Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Toyota/Save Mart 350

by Brian Polking on June 25, 2011 @ 09:41:15 PDT

 


Practice at Infineon Raceway is as much about determining fuel mileage as it is dialing in the handling of a car. The race is scheduled for 110 laps, and on a full tank of gas, some teams have been able to run 35 laps. Sunday's race is likely going to feature just two pit stops for the drivers that plan on contending for the win, but crew chiefs have to know exactly how many laps their car can go in order to implement the proper strategy. A fast car is still important, but it won't end up in Victory Lane without the right calls on pit road.

In the first of two practice sessions Saturday, Jamie McMurray continued his strong weekend by topping the charts. Normally, it is his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing teammate Juan Pablo Montoya leading the way, but McMurray qualified on the front row and appears to have a fast car in race trim as well. Despite a mediocre record at Infineon, McMurray may be worth a look from fantasy owners this weekend in need of a sleeper pick.

Brad Keselowski

He was followed by Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer, who have both had some success at Infineon in the past. Fast cars and bad luck have gone hand in hand for Busch at the track, but he is usually a top five threat when he stays out of trouble. Bowyer on the other hand is a more steady option, having finished eighth or better in three of his last four starts at Infineon.

Kyle Busch and A.J. Allmendinger rounded out the top five, and both should garner a lot of fantasy consideration. Busch is a former winner at Infineon, and Allmendinger has finished seventh and 13th in his last two starts at the track. With a background in road racing, Allmendinger in particular makes an exactly dark horse pick this weekend.

Just four drivers ran 10 or more consecutive laps in the first practice Saturday, and Brad Keselowski was the best of the bunch. Paul Menard and road racing expert Robby Gordon ranked second and third, and Carl Edwards was fourth out of four drivers. 

Penske Racing continued to look strong in Happy Hour with Keselowski topping the charts. McMurray ranked second in the session, and Keselowski's teammate Kurt Busch ranked third. Montoya and Bowyer rounded out the top five, and Montoya solidified his status as one of the favorites Sunday. He has yet to finish outside the top 10 in four career starts at Infineon, and he won at the track in 2007.

Again, only four drivers ran 10 consecutive laps in Happy Hour, and Keselowski and McMurray ranked first and second. Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart ranked third and fourth, but given the lack of competition, the feat isn't as impressive as it would be on a normal week. That being said, Keselowski has to be considered a possible fantasy option this weekend after topping or ranking near the top of the charts all afternoon.

Three big names struggled during the practices Saturday, highlighted by defending race winner Jimmie Johnson. He failed to crack the top 20 in either session, and the same was true for Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle. Stewart in particular is tough to write given his status as one of the top road racers in the series, but owners may want to look elsewhere this weekend given the suspect practice times.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
CAR
DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR
Best Lap
Best Time
1
2
Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
91.725
78.103
2
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's
91.623
78.190
3
22
Kurt Busch Dodge Shell/Pennzoil
91.591
78.217
4
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet Cottonelle
91.560
78.244
5
33
Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios/Hamburger Helper
91.361
78.414
6
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts
91.339
78.433
7
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation
91.331
78.440
8
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem Tankless Water Heaters
91.296
78.470
9
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
91.262
78.499
10
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont
91.206
78.547
11
78
Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies
91.158
78.589
12
43
A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy
91.138
78.606
13
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy/National Guard
91.053
78.679
14
4
Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull
90.999
78.726
15
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley
90.981
78.742
16
83
Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull
90.962
78.758
17
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet Duracell/Menards
90.961
78.759
18
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight
90.926
78.789
19
17
Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal
90.895
78.816
20
51
Boris Said Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today/Security Benefit
90.887
78.823
21
7
Robby Gordon Dodge Speed Energy/GNC
90.858
78.848
22
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation
90.851
78.854
23
18
Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Pretzel
90.818
78.883
24
34
David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell
90.717
78.971
25
99
Carl Edwards Ford Scotts Ortho
90.642
79.036
26
14
Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot/Mobil 1
90.642
79.036
27
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M
90.476
79.181
28
6
David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics"
90.443
79.210
29
20
Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot
90.411
79.238
30
47
Bobby Labonte Toyota Clorox/Kleenex
90.362
79.281
31
46
Andy Pilgrim Chevrolet Red Line Oil
90.338
79.302
32
00
David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
90.319
79.319
33
5
Mark Martin Chevrolet Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com
90.263
79.368
34
71
Andy Lally Ford Interstate Moving Services
90.179
79.442
35
36
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Big Red
90.092
79.519
36
32
Terry Labonte Ford C&J Energy
89.826
79.754
37
77
P.J. Jones Dodge Speed Energy/GNC
89.556
79.995
38
81
Brian Simo Ford ARMA Energy
89.504
80.041
39
66
David Mayhew Toyota HP Racing LLC
89.248
80.271
40
87
Joe Nemechek Toyota Hostetler Almonds
89.229
80.288
41
37
Chris Cook Ford "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
88.643
80.819
42
13
Casey Mears Toyota GEICO
-
-
43
60
Mike Skinner Toyota Big Red
-
-

