Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Pennsylvania 400

by Brian Polking on July 31, 2012 @ 17:46:48 PDT

 


Jimmie Johnson
As a five-time champion of the Cup Series, Jimmie Johnson didn't really need to make a statement on the track to prove that he is a legitimate title contender in 2012, but he did anyway. Johnson absolutely clobbered the field in last Sunday's Brickyard 400, leading 99 of the 160 laps and winning at Indianapolis for the fourth time. The victory also tied him with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for the most career wins at Indianapolis, and suddenly, this year's No. 48 team is starting to look a lot like the one that reeled off five straight championships from 2006 to 2010.

Johnson has been at his best on the big stages, winning the Southern 500 and All-Star Race prior to kissing the bricks. He has traditionally been at his best the closer we get to the Chase, and fantasy owners may want to jump on the bandwagon for a good old late season surge from Johnson. It might not be a bad idea to start as soon as this weekend when the series makes a return trip to Pocono Raceway. After all, Johnson has finished fourth in the last three races at the triangle-shaped track.

While Johnson has basically punched his ticket to the playoffs already, there are plenty of other drivers looking at this weekend's race as a golden opportunity to do the same. With track position and fuel mileage gambling that usually goes on at Pocono, this is one race where a driver can steal away a win with the proper strategy. Former Pocono winners like Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards that are winless in 2012 need a victory just to get into the wild card conversation, while Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch could all use a second win to feel a little more secure about their playoff chances.

Overall, Sunday's race should provide a lot of drama, especially by Pocono's standards. Yes, tough passing conditions and long green flag runs will be still be an issue, but there are a lot of different agendas at work. Between the drivers at the top of the standings that can afford to gamble for wins and a few more bonus points toward the Chase and the drivers outside the top 10 that can't afford not to gamble for wins, it should be interesting to see who ends up celebrating in Victory Lane.

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

 

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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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