Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Ford EcoBoost 400

by Brian Polking on November 16, 2013 @ 16:51:52 PDT

 

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Although his chances of running down Jimmie Johnson to win the championship are slim, Matt Kenseth doesn't seem ready to throw in the towel. After winning the pole in qualifying Friday, Kenseth topped the charts in the opening practice session at Homestead Saturday and posted the fourth-best 10-lap average speed. He also paced the field in Happy Hour. Kenseth is a former winner at Homestead, and in his last eight starts at the track, he has five top-10 finishes. He may not win the title, but he clearly has his sights set on leading the most laps and winning the race. He should make an excellent fantasy option in all formats.

NASCAR driver Joey Logano
Logano: big risk, big payoff?

The other driver who is still mathematically eligible for the title is Kevin Harvick, and he also flexed plenty of muscle in practice Saturday. He turned in the fifth-fastest lap in both sessions, and making him one of two drivers to land in the top five in both practices. Keep in mind that Harvick's 7.9 average finish at Homestead is the second best in the series, and in his last five starts at the track, he has a 4.8 average finish. Fantasy owners should consider him one of the safest options available this weekend.

Outside the two title contenders, Martin Truex Jr. was arguably the most impressive driver in practice Saturday. In the opening session, he turned in the eighth-fastest lap and recorded the best 10-lap average speed. In Happy Hour, he jumped to fourth on the charts and posted the fourth-best 10-lap average speed. Of course, fast times at Homestead aren't exactly new for Truex. He has a 6.7 average finish at the track in seven starts since becoming a full-time Cup driver, and he hasn't finished worse than 11th during the stretch. He looks a like a top-five fantasy option this weekend.

Greg Biffle appears to have top-five potential this weekend, as well. After turning in the third-fastest lap in the first practice Saturday, he logged the second-best 10-lap average speed in the final session. Meanwhile, Biffle is no stranger to sealing the deal at Homestead; his three victories at the track tie him with Tony Stewart for the most in the series. He finished in the top five at Homestead last fall, and a repeat performance could be on tap for Sunday.

Defending race winner Jeff Gordon also deserves heavy consideration from fantasy owners this weekend. In addition to cracking the top 15 in both practices Saturday, he logged the second-best 10-lap average speed in the opening session. Including his victory last year, Gordon has five finishes of sixth or better in his last six starts at Homestead. Fantasy owners should be able to count on him for another strong showing Sunday.

One driver who doesn't have a great track record at Homestead but stood out on the practice sheets was Joey Logano. He ranked second in the first practice Saturday, and in Happy Hour, he turned in the eighth-fastest lap and recorded the seventh-best 10-lap average speed. With a 24.0 average finish in four starts at Homestead, Logano isn't a great option for fantasy owners leading their leagues heading into the finale. On the flip side, owners who need to take some risks to gain some ground may want to gamble that he can back up his strong practice times.

Dipping into the sleeper options, veteran Mark Martin needs to be on the short list of candidates. He turned in the ninth-fastest lap in the first practice Saturday, and he jumped to sixth on the charts in Happy Hour. In addition, Martin has a 13.5 average finish in 13 starts at Homestead, and he has finished outside the top 20 only twice and just once in his last eight starts at the track. At the very least, Martin should deliver a top-15 finish this weekend.

Another potential sleeper is Paul Menard. He got off to a fast start in practice, ranking sixth on the charts in the opening session. He didn't fall off much in Happy Hour either, ranking 12th on the charts. Meanwhile, Menard has improved his results at Homestead in his last six starts at the track, including a career-best 11th-place finish last fall. Yes, the trend has to end sometime, but given his practice times, another top-15 finish isn't out of the question.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Make Sponsor
Best
Lap
Best
Time
Laps
1
20
Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General
171.98
31.40
39
2
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's
171.65
31.46
44
3
2
Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite
171.56
31.48
39
4
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts
171.34
31.52
35
5
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser
170.86
31.60
36
6
14
Mark Martin Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1
170.18
31.73
49
7
5
Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance
170.06
31.75
41
8
22
Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil
169.98
31.77
43
9
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express
169.72
31.82
46
10
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet Target
169.65
31.83
34
11
99
Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal
169.62
31.84
23
12
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet MOEN / Menards
169.55
31.85
44
13
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard
169.53
31.85
51
14
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Axalta Coating Systems
169.45
31.87
41
15
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M Fan Appreciation
169.37
31.88
33
16
13
Casey Mears Ford GEICO
169.36
31.88
20
17
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford DeWalt
169.30
31.90
35
18
18
Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's
169.13
31.93
42
19
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans
169.09
31.94
36
20
15
Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy
169.01
31.95
41
21
51
Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target
168.89
31.97
36
22
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford EcoBoost
168.82
31.99
37
23
55
Elliott Sadler Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
168.61
32.03
39
24
78
Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row / Denver Mattress
168.53
32.04
38
25
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's
168.40
32.07
55
26
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
168.23
32.10
40
27
43
Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield Foods
167.96
32.15
29
28
21
Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
167.88
32.17
41
29
10
Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy - It's Go Time
167.86
32.17
35
30
47
A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Scott Win My Car
167.76
32.19
34
31
30
Parker Kligerman Toyota Lean1 / Swan Energy
167.57
32.23
38
32
93
Travis Kvapil Toyota Dr Pepper
166.80
32.37
33
33
83
David Reutimann Toyota VooDoo BBQ & Grill
166.69
32.40
31
34
38
David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver's
165.73
32.58
32
35
34
David Ragan Ford Taco Bell
165.62
32.60
28
36
33
Landon Cassill Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos
165.19
32.69
29
37
7
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Florida Lottery
165.04
32.72
24
38
32
Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts
164.80
32.77
10
39
36
J.J. Yeley Chevrolet United Mining Equipment
164.29
32.87
25
40
98
Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing
163.73
32.98
2
41
35
Josh Wise Ford MDS Transport
163.50
33.03
10

