Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400

by Brian Polking on July 28, 2012 @ 10:32:10 PDT

 


Since enduring a painfully slow start to his tenure with Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne has been on a tear the last few months. He has finished in the top 10 in 10 of his last 13 starts, picking up two wins along the way and looking like the championship contender everyone expected him to be. After topping the charts in the opening practice at Indianapolis Saturday, Kahne could be poised to make the biggest statement of his career. Eight drivers have won at Indy and gone on to win the title in the same year, and the way he has been running lately, Kahne could become the next to join the list.

Veteran Mark Martin ranked second in the session, and he is no stranger to running well at Indianapolis. He has finished 11th or better in seven straight starts at the track and in 12 of his 18 career starts. Martin finished second at Indy in both 1998 and 2009, and even though he runs a limited schedule, he could be a strong addition to fantasy rosters this weekend.

Kasey Kahne

Heavy hitters Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the practice, while Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. Gordon leads all drivers with four wins at Indianapolis, and Johnson ranks second with three victories. Johnson has actually been a boom or bust option at the track, while Gordon has been one of the most consistent. Johnson has finished outside the top 15 in six of his last nine starts at the track but has won in his other three starts. Meanwhile, Gordon's 9.1 average finish at the track is the second best in the series. Keselowski can't be ruled out either. He picked up his first top-10 at Indy last year, and he has been one of the top drivers in the series the past two months.

Denny Hamlin was the one driver that ran 10 consecutive laps in session. He has been up and down at Indianapolis but has finished as high as third. Given his success at other flat tracks like Martinsville, Pocono and New Hampshire, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him have a strong run Sunday.

In Happy Hour, Greg Biffle jumped to the top of the charts, and he could be a serious factor for the win this weekend. He is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in all four races at Indianapolis since the Car of Tomorrow was introduced, and in two of the last three races at the track, he has finished in the top five.

Biffle's teammate Carl Edwards ranked second on the charts, and it appears that the crew chief swap could be paying some early dividends. Edwards has finished in the top 15 in seven of his eight starts at Indianapolis, and he has an 11.0 average finish at the track for his career. A big run at Indy could jumpstart what has been a slow season for last year's series runner-up.

Joey Logano, Kahne and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five, and while Kahne and Kenseth should be considered among the favorites, Logano could make a solid sleeper pick. Kenseth has finished 12th or better in six of his last seven starts at the track, including a fifth-place run last year. Logano has finished in the top 12 in two of his three starts at Indy, and he won at Pocono in June. Pocono has long been considered the one track that is somewhat comparable to Indianapolis, which could bode well for Logano's chances this weekend.

Only five drivers ran at least 10 consecutive laps, and of the five, Kyle Busch had by far the best speed. He was almost 2 mph faster than second-place Brad Keselowski. Busch has back-to-back top-10s at Indianapolis, and he has finished in the top 15 in six of his seven starts at the track. On the downside, Busch has managed just a single top-five finish at Indy.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper option this weekend may want to add Trevor Bayne to their rosters. He cracked the top 15 in both practice sessions, and the Ford drivers in general seemed dialed in. Bayne drives for Wood Brothers Racing, and the organization gets equipment from Roush Fenway Racing. All three RFR drivers ranked in the top five in Happy Hour, and while Bayne may not be a contender for the win. He could deliver a surprise top-15.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
16
Ford
3M
181.499
49.587
28
2
99
Ford
Fastenal
181.232
49.660
28
3
20
Toyota
Dollar General
181.189
49.672
20
4
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
180.999
49.724
32
5
17
Ford
Fifth Third Bank
180.988
49.727
33
6
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
180.901
49.751
41
7
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
180.890
49.754
29
8
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
180.770
49.787
38
9
31
Chevrolet
Rain-X
180.730
49.798
37
10
11
Toyota
FedEx Express
180.643
49.822
21
11
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
180.592
49.836
42
12
9
Ford
DEWALT
180.477
49.868
24
13
18
Toyota
M&M's
180.379
49.895
32
14
21
Ford
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
180.274
49.924
25
15
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
180.213
49.941
25
16
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans
180.155
49.957
36
17
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
180.148
49.959
19
18
88
Chevrolet
AMP Energy/National Guard
180.061
49.983
38
19
43
Ford
Eckrich
179.942
50.016
25
20
29
Chevrolet
Jimmy Johns
179.791
50.058
20
21
51
Chevrolet
HendrickCars.com
179.784
50.060
33
22
42
Chevrolet
Target
179.333
50.186
21
23
13
Ford
GEICO
178.998
50.280
32
24
1
Chevrolet
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker
178.980
50.285
25
25
95
Ford
178.603
50.391
9
26
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Office Depot
178.373
50.456
32
27
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Nibco
177.982
50.567
39
28
93
Toyota
Burger King
177.936
50.580
25
29
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap
177.809
50.616
26
30
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
177.410
50.730
46
31
98
Ford
K-Love/Curb Records
177.410
50.730
3
32
30
Toyota
177.354
50.746
9
33
26
Chevrolet
Taco Bell
177.333
50.752
9
34
79
Ford
Koma Unwind
177.263
50.772
7
35
47
Toyota
Scott Products
176.928
50.868
18
36
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
176.751
50.919
35
37
19
Toyota
176.395
51.022
8
38
34
Ford
Scorpion Coatings/Al's Liners
176.329
51.041
19
39
83
Toyota
Burger King
176.249
51.064
26
40
38
Ford
Big Machine Records
176.232
51.069
26
41
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
176.170
51.087
7
42
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
175.816
51.190
11
43
91
Ford
175.743
51.211
5
44
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
175.613
51.249
9
45
10
Chevrolet
172.133
52.285
3
46
32
Ford
Special Operations For America.org
171.435
52.498
35

