Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Ford 400

by Brian Polking on November 19, 2011 @ 12:16:19 PDT

 


Carl Edwards

Mother Nature did her best to rain out track activities at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but NASCAR revised the schedule and fit a pair of practice sessions in Saturday morning. Once the cars finally hit the track, the fans had plenty to cheer about. Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the charts, giving Junior Nation hope that his prolonged winless drought will finally come to an end in the 2011 season finale.

Championship leader Carl Edwards had plenty to cheer about as well, as he ranked second on the charts. The defending winner of this weekend's race would love nothing more than to win at Homestead for the third time in the last four races, clinching the title in the process. The last driver to win the season finale and the championship in the same season was Jeff Gordon in 1998.

Matt Kenseth ranked third in the session, followed by Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth is the only former winner at Homestead of the three, but Johnson has finished in the top five in his last two starts at the track. From a fantasy standpoint, Johnson is probably the safest pick. Kenseth is Edwards' teammate, and if Edwards needs a spot or two in the closing laps to clinch a title, there is a chance that team orders might have Kenseth and the rest of the Roush Fenway bunch dropping the necessary spots.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Junior and Edwards again led the way. However, championship contender Tony Stewart jumped to third on the charts. Stewart has clawed his way back into title contention with four wins during the Chase, and with two of those coming at 1.5-mile tracks, he should be a serious threat for the win Sunday. After all, Stewart wins the title if he wins the race, regardless of what Edwards does.

Marcos Ambrose and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five, and both drivers deserve consideration from fantasy owners. Ambrose has been a consistent top-10 threat at 1.5-mile tracks in 2011, and Bowyer has four top-12 finishes in five Homestead starts. Bowyer is a safer play, but there might be more potential for a top-five with Ambrose.

In Happy Hour, Edwards continued his excellent afternoon by topping the charts with the fastest lap. His teammate David Ragan ranked second, and given the success of Roush Fenway Racing at Homestead, he has to be considered a sleeper pick. However, Ragan comes with the same risk as Kenseth. Edwards' title run will take precedent over anything else the organization has going on Sunday.

A trio of sleeper options rounded out the top five with Cole Whitt, A.J. Allmendinger and Landon Cassill all posting strong laps. Whitt and Cassill have exceeded expectations in limited action this season, but with Whitt driving for a more proven race team, he has the better fantasy value. Meanwhile, Allmendinger could be a threat for the win Sunday. He has run well in the Chase, and he has finished 11th or better in all three starts at Homestead. Last fall, he finished fifth at the track.

Jeff Gordon climbed to the top of the charts in terms of 10-lap average speed in the final session, and he has finished sixth or better in three of his last four starts at the track. Bowyer ranked second, and his Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick ranked third. Harvick should be a strong option this weekend after finishing third or better in three straight starts at Homestead.

Brad Keselowski and Kenseth rounded out the top five, and Keselowski should end his surprising season on a high note. He finished 13th at Homestead last fall, and he has been strong at 1.5-mile tracks this year. Keselowski sits fourth in points heading into the finale, and there is no doubt he has been one of the biggest surprises in 2011.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
1
99
Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
171.124
31.556
171.081
3
2
6
David Ragan UPS My Choice Ford
170.913
31.595
169.697
7
13
66
Michael McDowell HP Racing LLC Toyota
168.771
31.996
168.771
1
3
84
Cole Whitt Kangaroo Express Toyota
170.063
31.753
168.638
7
24
55
J.J. Yeley Ingersoll Rand Ford
168.161
32.112
167.547
8
19
30
David Stremme Inception Racing Chevrolet
168.424
32.062
167.396
7
34
87
Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wd Stves Toyota
167.593
32.221
167.119
7
40
46
Scott Speed Green Stuff Abosorbent Ford
167.074
32.321
166.446
3
23
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet
168.240
32.097
166.061
32
31
4
Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
167.843
32.173
166.059
39
21
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
168.329
32.080
165.970
20
27
71
Mike Bliss School Media Ford
167.963
32.150
165.962
13
43
37
Mike Skinner MaxQ Motorsports Ford
166.185
32.494
165.939
3
35
7
Reed Sorenson Caterpillar Chevrolet
167.582
32.223
165.714
7
26
39
Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
167.978
32.147
165.624
36
9
35
Dave Blaney Golden Corral Chevrolet
168.982
31.956
165.527
9
5
51
Landon Cassill Security Benefit/ThnkATeacher Today Chevrolet
169.609
31.838
165.482
27
12
24
Jeff Gordon Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet
168.856
31.980
165.454
40
25
1
Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
168.025
32.138
165.423
27
4
43
A.J. Allmendinger Best Buy Ford
169.705
31.820
165.372
20
29
22
Kurt Busch Shell Pennzoil Dodge
167.910
32.160
165.356
45
18
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
168.445
32.058
165.350
43
11
16
Greg Biffle 3M/Novec Ford
168.887
31.974
165.243
46
7
33
Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
169.306
31.895
165.232
30
28
14
Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
167.926
32.157
165.157
52
16
18
Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota
168.524
32.043
165.122
45
42
92
Dennis Setzer BBI Waste Industries/Melling Chevrolet
166.277
32.476
165.112
8
10
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
168.966
31.959
165.111
48
38
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
167.234
32.290
165.099
31
22
5
Mark Martin GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
168.303
32.085
164.996
47
41
00
David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
166.436
32.445
164.984
31
37
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
167.541
32.231
164.972
39
15
17
Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Ford
168.655
32.018
164.967
37
14
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
168.697
32.010
164.960
44
6
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
169.465
31.865
164.893
39
33
83
Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
167.629
32.214
164.804
52
32
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
167.749
32.191
164.609
22
20
47
Bobby Labonte Reese Towpower Toyota
168.387
32.069
164.556
20
17
78
Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
168.481
32.051
164.402
37
45
32
T.J. Bell GreenSmoke.com Ford
165.690
32.591
164.305
8
8
27
Paul Menard Duracell/Menards Chevrolet
169.141
31.926
164.283
52
30
20
Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
167.874
32.167
164.183
37
36
31
Jeff Burton SPEED Energy Dodge
167.582
32.223
163.902
51
39
13
Casey Mears Hard Rock Vodka Toyota
167.084
32.319
163.778
36
44
38
Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
165.939
32.542
163.511
18
46
34
David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
165.309
32.666
162.200
26
47
93
Grant Enfinger Hewe's Concrete Polishing Chevrolet
162.925
33.144
162.011
10
48
36
Geoff Bodine Luke & Associates Chevrolet
162.734
33.183
159.432
21

