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ADAM ANSELL'S TOP 25 FOR RICHMOND
1. Brad Keselowski: Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Keselowski ranks just 22nd in Driver Rating (82.5) and 26th in Average Running Position (18.7). Taking a closer look, he posted an Average Finish of 29th in his first five starts at Richmond International Raceway, which accounts for his awful Loop Data statistics. However, in his last three starts at the site, he has one win (April 2010) and three Top Fives. If we prorate his Loop Data figures for those three events, they'd adjust to a 128.1 DR and 3.9 ARP, which would both lead all competitors by a significant amount. In his flawless performance in the April event, Keselowski posted a perfect 150.0 DR, 1.3 ARP and led 189 of 250 laps. He'll hold off Kyle Busch's bid for the single-season wins record at RIR.
2. Kyle Busch: The biggest story continues to be Busch's quest for his 11th win on the season, which would set a new Series record in that category. In 13 starts at RIR Busch earned three wins, eight Top Fives, 10 Top 10s and three poles. He's led at least 30 laps in his last three starts at Richmond. In the April event at RIR, Busch started from the pole, led 62 laps and finished in fourth place. Busch ranks sixth in DR (105.1) and ARP (9.7). If Busch does come through with the victory, the kittens, bunnies, and little baby seals would make the record-setting win all the more memorable. Yeah, he'll be sporting that get up on Friday night. If you can stomach the car, helmet and fire suit, get Busch into any and all lineups.
3. Kevin Harvick: Harvick has sat out three of the past seven Series events, meaning he could be flying under the Fantasy radar at RIR. In 19 starts at the site, Harvick has four wins, 12 Top Fives, 15 Top 10s and one pole. From September 2005-06, he won three consecutive races at RIR, leading a total of 352 laps. He finished seventh in the April event at the site. Harvick leads all competitors in DR (117.0) and ranks fifth in ARP (8.1). No active driver has experienced more success at RIR. Add in that he might come in as a value play and Harvick is a must-start in Tiered/Grouping formats.
4. Carl Edwards: Edwards is the defending champion of this event. He also finished fifth in the April event. In 11 starts at the site, Edwards has three wins, six Top Fives and nine Top 10s. He's led at least 24 laps in four of his last five starts at RIR. He ranks fourth in DR (113.2) and ARP (7.1). Edwards remains second in the Series standings, 332-points behind the leader. He won't catch Keselowski in the end, but Fantasy owners can count on the fact he'll try his best. As usual, Edwards is an elite Tiered/Grouping format start.
5. Denny Hamlin: In three Series starts this season, Hamlin has one win (Darlington Raceway), two Top Fives and one pole. His Average Starting position is second on the grid. In nine starts at RIR, Hamlin has one win (May 2008), two Top Fives, five Top 10s and two poles. He led 101 laps and started from the pole in last year's fall event. He ranks 10th in DR (96.9) and 15th in ARP (12.7). Fantasy owners that have a Hamlin start remaining in their back pocket should prepare to whip it out for RIR. He's the elite start of the week in Elimination formats.
6. Ryan Newman: Newman was deservedly put on notice a week ago in this column for his 33rd-place Average Finish in his last four Series starts. He responded by getting back in the Top 10 for the first time since July (eighth at Atlanta Motor Speedway). He ranks second in DR (114.1) and leads all competitors in ARP (5.3). In four starts at the site, Newman has two Top Fives and three Top 10s. He has an Average Starting position of third and never lower than fourth. He's the next best Elimination format start on the board.
7. Clint Bowyer: In his first six starts this season, Bowyer had just one Top 10 and an Average Finish of 23rd. He rebounded with a nice streak of three Top 10s, but that was snapped with a 14th-place outing last weekend. In 10 starts at the site, Bowyer has one win (May 2007), two Top Fives and five Top 10s. He ranks eighth in DR (101.6) and 11th in ARP (11.7). He'll get back to business with another Top 10 at RIR.
8. Paul Menard: He has two Top Fives and three Top 10s in his last four Series starts. In nine starts at the site, Menard has two Top Fives and three Top 10s. From May 2005-06, Menard led at least 38 laps in each event, totaling 160 over the three races. The downside is that he's posted three DNFs at RIR, but don't read too much into that. He ranks 18th in DR (87.7) and 20th in ARP (14.9). He's a low-risk, high-reward start in Tiered/Grouping formats.
9. Reed Sorenson: In six starts at the site, Sorenson has one Top Five and four Top 10s. He has an Average Finish of seventh in his last three starts at RIR. He ranks 13th in DR (93.0) and 14th in ARP (12.6). With six Top Fives, 14 Top 10s in 19 Series starts in 2010, Sorenson is a dependable Tiered/Grouping format starter. Fantasy owners should expect no worse than a Top 10 finish.
10. Trevor Bayne: Bayne has shot up the Series standings to seventh place, 127-points behind Harvick. In the seven events prior to last week's race, only Keselowski and Edwards have scored more points than Bayne. Not bad company for the youngster. In two starts at the site, Bayne has one Top 10, which came a year ago in the fall event. He ranks 14th in DR (92.9) and 12th in ARP (12.0). Bayne comes in as the best value in Tiered/Grouping formats.
11. Justin Allgaier: Finished eighth in the 2009 fall event at RIR. 78.6 DR.
12. Elliott Sadler: Finished second and sixth in the 2005 events at RIR. 87.8 DR.
13. Aric Amirola: Finished third in his lone Series start this season (O'Reilly Raceway Park). 66.2 DR.
14. Brendan Gaughan: Finished ninth in the 2009 April event at RIR. 79.5 DR.
15. Steve Wallace: One Top Five and two Top 10s in eight starts at RIR. 73.1 DR.
16. Jason Leffler: 85.6 DR.
17. Jason Keller: 79.7.
18. Kelly Bires: 71.4.
19. Brian Scott: 68.5.
20. Ryan Truex: DR N/A.
21. Kenny Wallace
22. Tony Raines
23. Mike Bliss
24. Michael Annett
25. Hermie Sadler III
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