With another All-Star Race in the books, fantasy owners can shift their focus back to the races that count for points, starting with this weekend's Coca-Cola 600. The Memorial Day weekend marathon also means that the 2012 regular season is almost halfway over, and while guys like Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have been rock solid since the drop of the green at Daytona, there are other drivers that have been coming on strong, as well. In fact, there are a few drivers still outside the top five in points that have been among the best options in the series for the past month. As Tony Stewart showed last fall with his record-setting, five-win performance in the Chase, momentum is big in NASCAR. Here are a few drivers that are enjoying their own hot streaks that owners may want to start taking advantage of as soon as possible.
Kahne has what it takes
Normally a dominant regular season performer, it is unusual to see Busch sitting ninth in points 11 races into the 2012 season. A painfully slow start is to blame, after he managed just one top-five finish in the first eight races of the year. However, a trip to Victory Lane at Richmond has been just what the doctor ordered for Busch, and he has followed up the win with finishes of second and fourth. He tends to run hot and cold, but when he is on a roll, he can be the best driver in the series and can certainly carry a fantasy team. With a 5.6 average finish the last five races, Busch is definitely in the middle of a hot streak. Don't be surprised if he strings together several more strong runs and even wins a few more races in the coming weeks. Whether you like the guy or not, owners need to jump on the Busch bandwagon until he cools off.
A little more than a month ago, Kahne was 31st in points and didn't have a single top-10 finish. Five straight top-10s later, and Kahne is up to 16th in points and coming on strong. He has a 6.4 average finish during the stretch, and he suddenly looks like the dominant driver everyone thought he would be when he joined Hendrick Motorsports in the offseason. We have seen hot streaks from Kahne before, including his summer surge in 2009 when he rallied to make the Chase and last year's showing in the final 10 races when he notched seven top-10s, including a win. With a history of hot streaks on his side and the best equipment of his career, owners need to start taking advantage of Kahne immediately.
Even with his win at Bristol, his up and down runs early in the year were giving fantasy owners headaches and casting doubt as to whether he could follow up his breakout 2011 season. Keselowski has put an end to that discussion in the past month, reeling off four straight top-15 finishes and picking up another win. Anyone that remembers how well he ran in the second half of last season doesn't need to be told twice just how good he can be when he gets a little momentum on his side. Keselowski seems to have found the consistency he was missing out of the gate, and he is starting to look a lot like the guy who finished fifth in points in 2011. He is still outside the top 10 in points this year, but with the way he has been running lately, that will be changing very shortly.
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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