Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Pocono 400

by Brian Polking on June 8, 2012 @ 23:16:47 PDT

 


Mark Martin has been one of the steadiest performers in NASCAR history at Pocono Raceway. In 50 starts at the triangle-shaped track, he has 33 top-10s, 19 top-five finishes and an 11.2 average finish. The one thing missing from his Pocono resume is a win. After topping the charts in the opening practice at the track Friday, the veteran will try once again to get the monkey off his back. Whether or not he finally gets to Victory Lane remains to be seen, but he should deliver fantasy owners a solid run either way.

A.J. Allmendinger

Jamie McMurray posted the second-fastest lap of the opening session, followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. Fantasy owners will definitely want to target the HMS duo this weekend. Both drivers enter the race in the top five in points, and both finished in the top 10 in both races at Pocono last season. Johnson is one of the top overall options for fantasy owners this weekend. He finished fourth in both starts at Pocono in 2011, and he enters the race coming off wins in three of the last four races.

Penske Championship Racing driver A.J. Allmendinger rounded out the top five, and he could make a strong sleeper play this weekend. He has had a few solid runs at the track in the past, including a 10th-place run in the June of 2010. Joining the No. 22 team should only help his chances. Kurt Busch drove the same car to a second and third-place finishes at Pocono last year, and fellow Penske Championship Racing driver Brad Keselowski won the August race at the track. Allmendinger is definitely in the right situation for success.

Joey Logano was the only driver to run at least 10 consecutive laps in the first practice of the afternoon. Topping the charts without any competition isn't exactly and accomplishment, but Logano didn't stop there. He put down the fastest lap in Happy Hour, and he has finished in the top 15 in his last two June races at the track. That being said, his overall record at the track is mediocre at best, and Logano is still looking for his first top 10 at Pocono. He did top the charts, but he is far from a safe bet for fantasy owners.

Some heavy hitters rounded out the top five in the final practice. Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard and Kyle Busch followed Logano, and all four drivers warrant consideration from fantasy owners. Edwards is a two-time winner at the track, and Gordon is a five-time winner and the defending winner of this weekend race. Busch has never won at Pocono, but he has finished third or better in three of his last four starts at the track. Menard is more of a sleeper pick, but with three straight top-15s and a career-best 10th-place run at Pocono last August, his value is on the rise.

The big names continued to dominate on the long runs. Johnson posted the best 10-lap average speed in Happy Hour, and his teammate Kasey Kahne ranked second. Kahne is a former winner at Pocono, and he has been lightning fast in the testing sessions on the track's new pavements. He and Johnson have combined to win the last four races of 2012, and if the practice times are any indication, they could be extending the streak this weekend.

Tony Stewart, Martin and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five, and Stewart and Hamlin can definitely be added to the list of fantasy studs. Stewart is a two-time winner at Pocono, and in his last seven starts at the track, he has six finishes of 11th or better. During the stretch, he has finished third or better four times. Meanwhile, Hamlin has been a master of Pocono since joining the Cup Series. He is a four-time winner at the track, and he has finished sixth or better in eight of his 12 starts at the track. Last year, Hamlin led the most laps in both races at Pocono.

