Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Toyota Safe Mart 350

by Brian Polking on June 23, 2012 @ 15:08:17 PDT

 


It has been the Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Gordon show all weekend at Infineon Raceway. After Ambrose edged Gordon for the pole in qualifying Friday, Gordon returned the favor by edging Ambrose in the first practice session Saturday. Both drivers are elite fantasy options whenever the series visits a road course, and it appears an epic showdown could be on tap. Ambrose will be looking for his second straight road course win and his first at Infineon, while Gordon will be looking to add his record-setting five victories at the track. Fantasy owners should find a way to get both into their starting lineups.

Jeff Gordon

Of course, Ambrose and Gordon weren't the only intriguing fantasy options at the top of the charts in the first practice. A.J. Allmendinger, Juan Pablo Montoya and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. Allmendinger has an extensive background in road racing and has three straight finishes of 13th or better at Infineon. He is also driving for the same team that Kurt Busch won this race with a year ago. Montoya has been even better at the track, winning in his Infineon debut and finishing in the top 10 in four of his five starts.

Even Keselowski could be worth a look. He has made just two starts at Infineon, but he finished 10th at the track last season. He also led all drivers in terms of 10-lap average speeds in the opening practice, but with just five drivers running enough laps to qualify, it doesn't carry a ton of weight. Owners looking for more of a sure thing should consider Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson. They ranked sixth and seventh in the first practice, and both are recent winners at Infineon.

In Happy Hour, Gordon continued to lead the way as the road course aces continued to dominate. Montoya, Johnson and Allmendinger were all among the five-fastest drivers in the session. The newcomer to the group was Greg Biffle, and although he has never won a road course event, he has made a strong case to be on fantasy rosters this weekend. He qualified fourth, and he clearly didn't lose any speed in race trim. More importantly, he has six top-15s in his last eight starts at Infineon, including a pair of top-five finishes. Biffle looks poised for a top-10 run Sunday, and maybe more.

Another driver that came to life in Happy Hour was Denny Hamlin. He posted the sixth-fastest lap and the top 10-lap average speed. Like Keselowski, Hamlin's average speed was the best of a small bunch, but it was better than Johnson's 10-lap average. Hamlin's results have been up and down at Infineon, but he has finished 12th or better in three of his six starts. Don't be surprised to see Hamlin battling for a top-10 this weekend.

Fantasy owners considering road ringers Boris Said and Robby Gordon may want to think twice. Although both drivers have solid numbers at Infineon, neither was able to crack the top 20 in either practice session. In fact, Gordon and Said actually ranked outside the top 30 in the first session. There is no denying the road racing abilities of either driver, but sometimes, the disparity in equipment is too much to overcome. Both are driving for underfunded, single-car teams this weekend, and fantasy owners could be better served sticking with the series regulars.

