Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Capital City 400

by Brian Polking on April 27, 2012 @ 20:12:29 PDT

 


A motor issue knocked Mark Martin out of last weekend's race at Kansas, but nothing could slow him down in the first practice session at Richmond Friday afternoon. Martin posted the fastest lap of any driver at a track where he has had a lot of success the last few years. He has four top-five finishes and six top-15s in his last at starts at Richmond. As well as he has been running with Michael Waltrip Racing this season, a top-10 finish and maybe more should be within reach for the veteran this weekend.

Mark Martin

Of course, no driver has been hotter to start 2012 than Greg Biffle, and the point leader continued his strong start by posting the second-fastest lap. However, Biffle has gone 10 straight starts at Richmond without finishing in the top 10, and he has just two top-five finishes in 19 career starts at the track. Biffle hasn't finished outside the top 15 all year, but he would be a bit of a shock to see him crack the top five Saturday night.

Paul Menard, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano rounded out the top five, and Bowyer is the top option to target out of the bunch. He is a former winner at Richmond and his 10.5 average finish at the track is the fourth best among active drivers. Logano has some value as a sleeper option, having finished in the top 20 in five of his six starts at RIR. Meanwhile, Menard should probably be avoided. He has never cracked the top 15 in 10 starts at Richmond, and he has finished outside the top 25 in his last nine starts at the track. To top it off, Menard wrecked his primary car in the first practice, and he will be in a backup for Saturday's race.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Matt Kenseth led a group of heavy hitters. Bowyer posted the second-best 10-lap average speed, and Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Bobby Labonte rounded out the top five. In addition to Bowyer, Edwards and Johnson are the attractive picks. Johnson is a three-time winner at Richmond, and Edwards has four straight top-10s at the track, including a second-place run last fall. After failing to finish in the top 10 in his last nine starts at RIR, Kenseth's value is somewhat suspect. He might be able to end his top-10 drought, but like his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Biffle, he probably won't be contending for the win.

When Happy Hour rolled around, Dale Earnhardt Jr. gave the crowd something to cheer about, topping the charts. He hasn't had the best run of luck at Richmond lately, but he is a two-time winner at the track. More importantly, he has been rock solid since the season began and earned back the trust of fantasy owners.

Edwards and Landon Cassill followed Junior, and Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Gordon and Busch have been two of the elite options at Richmond over the years, and both should get heavy consideration from fantasy owners this weekend. Busch is the defending winner of this weekend's race and has a series-leading 5.0 average finish at RIR. Meanwhile, Gordon has finished 12th or better in nine of his last 10 starts at the track, including three finishes of third or better in his last five starts.

Martin jumped back to the top of the charts in the terms of 10-lap average speed, and he was followed by Brad Keselowski. Although he hasn't had the most consistent year, Keselowski is an intriguing wild card play. He has been a strong short track performer since joining the Cup Series, and he already has a win at Bristol this season.

Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and Johnson rounded out the top five, and Hamlin is another name fantasy owners need to know. The Virginia native is a two-time winner at Richmond, and he has finished outside the top 15 only once in 12 career starts. Hamlin's 7.6 average finish at the track is the second best in the series, and he has finished third or better in half his starts.

Two big names fantasy owners may want to avoid are Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Harvick has finished outside the top 12 only once in his last 15 starts at Richmond and won at the track last fall, but he failed to crack the top 10 in either practice Friday and was 25th fastest in Happy Hour. Stewart is a three-time winner at Richmond, but he was even worse during practice. He ranked 30th and 33rd in the two sessions and was 20th out of 21 drivers in terms of 10-lap average speeds in Happy Hour.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
88
Chevrolet
National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew
123.853
21.800
24
2
99
Ford
123.706
21.826
8
3
83
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
123.209
21.914
8
4
24
Chevrolet
DuPont
123.113
21.931
11
5
18
Toyota
M&M's Ms. Brown
122.783
21.990
39
6
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
122.666
22.011
24
7
98
Ford
Curb Records
122.660
22.012
8
8
16
Ford
3M "Give Kids A Smile"
122.655
22.013
23
9
87
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves
122.638
22.016
11
10
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
122.582
22.026
29
11
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
122.566
22.029
49
12
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
122.560
22.030
62
13
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
122.460
22.048
39
14
42
Chevrolet
Target
122.233
22.089
27
15
11
Toyota
FedEx Freight
122.122
22.109
45
16
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
122.078
22.117
8
17
26
Ford
Morristown Driver's Service
122.012
22.129
11
18
43
Ford
Smithfield "Helping Hungry Homes"
121.951
22.140
33
19
39
Chevrolet
U.S. Army
121.715
22.183
44
20
56
Toyota
NAPA Brakes
121.616
22.201
29
21
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row / Farm American
121.611
22.202
28
22
34
Ford
121.556
22.212
8
23
19
Toyota
121.441
22.233
2
24
95
Ford
Tommy Williams Drywall
121.386
22.243
7
25
29
Chevrolet
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
121.294
22.260
24
26
47
Toyota
Bush's Baked Beans
121.234
22.271
47
27
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
121.223
22.273
49
28
30
Toyota
121.207
22.276
11
29
9
Ford
Stanley
121.169
22.283
35
30
22
Dodge
Shell / Pennzoil
121.158
22.285
46
31
31
Chevrolet
BB&T
121.147
22.287
30
32
17
Ford
121.125
22.291
29
33
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1 / Office Depot
121.120
22.292
48
34
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
121.038
22.307
40
35
74
Chevrolet
120.995
22.315
8
36
93
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
120.968
22.320
39
37
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
120.708
22.368
42
38
27
Chevrolet
NIBCO / Menards
120.547
22.398
32
39
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
120.503
22.406
11
40
38
Ford
Long John Silver's
120.262
22.451
23
41
13
Ford
GEICO
119.984
22.503
31
42
10
Chevrolet
119.845
22.529
22
43
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap
119.787
22.540
29
44
49
Toyota
America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents
119.607
22.574
10
45
32
Ford
118.775
22.732
25

