Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: AdvoCare 500

by Brian Polking on September 3, 2011 @ 18:55:28 PDT

 


Tony Stewart

For the second week in a row, both practice sessions for the Cup race were held prior to qualifying. As a result, fantasy owners once again have to pay attention to the number of laps each driver ran before gauging average speeds. For the most part, the drivers locked in the top 35 spent time in race trim in both sessions. However, owners also need to take into account that there is going to be a difference in the average speed of a driver that ran 40 laps and one that ran 60.

In the first practice of the weekend, the red hot Brad Keselowski topped the charts. With four straight finishes of third or better, owners pretty much have to use him until his incredible run comes to an end. The one time sleeper pick is entrenching himself among the elite in the sport.

Denny Hamlin ranked second on the charts, but given his recent slump and poor Atlanta record, he is far from a sure thing. Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Mark Martin rounded out the top five, and all three are in the same boat as Hamlin. Bowyer has the best history at Atlanta out of the bunch, but even he is a coin flip pick at best. In 10 career starts, he has five top-10s and five finishes of 20th or worse.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Truex Jr. topped the charts, bolstering his status as a legitimate contender. Despite the fast times, fantasy owners still need to proceed with caution. No driver is more notorious for posting great times in practice, only to underperform on race day. There are only so many times a driver can burn fantasy owners before he gets written off for good.

The slumping Jamie McMurray ranked second in terms of 10-lap average speeds, but he is another driver that is struggling this season and has had little to no success at AMS. The rest of the top five included some more legitimate options with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch claiming the spots. All three drivers have won at Atlanta, and Johnson and Busch have both made multiple trips to Victory Lane. With the Chase just two races away, Johnson makes a particularly strong pick because he always does his best work from September on.

In Happy Hour Saturday, Jeff Gordon paced the field, followed by Tony Stewart. The two drivers are at opposite ends of the spectrum right now with Gordon running in championship form while Stewart struggling to be competitive. That being said, both drivers could make solid fantasy plays. After all, Stewart is the defending winner of this weekend's race and a three-time winner at Atlanta.

Bowyer, Keselowski and Greg Biffle completed the top five in the final session, and Biffle is the intriguing pick. He has been miserable this season, but he has had plenty of strong runs at Atlanta. His best cars this year have been at the 1.5-mile tracks, and owners willing to take a bit of a risk could gain some ground and the competition.

Stewart continued his strong Happy Hour by posting the best 10-lap average speed. He was followed by Keselowski and Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five, and Kenseth should draw heavy consideration from fantasy owners. He has 11 straight finishes inside the top 15 at AMS, including a second-place effort last season.