Owners that do need a sleeper option might want to consider Brian Vickers instead. He is driving the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, and he ranked 19th and 15th in the two practice sessions Saturday. Vickers has finished 16th or better in three of his last four starts at Infineon, and a top-20 finish is a definite possibility.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
93.225
76.846
21
2
16
Ford
3M/US Stationary
93.202
76.865
25
3
42
Chevrolet
Target
93.075
76.970
20
4
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
92.995
77.036
28
5
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
92.992
77.039
25
6
11
Toyota
FedEx Ground
92.991
77.040
35
7
99
Ford
Aflac
92.952
77.072
26
8
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
92.944
77.079
25
9
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
92.897
77.118
24
10
18
Toyota
M&M's
92.833
77.171
24
11
9
Ford
Stanley
92.797
77.201
16
12
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
92.767
77.226
24
13
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
92.735
77.252
21
14
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
92.721
77.264
17
15
55
Toyota
RKMotorsCharlotte.com
92.689
77.291
25
16
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Moen
92.668
77.308
24
17
31
Chevrolet
Wheaties
92.489
77.458
22
18
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans/Childrens Tumor Foundation
92.478
77.467
27
19
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
92.467
77.476
17
20
88
Chevrolet
Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard/7-Eleven
92.455
77.486
22
21
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
92.418
77.517
17
22
47
Toyota
Clorox
92.386
77.544
18
23
7
Dodge
MAPEI/SaveMart Supermarkets
92.248
77.660
10
24
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
92.194
77.706
21
25
17
Ford
Ford EcoBoost
92.192
77.707
20
26
13
Ford
GEICO
92.164
77.731
9
27
38
Ford
1-800LoanMart
92.155
77.739
14
28
34
Ford
Green 1 High Performance Green
92.049
77.828
23
29
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
92.043
77.833
22
30
95
Ford
91.976
77.890
8
31
43
Ford
Medallion Financial
91.937
77.923
20
32
32
Ford
HendrickCars.com
91.670
78.150
30
33
36
Chevrolet
91.345
78.428
8
34
26
Ford
MDS Transport
91.132
78.611
12
35
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
90.990
78.734
12
36
49
Toyota
America Israel Racing/JPO Absorbents
90.838
78.866
3
37
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
90.793
78.905
21
38
10
Chevrolet
Ice Age Continental Drift
90.618
79.057
3
39
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
90.434
79.218
2
40
19
Toyota
90.062
79.545
2
41
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
89.881
79.705
10

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
11
18
27
91.559
2
48
19
28
91.460
3
27
15
24
90.893

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
94.312
75.961
12
2
9
Ford
Stanley
93.381
76.718
10
3
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
93.342
76.750
14
4
42
Chevrolet
Target
93.287
76.795
15
5
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
93.244
76.831
21
6
18
Toyota
M&M's
93.210
76.859
17
7
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
93.180
76.883
17
8
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
93.084
76.963
21
9
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
93.032
77.006
18
10
1
Chevrolet
McDonald's
92.971
77.056
16
11
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Moen
92.935
77.086
19
12
11
Toyota
FedEx Ground
92.808
77.192
16
13
47
Toyota
Clorox
92.701
77.281
16
14
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
92.661
77.314
14
15
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans/Childrens Tumor Foundation
92.600
77.365
16
16
99
Ford
Aflac
92.589
77.374
14
17
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
92.557
77.401
18
18
16
Ford
3M/US Stationary
92.497
77.451
10
19
55
Toyota
RKMotorsCharlotte.com
92.466
77.477
17
20
88
Chevrolet
Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard/7-Eleven
92.426
77.511
17
21
13
Ford
GEICO
92.405
77.528
21
22
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
92.384
77.546
14
23
31
Chevrolet
Wheaties
92.259
77.651
12
24
17
Ford
Ford EcoBoost
92.257
77.653
11
25
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
92.239
77.668
16
26
95
Ford
92.062
77.817
9
27
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
92.027
77.847
16
28
38
Ford
1-800LoanMart
92.025
77.848
16
29
98
Ford
91.750
78.082
8
30
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
91.414
78.369
16
31
7
Dodge
MAPEI/SaveMart Supermarkets
91.406
78.376
8
32
43
Ford
Medallion Financial
91.371
78.406
26
33
32
Ford
HendrickCars.com
91.153
78.593
17
34
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
90.825
78.877
6
35
36
Chevrolet
90.822
78.880
8
36
34
Ford
Green 1 High Performance Green
90.733
78.957
14
37
26
Ford
MDS Transport
90.479
79.179
10
38
10
Chevrolet
Ice Age Continental Drift
90.276
79.357
23
39
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
90.146
79.471
5
40
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
89.643
79.917
14
41
19
Toyota
89.100
80.404
2
42
49
Toyota
America Israel Racing/JPO Absorbents
-
-
-
43
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
-
-
-

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
2
1
10
91.866
2
27
1
10
91.384
3
13
1
10
91.291
4
43
3
12
90.585
5
10
1
10
89.29
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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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