Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Irwin Tools Night Race

by Brian Polking on August 26, 2011 @ 17:48:12 PDT

 


With both practice sessions for Saturday nightís race at Bristol being held before qualifying, fantasy owners need to take note when analyzing the practice data. While the drivers guaranteed a starting spot spent time in race trim throughout the first practice and some even in Happy Hour, the go or go home drivers focused on qualifying trim. As a result, owners need to ignore the average speeds of drivers like Jeff Green and Joe Nemechek in the first practice. Owners need to make sure that the driver they are analyzing ran at least 40 laps before taking the data seriously.

With that out of the way, letís dive into the first session of the afternoon where two-time night race winner Carl Edwards topped the charts. He has been in a mini slump the last few weeks, but he did finish second at Bristol in March. More importantly, he has always been at his best at the track when the sun goes down. Edwards could bust out of his slump in a big way this weekend.

Mark Martin

Mark Martin was second on the charts, and coming off a solid showing last weekend at Michigan, he may have some serious value for the first time in a long time. After all, he did have a shot at winning both races at Bristol in 2009, finishing sixth and second. Maybe Martin has plans on ending his Hendrick Motorsports career on a high note.

Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five, and all three deserves consideration from fantasy owners. Kenseth is a two-time winner at Bristol, and he finished fourth at the track in March. Kahne has back-to-back top-10 finishes at the track, including a top-five last August. Meanwhile, Keselowski is the hottest driver in the series, finishing third or better in the three races leading up to Bristol.

Keselowski also led the way in terms of 10-lap average speed, followed by Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Of the two former champions, Johnson has to be considered the better option. He has three finishes of third or better in his last five starts at Bristol, including a win. Last August, Johnson led almost the entire first half of the race before being wrecked on a restart. Jeff Burton and Edwards rounded out the top five.

In final practice, Edwards switched to qualifying trim but still topped the charts. David Stremme turned heads with the second-fastest lap of the session, and Juan Pablo Montoya ranked third. Montoya has finished in the top 10 twice at Bristol, but he has also finished outside the top 20 in three of his last four starts at the track. As always, he is a boom or bust option for owners.

Clint Bowyer and Keselowski rounded out the top five, and while Keselowski is a virtual must have for owner, Bowyer is questionable. He has had a lot of strong runs at Bristol, including a fourth-place finish last August. However, he has been struggling lately. It was at Bristol last season that he turned it on and rallied to make the Chase. If he starts a similar charge this weekend, Bowyer could be a steal for fantasy owners.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Martin, Johnson and Kenseth led the way. All three have to be considered strong options for this weekendís race after popping up in the top five throughout both practices. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and David Reutimann rounded out the top five, and Junior probably deserves a roster spot in fantasy leagues. He has gone a decade without finishing outside the top 20 at Bristol, and even with his recent slump, he should be able to deliver at arguably his best track.

