Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Toyota Save Mart 350

by Brian Polking on June 23, 2012 @ 13:46:32 PDT

 


Marcos Ambrose
Navigating Infineon Raceway isn't easy. From the elevation changes to sweeping turns, staying on the track and out of the grass can be an adventure. Needless to say, passing is even more difficult at the road course. It requires perfect breaking and timing, and there are really on a handful of spots where a quality pass is even possible. Not surprisingly, track position is crucial at Infineon, and drivers that qualify up front have had a huge advantage when it comes to reaching Victory Lane.

In fact, 21 of the 23 races at the track have been won by drivers starting inside the top 15, and 12 of the races have been won by drivers that qualified third or better. With those numbers in mind, fantasy owners have to love seeing Marcos Ambrose on the pole and Jeff Gordon joining him on the front row. Ambrose has finished sixth or better in three straight starts at Infineon and is one of the top road racers in the series. Meanwhile, Gordon leads all drivers with an 8.7 average finish and five victories at the track, and he has won more road races than any driver in NASCAR history.

Former Infineon winners Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya all qualified 12th or better, and fantasy owners looking for some sleeper options this weekend should definitely consider Kurt and Montoya. With his background in Formula One, Montoya is no stranger to road racing. He actually won at Infineon in his track debut and has gone on finish in the top 10 in four of his five starts. Meanwhile, Kurt is the defending winner of this weekend's race, and even though he has struggled on and off the track since moving to Phoenix Racing this season, a road course could level the playing field. Infineon is more about a driver hitting their marks and braking than horsepower and downforce so any equipment disadvantage Kurt is dealing with by driving for a single-car team should be masked.

One driver that didn't qualify well that has a chance to come to the front is Tony Stewart. He is a two-time winner at the track and has seven road course wins in his Cup career. Stewart has finished outside the top 15 only twice in 13 starts at Infineon and has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts. History says his 24th-place effort in qualifying will make a victory next to impossible, but "Smoke" can still deliver a strong finish for fantasy owners.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
1
2
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
2
3
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
3
4
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
24
5
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Clorox Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
12
6
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
6
7
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
7
8
A.J. Allmendinger
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
17
9
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
4
10
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
11
11
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
13
12
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
10
13
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
15
14
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
26
15
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
16
16
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
5
17
Kurt Busch
51
Chevrolet Tag Heuer Phoenix Racing
8
18
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
9
19
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
19
20
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
14
21
Brian Vickers
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
21
22
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
25
23
Boris Said
32
Ford Unsponsored FAS Lane Racing
28
24
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
35
25
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kingsford JTG Daugherty Racing
18
26
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Medallion Financial Richard Petty Motorsports
30
27
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
27
28
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
23
29
Robby Gordon
7
Dodge MAPEI Robby Gordon Motorsports
34
30
Regan Smith
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
31
31
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
20
32
David Ragan
34
Ford 8-Hour Alert Front Row Motorsports
29
33
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
42
34
Tomy Drissi
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
41
35
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
32
36
Stephen Leicht
33
Chevrolet American Ethanol Richard Childress Racing
43
37
J.J. Yeley
49
Toyota JPO Absorbents America Israel Racing
38
38
Josh Wise
26
Ford MDS Transport Front Row Motorsports
40
39
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
39
40
Chris Cook
19
Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing Humphrey Smith Racing
37
41
Scott Speed
95
Ford Levine Family Racing Leavine Family Racing
22
42
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy Wood Stoves NEMCO Motorsports
36
43
David Mayhew
98
Ford Curb Records Phil Parsons Racing
33
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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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