Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Geico 400

by Brian Polking on September 17, 2011 @ 14:05:38 PDT

 


While all eyes will be on the 12 drivers competing for the Sprint Cup title when the Chase kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday, it is a non-Chaser that could end up stealing the show. Defending race winner David Reutimann was on a mission to prove that his victory last year was no fluke. He got the weekend started by topping the charts in the first practice session, and he was the only driver to top 183 mph. Reutimann has two career wins in the Cup Series both coming at 1.5-mile tracks. If he is able to repeat at Chicagoland in the playoffs, it would be a major statement for both he and his Michael Waltrip Racing organization.

Clint Bowyer ranked second in the session, and with four top-10 finishes in five starts at Chicagoland, he is another non-Chaser that could make some noise. Bowyer has a history of success in the playoffs, and even though he missed out on the Chase, he could still help fantasy owners down the stretch. Last year, he won multiple races during the Chase.

Mark Martin

Former Chicagoland winners Mark Martin and Kyle Busch ranked third and fourth on the charts, while Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five. Busch's fantasy value is obvious, considering he is one of the few drivers in the series that is always a threat to win a race. Meanwhile, Bayne has some value as a sleeper pick. He uses Roush Fenway Racing equipment, which has performed well at 1.5-mile tracks in 2011. A top-20 finish is definitely a possibility.

Fantasy owners can add a few more names to the sleeper department after David Reutimann, Paul Menard and David Ragan ranked first through third in terms of 10-lap average speed in the first practice. While Reutimann was winning last year's race at the track, Menard was finishing a career-best 10th. Meanwhile, Ragan finished a solid eighth. All three drivers, especially Reutimann, deserve consideration when it comes time to set rosters.

Matt Kenseth and Bowyer rounded out the top five in terms of average speed, and Kenseth could be an elite option this weekend. He has finished as high as second twice at Chicagoland, and no driver has led more laps at the track without winning. It is also worth noting that he will be driving the same car that he used at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year when he steamrolled the field on his way to a win. Chicagoland has the same 1.5-mile layout as Texas, which could mean a big day for Kenseth Sunday.

The sleeper trend continued in Happy Hour when Brian Vickers topped the charts. Vickers has never finished outside the top 15 in five starts at Chicagoland, and he has finished in the top 10 in his last two outings. His 8.8 average finish is the second best among active drivers at Chicagoland, and despite his terrible season, Vickers could deliver big results this weekend.

Vickers' teammate Kasey Kahne ranked second on the charts, and while he has finished in the top 10 in his last two starts at Chicagoland, he comes with plenty of risk because of his terrible luck in 2011. Kenseth, Menard and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five, and Harvick makes a nice momentum play. He won last weekend's race at Richmond, and he is a two-time winner at Chicagoland.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Jamie McMurray topped the charts. He could be the ultimate hit or miss play this weekend. McMurray finished in the top five at Chicagoland last season, but he has been awful for most of the year. Reutimann continued his strong afternoon by posting the second-best average speed, and Bowyer did the same by posting the third-best speed.

