Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Sylvania 300

by Brian Polking on September 22, 2012 @ 16:27:14 PDT

 


Denny Hamlin
Last weekend, Jeff Gordon's championship hopes got off to a rough start as a stuck throttle turned what was likely a top-five run in a disastrous opener to the Chase. In qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Friday, the four-time champ took a big first step in getting his postseason back on track by grabbing the pole for Sunday's race. He already had a series-leading 7.5 average finish at NHMS in the past 10 races, and considering three of the last four races at the track have been won by a driver starting on the front row, there is a lot for fantasy owners to love about Gordon this weekend.

Gordon wasn't the only intriguing fantasy option to qualify up front. Kyle Busch will join Gordon on the front row, defending race winner Tony Stewart qualified third, and Kasey Kahne qualified sixth. Stewart has to be considered the top option out of the bunch. He is a three-time winner at New Hampshire, and his 8.4 average finish at the track in the last 10 races is the second best in the series. Coming off a win in the July race, Kahne isn't far behind. Busch, on the other hand, is a bit of a wild card. However, he is a former winner at New Hampshire, and he showed last weekend at Chicagoland that he isn't going to collapse down the stretch just because he missed the Chase. With most fantasy owners likely to stick with the championship contenders, Busch could be an excellent option for anyone looking to gain ground in their league.

Of course, not all the big names had success in qualifying, and Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin are among the drivers starting 20th or worse Sunday. Hamlin's poor effort was particularly notable because it occurred after his team forgot to switch the tire pressure over to qualifying trim. Fortunately, history has shown that with a fast car and a good pit strategy, a driver can win from just about any starting spot. Johnson is a three-time winner at New Hampshire, and he has finished in the top 10 in eight of his last 10 races at the track. Hamlin is a former winner, as well, and he has finished third or better in three of his last four New Hampshire starts. Despite starting deeper in the field, owners should feel free to add both Johnson and Hamlin to their rosters this weekend.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper pick this weekend need to look no further than Brian Vickers. He qualified fourth for Sunday's race, he finished fifth at New Hampshire last fall, and he finished in the top 15 at the track earlier this year. Not to mention that Vickers has been rock solid in his six previous starts with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012, posting three top-five finishes and a 14.8 average finish. Throw out an engine failure at Watkins Glen, and he would have an 8.1 average finish this season. Vickers has been getting it done all year in his part-time role, and a top-10 finish isn't out of the question this weekend.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Plinker Team
Starting Pos
1
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
32
2
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
3
3
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
20
4
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
12
5
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
2
6
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
6
7
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
1
8
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
15
9
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
14
10
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
9
11
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
13
12
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
16
13
Brian Vickers
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
4
14
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
18
15
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
8
16
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
5
17
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
25
18
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
7
19
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
11
20
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
21
21
Sam Hornish Jr.
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
10
22
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
29
23
Kurt Busch
51
Chevrolet Tag Heuer Phoenix Racing
23
24
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Clorox Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
24
25
Regan Smith
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
22
26
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Medallion Financial Richard Petty Motorsports
19
27
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kingsford JTG Daugherty Racing
17
28
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
28
29
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
33
30
David Ragan
34
Ford 8-Hour Alert Front Row Motorsports
26
31
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
30
32
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
37
33
J.J. Yeley
37
Chevrolet TBA Max Q Motorsports
40
34
David Reutimann
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
34
35
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
41
36
Mike Olsen
32
Ford C&J Energy FAS Lane Racing
42
37
David Stremme
30
Toyota Inception Motorsports Inception Motorsports
43
38
Reed Sorenson
91
Toyota Plinker Tactical Humphrey Smith Racing
35
39
Stephen Leicht
33
Chevrolet LittleJoesAutos.com Richard Childress Racing
39
40
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Phil Parsons Racing Phil Parsons Racing
31
41
Scott Speed
95
Ford Jordan Truck Sales Leavine Family Racing
27
42
Kelly Bires
79
Ford BBI/Bestway Go Green Racing
38
43
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy NEMCO Motorsports
36

 

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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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