Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Hollywood Casino 400

by Brian Polking on October 20, 2012 @ 16:15:15 PDT

 


Aric Almirola

Plenty of attention has been given to the high speeds being produced on the repaved surface at Kansas Speedway this weekend, but despite the changes, it was a familiar name topping the charts in the first race-trim practice at the 1.5-mile track Saturday afternoon. Two-time Kansas winner Greg Biffle was the only driver to top 186 mph in the session, and his record on the track's old surface was phenomenal. Biffle has 11 straight top-12 finishes at Kansas, and his 8.0 average finish in the second best in the series. More importantly, he has finished third or better six times. Based on his practice times, it doesn't appear that his streak of strong runs is going to stop this weekend.

Aric Almirola was the surprise of the practice, posting the second-fastest lap. Although he finished an unspectacular 23rd in his Kansas debut earlier this year, there are signs that point to Almirola being a decent sleeper play this weekend. He has finished in the top 20 in the last three races, including a 12th-place run at Charlotte last Saturday. Like Charlotte, Kansas is a 1.5-mile oval, and while the tracks aren't identical, they are somewhat comparable. Don't be surprised to see Almirola sneak into the top 20 this weekend.

The rest of the top five was rounded out by heavy hitters Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. In addition to winning the pole for Sunday's race, Kahne finished second at Kansas last fall and eighth earlier this year. Meanwhile, Kenseth has finished seventh or better in four straight starts at Kansas, including back-to-back fourth-place finishes. Truex doesn't have the career numbers of either Kahne or Kenseth, but he did lead the most laps and finish second at Kansas earlier this year. Kahne is probably the best option of the bunch, but all three could make solid additions to fantasy rosters.

Only three drivers ran at least 10 consecutive laps in the opening session, and Jimmie Johnson was the fastest of the bunch. He is also the defending winner of this weekend's race, and in 12 starts at Kansas, he leads all drivers with a 7.9 average finish. Johnson has also finished in the top 10 in his last seven starts at the track, including a third-place finish earlier this year. Pencil him in as an elite fantasy option once again.

In Happy Hour, many of the same drivers remained at the top of the charts. Kenseth posted the fastest lap, and Johnson, Kahne and Truex also cracked the top five. The one newcomer to the group was Regan Smith, and he could make a strong sleeper pick this weekend. Subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the second week in a row, he put down the second-fastest lap in final practice. Smith also posted the fastest lap in a testing session held earlier in the week on the track's new surface. Smith was running in the top 10 last weekend at Charlotte when he blew an engine, and since Hendrick Motorsports equipment doesn't usually fail two weeks in a row, Smith could be in store for a solid afternoon in the No. 88.

Martin was the fastest driver in the final session in terms of 10-lap average speeds, while championship front runners Bowyer, Johnson and Keselowski also cracked the top five. Martin is a former Kansas winner, and he finished in the top 10 at the track last fall. Starting second Sunday, there is no reason the veteran can't pick up another top-10. Meanwhile, Keselowski has enjoyed a great run at Kansas recently, posting a 5.0 average finish in his last three starts and winning at the track last season. Coming off a race at Charlotte when he ran out of fuel and gave up some of his lead in the standings, look for Keselowski to bounce back in a big way.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper option outside of Almirola may want to consider A.J. Allmendinger. The former Penske Championship Racing driver has also benefitted from Junior's concussion, filling in for Smith in the No. 51. Allmendinger ranked in the top 15 in both practice sessions Saturday, and in six starts at Kansas in his career, he has two top-10s. A top-10 is probably a reach this weekend, but Allmendinger could sneak into the top 20.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
17
Ford
Zest
182.760
29.547
23
2
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
182.550
29.581
34
3
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
182.543
29.582
47
4
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
182.506
29.588
45
5
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
182.482
29.592
26
6
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
182.451
29.597
33
7
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
182.445
29.598
34
8
27
Chevrolet
Menards/CertainTeed
182.303
29.621
32
9
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
182.168
29.643
32
10
11
Toyota
FedEx Freight
182.113
29.652
38
11
20
Toyota
Dollar General
182.088
29.656
31
12
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
182.088
29.656
30
13
16
Ford
3M/Sherwin Williams
182.076
29.658
45
14
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction
182.045
29.663
34
15
18
Toyota
M&M's Halloween
182.014
29.668
33
16
15
Toyota
5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women
181.720
29.716
38
17
79
Ford
Bestway Disposal/Re-Load.biz
181.678
29.723
8
18
39
Chevrolet
Code 3 Associates
181.629
29.731
43
19
99
Ford
Fastenal
181.580
29.739
31
20
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
181.531
29.747
30
21
9
Ford
Black & Decker
181.531
29.747
30
22
21
Ford
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
181.433
29.763
28
23
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
181.421
29.765
21
24
1
Chevrolet
Bass Pro Shops/Arctic Cat
181.318
29.782
30
25
43
Ford
Farmland
181.305
29.784
18
26
29
Chevrolet
Budweiser
181.269
29.790
24
27
42
Chevrolet
Taylor Swift/Target
181.232
29.796
26
28
95
Ford
B&D Electrical
181.020
29.831
10
29
24
Chevrolet
DuPont
180.850
29.859
39
30
31
Chevrolet
Caterpillar
180.820
29.864
33
31
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
180.741
29.877
35
32
34
Ford
Client One Securities, LLC
180.222
29.963
21
33
47
Toyota
Kingsford
180.168
29.972
40
34
37
Chevrolet
MaxQworkforce.com
179.982
30.003
4
35
38
Ford
Long John Silver's
179.766
30.039
19
36
19
Toyota
Plinker Tactical/Crowne Plaza
179.748
30.042
7
37
13
Ford
GEICO
179.289
30.119
9
38
191
Toyota
Plinker Tactical/Crowne Plaza
179.164
30.140
13
39
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
179.128
30.146
2
40
32
Ford
Southern Pride Trucking/U.S. Chrome
178.737
30.212
30
41
10
Chevrolet
GoDaddy.com
178.719
30.215
26
42
36
Chevrolet
TBR/TMone
177.398
30.440
3
43
98
Ford
K-Love/Curb Records
-
-
-

