Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Coke Zero 400

by Brian Polking on July 6, 2012 @ 20:01:55 PDT

 


Matt Kenseth

If Matt Kenseth's announcement that he is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the year is causing a distraction for the team, it sure isn't showing on the track. After picking up a top-10 finish last weekend at Kentucky, he grabbed the pole for Saturday night's race at Daytona. For those that don't remember the season opener, Kenseth already won the Daytona 500 this season, and he finished second at the track last July. Kenseth has seven finishes of eighth or better at Daytona in his last 10 starts, and he has established himself as the top fantasy option at an unpredictable track.

Three-time Daytona winner Tony Stewart was slated to join Kenseth on the front row, but a violation involving a cooling hose caused his lap to be disallowed. Stewart will now have to start 42nd Saturday night, but it isn't necessarily a death sentence at Daytona. Since 2009, four of the seven races at the track have been won from the top five, including two from the pole, but two races have also been won from outside the top 30 during the stretch. With every position on the track up for grabs on every lap, Stewart could dig himself out of his early hole within the first 20 laps.

The other major storyline this weekend has been the health of Denny Hamlin. Back issues have forced him to skip the Nationwide race and the Cup Series practice sessions. He appears to be on track to be behind the wheel Saturday night, but considering he isn't a top option at Daytona anyway, fantasy owners may just want to avoid him completely. The last thing an owner wants is for Hamlin's back to start hurting, forcing a driver change in the middle of the race.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper pick might want to consider Bill Elliott. He is driving for a Turner Motorsports team this weekend that is making its Cup debut, and he qualified a surprising sixth. Elliott is a four-time Daytona winner, and his car clearly has some speed. The team owners made it clear that they are running for the win this weekend, and the veteran Elliott just might have what it takes to survive the carnage and escape with a solid finish.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
1
2
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
24
3
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
11
4
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
4
5
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
42
6
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
12
7
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
9
8
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
22
9
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
13
10
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
29
11
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
3
12
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
5
13
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
20
14
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
30
15
Kurt Busch
51
Chevrolet Tag Heuer Phoenix Racing
35
16
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
19
17
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Clorox Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
14
18
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
16
19
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
23
20
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
18
21
A.J. Allmendinger
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
8
22
Regan Smith
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
25
23
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
10
24
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Medallion Financial Richard Petty Motorsports
17
25
David Ragan
34
Ford 8-Hour Alert Front Row Motorsports
27
26
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
2
27
Trevor Bayne
21
Ford Motorcraft Wood Brothers Racing
15
28
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kingsford JTG Daugherty Racing
41
29
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
32
30
Michael Waltrip
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
21
31
Bill Elliott
50
Chevrolet Wal-Mart Turner Motorsports
6
32
David Reutimann
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
39
33
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
7
34
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
38
35
David Stremme
30
Toyota Inception Motorsports Inception Motorsports
26
36
Terry Labonte
32
Ford C&J Energy FAS Lane Racing
34
37
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
33
38
J.J. Yeley
49
Toyota Jay Robinson Inc. America Israel Racing
43
39
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
40
40
Stephen Leicht
33
Chevrolet American Ethanol Richard Childress Racing
37
41
Josh Wise
26
Ford MDS Transport Front Row Motorsports
31
42
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy Wood Stoves NEMCO Motorsports
36
43
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Curb Records Phil Parsons Racing
28
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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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