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 Kevin Conway, Front Row Motorsports|
2 Scott Speed, Red Bull Racing
3 Paul Menard, Richard Petty Motorsports
4 Regan Smith, Furniture Row Racing
5 Travis Kvapil, Front Row Motorsports
|6 Terry Cook, Whitney Motorsports|
7 Michael McDowell, Prism Motorsports
8 Aric Almirola, Phoenix Racing
9 Dave Blaney, Prism Motorsports
10 David Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports
Fantasy tip: At 30 years old, Conway is one of only two drivers expected to be eligible for Rookie of the Year in the Sprint Cup Series this season. Conway was out of NASCAR completely in 2008 after having raced in only 13 Nationwide Series races between 2003 and 2007. He returned last year for 12 Nationwide races, recording an uninspired average finish of 22.4. With limited time behind the wheel in the developmental ranks and zero in Cup, it's difficult to seriously consider Conway until proven otherwise.
Fantasy tip: Supposedly signed through 2010, how Speed fares in his sophomore season will likely dictate his future with Red Bull Racing. In 2008, Speed was successful in the ARCA RE/Max Series and Camping World Truck Series. Last year, he picked up eight top-10s in 13 Nationwide races but finished 35th in the Sprint Cup standings. His best average running position in a Cup race last year was only 20th. Speed may be worth an occasional gamble in a fantasy format that rewards qualifying position, but he needs to show success on the Cup level before he can be recommended otherwise.
Fantasy tip: A driver for Richard Petty Motorsports by way of merger from Yates Racing, Menard will enter his third full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series with only with one top-10 finish since 2007. Last season, his most successful stretch came between April and May in which he finished three of five races in 13th place (twice) or 15th place (once). After that, Menard would only have one such top-15 result the rest of the season. Without a career average finish of 20.0 or better on any Cup track, pass on Menard for the time being.
Fantasy tip: As a driver with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008, Smith won the Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Award without a top-10. However, he qualified for all and finished in all 34 races they entered. In 2009, Smith ran a part-time schedule with Furniture Row Racing, but they plan to attempt every race this season, hoping to improve on last year's lackluster 27.7 average finish. Avoid him on draft day.
Fantasy tip: After obtaining owner points from a folded top-35 team, Kvapil is expected to be locked into the first five races of 2010. He last ran full-time in 2008 with Yates Racing, finishing with four top-10s and winning a pole at Talladega Superspeedway. A potential deep fantasy sleeper, Kvapil has run well in less-than-ideal equipment before. However, Front Row Motorsports was mainly a start-and-park team last year, so Kvapil's value will hinge greatly on how that plays out.
Fantasy tip: Cook is one of only two drivers expected to be eligible for Rookie of the Year in the Sprint Cup Series this season. The new team at Whiney Motorsports purchased cars from Richard Petty Motorsports after of the merger with Yates Racing. A longtime driver in the Camping World Truck Series, Cook entered several Nationwide Series races over the last two years only to drive an unsponsored start-and-park car. Avoid Cook in all formats.
Fantasy tip: McDowell has limited experience in the Sprint Cup circuit, having run only 28 races in his career. In 2008, he started 20 times and failed to finish in the top 10. McDowell's career average finish is 33, and he has 10 DNFs in 28 races. With no secured full-time sponsor, it's unclear how much of McDowell we'll actually see. For now, he's penciled in for 36 starts and shouldn't be considered in any fantasy league.
Fantasy tip: In 2009, Almirola was supposed to run full time with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing but was let go after the seventh race due to a lack of sponsorship. Almirola found a late-season ride with Phoenix Racing, finishing 29th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The 25-year-old Almirola has experienced degrees of success in the NASCAR developmental series and is one Group D driver worth monitoring early on.
Fantasy tip: A start-and-park team for nearly all of the 30 races they ran in 2009, Prism Motorsports returns with Blaney for 2010. They plan to run the distance at Daytona but still have no sponsorship. It appears Blaney will be heading back to the garage early most weeks for another season, and fantasy owners should look elsewhere.
Fantasy tip: Expect Gilliland to start the majority of races, approximately 32, but he will cede a few to John Andretti and Robert Richardson Jr. A veteran of two full seasons (2007, 2008) and a 31-start 2009 campaign, Gilliland has yet to win a race in the Sprint Cup Series. His DNFs have risen each of the past three years, topping off at 14 in 31 starts. There is no reason for Gilliland to be in your fantasy scope.