NASCAR Nationwide Series: Iowa Picks and Points
by Adam Ansell, RotoExperts.com
on July 30, 2010 @ 13:00:00
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ADAM ANSELL'S TOP 25 FOR IOWA
1. Kyle Busch: Busch has won eight of the 16 Series races he's entered this year, and is two wins shy of tying the record for most in a single-season (10). He's also led at least four laps in every event run in 2010, with an Average Starting position of fourth. In the only Series race run at Iowa Speedway, Busch started 27th and battled his way to a second-place finish. He ranks second in Driver Rating (127.1) and third in Average Running Position (6.0) at the site. He ranks second with 84 Laps Led and third with 33 Fastest Laps Run. With 14 events remaining on the schedule and the success he's had up until this point, there's no reason to think Busch won't shatter the single-season wins record. He's the favorite in any event he competes in.
2. Brad Keselowski: Over the first 17 events in 2010, Keselowski had an Average Finish of fourth. In his past three starts, he has an Average Finish of 14th. Despite the mini-slump, he is still 205-points ahead of second-place Carl Edwards. Iowa is the perfect slump-buster for Keselowski, seeing as he's the defending champion of the event. He leads all competitors in DR (149.0), ARP (2.8), Laps Led (121), Laps in the Top 15 (250), Fastest Laps Run (89) and Fastest Green Flag Speed (130.154 mph). He's on probation until December 31, which seemingly puts the feud with Carl Edwards in the rearview mirror, allowing Keselowski to focus his energy on getting back to Victory Lane.
3. Carl Edwards: While Series points leader Keselowski has finished in 21st, 14th and eighth in his last three starts, the second-place Edwards has racked up sixth, first and second-place finishes. If it weren't for that pesky 60-point penalty handed down by NASCAR, Edwards would be on a pretty good run to closing in on that lead. In his lone start at Iowa, Edwards finished in fourth place. He ranks sixth in DR (98.0) and ninth in ARP (12.1). Edwards is also on probation, and is sure to behave himself with the threat of a suspension almost certain if he has another run-in with Keselowski. His "whatever-it-takes" attitude and penchant for coming up big in the season's second-half makes Edwards a Fantasy force in all formats.
4. Justin Allgaier: He's up to third in the Nationwide Series standings thanks to the "stand-alone" part of the schedule. This has been a season of ups and downs for the 24-year-old, but it appears the down portion has subsided, with a seventh-place finish last week at O'Reilly Raceway Park. In last year's event at Iowa, Allgaier started second and led 35 laps, but some bad luck on pit road and a late wreck caused him to finish 15th. He ranks third in DR (116.4) and second in ARP (3.9). Last week's Top 10 was his first in three races. He'll build on that momentum at Iowa and collect the Top Five finish he deserved last year.
5. Kevin Harvick: In his last four starts, he has an Average Start of sixth and an Average Finish of ninth, and led at least three laps in each of those events. Harvick did not fare well in the inaugural race at Iowa a year ago. He started 34th and finished 30th with an ARP of 19.4. He ranks just 16th in DR (80.3). Harvick's poor results in last year's event might make other Fantasy owners wary of starting him, making him a potentially solid value play. Whatever the case may be, start him with confidence in all formats.
6. Reed Sorenson: Sorenson did not compete in the inaugural event at Iowa last season, but he's been running so well it won't matter. Take away the 22nd-place finish at Daytona, and he has three Top Fives and five Top 10s in his last five starts. He has Average Finish of fifth and an ARP of 10th in those five events. He's outperformed his ARP in each of those races, demonstrating that he can find ways to make the most of every race he competes in. Sorenson is in the process of being mentioned in the same breath as the Nationwide Series elite drivers, and should be treated as such in Fantasy circles.
7. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer's consistency has been spotty, as he has just three Top 10s in seven starts this season. But with Top 10s in his last two Series starts, and his first laps led of the season (17 at Daytona International Speedway), Bowyer is finding his groove. He's never competed at Iowa, a 0.875-mile Tri-Oval, but has been successful at short tracks in the past. Keep an eye on the entry lists, though. Bowyer was listed as the driver of the RCR No. 21 ride last week for ORP, but didn't end up starting. The same deal could happen this week, so check back before your lineup is due. If Bowyer is bumped and Morgan Shepherd (23rd at ORP) helms the No. 21, which is what happened last week, move all drivers below up a spot.
8. Jason Leffler: After scoring his best finish of the season three weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway (fifth-place), Leffler has stumbled with 25th and 30th-place finishes at Gateway International Raceway and ORP. He'll get his footing back at Iowa, where last season he started 15th and finished third. He ranks fourth in DR (107.2) and ARP (9.2). He ranks second with 33 Quality Passes, fourth with 244 Laps in the Top 15, and fifth with a Fastest Green Flag Speed of 128.688 mph. He's currently 10th in the Nationwide Series standings.
9. Trevor Bayne: Bayne has three Top Fives in his past five starts and has started from the pole in the past two races (Gateway, ORP). At last year's Iowa event, he started fourth but finished a disappointing 26th. He ranks 13th in DR (83.8) and 15th in ARP (14.4). With improved confidence stemming from his recent hot streak and his impressive position in the Series standings (ninth), Bayne is an excellent start in Tiered/Grouping formats.
10. Mike Bliss: Since finishing with a Top Five at Nashville Superspeedway in early June, Bliss has an Average Finish of 23rd in his last seven Series starts. He started 10th and finished 14th in last year's event, while leading three laps. Bliss ranks 12th in DR (85.0) and ARP (12.8). Call this one a hunch; Bliss will break out of his funk at Iowa.
11. Brendan Gaughan: Sits eighth in the Nationwide Series standings. 66.0 DR.
12. Steve Wallace: Finished 17th in last year's event at Iowa. 92.9 DR.
13. Kenny Wallace: Finished seventh in last year's event at Iowa. 83.8 DR.
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Led seven laps in last year's event at Iowa. 76.7 DR.
15. Michael Annett: Finished 11th in last year's event at Iowa. 76.8 DR.
16. Brian Scott: DR N/A.
17. Matt DiBenedetto: DR N/A.
18. Paul Menard: DR N/A.
19. Michael McDowell: 79.2 DR.
20. Tony Raines: 61.2.
21. Steve Arpin
22. Brian Keselowski
23. Colin Braun
24. Johnny Chapman
25. John Wes Townley
Wanna talk some track? E-mail Adam at email@example.com. The RotoRacing Show is back! Get up to speed on everything fantasy NASCAR, Tuesday nights at 9PM!
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About Adam Ansell, RotoExperts.com
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RotoExperts.com is a deluxe fantasy analysis and information site and content development network. Led by award-winning Fantasy veteran Scott Engel, formerly of ESPN and CBS SportsLine, the RotoExperts.com team provides distinctive and in-depth fantasy insights in all sports. RotoExperts.com is an official content provider for NFL.com, Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated and USA Today. RotoExperts.com was nominated for a total of eight industry awards in 2009, and won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Award for Best Humor Article. RotoExperts.com urges you to look for the X- The Mark of Fantasy Excellence.
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