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
166.611
2
33
Clint Bowyer
1
10
166.587
3
29
Kevin Harvick
1
10
166.357
4
2
Brad Keselowski
1
10
166.354
5
17
Matt Kenseth
1
10
166.335
6
27
Paul Menard
1
10
166.307
7
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
17
26
166.283
8
39
Ryan Newman
1
10
166.268
9
14
Tony Stewart
1
10
166.255
10
4
Kasey Kahne
30
39
165.947
11
48
Jimmie Johnson
26
35
165.896
12
18
Kyle Busch
31
40
165.737
13
11
Denny Hamlin
28
37
165.403
14
43
A.J. Allmendinger
1
10
165.399
15
5
Mark Martin
34
43
165.276
16
22
Kurt Busch
35
44
165.206
17
47
Bobby Labonte
1
10
165.142
18
83
Brian Vickers
20
29
165.113
19
00
David Reutimann
10
19
165.019
20
31
Jeff Burton
37
46
164.976
21
78
Regan Smith
22
31
164.711
22
20
Joey Logano
24
33
164.228
23
13
Casey Mears
13
22
163.398

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Avg. Speed)

Rk indicates Best Lap standing

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Lap
Best Time
Avg. Speed
Laps
30
66
Michael McDowell HP Racing LLC Toyota
170.009
31.760
168.636
8
31
84
Cole Whitt Kangaroo Express Toyota
169.940
31.780
168.585
11
26
35
Dave Blaney Golden Corral Chevrolet
170.315
31.710
168.446
8
1
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet
173.193
31.180
168.243
23
24
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
170.379
31.690
168.118
12
6
4
Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
171.920
31.410
168.022
22
29
55
J.J. Yeley Ingersoll Rand Ford
170.138
31.740
167.743
13
35
13
Casey Mears Hard Rock Vodka Toyota
169.332
31.890
167.588
13
9
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
171.652
31.460
167.556
27
15
14
Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
171.249
31.530
167.418
30
14
16
Greg Biffle 3M/Novec Ford
171.380
31.510
167.211
26
3
17
Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Ford
172.298
31.340
167.207
27
21
78
Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
170.751
31.620
167.175
9
37
87
Joe Nemechek AM/FM Enrgy Pllt & Wood Stoves Toyota
168.782
31.990
167.132
9
20
33
Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
170.870
31.600
167.125
36
41
30
David Stremme Inception Racing Chevrolet
167.400
32.260
167.030
7
4
39
Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
172.068
31.380
166.930
24
28
22
Kurt Busch Shell Pennzoil Dodge
170.191
31.730
166.886
18
10
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
171.581
31.470
166.863
26
18
18
Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota
171.011
31.580
166.763
27
17
6
David Ragan UPS My Choice Ford
171.119
31.560
166.739
37
22
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
170.600
31.650
166.565
30
39
71
Mike Bliss School Media Ford
167.989
32.140
166.548
10
23
83
Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
170.395
31.690
166.524
25
40
34
David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
167.937
32.160
166.511
6
27
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
170.202
31.730
166.464
30
2
99
Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
172.678
31.270
166.431
49
38
46
Scott Speed Green Stuff Abosorbent Ford
168.450
32.060
166.303
9
12
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
171.472
31.490
166.277
29
42
7
Reed Sorenson SPEED Energy Dodge
166.914
32.350
166.218
7
11
5
Mark Martin GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
171.478
31.490
166.216
33
43
37
Mike Skinner MaxQ Motorsports Ford
166.831
32.370
166.154
6
19
00
David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
170.978
31.580
166.152
30
8
24
Jeff Gordon Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet
171.674
31.460
166.149
25
25
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
170.347
31.700
166.139
25
13
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
171.467
31.490
166.060
27
16
27
Paul Menard Duracell/Menards Chevrolet
171.233
31.540
165.888
36
36
1
Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
168.988
31.960
165.773
28
7
51
Landon Cassill Security Benefit/Thank A Teacher Today Chev
171.887
31.420
165.502
39
5
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
172.013
31.390
165.247
31
33
20
Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
169.694
31.820
165.217
32
32
43
A.J. Allmendinger Best Buy Ford
169.758
31.810
165.046
51
34
47
Bobby Labonte Reese Towpower Toyota
169.422
31.870
164.522
39
44
92
Scott Riggs BBI Waste Industries/Melling Chevrolet
166.744
32.380
164.329
12
45
38
Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
165.781
32.570
163.485
35
46
32
T.J. Bell GreenSmoke.com Ford
164.549
32.820
161.578
36
47
93
Grant Enfinger Hewe's Concrete Polishing Chevrolet
164.004
32.930
161.522
19
48
36
Geoff Bodine Luke & Associates Chevrolet
161.189
33.500
159.263
29