One driver missing from the top of the charts was Kyle Busch. The five-time Bristol winner is going for a three-peat this weekend, and he has won four of the last five races at the track. He did rank 10th in Happy Hour, and considering his incredible record at the track, fantasy owners should feel more than comfortable adding him to their rosters this weekend. After all, he does have seven top-two finishes in his last 10 starts at Bristol.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
4
33
Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
119.925
16.000
119.831
6
1
99
Aflac Dental Ford
120.354
15.943
119.406
5
2
30
EchoStor Technologies Chevrolet
120.331
15.946
119.294
9
6
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
119.895
16.004
119.132
13
20
7
SPEED Energy Dodge
118.730
16.161
118.574
7
13
87
AM/FM Energy Pellet Wood Stoves Toyota
119.151
16.104
118.306
7
28
37
Koma Unwind Ford
118.379
16.209
118.226
8
16
66
HP Racing Toyota
118.782
16.154
117.905
12
11
95
Advocare Ford
119.395
16.071
117.859
8
5
2
Miller Lite Dodge
119.895
16.004
117.833
24
15
38
Long John Silver's Ford
118.796
16.152
117.793
16
17
60
Big Red Toyota
118.782
16.154
117.449
10
24
55
118.481
16.195
117.415
10
7
34
Thanks Bristol Fans Ford
119.835
16.012
117.165
16
26
46
Green Stuff Ford
118.415
16.204
117.140
10
22
13
GEICO Toyota
118.576
16.182
116.761
26
9
48
Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet
119.805
16.016
116.718
36
25
9
Stanley Ford
118.423
16.203
116.673
42
19
5
FarmersInsurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
118.760
16.157
116.670
42
3
42
Target Chevrolet
119.977
15.993
116.638
45
35
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
117.855
16.281
116.540
42
8
27
Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet
119.820
16.014
116.489
32
29
88
AMPEnergy/Bristol50thAnny/NtnlGrd Chevrolet
118.116
16.245
116.434
68
27
43
Best Buy Ford
118.393
16.207
116.425
53
33
4
Red Bull Toyota
117.920
16.272
116.401
29
12
22
Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
119.343
16.078
116.252
37
10
18
Doublemint Toyota
119.440
16.065
116.211
27
14
00
Aaron's Freedom Ride Dream Machine Toyota
119.047
16.118
116.191
41
23
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
118.547
16.186
116.144
59
18
1
Bass Pro Shops/Realtree Chevrolet
118.767
16.156
116.104
65
42
50
Green Smoke Chevrolet
116.815
16.426
116.038
4
21
16
3M Ford
118.620
16.176
116.037
36
41
47
Bush's Baked Beans Toyota
117.272
16.362
115.997
49
37
29
Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet
117.812
16.287
115.972
39
31
17
Crown Royal Ford
118.000
16.261
115.965
58
40
6
UPS Ford
117.430
16.340
115.915
34
32
78
Furniture Row Chevrolet
117.949
16.268
115.841
73
30
83
Red Bull Toyota
118.051
16.254
115.813
66
36
20
Home Depot Toyota
117.848
16.282
115.777
59
39
39
Bass Pro Shops/Realtree Chevrolet
117.646
16.310
115.611
79
44
36
Golden Corral Chevrolet
116.425
16.481
115.316
25
38
11
FedEx Express Toyota
117.754
16.295
115.256
64
43
14
Bass Pro Shops/Office Depot Chevrolet
116.630
16.452
114.929
20
45
32
C&J Energy Ford
115.884
16.558
114.727
23
34
51
PhoenixCnstrctn/ThankATchrToday Chevrolet
117.906
16.274
114.720
13
46
71
Interstate Moving Services Ford
115.105
16.670
113.174
31

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
5
1
10
117.342
2
48
1
10
117.295
3
17
1
10
117.098
4
88
1
10
117.083
5
00
1
10
117.054
6
34
1
10
117.038
7
43
1
10
117.016
8
1
1
10
116.894
9
39
7
16
116.860
10
22
5
14
116.728
11
11
1
10
116.721
12
27
1
10
116.686
13
24
19
28
116.612
14
78
1
10
116.595
15
47
7
16
116.143
16
42
22
31
116.066
17
6
15
24
116.009
18
83
27
36
115.993
19
20
40
49
115.821
20
56
33
42
115.811
21
14
6
15
115.500
22
71
22
31
113.058

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing 

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
25
37
Koma Unwind Ford
119.217
16.095
118.540
11
32
7
SPEED Energy Dodge
118.870
16.142
118.290
10
28
66
HP Racing Toyota
118.944
16.132
117.954
14
41
55
117.978
16.264
117.639
20
42
87
AM/FM Energy Pellet Wood Stoves Toyota
117.942
16.269
117.463
16
6
88
AMPEnergy/Bristol50thAnny/NtnlGrd Chevrolet
120.308
15.949
117.037
48
2
5
Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
121.412
15.804
116.981
65
23
30
Echostar Technologies Chevrolet
119.403
16.070
116.906
24
12
1
Bass Pro Shops/Realtree Chevrolet
120.098
15.977
116.789
83
5
4
Red Bull Toyota
120.505
15.923
116.783
56
34
60
Big Red Toyota
118.745
16.159
116.776
33
13
22
Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
119.977
15.993
116.737
64
26
48
Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet
119.210
16.096
116.724
89
4
2
Miller Lite Dodge
120.535
15.919
116.600
102
1
99
Aflac Dental Ford
121.528
15.789
116.554
68
16
9
Stanley Ford
119.835
16.012
116.550
66
15
29
Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet
119.880
16.006
116.542
64
18
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
119.745
16.024
116.496
77
10
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
120.143
15.971
116.469
58
3
17
Crown Royal Ford
120.885
15.873
116.455
87
11
27
Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet
120.128
15.973
116.422
76
7
39
Bass Pro Shops/Realtree Chevrolet
120.241
15.958
116.355
59
31
16
3M Ford
118.877
16.141
116.352
60
24
43
Best Buy Ford
119.373
16.074
116.330
94
43
33
Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
117.682
16.305
116.266
76
40
42
Target Chevrolet
118.051
16.254
116.243
63
8
78
Furniture Row Chevrolet
120.188
15.965
116.205
67
20
18
Doublemint Toyota
119.678
16.033
116.202
63
14
83
Red Bull Toyota
119.925
16.000
116.193
78
9
20
Home Depot Toyota
120.150
15.970
116.178
91
35
00
Aaron's Freedom Ride Dream Machine Toyota
118.723
16.162
116.087
70
29
47
Bush's Baked Beans Toyota
118.936
16.133
116.075
40
17
34
Thanks Bristol Fans Ford
119.768
16.021
116.009
52
38
14
Bass Pro Shops/Office Depot Chevrolet
118.313
16.218
115.978
82
27
46
Green Stuff Ford
118.951
16.131
115.956
17
22
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
119.514
16.055
115.904
109
19
11
FedEx Express Toyota
119.715
16.028
115.885
77
36
13
GEICO Toyota
118.554
16.185
115.742
42
21
6
UPS Ford
119.589
16.045
115.670
102
39
36
Golden Corral Chevrolet
118.226
16.230
115.440
31
44
95
Advocare Ford
117.552
16.323
115.172
59
37
50
Green Smoke Chevrolet
118.386
16.208
115.040
17
30
51
PhnxCnstrctn/ThnkATchrToday Chevrolet
118.929
16.134
115.038
69
33
38
Long John Silver's Ford
118.767
16.156
114.457
24
45
71
Interstate Moving Services Ford
117.129
16.382
114.255
77
46
32
C&J Energy Ford
115.898
16.556
113.833
48