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
11
1
10
177.134
2
2
31
40
175.790
3
5
22
31
175.314
4
48
13
22
175.082
5
15
23
32
174.894

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
185.326
48.563
16
2
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
183.520
49.041
10
3
24
Chevrolet
Drive to End Hunger
183.292
49.102
12
4
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
183.135
49.144
11
5
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
182.916
49.203
12
6
27
Chevrolet
Menards/Nibco
182.737
49.251
13
7
88
Chevrolet
AMP Energy/National Guard
181.995
49.452
20
8
17
Ford
Fifth Third Bank
181.965
49.460
10
9
13
Ford
GEICO
181.965
49.460
11
10
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans
181.939
49.467
8
11
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
181.671
49.540
7
12
99
Ford
Fastenal
181.404
49.613
11
13
21
Ford
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
181.386
49.618
8
14
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Office Depot
181.123
49.690
8
15
42
Chevrolet
Target
180.886
49.755
7
16
16
Ford
3M
180.447
49.876
11
17
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
180.419
49.884
7
18
1
Chevrolet
Bass Pro Shops/Tracker
179.950
50.014
5
19
9
Ford
DEWALT
179.881
50.033
7
20
11
Toyota
FedEx Express
179.817
50.051
26
21
18
Toyota
M&M's
179.587
50.115
20
22
29
Chevrolet
Jimmy Johns
179.573
50.119
13
23
98
Ford
K-Love/Curb Records
179.397
50.168
6
24
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
179.062
50.262
29
25
195
Ford
179.040
50.268
5
26
38
Ford
Big Machine Records
179.023
50.273
8
27
26
Chevrolet
Taco Bell
178.703
50.363
8
28
34
Ford
Scorpion Coatings/Al's Liners
178.621
50.386
7
29
51
Chevrolet
HendrickCars.com
178.603
50.391
21
30
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
178.508
50.418
4
31
79
Ford
Koma Unwind
178.465
50.430
3
32
31
Chevrolet
Rain-X
178.455
50.433
15
33
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
178.423
50.442
16
34
23
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
177.954
50.575
7
35
20
Toyota
Dollar General
177.750
50.633
21
36
43
Ford
Eckrich
177.658
50.659
17
37
93
Toyota
Burger King
177.616
50.671
8
38
47
Toyota
Scott Products
177.592
50.678
9
39
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap
177.375
50.740
11
40
19
Toyota
177.375
50.740
2
41
32
Ford
Special Operations For America.org
176.936
50.866
6
42
30
Toyota
176.852
50.890
5
43
83
Toyota
Burger King
176.762
50.916
7
44
10
Chevrolet
176.734
50.924
5
45
91
Ford
176.301
51.049
4
46
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes Autos.com
175.963
51.147
7

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
11
14
23
177.749
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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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