Fantasy owners looking for Kyle Busch don't have to worry. He ranked inside the top 10 in terms of overall top speeds and 10-lap average speeds. Busch finished fifth at Atlanta last fall and currently leads the Cup Series with four wins. As always, he could help fantasy owners this weekend.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
30
66
Toyota
176.622
31.389
175.681
9
28
87
Toyota
176.814
31.355
175.315
5
32
30
Chevrolet
176.459
31.418
175.222
9
34
38
Ford
175.755
31.544
175.196
4
39
60
Toyota
174.790
31.718
174.790
1
36
36
Chevrolet
175.088
31.664
174.444
3
31
7
Dodge
176.521
31.407
174.382
5
19
29
Chevrolet
178.706
31.023
173.974
47
35
46
Ford
175.738
31.547
173.945
9
37
55
Ford
175.022
31.676
173.763
9
8
11
Toyota
180.363
30.738
173.110
40
38
34
Ford
174.972
31.685
173.000
10
7
99
Ford
180.504
30.714
172.993
37
3
33
Chevrolet
181.675
30.516
172.842
38
15
6
Ford
179.128
30.950
172.774
49
2
14
Chevrolet
181.979
30.465
172.752
63
16
56
Toyota
178.977
30.976
172.701
56
20
27
Chevrolet
178.499
31.059
172.300
57
24
31
Chevrolet
177.539
31.227
172.065
49
12
17
Ford
179.802
30.834
172.057
41
14
43
Ford
179.365
30.909
172.024
42
27
1
Chevrolet
177.164
31.293
171.982
48
13
4
Toyota
179.621
30.865
171.880
47
5
16
Ford
180.557
30.705
171.875
62
9
18
Toyota
180.258
30.756
171.846
44
4
2
Dodge
180.669
30.686
171.765
66
18
5
Chevrolet
178.758
31.014
171.705
63
41
95
Ford
173.853
31.889
171.686
9
22
47
Toyota
178.413
31.074
171.676
28
10
39
Chevrolet
180.252
30.757
171.576
53
6
88
Chevrolet
180.539
30.708
171.499
48
25
42
Chevrolet
177.522
31.230
171.496
31
29
78
Chevrolet
176.780
31.361
171.455
57
17
9
Ford
178.856
30.997
171.428
50
33
48
Chevrolet
176.336
31.440
171.384
42
46
35
Chevrolet
172.345
32.168
171.239
13
1
24
Chevrolet
182.392
30.396
171.172
35
21
20
Toyota
178.413
31.074
171.128
45
11
22
Dodge
179.872
30.822
171.021
74
26
00
Toyota
177.272
31.274
170.906
37
45
37
Ford
172.420
32.154
170.728
11
23
83
Toyota
178.138
31.122
170.676
66
47
32
Ford
171.870
32.257
170.296
10
44
13
Toyota
172.904
32.064
170.194
29
43
50
Chevrolet
173.077
32.032
170.029
11
40
51
Chevrolet
174.290
31.809
168.648
64
42
71
Ford
173.277
31.995
168.057
33

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
14
1
10
176.630
2
2
1
10
175.863
3
22
1
10
175.259
4
29
1
10
175.100
5
17
1
10
175.008
6
6
1
10
174.762
7
27
1
10
174.563
8
42
1
10
174.391
9
18
1
10
174.310
10
48
1
10
174.235
11
99
24
33
173.710
12
43
28
37
173.229
13
11
21
30
173.203
14
56
36
45
173.155
15
5
50
59
173.137
16
16
50
59
173.130
17
34
1
10
173.011
18
31
28
37
172.873
19
39
34
43
172.849
20
24
3
12
172.785
21
1
33
42
172.606
22
88
37
46
172.513
23
78
39
48
172.384
24
20
27
36
172.307
25
33
27
36
172.147
26
83
43
52
171.725
27
51
1
10
171.249
28
47
19
28
170.663
29
13
9
18
170.427
30
00
22
31
170.238

