Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Aaron's 499

by Brian Polking on April 15, 2011 @ 19:44:09 PDT

 


Much like the season opener at Daytona, practice sessions at Talladega Superspeedway take on a different purpose. The only concern for drivers and teams is staying out of trouble and getting the car comfortable. Topping the charts is nice, but any car that is able to handle well in the draft is capable of winning at Talladega. As a result, the practice results are sorted by top speeds this week, and even then, fantasy owners shouldn't base their picks solely on the practice speeds.

In the opening session, Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman got hooked and posted the top-two times. Both drivers have had success at the track throughout their careers, but they have actually struggled at the track since becoming teammates. That being said, Stewart was a one good push away from winning the Daytona 500, and the SHR duo should have cars capable of winning again this weekend.

Kyle Busch ranked third in the first practice, and he always seems to have a car capable of winning whenever the series visits a restrictor-plate track. He has also been known to wreck at the plate tracks as well from time to time, but he has as much potential as any driver in the field. At an unpredictable track, the former Talladega winner isn't a bad option.

Jeff Gordon

Five-time champ Jimmie Johnson and A.J. Allmendinger rounded out the top-five. NASCAR's biggest track can make any driver look human, including Johnson. Fantasy owners that play in a league that limits the amount of starts for each driver should definitely stay away from Johnson this weekend. They should probably do the same with Allmendinger. He has been involved in some type of wreck in all but one of his Talladega starts.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Newman and Stewart switched places but again topped the charts. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano ranked third and fourth, and last year's race winner Kevin Harvick completed the top-five. Considering Harvick finished first and second at Talladega last season, he is one of the few big names worth playing in a limited start format.

Happy Hour was wiped out by a wave of storms after only four laps. Only eight drivers took the track before Mother Nature caused a change of plans. Fantasy owners can ignore the final practice speeds because NASCAR was forced to cancel the session before the drivers in got up to full speed.

Owners should also keep a few other names in mind when setting their lineups this weekend. Clint Bowyer won the fall race at Talladega last year and is one of the up and coming plate drivers in the series. Juan Pablo Montoya has posted back-to-back third-place runs at the track, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a five-time winner at the track. Kurt Busch has been one of the most consistent options as well.

In terms of sleepers, Paul Menard and David Ragan top the list. Menard has finished as high as second at the track, and he is now driving for a Richard Childress Racing organization that swept both races at Talladega in 2010. Ragan has the fifth-best average finish at the track, and he was in the mix for a win at Daytona earlier this year before a late penalty dropped him from first to 14th.

Despite having a great season, including a dominating showing last weekend, Roush Fenway Racing drivers could hurt fantasy owners this weekend. With the exception of Ragan, the organization's current lineup has struggled. Even the normally strong Carl Edwards has managed just three top-10s in 13 starts at Talladega.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
1
24
Drive to End Hunger / AARP Chevy
190.412
50.291
179.329
4
2
5
CARQUEST / GoDaddy.com Chevy
190.412
50.291
179.558
4
3
38
Long John Silver's / TMone Ford
175.102
54.688
166.706
3
4
11
FedEx Office Toyota
158.344
60.476
158.344
1
5
20
The Home Depot Toyota
156.786
61.077
156.786
1
6
66
HP Racing LLC Toyota
156.215
61.300
156.215
1
7
2
Miller Lite Dodge
153.649
62.324
153.649
1
8
17
Crown Royal Black Ford
126.201
75.879
126.201
1

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
1
14
Office Depot / Mobil 1 Chevy
194.239
49.300
180.055
20
2
39
Haas Automation Chevy
194.235
49.301
165.798
15
3
18
M&M's Pretzel Toyota
193.713
49.434
184.238
32
4
48
Lowe's Chevy
193.713
49.434
179.329
26
5
43
Best Buy Ford
193.080
49.596
166.093
17
6
31
Cat Financial Chevy
193.076
49.597
167.488
15
7
20
The Home Depot Toyota
192.692
49.696
185.213
22
8
11
FedEx Office Toyota
192.684
49.698
184.104
23
9
34
Taco Bell Ford
192.544
49.734
183.102
17
10
09
Security Benefits / Thank A Teacher Chevy
192.544
49.734
179.470
15
11
29
Budweiser Chevy
192.351
49.784
175.392
24
12
2
Miller Lite Dodge
192.347
49.785
185.147
17
13
22
Shell / Pennzoil / AAA Dodge
192.336
49.788
183.813
25
14
27
Schrock / Menards Chevy
192.336
49.788
174.414
14
15
24
Drive to End Hunger / AARP Chevy
191.558
49.990
179.938
21
16
5
CARQUEST / GoDaddy.com Chevy
191.554
49.991
180.010
21
17
83
Red Bull Toyota
191.248
50.071
179.653
32
18
33
BB&T Chevy
191.012
50.133
174.760
16
19
00
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
190.700
50.215
181.624
27
20
78
190.689
50.218
178.800
23
21
16
3M Scotch Blue Ford
190.677
50.221
183.079
21
22
47
Bush's Toyota
190.670
50.223
174.695
13
23
17
Crown Royal Black Ford
190.666
50.224
180.651
26
24
13
GEICO Toyota
190.662
50.225
178.616
18
25
9
DeWalt Ford
190.616
50.237
182.522
17
26
6
UPS Ford
190.613
50.238
182.620
17
27
21
Good Sam / Camping World Ford
190.442
50.283
182.095
33
28
99
Aflac Ford
190.442
50.283
183.615
18
29
88
National Guard / AMP Energy Chevy
189.959
50.411
175.375
14
30
4
Red Bull Toyota
189.646
50.494
175.216
23
31
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
189.646
50.494
182.159
17
32
46
Red Line Oil Chevy
189.635
50.497
177.767
18
33
32
C&J Energy Services Ford
188.211
50.879
161.594
18
34
7
Fast Five / Speed Energy Dodge
188.208
50.880
173.231
16
35
15
Aaron's / Auburn National Championship Toyota
177.166
54.051
165.888
10
36
1
Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevy
176.757
54.176
165.815
7
37
35
176.318
54.311
180.828
7
38
42
Target Chevy
175.471
54.573
184.112
3
39
97
ExtenZe Toyota
175.330
54.617
158.021
2
40
87
175.048
54.705
166.076
3
41
60
Big Red Toyota
174.994
54.722
179.001
4
42
36
Golden Corral Chevy
174.978
54.727
166.405
3
43
38
Long John Silver's / TMone Ford
174.917
54.746
166.840
7
44
71
Interstate Moving Services Ford
174.490
54.880
165.060
3
45
37
173.027
55.344
165.914
3
46
66
HP Racing Toyota
0
0
0
0

10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps) 

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
39
6
15
189.825
2
14
6
15
189.785
3
11
13
22
189.736
4
20
13
22
189.694
5
29
14
23
188.732
6
27
5
14
188.688
7
00
13
22
188.607
8
78
9
18
188.607
9
5
2
11
188.591
10
24
2
11
188.492
11
48
13
22
188.167
12
18
12
21
188.126
13
21
9
18
187.296
14
99
4
13
187.294
15
34
8
17
186.493
16
09
6
15
186.449
17
16
2
11
186.185
18
83
23
32
185.571
19
17
7
16
183.764
20
31
3
12
175.143
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About Brian Polking

Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.

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