For fantasy owners, the starting lineup for Sunday's Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway can be considered a gift from the racing gods. The entire top 10 is loaded with drivers that have had plenty of success at the 1.0-mile oval, giving fantasy owners plenty of strong options to choose from. The only hard part will be deciding which drivers to start and which ones to leave off their rosters, but that isn't a terrible problem to have.
Kyle Busch got things started by grabbing his first pole of the year, and Kasey Kahne joined him on the front row. Busch is a former winner at Loudon, and he has finished 11th or better in five of his last six starts at the track. Kahne has finished in the top 15 in his last three starts at NHMS, including a sixth-place run last July. Kahne will also be making his first start at New Hampshire for a Hendrick Motorsports organization that has always run well at the track.
The options just get better from there. Former NHMS winner Denny Hamlin qualified third and has finished third or better in three of his last five starts at the track. Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five, and while Truex has five top-10s in his last 10 New Hampshire starts, Bowyer is a two-time winner at the track. Bowyer was also leading on the final lap last fall before running out of fuel and handing the win to Tony Stewart.
Speaking of the defending champ, Stewart is one of the strong options starting in the back half of the top 10. "Smoke" is a three-time winner at New Hampshire, and he finished second and first in the two races at the track last season. Stewart's teammate and defending race winner Ryan Newman will start sixth Sunday, and like his boss, Newman is a three-time winner, as well. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. made sure all four HMS drivers will be starting up front. Gordon and Johnson have the two-best average finishes at New Hampshire in the past 10 races, while Junior has the seventh-best average finish during the same stretch.
While owners should be thankful for all the talent starting up front, let's not forget about a sleeper option. After qualifying in the top 15, Brian Vickers looks like the best pick this weekend. He will be making his fourth start of the year for Michael Waltrip Racing in Sunday's race, and he has finished in the top five in two of his three previous starts. Vickers also finished fifth in the fall race at the track last year.
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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