Start your fantasy NASCAR engines, racing fans! It is time to take to the race track this year in fantasy NASCAR Sprint Cup action! KFFL.com's free fantasy auto racing coverage brings you driver-by-driver fantasy analysis to help you when selecting your fantasy NASCAR team this year.
|1 Marcos Ambrose, JTD Daugherty Racing|
2 A.J. Allmendinger, Richard Petty Motorsports
3 Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing
4 David Ragan, Roush Fenway Racing
|5 Sam Hornish Jr., Penske Championship Racing|
6 Jamie McMurray, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
7 Elliott Sadler, Richard Petty Motorsports
8 Brad Keselowski, Penske Championship Racing
Pros: Ambrose had a strong 2009 campaign, his first full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He scored four top-fives and seven top-10s in the 36 races, finishing 18th in points. His best finish of the season was second in the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen, no surprise that it came on a road course, but two other top-fives were scored on ovals.
Cons: Ambrose was inconsistent in 2009. While that is excusable for someone in their rookie season, it is still a concern. He scored four top-fives, but he also racked up 17 finishes that were outside of the top 20.
Fantasy tip: You cannot ignore Ambrose on a road course, but by the end of the season he was leading on ovals as well. The Tasmanian could make the Chase for the Championship with just a small step up in oval performance in 2010. Ambrose is a high-upside No. 3 racer for fantasy owners.
Pros: Allmendinger made his case for a full-time Sprint Cup ride and repaid Richard Petty Motorsports with a top-five, six top-10s and a 24th-place spot in the 2009 season. The top-35 finish for Allmendinger guarantees the team a starting spot in the opening races of 2010.
Cons: Despite being a great talent, Allmendinger has never had a program long enough or stable enough to start climbing out of mid-pack. Allmendinger, while recording some impressive drives, has never been able to demonstrate what he may truly be capable of.
Fantasy tip: Having a guaranteed start in each of the first five races in 2010 will allow Allmendinger and his team to focus on improving the program. Having major uncertainty surrounding the program in the last few seasons has always distract Allmendinger from that task. The new-look Richard Petty Motorsports could be a place where Allmendinger starts to work his way up the order. Fantasy owners can draft him as a fourth driver that has No. 3 upside - if not more.
Pros: Last season was Truex's fourth full season in Sprint Cup. He scored more poles (three) in 2009 than in any other season in the series; he scored a top-five result and six top-10 finishes. Truex moves to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010 with a strong sponsor in NAPA Auto Parts.
Cons: Unfortunately 2009 was Truex's worst points finish of his four-year career. He finished 23rd at the end of the season and is now parting ways with the only team he has been with since arriving on the Cup scene. Truex also couldn't avoid the DNFs in 2009. He had five last season with four-season average of 4.8.
Fantasy tip: Truex has the talent for a big year in 2010. He is in a team beginning to hit its stride in Michael Waltrip Racing, and is also pairing up with veteran crew chief Pat Tryson to help him through the transition. However, since 2010 is his first year with Tryson and MWR, Truex shouldn't be counted on as anything more than a No. 3 driver with moderate upside.
Pros: There weren't many positives to take from 2009 for Ragan, which means he should be anxious to get 2010 underway. He is working with a new crew chief in 2010, Donnie Wingo. Wingo was on top of the box for Jamie McMurray in 2009 and knows the Roush Fenway Racing organization very well. Ragan scored two top-10s in 2009. He finished 13th in the standings in 2008.
Cons: After a promising 2008 season, Ragan floundered in 2009. Roush Fenway pared itself down to four cars in 2010, and Ragan may be the beneficiary of some extra attention as a result. He finished 27th in points in 2009, which was very disappointing following narrowly missing the Chase the prior season.
Fantasy tip: Keep an eye on Ragan as the season moves along. His performances in the middle races may show whether he is back to what we saw in 2008 or if 2009 was more representative of the truth. He is a third driver with strong No. 2 potential, but you are assuming a considerable risk by selecting him.
Pros: Hornish stepped up his game in 2009 and scored his best finish in the season points (28th) in his two seasons on the circuit. He notched two top-fives and seven top-10s in the 36 races. He also won the Sprint Showdown at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, proving that he can be very racy when conditions warrant.
Cons: Eight DNFs in 2009 was what stopped Hornish from achieving even more. On more than one occasion Hornish was caught in an accident that was not his fault. He also lost two engines, which should be rare at Penske Championship Racing.
Fantasy tip: Those poor results stymied what was actually a strong season from Hornish, a season where he showed that he is improving in Sprint Cup. Hornish has the ability, the equipment and the team to make the Chase for the Championship in 2010. The problem is that for him, it would be uncharted territory. Hornish is a weak third or strong fourth driver in most formats.
Pros: McMurray joins Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing in 2010 just at the right time. The team should have worked through the kinks of a new partnership in 2009, getting Juan Pablo Montoya into the Chase. They should now come into 2010 firing on all cylinders. In 2009 McMurray also found his way back to Victory Lane with a November Talladega win.
Cons: When Roush Fenway Racing had to downsize to four cars McMurray saw the writing on the wall, and after a number of sub-par seasons he turned to a new team. He never matched the win totals of his more successful teammates at Roush despite having comparable equipment and resources.
Fantasy tip: McMurray and Earnhardt-Ganassi may be just what the other needs to spark more success. McMurray will lend a voice of experience to couple with Montoya's pure racer perspective. That pairing, and the resources of the combined organization, should make for some fast cars. View McMurray as a risk-reward pick as your third or fourth option.
Pros: Sadler scored one top-five and five top-10 finishes in 2009. He finished 26th in the season standings and suffered only two DNFs. In 2010, the former Evernham Motorsports, Richard Petty Enterprises and Yates Racing combine to form the super team of Richard Petty Motorsports.
Cons: Unfortunately last season was another mid-pack run for Sadler. He hasn't cracked the top 20 in points since 2005, and 26th is a far cry from the ninth-place finish he managed in the 2004 season standings. Sadler has underperformed and is starting to make a habit of it. The team is transitioning to Ford, and Yates Racing hasn't exactly set the world alight the past season or two.
Fantasy tip: The new Richard Petty Motorsports has some hurdles to pass before realizing its potential. Once the bugs are worked out this team should have more resources, experience and knowledge than almost any other on the circuit; Sadler should benefit. He has upside, but Sadler is a fourth driver, at best, on draft day.
Pros: Keselowski had a stunning 2009 in the Nationwide Series by scoring four wins, 22 top-fives and 28 top-10s with a third-place finish in points. If that was not enough, Keselowski also scored his first career Sprint Cup Series win in the Aaron's 499. He scored three other top-10s in addition to that win in just 15 Cup starts.
Cons: Despite his past success, Keselowski will still be a rookie in 2010. He has a total of 17 Cup starts under his belt and very few rookies make a big splash in their inaugural season.
Fantasy tip: Keselowski's crew chief in 2010 will be Furniture Row Racing's Jay Guy. A rookie paired with a crew chief new to the organization makes for a very young team. Luckily, Penske doesn't let anyone flounder. The team has its share of hard work ahead, but the resources of Penske should help Keselowski and Guy climb the mountain fairly quickly. If you're feeling lucky, take a chance on Keselowski as your fourth driver.