Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Food City 500

by Brian Polking on March 17, 2012 @ 15:17:02 PDT

 


In 2011, five drivers became first-time winners in the Cup Series, and apparently, A.J. Allmendinger doesnít want to wait long before making sure 2012 has a first-time winner, as well. After qualifying on the front row Friday, Allmendinger paced the opening practice session Saturday at Bristol. Big things were expected out of Allmendinger after his offseason move to Penske Championship Racing, and it looks he could start living up to those expectations Sunday.

Greg Biffle

Allmendinger was joined atop the leaderboard by several heavy hitters. Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five, and a strong argument can be made for all four drivers. Busch is the defending winner of this weekendís race and has won four of the last six races at Bristol. Newman has six top-10 finishes in his last seven starts at the track, while Biffle has four finishes of eight or better in his last five Bristol starts. Not to mention the fact that Biffle enters the race atop the standings thanks to three straight third-place finishes to start the year. Truex is the biggest question mark in the bunch, but he did finish second at Bristol last fall and is sitting in the top 10 in the standings three races into the 2012 season. Fantasy owners can consider Truex more of a sleeper option, while Busch, Biffle and Newman look like top-five threats this weekend.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Kasey Kahne was the man to beat in the opening session. With three straight finishes of 11th or better at Bristol, he could definitely make a nice addition to fantasy rosters this weekend. Kahne was followed by Newman and Truex, while Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. Fantasy owners can feel free to throw Kenseth and Keselowski into the mix of solid picks. Kenseth is a two-time winner at Bristol, and he has finished in the top 10 in his last five starts at the track. Meanwhile, Keselowski has always been at his best at the short tracks, and he won at Bristol last August.

 If there was a sleeper option that emerged during the opening session, it was Aric Almirola. The driver of the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford put down the seventh-fastest lap of the practice and posted the sixth-best 10-lap average speed. He has limited seat time in the Cup Series, but one of his few career starts did result in an eighth-place finish at Bristol in 2008. Almirola will start in the top 10 Sunday, and based on his times, he could finish there, as well.

In Happy Hour, some familiar faces remained atop the charts. Newman and Busch led the way, while Keselowski and Kahne also cracked the top five. The wild card of the bunch was David Reutimann, who posted the fourth-best lap of the final session. Despite the fast lap, Reutimannís fantasy value is still suspect. He does have a second-place finish at Bristol, but for his career, he has a 22.5 average finish at the track. Throw in the fact that he hasnít even been able to keep the No. 10 car in the top 35 in owner points, and his chances of backing up his practice time on race day seem slim.

Newman stayed atop the charts in terms of 10-lap average speeds in the final session, but he was joined by some new names. Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five, and fantasy owners should target the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers as potential options. Johnson has three top-four finishes, including a win, in his last four starts at Bristol. Meanwhile, Junior leads all drivers with an 8.8 average finish at the track since the start of the 2002 season.

Fantasy owners looking for a big name to avoid may want to stay away from Carl Edwards. He ranked 18th and 32nd on the charts in Saturdayís two sessions, and he was only 27th out of 29 cars in terms of 10-lap average speeds in Happy Hour. Granted, Edwards is a two-time winner at Bristol, but he hasnít exactly been strong out of the gate in 2012. He could end up adjusting his way into contention like he did last weekend at Las Vegas, but Edwards has yet to hit his stride. With as bad as his practices times looked, saving Edwards for another day seems like the wise decision.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans
121.883
15.743
92
2
18
Toyota
Wrigley
121.836
15.749
81
3
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
121.682
15.769
39
4
10
Chevrolet
Tradebank
121.682
15.769
94
5
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
121.628
15.776
60
6
9
Ford
Mac Tools
121.566
15.784
63
7
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
121.405
15.805
58
8
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
121.328
15.815
70
9
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
121.297
15.819
88
10
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
121.274
15.822
102
11
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
121.267
15.823
72
12
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
121.267
15.823
72
13
43
Ford
Charter Comm.
121.259
15.824
78
14
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
121.182
15.834
90
15
17
Ford
Best Buy
121.182
15.834
81
16
16
Ford
3M/811
121.182
15.834
68
17
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
121.007
15.857
87
18
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
120.907
15.870
63
19
42
Chevrolet
Target
120.862
15.876
69
20
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/CSX "Play it Safe"
120.839
15.879
87
21
31
Chevrolet
BB&T
120.808
15.883
108
22
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
120.763
15.889
58
23
11
Toyota
FedEx Ground
120.710
15.896
81
24
27
Chevrolet
Moen/Menards
120.672
15.901
74
25
30
Toyota
Food Country USA/Inception Motorsports
120.641
15.905
40
26
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap/Widow Wax
120.611
15.909
58
27
29
Chevrolet
Budweiser
120.520
15.921
58
28
51
Chevrolet
HendrickCars.com
120.407
15.936
86
29
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
120.331
15.946
84
30
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
120.324
15.947
73
31
13
Ford
GEICO
120.195
15.964
50
32
99
Ford
Cheez-It
119.902
16.003
45
33
47
Toyota
Clorox/Scott Products
119.730
16.026
51
34
26
Ford
Morristown Driver's Service
119.693
16.031
4
35
33
Chevrolet
South Point Hotel & Casino
119.529
16.053
65
36
98
Ford
K-Love "Let it start with me"
119.522
16.054
39
37
49
Toyota
JPO Absorbents
119.484
16.059
44
38
38
Ford
Taco Bell
119.395
16.071
44
39
32
Ford
TMone "We Drive Sales"
119.313
16.082
42
40
34
Ford
119.143
16.105
52
41
87
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com/Pellet & Wood Stoves
118.951
16.131
9
42
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
118.657
16.171
31
43
74
Chevrolet
Turn One Racing/Carnegie Hotel
117.021
16.397
2