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
55
17
26
180.940
2
27
1
10
180.483
3
15
7
16
180.363
4
48
2
11
180.257
5
2
1
10
180.147
6
39
1
10
179.965
7
20
17
26
179.738
8
5
25
34
179.645
9
43
9
18
179.539
10
11
28
37
179.506
11
1
2
11
179.129
12
24
27
36
179.034
13
31
9
18
178.960
14
18
13
22
178.589
15
9
18
27
178.333
16
16
34
43
178.040
17
47
28
37
177.999
18
78
20
29
177.430

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
16
Ford
3M/Sherwin Williams
186.156
29.008
27
2
43
Ford
Farmland
185.854
29.055
34
3
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
185.727
29.075
36
4
17
Ford
Zest
185.573
29.099
25
5
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
185.370
29.131
24
6
18
Toyota
M&M's Halloween
185.255
29.149
31
7
99
Ford
Fastenal
185.223
29.154
24
8
20
Toyota
Dollar General
184.913
29.203
34
9
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction
184.837
29.215
29
10
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
184.767
29.226
17
11
21
Ford
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
184.710
29.235
21
12
11
Toyota
FedEx Freight
184.704
29.236
29
13
39
Chevrolet
Code 3 Associates
184.559
29.259
24
14
15
Toyota
5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women
184.559
29.259
26
15
14
Chevrolet
Office Depot/Mobil 1
184.540
29.262
20
16
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
184.193
29.317
29
17
24
Chevrolet
DuPont
184.074
29.336
30
18
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Farm American
183.974
29.352
25
19
9
Ford
Black & Decker
183.968
29.353
26
20
13
Ford
GEICO
183.924
29.360
26
21
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
183.917
29.361
28
22
1
Chevrolet
Bass Pro Shops/Arctic Cat
183.699
29.396
31
23
27
Chevrolet
Menards/CertainTeed
183.667
29.401
23
24
88
Chevrolet
National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew
183.648
29.404
27
25
34
Ford
Client One Securities, LLC
183.642
29.405
22
26
29
Chevrolet
Budweiser
183.505
29.427
32
27
22
Dodge
Shell/Pennzoil
183.349
29.452
15
28
87
Toyota
AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
183.169
29.481
9
29
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
183.150
29.484
23
30
31
Chevrolet
Caterpillar
182.939
29.518
26
31
79
Ford
Bestway Disposal/Re-Load.biz
182.908
29.523
4
32
47
Toyota
Kingsford
182.809
29.539
20
33
95
Ford
B&D Electrical
182.723
29.553
9
34
42
Chevrolet
Taylor Swift/Target
182.648
29.565
8
35
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
182.506
29.588
24
36
36
Chevrolet
TBR/TMone
182.383
29.608
6
37
98
Ford
K-Love/Curb Records
181.427
29.764
5
38
38
Ford
Long John Silver's
181.366
29.774
11
39
19
Toyota
Plinker Tactical/Crowne Plaza
180.626
29.896
19
40
37
Chevrolet
MaxQworkforce.com
180.331
29.945
5
41
10
Chevrolet
GoDaddy.com
179.491
30.085
26
42
32
Ford
Southern Pride Trucking/U.S. Chrome
179.360
30.107
21
43
91
Toyota
Plinker Tactical/Crowne Plaza
179.194
30.135
7

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
48
8
17
182.475
2
29
10
19
181.703
3
13
2
11
180.614

 

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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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