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg Speed
1
48
Jimmie Johnson
1
10
167.905
2
16
Greg Biffle
1
10
167.320
3
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1
10
167.076
4
56
Martin Truex Jr.
1
10
167.070
5
18
Kyle Busch
1
10
166.958
6
11
Denny Hamlin
1
10
166.946
7
22
Joey Logano
1
10
166.849
8
24
Jeff Gordon
25
34
166.669
9
15
Clint Bowyer
1
10
166.626
10
5
Kasey Kahne
1
10
166.469
11
27
Paul Menard
11
20
166.391
12
14
Mark Martin
29
38
166.173
13
2
Brad Keselowski
26
35
165.941
14
31
Jeff Burton
1
10
165.907
15
51
Kyle Larson
1
10
165.859
16
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
21
30
165.581
17
20
Matt Kenseth
20
29
165.575
18
39
Ryan Newman
1
10
165.554
19
78
Kurt Busch
22
31
165.471
20
43
Aric Almirola
19
28
165.467
21
29
Kevin Harvick
23
32
165.351
22
55
Elliott Sadler
20
29
165.303
23
47
A.J. Allmendinger
25
34
165.246
24
1
Jamie McMurray
1
10
165.236
25
10
Danica Patrick
1
10
165.162
26
93
Travis Kvapil
1
10
164.042
27
30
Parker Kligerman
1
10
163.851
28
21
Trevor Bayne
30
39
163.483
29
7
Dave Blaney
1
10
163.358
30
83
David Reutimann
1
10
163.319
31
36
J.J. Yeley
1
10
162.687
32
32
Ken Schrader
1
10
162.473
33
38
David Gilliland
23
32
161.579

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Make Sponsor
Best
Lap
Best
Time
Laps
1
20
Matt Kenseth Toyota Dollar General
173.700
31.088
44
2
22
Joey Logano Ford Shell Pennzoil
173.527
31.119
37
3
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M Fan Appreciation
173.466
31.130
40
4
78
Kurt Busch Chevrolet Furniture Row / Denver Mattress
173.132
31.190
28
5
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser
172.480
31.308
26
6
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet MOEN / Menards
172.480
31.308
23
7
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard
172.414
31.320
38
8
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts
172.359
31.330
33
9
14
Mark Martin Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1
172.057
31.385
38
10
15
Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy
171.942
31.406
36
11
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Axalta Coating Systems
171.920
31.410
49
12
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet Target
171.827
31.427
40
13
18
Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's
171.543
31.479
29
14
99
Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal
171.325
31.519
25
15
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's
171.065
31.567
40
16
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
171.059
31.568
36
17
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express
170.832
31.610
34
18
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford EcoBoost
170.719
31.631
38
19
5
Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance
170.681
31.638
41
20
43
Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield Foods
170.654
31.643
31
21
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans
170.116
31.743
38
22
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's
170.063
31.753
27
23
55
Elliott Sadler Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
169.689
31.823
38
24
21
Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
169.332
31.890
33
25
10
Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy - It's Go Time
169.131
31.928
32
26
51
Kyle Larson Chevrolet Target
168.929
31.966
30
27
2
Brad Keselowski Ford Miller Lite
168.871
31.977
39
28
13
Casey Mears Ford GEICO
168.613
32.026
23
29
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford DeWalt
168.387
32.069
26
30
47
A.J. Allmendinger Toyota Scott Win My Car
168.078
32.128
30
31
30
Parker Kligerman Toyota Lean1 / Swan Energy
167.676
32.205
29
32
34
David Ragan Ford Taco Bell
167.328
32.272
25
33
38
David Gilliland Ford Long John Silver's
166.477
32.437
27
34
93
Travis Kvapil Toyota Dr Pepper
165.960
32.538
42
35
7
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Florida Lottery
165.037
32.720
27
36
83
David Reutimann Toyota VooDoo BBQ & Grill
164.494
32.828
16
37
36
J.J. Yeley Chevrolet United Mining Equipment
163.949
32.937
32
38
33
Landon Cassill Chevrolet Little Joe's Autos
162.906
33.148
17
39
87
Joe Nemechek Toyota Royal Teak Collection
162.847
33.160
17
40
32
Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts
162.045
33.324
19
41
40
Tony Raines Chevrolet Hillman Racing
159.773
33.798
17

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg Speed
1
56
Martin Truex Jr.
1
10
167.951
2
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
167.678
3
2
Brad Keselowski
2
11
167.201
4
20
Matt Kenseth
1
10
167.047
5
51
Kyle Larson
1
10
166.766
6
48
Jimmie Johnson
1
10
166.702
7
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
1
10
166.506
8
27
Paul Menard
1
10
166.072
9
55
Elliott Sadler
1
10
165.990
10
18
Kyle Busch
14
23
165.914
11
11
Denny Hamlin
17
26
165.557
12
1
Jamie McMurray
1
10
165.129
13
15
Clint Bowyer
26
35
165.033
14
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
22
31
165.009
15
14
Mark Martin
24
33
164.965
16
43
Aric Almirola
19
28
164.883
17
29
Kevin Harvick
16
25
164.685
18
5
Kasey Kahne
22
31
164.620
19
16
Greg Biffle
26
35
164.389
20
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
14
23
164.300
21
31
Jeff Burton
22
31
163.757
22
22
Joey Logano
26
35
163.729
23
39
Ryan Newman
25
34
163.367
24
7
Dave Blaney
1
10
162.134
25
36
J.J. Yeley
20
29
158.524

 

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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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