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
2
71
80
117.343
2
14
1
10
117.251
3
48
51
60
117.212
4
31
52
61
116.868
5
99
43
52
116.832
6
27
32
41
116.739
7
17
16
25
116.715
8
39
12
21
116.637
9
42
50
59
116.504
10
11
51
60
116.499
11
33
24
33
116.182
12
78
29
38
116.123
13
6
32
41
115.999
14
1
65
74
115.929
15
20
37
46
115.753
16
83
43
52
115.544
17
13
23
32
115.334
18
0
46
55
115.293
19
34
33
42
115.138
20
51
41
50
115.126
21
71
32
41
113.947

Combined Average Speeds (weighted by # of laps run in each session) 

Car
Driver
Team
Average Speed
Total Laps
37
Koma Unwind Ford
118.408
19
7
SPEED Energy Dodge
118.407
17
66
HP Racing Toyota
117.931
26
87
AM/FM Energy Pellet Wood Stoves Toyota
117.720
23
55
117.564
30
30
Echostar Technologies Chevrolet
117.557
33
60
Big Red Toyota
116.933
43
5
Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
116.859
107
2
Miller Lite Dodge
116.835
126
99
Aflac Dental Ford
116.749
73
48
Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet
116.722
125
88
AMPEnergy/Bristol50thAnny/NtnlGrd Chevrolet
116.684
116
4
Red Bull Toyota
116.653
85
9
Stanley Ford
116.598
108
22
Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
116.559
101
33
Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
116.527
82
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
116.512
119
1
Bass Pro Shops/Realtree Chevrolet
116.488
148
27
Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet
116.442
108
42
Target Chevrolet
116.408
108
46
Green Stuff Ford
116.395
27
43
Best Buy Ford
116.364
147
29
Realtree/Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet
116.326
103
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
116.305
117
34
Thanks Bristol Fans Ford
116.281
68
17
Crown Royal Ford
116.259
145
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
116.248
122
16
3M Ford
116.234
96
18
Doublemint Toyota
116.205
90
13
GEICO Toyota
116.132
68
00
Aaron's Freedom Ride Dream Machine Toyota
116.125
111
47
Bush's Baked Beans Toyota
116.032
89
20
Home Depot Toyota
116.020
150
83
Red Bull Toyota
116.019
144
78
Furniture Row Chevrolet
116.015
140
39
Bass Pro Shops/Realtree Chevrolet
115.929
138
38
Long John Silver's Ford
115.791
40
14
Bass Pro Shops/Office Depot Chevrolet
115.772
102
6
UPS Ford
115.731
136
11
FedEx Express Toyota
115.599
141
95
Advocare Ford
115.493
67
36
Golden Corral Chevrolet
115.385
56
50
Green Smoke Chevrolet
115.230
21
51
PhnxCnstrctn/ThnkATchrToday Chevrolet
114.988
82
32
C&J Energy Ford
114.123
71
71
Interstate Moving Services Ford
113.945
108
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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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