Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard

by Brian Polking on July 28, 2012 @ 18:18:44 PDT

 


Tony Stewart
Although only two drivers have won the Brickyard 400 from the pole, a strong qualifying run is still an important first step in reaching Victory Lane. Only three of the 18 Cup races at Indianapolis have been won by a driver starting outside the top 20, and half of the races have been won from a top-five starting spot. The 2.5-mile track is a notoriously difficult place to pass at, and having good track position from the drop of the green is a huge plus.

With that in mind, fantasy owners have to strongly consider loading up on the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers this weekend. JGR driver Denny Hamlin grabbed the pole for the race in dominating fashion, while his teammates Joey Logano and Kyle Busch qualified third and seventh. All three drivers have had their moments at Indianapolis, and while Busch has been the most-consistent of the group, Hamlin may have the best chance of winning Sunday. Twelve of his 19 career wins have come at flat tracks, and he will try to add Indy to that list this weekend.

The other organization to keep an eye on is Roush Fenway Racing. Carl Edwards and his new crew chief led the way, qualifying on the outside of the front row. His teammate Greg Biffle joined him in the top five, and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top 10. Edwards and Kenseth have both finished as high as second at Indianapolis, and Biffle is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all four races at the track with the Car of Tomorrow. Throw in the fact that Biffle and Kenseth have spent most of the year leading the points, and an RFR driver could end the stranglehold that Chevrolet has had on Victory Lane at the Brickyard.

Other drivers starting in the top 10 worth considering are Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, along with defending race winner Paul Menard. Gordon leads all drivers with four wins and 10 top-five finishes at Indianapolis, and Johnson ranks second all-time with three wins. Even though Menard won last year's race with fuel strategy, he can't be ruled out. He finished in the top 15 in 2010 prior to winning last year, and he rolls off eighth Sunday.

Fantasy owners looking for some sleeper options this weekend might want to turn to the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing duo of Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. Sure, the two have been disappointing most of the year, but both qualified 16th or better for Sunday's race and have a history of success. In addition to his win in 2010, McMurray has five top-10s in nine starts at the track, including three finishes of sixth or better in his last four starts. Meanwhile, Montoya has finished as high as second at Indy and has led more than 200 laps in the last three races combined.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
5
2
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
9
3
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
1
4
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
6
5
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
10
6
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
7
7
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
15
8
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
2
9
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
22
10
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
3
11
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
28
12
Mark Martin
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
19
13
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
27
14
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
16
15
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
8
16
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
20
17
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
21
18
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
33
19
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
11
20
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
17
21
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Clorox Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
12
22
Trevor Bayne
21
Ford Motorcraft Wood Brothers Racing
18
23
Kurt Busch
51
Chevrolet Tag Heuer Phoenix Racing
13
25
Sam Hornish Jr.
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
24
25
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Medallion Financial Richard Petty Motorsports
4
26
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
23
27
Regan Smith
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
14
28
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kingsford JTG Daugherty Racing
29
29
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
38
30
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
25
31
J.J. Yeley
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
41
32
David Ragan
34
Ford 8-Hour Alert Front Row Motorsports
36
33
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
31
34
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
32
35
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
30
36
Ken Schrader
32
Ford C&J Energy FAS Lane Racing
42
37
David Stremme
30
Toyota Inception Motorsports Inception Motorsports
26
38
Scott Speed
95
Ford Leavine Family Racing Leavine Family Racing
34
39
Scott Riggs
23
Chevrolet North Texas Pipe R3 Motorsports
40
40
Stephen Leicht
33
Chevrolet American Ethanol Richard Childress Racing
37
41
Josh Wise
26
Ford MDS Transport Front Row Motorsports
35
42
Mike Skinner
79
Ford Koma Unwinds Go Green Racing
39
43
Mike Bliss
19
Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing Humphrey Smith Racing
34

 

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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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