Subbing for the suspended Kurt Busch, David Reutimann performed admirably. He ranked 17th and 18th in the two practices, setting himself up for a solid showing Sunday. Reutimann probably isn't heading for a top-10, but his practice times and his recent results at Pocono indicate that a top-20 finish is well within his reach.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
179.501
50.139
18
2
99
Ford
Kellogg's/Cheez-it
179.361
50.178
17
3
24
Chevrolet
DuPont
179.108
50.249
17
4
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Sylvania
178.798
50.336
30
5
18
Toyota
M&M's
178.540
50.409
7
6
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
178.455
50.433
33
7
16
Ford
3M/Rite Aid/NextCare
178.303
50.476
18
8
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
177.683
50.652
32
9
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
177.459
50.716
33
10
9
Ford
DEWALT
177.333
50.752
18
11
83
Toyota
Burger King Real Fruit Smoothies
177.273
50.769
5
12
42
Chevrolet
Target
177.214
50.786
18
13
31
Chevrolet
The Armed Forces Foundation
177.183
50.795
25
14
17
Ford
Ford EcoBoost
176.863
50.887
30
15
13
Ford
GEICO
176.824
50.898
7
16
98
Ford
Presbyterian Healthcare System
176.703
50.933
5
17
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
176.668
50.943
15
18
11
Toyota
FedEx Express
176.647
50.949
42
19
30
Toyota
176.384
51.025
9
20
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
176.370
51.029
38
21
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
176.256
51.062
36
22
43
Ford
Transportation Impact
176.222
51.072
18
23
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
176.177
51.085
39
24
38
Ford
176.049
51.122
8
25
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Office Depot
175.864
51.176
34
26
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
175.816
51.190
18
27
19
Toyota
175.768
51.204
1
28
49
Toyota
America Israel Racing/JPO Absorbents
175.743
51.211
5
29
26
Ford
MDS Transport
175.572
51.261
7
30
39
Chevrolet
Haas Automation
175.572
51.261
30
31
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
175.569
51.262
9
32
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
175.435
51.301
27
33
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
175.408
51.309
24
34
1
Chevrolet
Banana Boat
175.073
51.407
38
35
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
174.869
51.467
9
36
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
174.866
51.468
33
37
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
174.835
51.477
29
38
34
Ford
Taco Bell
174.442
51.593
14
39
74
Chevrolet
Turn One Racing/Country Suites
173.772
51.792
7
40
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
173.668
51.823
10
41
47
Toyota
Bubba Burgers
173.304
51.932
17
42
10
Chevrolet
173.170
51.972
9
43
32
Ford
Herr Foods/Hero Energy Shot
171.246
52.556
24
44
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap.com
169.856
52.986
11

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
48
26
10
175.243
2
5
21
50
175.176
3
14
2
35
175.016
4
55
1
31
174.959
5
11
2
10
174.893
6
2
3
51
174.885
7
22
19
44
174.702
8
27
1
63
173.986
9
1
29
15
173.170

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
179.379
50.173
14
2
1
Chevrolet
Banana Boat
178.937
50.297
6
3
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
178.809
50.333
11
4
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
178.678
50.370
14
5
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
178.204
50.504
24
6
39
Chevrolet
Haas Automation
177.820
50.613
20
7
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
177.809
50.616
23
8
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Office Depot
177.739
50.636
24
9
11
Toyota
FedEx Express
177.718
50.642
20
10
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
177.585
50.680
14
11
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Sylvania
177.417
50.728
16
12
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
177.413
50.729
12
13
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
177.204
50.789
21
14
17
Ford
Ford EcoBoost
176.866
50.886
12
15
24
Chevrolet
DuPont
176.557
50.975
23
16
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
176.519
50.986
14
17
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
176.467
51.001
14
18
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
176.439
51.009
15
19
42
Chevrolet
Target
176.381
51.026
10
20
16
Ford
3M/Rite Aid/NextCare
176.246
51.065
19
21
13
Ford
GEICO
176.012
51.133
6
22
9
Ford
DEWALT
175.919
51.160
15
23
18
Toyota
M&M's
175.826
51.187
31
24
99
Ford
Kellogg's/Cheez-it
175.630
51.244
23
25
98
Ford
Presbyterian Healthcare System
175.493
51.284
5
26
43
Ford
Transportation Impact
175.104
51.398
15
27
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
174.961
51.440
33
28
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
174.934
51.448
5
29
249
Toyota
America Israel Racing/JPO Absorbents
174.869
51.467
5
30
119
Toyota
174.639
51.535
4
31
26
Ford
MDS Transport
174.530
51.567
7
32
31
Chevrolet
The Armed Forces Foundation
174.348
51.621
16
33
10
Chevrolet
174.304
51.634
7
34
47
Toyota
Bubba Burgers
173.953
51.738
7
35
83
Toyota
Burger King Real Fruit Smoothies
173.910
51.751
20
36
74
Chevrolet
Turn One Racing/Country Suites
173.561
51.855
5
37
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
173.481
51.879
11
38
30
Toyota
173.210
51.960
1
39
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
172.957
52.036
17
40
34
Ford
Taco Bell
172.738
52.102
18
41
38
Ford
172.302
52.234
14
42
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
171.917
52.351
6
43
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap.com
170.648
52.740
16
44
32
Ford
Herr Foods/Hero Energy Shot
170.467
52.796
18

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

Rk

Car

Driver

From Lap

To Lap

Avg. Speed

1

20

Joey Logano

17

26

174.172

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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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