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1
10
168.517
2
99
Carl Edwards
1
10
168.115
3
14
Tony Stewart
1
10
168.018
4
9
Marcos Ambrose
7
16
166.655
5
33
Clint Bowyer
27
36
166.650
6
56
Martin Truex Jr.
7
16
166.146
7
39
Ryan Newman
7
16
165.914
8
48
Jimmie Johnson
7
16
165.669
9
27
Paul Menard
26
35
165.610
10
51
Landon Cassill
21
30
165.474
11
24
Jeff Gordon
13
22
165.348

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

Car
Driver Team
Average Speed
Total Laps
66
Michael McDowell HP Racing LLC Toyota
168.651
9
84
Cole Whitt Kangaroo Express Toyota
168.606
18
55
J.J. Yeley Ingersoll Rand Ford
167.668
21
30
David Stremme Inception Racing Chevrolet
167.213
14
6
David Ragan UPS My Choice Ford
167.210
44
87
Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wd Stves Toyota
167.126
16
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet
166.973
55
35
Dave Blaney Golden Corral Chevrolet
166.901
17
4
Kasey Kahne Red Bull Toyota
166.767
61
99
Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
166.699
52
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
166.475
46
46
Scott Speed Green Stuff Abosorbent Ford
166.339
12
33
Clint Bowyer Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
166.265
66
71
Mike Bliss School Media Ford
166.217
23
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
166.201
70
39
Ryan Newman U.S. ARMY Chevrolet
166.146
60
37
Mike Skinner MaxQ Motorsports Ford
166.082
9
14
Tony Stewart Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
165.984
82
7
Reed Sorenson Caterpillar Chevrolet
165.966
14
16
Greg Biffle 3M/Novec Ford
165.954
72
17
Matt Kenseth Crown Royal Ford
165.912
64
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
165.847
34
22
Kurt Busch Shell Pennzoil Dodge
165.793
63
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
165.770
61
18
Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota
165.737
72
24
Jeff Gordon Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet
165.721
65
1
Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
165.601
55
0
David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
165.558
61
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
165.529
68
5
Mark Martin GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
165.499
80
51
Landon Cassill Security Benefit/ThnkATeacher Today Chevrolet
165.494
66
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge
165.463
73
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
165.370
66
83
Brian Vickers Red Bull Toyota
165.362
77
43
A.J. Allmendinger Best Buy Ford
165.138
71
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
165.079
75
78
Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet
164.945
46
27
Paul Menard Duracell/Menards Chevrolet
164.940
88
31
Jeff Burton SPEED Energy Dodge
164.888
81
13
Casey Mears Hard Rock Vodka Toyota
164.789
49
20
Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota
164.663
69
92
Scott Riggs BBI Waste Industries/Melling Chevrolet
164.642
20
47
Bobby Labonte Reese Towpower Toyota
164.534
59
38
Travis Kvapil Long John Silver's Ford
163.494
53
34
David Gilliland Front Row Motorsports Ford
163.008
32
32
T.J. Bell GreenSmoke.com Ford
162.074
44
93
Grant Enfinger Hewe's Concrete Polishing Chevrolet
161.691
29
36
Geoff Bodine Luke & Associates Chevrolet
159.334
50
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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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