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
15
99
Aflac Ford
183.509
30.211
179.05
13
39
30
179.191
30.939
179.038
3
41
7
SPEED Energy Dodge
178.891
30.991
178.891
2
33
51
PhoenixConstruction/ThankATeacher Chevrolet
180.287
30.751
178.843
9
34
60
Big Red Chevrolet
180.269
30.754
178.755
7
35
66
James Fund Toyota
180.117
30.78
178.252
3
11
42
Target Chevrolet
183.905
30.146
177.57
23
37
55
Lazy Days RV Ford
179.638
30.862
177.561
7
42
87
ATBD Toyota
178.401
31.076
177.524
5
5
5
CARQUEST/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
184.794
30.001
177.308
21
16
39
Army Reserve Chevrolet
183.194
30.263
177.144
23
6
83
Red Bull Toyota
184.223
30.094
177.078
24
14
14
Office Depot / Mobil 1 Chevrolet
183.515
30.21
176.977
29
36
13
GEICO Toyota
180.064
30.789
176.878
8
2
11
Charter Communications Toyota
186.679
29.698
176.858
30
26
29
Rheem.com Chevrolet
182.003
30.461
176.763
15
7
16
3M Ford
184.125
30.11
176.503
23
13
6
UPS Ford
183.814
30.161
176.44
28
4
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
184.911
29.982
176.426
32
8
43
Best Buy Ford
184.113
30.112
176.42
42
17
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
183.164
30.268
176.338
28
23
9
Kwikset Ford
182.213
30.426
176.302
29
43
35
Luke & Associates Chevrolet
177.618
31.213
176.284
5
3
33
Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
185.016
29.965
176.196
24
40
46
Property Masters Ford
178.989
30.974
176.069
8
18
27
Quaker State / Menards Chevrolet
182.838
30.322
176.04
25
19
18
Pedigree Toyota
182.476
30.382
175.901
38
24
88
National Guard Military Intelligence Chevrolet
182.147
30.437
175.839
40
12
17
Crown Royal Ford
183.85
30.155
175.669
48
22
47
Bush's Best Baked Beans Toyota
182.219
30.425
175.469
25
31
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
181.402
30.562
175.424
21
9
48
Lowe's Chevrolet
184.107
30.113
175.332
45
27
24
Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
181.908
30.477
175.264
45
20
22
Shell Pennzoil Dodge
182.368
30.4
175.073
42
25
00
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
182.051
30.453
174.939
35
1
2
Miller Lite Dodge
187.722
29.533
174.818
20
10
4
Red Bull Toyota
184.058
30.121
174.607
30
30
78
Furniture Row / Farm American Chevrolet
181.414
30.56
174.375
25
28
34
A&W All American Food Ford
181.651
30.52
174.264
19
29
36
Collective Soul / Golden Corral Chevrolet
181.61
30.527
174.208
26
21
20
The Home Depot Toyota
182.296
30.412
173.694
59
38
71
Interstate Moving Services Ford
179.319
30.917
173.517
29
45
95
AdvoCare Ford
176.831
31.352
173.302
15
44
32
HEIL Trailer Ford
177.023
31.318
173.232
30
32
38
Vampt Ford
180.392
30.733
172.867
23
46
50
Green Smoke Chevrolet
175.26
31.633
172.414
12
47
37
MaxQ Motorsports Ford
173.288
31.993
172.396
6

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
56
1
10
179.291
2
1
1
10
179.117
3
88
1
10
178.813
4
48
1
10
178.420
5
22
1
10
178.382
6
14
1
10
178.080
7
20
1
10
178.020
8
27
1
10
177.278
9
39
1
10
176.988
10
17
29
38
176.845
11
43
27
36
176.729
12
24
26
35
176.516
13
00
22
31
176.225
14
18
23
32
176.068
15
33
4
13
176.036
16
9
6
15
174.920
17
31
7
16
173.733

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

Car
Driver
Team
Average Speed
Total Laps
60
Toyota
178.259
8
87
Toyota
176.420
10
66
Toyota
176.324
12
30
Chevrolet
176.176
12
7
Dodge
175.670
7
55
Ford
175.425
16
46
Ford
174.945
17
11
Toyota
174.716
70
29
Chevrolet
174.649
62
99
Ford
174.568
50
36
Chevrolet
174.232
29
43
Ford
174.222
84
33
Chevrolet
174.140
62
6
Ford
174.107
77
14
Chevrolet
174.084
92
42
Chevrolet
174.083
54
56
Toyota
174.056
88
17
Ford
174.005
89
34
Ford
173.828
29
18
Toyota
173.725
82
1
Chevrolet
173.587
76
24
Chevrolet
173.474
80
88
Chevrolet
173.472
88
47
Toyota
173.465
53
27
Chevrolet
173.440
82
48
Chevrolet
173.426
87
39
Chevrolet
173.261
76
9
Ford
173.217
79
38
Ford
173.212
27
16
Ford
173.127
85
5
Chevrolet
173.106
84
31
Chevrolet
173.073
70
4
Toyota
172.942
77
00
Toyota
172.866
72
95
Ford
172.696
24
35
Chevrolet
172.640
18
20
Toyota
172.584
104
32
Ford
172.498
40
22
Dodge
172.488
116
2
Dodge
172.475
86
83
Toyota
172.383
90
78
Chevrolet
172.345
82
13
Toyota
171.639
37
37
Ford
171.317
17
50
Chevrolet
171.273
23
71
Ford
170.611
62
51
Chevrolet
169.905
73
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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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