Jeff Gordon and Martin rounded out the top five, and Gordon should be on the short list of contenders for every fantasy owner. He is a two-time winner at Chicagoland, and he has finished second and third in his last two starts at the track. Gordon won at Atlanta a few weeks ago, and he could do the same this weekend. After all, both tracks share a 1.5-mile layout.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
15
38
Long John Silver's Ford
181.616
29.733
181.473
7
9
30
182.766
29.546
180.889
7
32
33
Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
179.808
30.032
180.846
49
12
6
UPS Ford
181.935
29.681
179.605
15
40
13
GEICO Toyota
179.194
30.135
179.345
22
1
83
Red Bull Toyota
184.275
29.304
178.947
70
3
17
Crown Royal Ford
183.536
29.422
178.546
50
39
39
US Army Medicine Chevrolet
179.277
30.121
178.483
70
28
2
Miller Lite Dodge
180.198
29.967
178.336
78
23
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
180.632
29.895
178.259
36
38
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
179.474
30.088
178.222
60
43
47
Kleenex Cool Touch/Clorox Toyota
178.974
30.172
178.184
43
20
00
TUMS Toyota
180.953
29.842
178.174
56
31
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
179.808
30.032
178.166
44
11
88
AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet
182.235
29.632
178.115
43
27
87
180.270
29.955
178.090
7
2
4
Red Bull Toyota
184.087
29.334
177.875
39
17
42
Target Chevrolet
181.500
29.752
177.777
55
13
20
The Home Depot Toyota
181.690
29.721
177.761
47
36
95
AdvoCare Ford
179.545
30.076
177.711
14
19
22
Shell Pennzoil Dodge
181.087
29.820
177.607
68
34
55
179.575
30.071
177.443
15
24
46
Red Line Oil/International Ford
180.517
29.914
177.430
15
22
78
180.783
29.870
177.378
62
37
71
Interstate Moving Services/RB Enterprises Ford
179.533
30.078
177.374
41
26
5
GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
180.343
29.943
177.367
59
35
43
Best Buy Ford
179.545
30.076
177.238
68
10
99
Aflac Ford
182.723
29.553
177.187
33
25
7
SPEED Energy/MAPEI Dodge
180.415
29.931
177.165
9
30
9
DeWalt Ford
179.940
30.010
177.132
54
44
18
Wrigley Doublemint Toyota
178.802
30.201
177.020
59
45
60
Big Red Chevrolet
178.542
30.245
176.994
10
18
35
Luke & Associates Chevrolet
181.366
29.774
176.871
5
41
37
Bradley University Ford
179.146
30.143
176.846
13
5
29
Budweiser Chevrolet
183.331
29.455
176.803
42
8
48
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
182.809
29.539
176.709
18
16
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
181.592
29.737
176.597
29
21
66
James Fund Toyota
180.856
29.858
176.588
11
33
51
Security Benefits/Thank A Teacher Chevrolet
179.689
30.052
176.549
56
6
24
DuPont Chevrolet
182.852
29.532
176.543
44
4
27
ZECOL/Menards Chevrolet
183.374
29.448
176.460
37
7
16
3M Filtrete Ford
182.828
29.536
176.363
36
14
11
FedEx Ground Toyota
181.653
29.727
176.277
44
42
14
Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
179.093
30.152
176.237
53
29
34
Taco Bell Ford
180.192
29.968
175.313
21
47
32
Street King Ford
176.039
30.675
174.750
39
46
36
Big Red Chevrolet
176.120
30.661
174.216
27

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
1
3
12
179.031
2
00
42
51
178.781
3
33
9
18
178.028
4
24
30
39
177.995
5
5
49
58
177.955
6
2
9
18
177.916
7
39
41
50
177.854
8
27
12
21
177.833
9
17
3
12
177.808
10
83
4
13
177.802
11
18
36
45
177.744
12
4
25
34
177.699
13
78
9
18
177.668
14
11
3
12
177.648
15
22
22
31
177.607
16
14
32
41
177.559
17
31
13
22
177.541
18
20
26
35
177.125
19
43
53
62
176.895
20
9
37
46
176.698

