimann Burger King/Dr Pepper Toyota
48.294
198.286
16
27
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
48.310
198.220
18
28
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Halloween Toyota
48.429
197.733
27
29
5
Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
48.456
197.623
19
30
47
Bobby Labonte Scott Products Toyota
48.462
197.598
15
31
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row/Wonder Bread Chevrolet
48.479
197.529
18
32
30
Cole Whitt Black Clover Toyota
48.484
197.508
14
33
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
48.556
197.216
25
34
29
Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Chevrolet
48.639
196.879
10
35
27
Paul Menard Menards/Duracell Chevrolet
48.842
196.061
12
36
51
Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet
50.112
191.092
7
37
98
Michael McDowell Phil Parsons Racing Ford
50.631
189.133
7
38
36
J.J. Yeley Golden Corral Chevrolet
50.723
188.790
6
39
93
Travis Kvapil Dr Pepper Toyota
50.804
188.489
6
40
7
Dave Blaney Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
50.912
188.089
8
41
32
Terry Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford
51.096
187.412
12
42
40
Tony Raines Hillman Racing Chevrolet
51.223
186.947
4
43
87
Joe Nemechek NEMCO - JRR Toyota
51.407
186.278
3
44
33
Landon Cassill ERC Acquired TMone Chevrolet
51.904
184.494
7

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
56
Martin Truex Jr.
2
11
197.774
2
1
Jamie McMurray
2
11
196.946
3
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5
14
196.920
4
99
Carl Edwards
6
15
196.559
5
11
Denny Hamlin
23
32
196.206
6
2
Brad Keselowski
21
30
196.199
7
22
Joey Logano
2
11
196.141
8
14
Austin Dillon
4
13
195.933
9
10
Danica Patrick
7
16
195.884
10
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
5
14
195.578
11
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
8
17
195.426
12
18
Kyle Busch
14
23
195.349
13
83
David Reutimann
7
16
195.235
14
16
Greg Biffle
4
13
195.118
15
55
Michael Waltrip
8
17
195.030
16
24
Jeff Gordon
11
20
191.809
17
12
Sam Hornish Jr.
1
10
191.487
18
78
Kurt Busch
1
10
191.144
19
5
Kasey Kahne
4
13
190.769
20
20
Matt Kenseth
1
10
189.234
21
31
Jeff Burton
11
20
188.967
22
48
Jimmie Johnson
1
10
186.393
23
29
Kevin Harvick
1
10
185.193
24
30
Cole Whitt(i)
1
10
183.881
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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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