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Average Speed
1
39
1
10
120.562
2
20
2
11
120.431
3
88
1
10
120.347
4
78
11
20
120.309
5
48
1
10
120.221
6
22
5
14
120.170
7
27
4
13
120.110
8
24
1
10
120.073
9
31
10
19
120.071
10
2
2
11
120.065
11
42
1
10
120.028
12
11
2
11
120.015
13
17
1
10
120.011
14
14
1
10
119.818
15
55
13
22
119.731
16
18
59
68
119.336
17
15
15
24
119.233
18
5
45
54
119.189
19
16
31
40
119.163
20
29
38
47
119.065
21
9
18
27
119.050
22
43
53
62
118.895
23
93
1
10
118.834
24
1
30
39
118.761
25
32
1
10
118.492
26
51
56
65
118.467
27
99
30
39
118.403
28
83
36
45
118.300
29
34
32
41
116.741

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
122.638
15.646
68
2
18
Toyota
Wrigley
122.576
15.654
60
3
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans
122.443
15.671
41
4
16
Ford
3M/811
122.380
15.679
59
5
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
122.341
15.684
74
6
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
122.333
15.685
58
7
43
Ford
Charter Comm.
122.310
15.688
63
8
11
Toyota
FedEx Ground
122.217
15.700
54
9
17
Ford
Best Buy
122.209
15.701
81
10
31
Chevrolet
BB&T
122.201
15.702
59
11
9
Ford
Mac Tools
122.178
15.705
66
12
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
122.170
15.706
28
13
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
122.154
15.708
64
14
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
122.154
15.708
68
15
10
Chevrolet
Tradebank
121.976
15.731
14
16
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
121.976
15.731
68
17
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
121.952
15.734
69
18
99
Ford
Cheez-It
121.891
15.742
47
19
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
121.852
15.747
54
20
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
121.790
15.755
96
21
27
Chevrolet
Moen/Menards
121.790
15.755
58
22
51
Chevrolet
HendrickCars.com
121.713
15.765
52
23
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
121.505
15.792
58
24
29
Chevrolet
Budweiser
121.474
15.796
35
25
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/CSX "Play it Safe"
121.412
15.804
65
26
42
Chevrolet
Target
121.412
15.804
37
27
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
121.405
15.805
45
28
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
121.397
15.806
58
29
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
121.397
15.806
51
30
98
Ford
K-Love "Let it start with me"
121.220
15.829
30
31
13
Ford
GEICO
120.976
15.861
41
32
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap/Widow Wax
120.786
15.886
23
33
47
Toyota
Clorox/Scott Products
120.702
15.897
54
34
30
Toyota
Food Country USA/Inception Motorsports
120.634
15.906
36
35
32
Ford
TMone "We Drive Sales"
120.611
15.909
59
36
33
Chevrolet
South Point Hotel & Casino
120.581
15.913
57
37
38
Ford
Taco Bell
120.520
15.921
42
38
34
Ford
120.346
15.944
32
39
87
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com/Pellet & Wood Stoves
120.143
15.971
33
40
26
Ford
Morristown Driver's Service
120.030
15.986
11
41
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
119.648
16.037
16
42
49
Toyota
JPO Absorbents
119.447
16.064
30
43
74
Chevrolet
Turn One Racing/Carnegie Hotel
-
-
-

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Average Speed
1
5
1
10
121.737
2
39
5
14
121.506
3
56
49
58
121.458
4
17
8
17
121.257
5
2
9
18
121.227
6
43
5
14
121.158
7
78
6
15
121.062
8
27
3
12
121.055
9
55
4
13
121.038
10
20
2
11
121.007
11
29
26
35
120.792
12
22
55
64
120.743
13
93
5
14
120.696
14
24
5
14
120.613
15
16
43
52
120.448
16
48
4
13
120.429
17
18
50
59
120.398
18
1
42
51
119.997
19
42
15
24
119.948
20
33
5
14
119.913
21
47
10
19
119.897
22
15
28
37
119.864
23
51
17
26
119.831
24
9
30
39
119.771
25
14
54
63
119.346
26
38
32
41
119.263
27
30
6
15
119.201
28
83
44
53
118.847
29
32
44
53
118.561
30
98
15
24
117.762
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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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