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
7
30
182.692
29.558
181.020
6
3
5
GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
182.883
29.527
178.952
23
27
66
James Fund Toyota
179.497
30.084
178.864
3
5
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
182.723
29.553
178.641
18
6
39
US Army Medicine Chevrolet
182.710
29.555
178.476
24
1
00
TUMS Toyota
183.138
29.486
178.434
35
19
99
Aflac Ford
180.427
29.929
178.425
29
24
35
Luke & Associates Chevrolet
179.796
30.034
178.424
4
38
87
178.642
30.228
178.378
8
2
33
Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
182.964
29.514
178.212
27
28
29
Budweiser Chevrolet
179.402
30.100
178.093
35
41
60
Big Red Chevrolet
178.336
30.280
177.986
4
11
22
Shell Pennzoil Dodge
181.726
29.715
177.940
28
21
4
Red Bull Toyota
180.102
29.983
177.919
44
8
43
Best Buy Ford
182.506
29.588
177.810
34
29
17
Crown Royal Ford
179.176
30.138
177.641
42
4
18
Wrigley Doublemint Toyota
182.846
29.533
177.632
37
30
16
3M Filtrete Ford
179.164
30.140
177.614
42
9
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
182.131
29.649
177.562
30
26
24
DuPont Chevrolet
179.539
30.077
177.368
48
25
9
DeWalt Ford
179.557
30.074
177.346
34
13
2
Miller Lite Dodge
181.354
29.776
177.344
37
14
42
Target Chevrolet
180.796
29.868
177.277
37
40
11
FedEx Ground Toyota
178.512
30.250
177.244
41
16
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
180.542
29.910
177.228
23
34
6
UPS Ford
179.045
30.160
177.187
53
23
14
Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
179.922
30.013
177.186
40
22
27
ZECOL/Menards Chevrolet
179.934
30.011
177.159
49
17
88
AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet
180.475
29.921
177.077
32
37
83
Red Bull Toyota
178.690
30.220
177.057
31
10
78
181.861
29.693
176.986
30
32
20
The Home Depot Toyota
179.110
30.149
176.859
52
43
55
177.725
30.384
176.819
5
36
48
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
178.737
30.212
176.663
55
12
47
Kleenex Cool Touch/Clorox Toyota
181.433
29.763
176.395
28
15
51
Security Benefits/Thank A Teacher Today Chevrolet
180.789
29.869
176.275
30
31
71
Interstate Moving Services/RB Enterprises Ford
179.158
30.141
176.215
17
45
37
Bradley University Ford
176.904
30.525
176.102
11
18
38
Long John Silver's Ford
180.433
29.928
175.805
21
35
13
GEICO Toyota
178.909
30.183
175.518
28
39
46
Red Line Oil/International Ford
178.524
30.248
175.475
10
33
34
Taco Bell Ford
179.075
30.155
175.189
21
46
32
Street King Ford
176.010
30.680
174.879
29
42
95
AdvoCare Ford
178.183
30.306
174.403
20
47
7
SPEED Energy/MAPEI Dodge
175.633
30.746
173.720
11
44
36
Big Red Chevrolet
177.334
30.451
173.286
22
20
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
180.301
29.950
172.598
36

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
00
5
14
178.751
2
27
38
47
178.373
3
6
33
42
178.076
4
17
33
42
178.035
5
33
10
19
177.929
6
18
1
10
177.821
7
31
13
22
177.527
8
2
21
30
177.443
9
42
21
30
177.436
10
11
26
35
177.202
11
20
35
44
177.186
12
24
38
47
176.697
13
78
17
26
176.494
14
51
2
11
175.912
15
13
19
28
175.861

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

Car
Driver
Team
Average Speed
Total Laps
30
180.949
13
33
Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
179.910
76
39
US Army Medicine Chevrolet
178.481
94
83
Red Bull Toyota
178.367
101
0
TUMS Toyota
178.274
91
87
178.244
15
17
Crown Royal Ford
178.133
92
2
Miller Lite Dodge
178.017
115
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
177.921
74
4
Red Bull Toyota
177.898
83
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
177.857
59
5
GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
177.812
82
99
Aflac Ford
177.766
62
6
UPS Ford
177.720
68
22
Shell Pennzoil Dodge
177.704
96
88
AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet
177.672
75
42
Target Chevrolet
177.576
92
35
Luke & Associates Chevrolet
177.561
9
47
Kleenex Cool Touch/Clorox Toyota
177.478
71
43
Best Buy Ford
177.429
102
29
Budweiser Chevrolet
177.389
77
21
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
177.380
47
20
The Home Depot Toyota
177.287
99
55
177.287
20
60
Big Red Chevrolet
177.277
14
18
Wrigley Doublemint Toyota
177.256
96
78
177.250
92
38
Long John Silver's Ford
177.222
28
9
DeWalt Ford
177.215
88
13
GEICO Toyota
177.202
50
66
James Fund Toyota
177.076
14
16
3M Filtrete Ford
177.037
78
71
Interstate Moving Services/RB Enterprises Ford
177.034
58
24
DuPont Chevrolet
176.973
92
27
ZECOL/Menards Chevrolet
176.858
86
11
FedEx Ground Toyota
176.743
85
48
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
176.674
73
46
Red Line Oil/International Ford
176.648
25
14
Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
176.645
93
37
Bradley University Ford
176.505
24
51
Security Benefits/Thank A Teacher Today
176.453
86
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
176.113
96
95
AdvoCare Ford
175.765
34
7
SPEED Energy/MAPEI Dodge
175.270
20
34
Taco Bell Ford
175.251
42
32
Street King Ford
174.805
68
36
Big Red Chevrolet
173.798
49
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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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