Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Quaker State 400

by Brian Polking on June 30, 2012 @ 08:25:23 PDT

 


Matt Kenseth

One hundred percent of the Cup races held at Kentucky Speedway have been won from the pole.

Okay, the stat is more than a little misleading since the 1.5-mile tri-oval has hosted exactly one Cup race. That being said, the drivers that qualified up front in last year's inaugural event did seem to have a majority of the success. Six drivers that started in the top 10 ended up finishing there, and every driver that finished in the top 10 started inside the top 20. In fact, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton were the only drivers that qualified outside the top 20 that managed to crack the top 20.

It wouldn't be a total surprise to see a repeat this weekend. Kentucky is a very bumpy, rough track, and it is also the newest addition to the Cup schedule. Teams just don't have a lot of information to fall back on, and finding a comfortable setup is understandably tricky. Even with multiple racing grooves, it is difficult for drivers to complete passes when they aren't confident with the handling of their cars. Not to mention that any handling issues that do exist always get worse when driving in traffic. Drivers that have track position when the green flag waves might still have it when the checkered flag flies.

With that in mind, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch have the jump to the top of the list of contenders. The two drivers will start from the front row Saturday with Johnson leading the field to the green after capturing his first pole since 2010. Throw in the fact that Johnson finished third at Kentucky last season and Busch won the race, and fantasy owners need to try to find a way to get both drivers in their starting lineup if at all possible.

Two drivers that failed to qualify in the top 25 that could be this year's hard chargers are Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Stewart is riding a wave of momentum into Kentucky, having finished third or better in his last three starts. He has also won four of the last 10 races at 1.5-mile tracks, and no other driver has won more than one race during the stretch. In the same 10 races, no driver has scored more total points than Edwards. He has finished inside the top 10 in all 10 starts, including a fifth-place finish at Kentucky last season. If anyone can overcome the poor track position, it is these two.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
1
2
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
2
3
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
11
4
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
22
5
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
7
6
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
8
7
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
9
8
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
6
9
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
20
10
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
25
11
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
3
12
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
4
13
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
19
14
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
10
15
A.J. Allmendinger
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
16
16
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
5
17
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
18
18
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
12
19
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
15
20
Kurt Busch
51
Chevrolet Tag Heuer Phoenix Racing
14
21
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
17
22
Regan Smith
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
26
23
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Medallion Financial Richard Petty Motorsports
13
24
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
29
25
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Clorox Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
31
26
Michael Waltrip
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
39
27
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
23
28
David Ragan
34
Ford 8-Hour Alert Front Row Motorsports
33
28
David Stremme
30
Toyota Inception Motorsports Inception Motorsports
32
29
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
21
30
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kingsford JTG Daugherty Racing
28
31
David Reutimann
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
38
32
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
42
33
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
40
34
Ken Schrader
32
Ford Unsponsored FAS Lane Racing
41
36
Stephen Leicht
33
Chevrolet American Ethanol Richard Childress Racing
43
37
Scott Riggs
23
Chevrolet North Texas Pipe R3 Motorsports
36
38
Josh Wise
26
Ford MDS Transport Front Row Motorsports
30
39
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
34
40
Mike Bliss
19
Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing Humphrey Smith Racing
37
41
Scott Speed
95
Ford Levine Family Racing Leavine Family Racing
24
42
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy Wood Stoves NEMCO Motorsports
27
43
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Curb Records Phil Parsons Racing
35

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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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