Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Daytona 500

by Brian Polking on February 23, 2013 @ 17:55:18 PDT

 


The practice schedule for the Daytona 500 is unlike any other race. Instead of two or three sessions the weekend of the race, there are seven separate sessions spread out over Speed weeks. As a result, nearly every team has a different agenda, practicing in certain sessions and sitting out others all together. Throw in the fact that speeds are a little misleading anyway because of the draft, and practice times at Daytona aren't exactly the best indicators of which drivers will run well on race day. Still, it's never a bad thing to know which drivers are comfortable enough with their cars to put down fast laps in the traffic. On that note, let's check out the times from the final two sessions of the weekend.

Tony Stewart

In Friday's final practice, Tony Stewart was the fastest of the 22 cars that took the track. If you're a NASCAR fan, you already know that the Daytona 500 is about the only thing missing from Stewart's racing resume. However, failing to win the "Great American Race" hasn't hurt his fantasy value at Daytona. He is a four-time winner of the July event, and his 19 wins at the track between all series are the second most in NASCAR history. More importantly, Stewart's 12.5 average finish in the last 20 Cup races at Daytona is the best in the series. No one is safe at Daytona, but Stewart has certainly proven to as reliable as any option available for fantasy owners.

Looking at the rest of the top five in Friday's final session, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne stand out as two drivers owners may want to add to their rosters this weekend. Kenseth is the defending winner of the Daytona 500, and he is riding a streak of three straight top-three finishes at Daytona. With seven finishes of eighth or better in his last nine Daytona starts, he definitely has momentum on his side. Kahne, on the other hand, has finished seventh or better in three straight July races at the track and could be ready to deliver a similar result in Sunday's Daytona 500. In addition to posting the fourth-fastest lap in Friday's practice, Kahne also posted the best 10-lap average speed in the session and finished second in his Budweiser Duel 150 Thursday.

Last but not least, owners looking for a sleeper option have to consider Danica Patrick. Plain and simple, the pole sitter has a fast car. Yes, she is inexperienced. Yes, only nine pole winners have gone on to win the Daytona 500. Still, she has been putting down fast laps since Speed weeks began. Patrick continued the trend and posted the third-fastest lap Friday and the second-best 10-lap average speed. At a track that is unpredictable anyway, a driver with a fast car like Patrick has a chance to make some noise.

Happy Hour was held Saturday morning, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the charts. Junior's plate track credentials are among the best in the series, and two of his seven superspeedway wins have come at Daytona. He has also been close to adding a second Daytona 500 win in recent years, finishing second in two of the last three season openers. Junior knows how to use the draft as well as anyone, and he is always a threat at Daytona.

Clint Bowyer also looked solid in the final practice. He posted the third-fastest lap of the 33 cars and the fifth-best 10-lap average speed of the 14 cars that qualified. Bowyer has been solid at Daytona over the years and downright dominant at Talladega at times. He is definitely emerging as one of the better plate track drivers in the series, and he could cement that status with a win Sunday. Either way, Bowyer has a chance to be a rock solid addition to fantasy rosters this week.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
45.319
198.592
11
2
38
David Gilliland Love's Travel Stops Ford
45.358
198.421
13
3
15
Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota
45.399
198.242
12
4
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
45.421
198.146
8
5
43
Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford
45.446
198.037
18
6
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
45.485
197.867
19
7
99
Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
45.533
197.659
16
8
55
Mark Martin Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
45.534
197.654
24
9
56
Martin Truex Jr NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
45.573
197.485
13
10
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Best Buy Ford
45.584
197.438
8
11
39
Ryan Newman Quicken Loans Chevrolet
45.586
197.429
27
12
16
Greg Biffle 3M Ford
45.742
196.756
8
13
36
J.J. Yeley Golden Corral Chevrolet
45.914
196.019
16
14
26
Michael Waltrip Sandy Hook School Support Fund Toyota
45.949
195.869
18
15
5
Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
45.982
195.729
6
16
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
46.128
195.109
11
17
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
46.153
195.004
23
18
22
Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
46.187
194.860
23
19
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
46.187
194.860
10
20
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
46.200
194.805
7
21
35
Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford
46.403
193.953
13
22
31
Jeff Burton Caterpillar Chevrolet
46.442
193.790
13
23
98
Michael McDowell K-Love/Curb Records Ford
46.486
193.607
15
24
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet
46.521
193.461
27
25
93
Travis Kvapil Burger King Toyota
46.619
193.054
18
26
34
David Ragan Detail Doctor Ford
46.683
192.790
6
27
83
David Reutimann Burger King Toyota
46.726
192.612
22
28
33
Austin Dillon Honeynut Cheerios Chevrolet
46.999
191.493
7
29
7
Dave Blaney Florida Lottery Chevrolet
47.017
191.420
15
30
27
Paul Menard Menards/Peak Chevrolet
47.041
191.322
12
31
95
Scott Speed Leavine Family Racing Ford
47.308
190.243
9
32
51
Regan Smith Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
47.331
190.150
23
33
47
Bobby Labonte Kroger Toyota
47.558
189.243
7

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
43
Aric Almirola
2
11
196.195
2
99
Carl Edwards
1
10
196.132
3
55
Mark Martin
2
11
195.937
4
56
Martin Truex Jr
2
11
195.894
5
15
Clint Bowyer
2
11
195.768
6
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2
11
195.745
7
39
Ryan Newman
2
11
194.983
8
22
Joey Logano
1
10
193.965
9
2
Brad Keselowski
1
10
193.852
10
78
Kurt Busch
18
27
191.544
11
26
Michael Waltrip
2
11
191.334
12
29
Kevin Harvick
1
10
190.923
13
36
J.J. Yeley
7
16
189.685
14
98
Michael McDowell
1
10
189.595

Sixth Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
14
Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
45.655
197.131
28
2
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
45.668
197.075
31
3
10
Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet
45.683
197.010
32
4
5
Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet
45.711
196.889
37
5
20
Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota
45.827
196.391
17
6
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota
45.832
196.369
24
7
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
45.873
196.194
20
8
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
45.874
196.190
23
9
39
Ryan Newman Quicken Loans Chevrolet
45.934
195.933
20
10
16
Greg Biffle 3M Ford
46.014
195.593
6
11
9
Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford
46.332
194.250
19
12
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
46.653
192.914
19
13
1
Jamie McMurray McDonald's Chevrolet
46.720
192.637
7
14
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Best Buy Ford
46.953
191.681
12
15
99
Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
46.974
191.595
14
16
56
Martin Truex Jr NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
46.983
191.559
19
17
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet
47.090
191.123
14
18
95
Scott Speed Leavine Family Racing Ford
47.254
190.460
6
19
21
Trevor Bayne Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford
47.499
189.478
4
20
32
Terry Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford
47.560
189.235
15
21
51
Regan Smith Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
48.154
186.900
2
22
87
Joe Nemechek MaddiesPlaceRocks.com/D.A.B. Toyota
48.247
186.540
2

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
5
Kasey Kahne
2
11
195.305
2
10
Danica Patrick
5
14
195.258
3
24
Jeff Gordon
2
11
195.210
4
14
Tony Stewart
2
11
195.052
5
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
1
10
194.781
6
39
Ryan Newman
1
10
193.934

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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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