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
CAR
DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR
Best Lap
Best Time
1
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet McDonald's
92.295
77.621
2
22
Kurt Busch Dodge Shell/Pennzoil
92.073
77.808
3
33
Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios/Hamburger Helper
91.785
78.052
4
18
Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's Pretzel
91.781
78.055
5
43
A.J. Allmendinger Ford Best Buy
91.695
78.129
6
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet Duracell/Menards
91.658
78.160
7
17
Matt Kenseth Ford Crown Royal
91.631
78.183
8
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet Haas Automation
91.501
78.294
9
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight
91.436
78.350
10
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
91.424
78.360
11
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts
91.421
78.363
12
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley
91.384
78.394
13
2
Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
91.344
78.429
14
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Amp Energy/National Guard
91.336
78.436
15
51
Boris Said Chevrolet Thank A Teacher Today/Security Benefit
91.326
78.444
16
78
Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row Companies
91.321
78.449
17
83
Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull
91.226
78.530
18
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Rheem Tankless Water Heaters
91.193
78.559
19
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet Cottonelle
91.175
78.574
20
34
David Gilliland Ford Taco Bell
91.130
78.613
21
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont
91.086
78.651
22
20
Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot
91.071
78.664
23
4
Kasey Kahne Toyota Red Bull
91.070
78.665
24
47
Bobby Labonte Toyota Clorox/Kleenex
91.012
78.715
25
14
Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot/Mobil 1
90.953
78.766
26
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation
90.944
78.774
27
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M
90.924
78.791
28
99
Carl Edwards Ford Scotts Ortho
90.917
78.797
29
7
Robby Gordon Dodge Speed Energy/GNC
90.863
78.844
30
00
David Reutimann Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
90.817
78.884
31
6
David Ragan Ford UPS "We Love Logistics"
90.780
78.916
32
5
Mark Martin Chevrolet Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com
90.590
79.082
33
36
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Big Red
90.565
79.103
34
71
Andy Lally Ford Interstate Moving Services
90.400
79.248
35
81
Brian Simo Ford ARMA Energy
89.888
79.699
36
46
Andy Pilgrim Chevrolet Red Line Oil
89.622
79.936
37
13
Casey Mears Toyota GEICO
89.284
80.238
38
77
P.J. Jones Dodge Speed Energy/GNC
89.096
80.408
39
60
Mike Skinner Toyota Big Red
89.006
80.489
40
87
Joe Nemechek Toyota Hostetler Almonds
88.980
80.512
41
32
Terry Labonte Ford C&J Energy
88.830
80.648
42
66
David Mayhew Toyota HP Racing LLC
88.634
80.827
43
37
Chris Cook Ford "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
88.183
81.240
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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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