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
55
23
32
121.302
2
2
1
10
120.802
3
15
1
10
120.696
4
11
1
10
120.651
5
48
1
10
120.605
6
18
1
10
120.567
7
39
23
32
120.293
8
43
1
10
120.125
9
22
27
36
120.050
10
31
21
30
120.021
11
51
19
28
120.008
12
20
29
38
119.997
13
9
1
10
119.746
14
1
26
35
119.664
15
29
12
31
119.572
16
27
2
11
119.567
17
17
18
27
119.385
18
93
1
10
119.261
19
47
1
10
119.049
20
14
35
44
118.960
21
42
11
20
118.816

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
126.707
21.309
54
2
16
Ford
3M "Give Kids A Smile"
126.186
21.397
50
3
27
Chevrolet
NIBCO / Menards
126.139
21.405
34
4
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
126.133
21.406
72
5
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
125.997
21.429
70
6
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
125.886
21.448
70
7
22
Dodge
Shell / Pennzoil
125.739
21.473
74
8
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
125.657
21.487
82
9
43
Ford
Smithfield "Helping Hungry Homes"
125.646
21.489
50
10
11
Toyota
FedEx Freight
125.617
21.494
70
11
56
Toyota
NAPA Brakes
125.500
21.514
47
12
29
Chevrolet
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
125.494
21.515
35
13
39
Chevrolet
U.S. Army
125.436
21.525
46
14
24
Chevrolet
DuPont
125.371
21.536
77
15
88
Chevrolet
National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew
125.360
21.538
63
16
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row / Farm American
125.087
21.585
44
17
13
Ford
GEICO
124.960
21.607
50
18
9
Ford
Stanley
124.925
21.613
53
19
99
Ford
124.884
21.620
76
20
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
124.873
21.622
43
21
19
Toyota
124.746
21.644
11
22
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
124.734
21.646
63
23
18
Toyota
M&M's Ms. Brown
124.545
21.679
72
24
87
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves
124.390
21.706
11
25
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
124.012
21.772
22
26
93
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
123.802
21.809
53
27
26
Ford
Morristown Driver's Service
123.462
21.869
34
28
42
Chevrolet
Target
123.389
21.882
44
29
83
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
123.350
21.889
35
30
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1 / Office Depot
123.305
21.897
43
31
31
Chevrolet
BB&T
123.215
21.913
50
32
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
123.001
21.951
15
33
17
Ford
122.789
21.989
46
34
98
Ford
Curb Records
122.660
22.012
15
35
10
Chevrolet
122.610
22.021
19
36
30
Toyota
122.427
22.054
16
37
34
Ford
122.338
22.070
67
38
74
Chevrolet
122.271
22.082
20
39
95
Ford
Tommy Williams Drywall
122.194
22.096
22
40
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap
121.924
22.145
52
41
38
Ford
Long John Silver's
121.885
22.152
47
42
49
Toyota
America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents
121.814
22.165
17
43
47
Toyota
Bush's Baked Beans
121.687
22.188
42
44
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
121.425
22.236
26
45
32
Ford
121.425
22.236
48

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
17
1
10
122.047
2
15
8
17
121.713
3
99
5
14
121.576
4
48
10
19
120.907
5
47
1
10
120.368
6
18
41
50
120.212
7
24
50
59
120.174
8
55
32
41
120.117
9
22
41
50
120.077
10
2
52
61
119.968
11
34
9
18
119.923
12
39
26
25
119.791
13
9
43
52
119.315
14
83
11
20
119.295
15
93
7
16
119.216
16
31
18
27
118.946
17
38
33
42
115.976
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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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