Fantasy NASCAR: 2012 Sprint Cup rankings

by Brian Polking on February 23, 2012 @ 14:59:08 PDT

 


Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports

The 2012 Sprint Cup season is only a few weeks away, and a wild offseason is finally winding down. High-profile drivers and crew chiefs changed teams, and while a majority of the big names landed new rides, Brian Vickers was the odd man out during Silly Season.

While losing a driver that made the Chase in 2010 is a minor blow to fantasy owners, having the rest of the pieces fall in place gives owners a chance to get their ducks in a row heading into the Daytona 500 with some expanded preseason power rankings.

Rank
Driver
2011 Driver Rating
Stock
1
Jimmie Johnson
99.1
In arguably his worst year, Johnson still finished second in top-fives and top-10s and was third in average finish
2
Carl Edwards
101.0
He is coming off a year when he had five more top-five and top-10 finishes than the next closest driver
3
Kevin Harvick
92.2
He's not flashy, but Harvick's 10.1 average finish the last two years makes him as reliable as any driver
4
Kyle Busch
104.1
Expect a meltdown at some point, but he will lead a ton of laps and win plenty of races along the way
5
Matt Kenseth
98.9
He is quietly enjoying the best two-year stretch of his career and had three wins to go with 20 top-10s in 2011
6
Tony Stewart
96.0
Another championship may be out of reach, but he is still one of the top all-around drivers
7
Jeff Gordon
96.5
He may not be a title threat, but 10-plus top-five finishes and 15-plus top-10s are a lock
8
Denny Hamlin
88.1
The hangover from his championship collapse in 2010 ruined his 2011 season, but it won't loom as large this year
9
Brad Keselowski
87.1
After a breakout year, Keselowski begins life as Penske Racing's top driver
10
Kasey Kahne
89.7
It's Kahne's time to shine as he joins Hendrick Motorsports, but he has to handle high expectations
11
Greg Biffle
85.9
His luck was beyond terrible last season, and Biffle should be primed for a rebound year
12
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
83.3
Junior returned to respectability last season, but with just four top-fives, he has work left to do
13
Ryan Newman
88.3
There is no doubt that the move to Stewart-Haas Racing has saved his career
14
A.J. Allmendinger
80.5
The unexpected move to Penske Racing should lead to a career year for the ever-improving Allmendinger
15
Clint Bowyer
87.5
His move to Michael Waltrip Racing is a definite equipment downgrade
16
Joey Logano
73.8
The results aren't living up to the hype, and the inconsistent youngster is looking at a do or die year
17
Martin Truex Jr.
82.4
He has 11 DNFs compared to just five top-five finishes the last three years
18
Marcos Ambrose
76.7
Ambrose made some big strides at the intermediate ovals last year, proving he is more than just a road course ringer
19
Jeff Burton
78.7
Burton should imrpove on his dismal 2011 numbers, but his days as a top-10 driver are over
20
Juan Pablo Montoya
77.2
He is a caution waiting to happen, and his numbers have steadily declined since making the Chase in 2009
21
Kurt Busch
93.7
Busch is the ultimate boom or bust pick, but driving for Phoenix Racing brings a lot of uncertainty
22
Paul Menard
78.9
He had a respectable debut with Richard Childress Racing, but his ceiling is limited
23
Jamie McMurray
71.0
He regressed big time in 2011, and his career numbers suggest his three-win campaign in 2010 was a fluke
24
Mark Martin
75.9
The quality of his performances will make up for his limited schedule this year
25
Aric Almirola
NA
The highly-regarded prospect finally gets a chance to go full-time racing in the Cup Series
26
Regan Smith
71.1
Smith doesn't have the resources to contend with the top drivers, but he gets the most out of what he does have
27
Trevor Bayne
NA
The defending Daytona 500 is running a limited schedule, but he should provide solid results when he does race
28
David Ragan
78.3
Landing with Front Row Motorsports wasn't exactly what Ragan had in mind, and it severly limits his fantasy value
29
Bobby Labonte
58.8
His fantasy value is minimal at this point in his career, but he does make the field every week
30
David Reutimann
68.2
After his dud of a year with Michael Waltrip Racing , things aren't likely to get better with Tommy Baldwin Racing
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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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