NASCAR Nationwide Series: Fontana Picks and Points

by Adam Ansell, on October 8, 2010 @ 15:10:00 PDT


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1. Kyle Busch: Busch recorded his 16th consecutive Top 10 finish a week ago at Kansas Speedway. In 11 starts at Auto Club Speedway, Busch has three wins (August 2008, February 2009, 2010), six Top Fives, eight Top 10s and one pole (August 2008). Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Busch leads all competitors in Driver Rating (121.2), Laps Led (426) and Fastest Laps Run (242). He ranks third in Average Running Position (6.3). He's led at least two laps in each of his last eight starts at the site while starting on the front row for each of his last four starts. Busch has led at least four laps in all but one Series start this season, with an Average Starting position of 4.2. His history at Auto Club Speedway combined with season-to-date stats point to another dominating performance, regardless of format.

2. Joey Logano: In four starts at the site, Logano has one win (October 2009), three Top fives, four Top 10s and two poles (October 2009, February 2010). He ranks second in DR (117.6) and in ARP (6.1). He led 20 laps in his 2009 victory at the site, and 130 laps in his fifth-place performance back in February. Considering he's won back-to-back poles at Fontana and in his last two Series starts, Logano is a safe bet to collect bonus points via qualifying this weekend. No driver this side of Busch is as consistent and has as much upside as Logano. He has an ARP of 5.2 this season. Fantasy owners who are light on Busch starts in Tiered/Grouping format starts should turn to Logano with complete confidence.

3. Carl Edwards: In 11 starts at the site, Edwards has one win (September 2005), eight Top Fives, nine Top 10s and two poles (February 2006, 2009). He's recorded five consecutive Top Fives at the site with an Average Finish of 3.6 in that span. Edwards ranks fifth in DR (110.0) and sixth in ARP (7.5). Edwards is second in the Series standings, 374 points behind the leader. He's been sitting pretty in second spot most of the season, but that seat has been getting hotter as the surging Busch has cut that lead down to 126 points. Edwards has little margin for error, and that should make him as focused as anyone. Start him in all formats.

4. Kevin Harvick: In 15 starts at the site, Harvick has eight Top Fives, 12 Top 10s and one pole (April 2003). From April 2001 to February 2008, he recorded 10 consecutive Top 10s. He's led at least 43 laps in three of his last four Series starts with four straight Top Fives. He ranks 10th in DR (104.6) and in ARP (9.3). As solid of a start as Harvick is, he's not the best bet for bonus points. He hasn't led more than 20 laps in any Fontana event since 2004, and hasn't qualified inside the Top Four since February 2007. Despite bonus point concerns, Harvick is too good to pass up in Tiered/Grouping formats.

5. Brad Keselowski: Auto Club Speedway tells the usual Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale of Keselowski. In his first six starts at the site, he produced zero Top 10s, an Average Finish of 33rd and two DNFs. Those horrendous figures account for his 35th ranked DR (71.4) and 40th ranked ARP (20.8). In his last two starts at the site he's performed like the Series champion he's going to be, posting two Top Fives. He's led at least one lap in both of those starts. His prorated Loop Data stats are much more indicative of what Keselowski will do at Fontana, as he ranks fourth in DR (113.0) and second in ARP (5.2) since he began performing at an elite level at the site. The soon-to-be Nationwide Series champion will not coast to the finish, wanting to put as much distance as possible between him and whoever finishes in second.

6. Ryan Newman: After a horrendous three race stretch with an Average Finish of 32nd between Watkins Glen International and Bristol Motor Speedway, Newman has two Top 10s in his last three Series starts. He's led at least four laps in two of those three starts. In two starts at the site, Newman has one Top Five. He's qualified inside the Top Four in both of his starts, with an Average Starting position of third. He's led at least three laps in each of his two starts at the site. He ranks eighth in DR (106.4) and ninth in ARP (8.6). Newman presents great upside on all levels at Fontana, making him a premier Elimination format start of the weekend.

7. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. was excellent in his 2010 Series debut a week ago, finishing fifth with a 109.5 DR, 8.3 ARP and leading 13 laps at Kansas Speedway. He has one Top 10 in four starts at Fontana. In both 2004 Fontana events, he started second on the grid and led at least one lap in both races. Truex Jr. ranks 25th in DR (77.9) and 23rd in ARP (13.5). Even though this will be Truex Jr.'s first start at the site since September 2005, he'll show no signs of rust and is a top notch Elimination format start.

8. Reed Sorenson: In six starts at the site, Sorenson has one Top Five. He's led at least two laps in two of his six starts. He ranks 15th in DR (93.9) and 16th in ARP (11.6). He hasn't been overly effective since 2005 at Fontana when he recorded an Average Start of 3.5 and Average Finish of 8.5. Based on his emergence this season and recent string of Top Fives, there's no reason for Fantasy owners to expect any less than a Top 10 finish. He's a safe Tiered/Grouping format option.

9. Justin Allgaier: In three starts at the site, Allgaier has one Top 10. He ranks 21st in DR (86.8) and 19th in ARP (13.2). Allgaier started the season on fire, but has since seen his Top Fives and Top 10s come in small bunches rather than on a consistent basis. Fortunately for Fantasy owners, he's coming off two Top Fives and is a safe bet to make it a third at the Auto Club. He's clinging to the fourth spot in the Series standings, up 57 points on Paul Menard. He needs a strong finish to close out the season, and Fantasy owners should expect just that from the youngster starting this weekend at Fontana.

10. Trevor Bayne: His Fantasy appeal stems more from what he's going to do than what he has done at Fontana. In two starts at the site, Bayne's best finish is 11th place (February 2010). He ranks 23rd in DR (84.3) and 21st in ARP (13.3). Bayne already flashed some of potential earlier this season, winning three consecutive poles (Gateway, ORP, and Iowa) and leading at least 19 laps in each of those events. He's recorded one Top Five and two Top 10s in his last three Series starts. Savvy Fantasy owners need to get Bayne into all lineups before he becomes a household name.

11. Brendan Gaughan: Two Top Fives in four starts at the Auto Club. 86.6 DR.

12. Brian Scott: One Top 10 in two starts at the Auto Club. 89.4 DR.

13. Aric Almirola: Average Finish of 12th in three 2010 Series starts. DR N/A.

14. James Buescher: Led three laps in the February event at the Auto Club. 88.7 DR.

15. Paul Menard: One Top Five in nine starts at the Auto Club. 79.1 DR.

16. Jason Leffler: 76.6 DR.

17. Steve Wallace: 72.1.

18. Mike Bliss: 76.8.

19. Jason Keller: 75.9.

20. Colin Braun: 72.3.

21. David Gilliland

22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

23. Kenny Wallace

24. Tony Raines

25. Danica Patrick

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About Adam Ansell,

This article is courtesy of: 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 team provides distinctive and in-depth fantasy insights in all sports. is an official content provider for, Yahoo Sports, Sports Illustrated and USA Today. was nominated for a total of eight industry awards in 2009, and won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Award for Best Humor Article. urges you to look for the X- The Mark of Fantasy Excellence.

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