Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Food City 500

by Brian Polking on March 16, 2013 @ 12:55:26 PDT

 


A good weekend keeps getting better for Kyle Busch as he followed up his record-breaking pole run Friday by topping the charts in the opening practice session Saturday at Bristol. He already has five career victories at the track and owns a series-leading 8.4 average finish in the last 10 races. The fact that he has been blazing fast on the stopwatch all weekend only makes him that much more of an attractive fantasy option. Plain and simple, you are going to want to try to get Busch into your lineup Sunday.

Of course, he wasn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver that made noise in the first practice. His teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin slid in right behind Busch, giving JGR a clean sweep at the top of the charts. From a fantasy standpoint, Kenseth and Hamlin could offer just as much value as Busch. After all, Hamlin won at Bristol last summer. Meanwhile, Kenseth is a two-time winner at the track and has eight top-10s in his last 10 starts. During the stretch, his 11.4 average finish at Bristol is second only to Busch's 8.4 mark.

Kyle Busch

While the JGR trio dominated the session, Jeff Burton and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top five. With seven top-20 finishes in his last eight Bristol starts, Burton does have some fantasy value this weekend because of his consistency. That being said, the upside is definitely with Kahne. He has finished 11th or better in four of his last five starts at the track, and he should be hungry for a win after coming up short at Las Vegas last weekend despite having the fastest car most of the afternoon.

In terms of 10-lap average speeds, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski were the class of the field in the first session. It would be somewhat fitting if Sunday's race ended up being decided between the two of them, considering they have combined to win four of the last five races at the track with Keselowski taking two of the last three. Both drivers should be excellent fantasy plays this weekend.

Not much changed in Happy Hour as Kyle Busch once again paced the field. Kenseth, Hamlin and Kahne all joined him in the top five for the second straight session, while Keselowski posted the sixth-fastest lap. It was more of the same on longer runs, as well. Hamlin actually posted the best 10-lap average speed in the final practice, but Busch, Keselowski and Kahne all popped up in the top five yet again. Based on practice times, the three JGR drivers, along with Kahne and Keselowski, are the favorites to get to Victory Lane.

Another big name worth considering for your roster this weekend is Jimmie Johnson. While he didn't crack the top five in either practice Saturday, he did rank in the top 10 in terms of fastest laps and 10-lap average speeds in both sessions. Throw in the fact that he has five top-five finishes and seven top-10s in his last eight Bristol starts, and there is no reason to expect anything less than a strong run from the current points leader.

As far as sleeper options go, Burton and his Richard Childress Racing teammates could deliver solid results this weekend. In addition to posting one of the five fastest laps in the first practice, Burton also posted one of the five best 10-lap average speeds in both sessions. Meanwhile, Menard followed a top-15 showing in the first practice by cracking the top 10 in Happy Hour. He also ranked in the top 10 in terms of 10-lap average speeds. With three top-10s in his last four starts at Bristol anyway, Menard's practice times could be a pretty good indicator of where he will finish Sunday.

If you are looking for a serious long shot that could deliver surprising results, you may want to roll the dice with Casey Mears. For one, he is starting in the top 15, so he shouldn't be in danger of getting lapped in the early stages of the race. More importantly, Mears showed some muscle on longer runs, ranking sixth in terms of 10-lap average speed in the first practice Saturday and 12th in Happy Hour. A top-20 finish could be in the works.

Meanwhile, Tony Stewart lands on the list of big names to avoid for the second week in a row after another dismal showing in practice. He ranked 30th in the first session and only jumped to finish 25th in Happy Hour. "Smoke" didn't show any muscle on longer runs, either. While he did salvage an 11th-place finish at Las Vegas last weekend, he entered that race as the defending winner. He enters Bristol with five straight finishes outside the top 10 at the track, so it could be a little tougher to play damage control.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
15.372
124.824
86
2
5
Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevrolet
15.395
124.638
92
3
38
David Gilliland A&W All American Food Ford
15.395
124.638
64
4
20
Matt Kenseth Home Depot/Husky Toyota
15.397
124.622
66
5
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
15.399
124.605
85
6
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
15.411
124.508
84
7
9
Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
15.437
124.299
56
8
55
Brian Vickers RK Motors Toyota
15.439
124.283
94
9
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
15.448
124.210
97
10
27
Paul Menard Menards/Sylvania Chevrolet
15.450
124.194
72
11
16
Greg Biffle 3M Ford
15.458
124.130
81
12
51
A.J. Allmendinger Guy Roofing Chevrolet
15.462
124.098
64
13
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Best Buy Ford
15.472
124.018
69
14
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
15.479
123.961
83
15
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row/Beautyrest Chevrolet
15.482
123.937
78
16
22
Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
15.490
123.873
86
17
13
Casey Mears GEICO Ford
15.492
123.857
65
18
15
Clint Bowyer NAPA Filters Toyota
15.498
123.810
104
19
31
Jeff Burton Cheerios Chevrolet
15.504
123.762
94
20
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
15.505
123.754
68
21
1
Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet
15.525
123.594
89
22
43
Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford
15.536
123.507
83
23
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
15.539
123.483
65
24
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
15.548
123.411
73
25
14
Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
15.552
123.380
68
26
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target/Mountain Dew Chevrolet
15.560
123.316
77
27
30
David Stremme Swan Energy Toyota
15.562
123.300
54
28
39
Ryan Newman Haas Automation Chevrolet
15.571
123.229
77
29
36
J.J. Yeley United Mining Equipment Chevrolet
15.597
123.024
82
30
47
Bobby Labonte Bush's Beans Toyota
15.611
122.913
68
31
83
David Reutimann Burger King/Dr.Pepper Toyota
15.620
122.843
62
32
99
Carl Edwards Kellogg's/Frosted Flakes Ford
15.623
122.819
48
33
7
Dave Blaney Sany Chevrolet
15.627
122.787
63
34
19
Mike Bliss Plinker Tactical Toyota
15.630
122.764
9
35
10
Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
15.636
122.717
57
36
35
Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford
15.641
122.678
59
37
33
Landon Cassill Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet
15.650
122.607
59
38
93
Travis Kvapil Burger King/Dr.Pepper Toyota
15.654
122.576
77
39
95
Scott Speed Sin City Motorsports Ford
15.776
121.628
18
40
32
Terry Labonte OXY Water Ford
15.795
121.481
61
41
98
Michael McDowell Phil Parsons Racing Ford
15.814
121.336
9
42
87
Joe Nemechek MaddiesPlaceRocks.com Toyota
15.851
121.052
36
43
34
David Ragan Dockside Logistics Ford
0.000
0.000
0

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
11
Denny Hamlin
1
10
123.482
2
18
Kyle Busch
23
32
123.444
3
31
Jeff Burton
22
31
123.398
4
2
Brad Keselowski
2
11
123.368
5
5
Kasey Kahne
2
11
123.345
6
38
David Gilliland
1
10
123.263
7
56
Martin Truex Jr.
11
20
123.206
8
27
Paul Menard
1
10
123.178
9
48
Jimmie Johnson
1
10
123.095
10
78
Kurt Busch
1
10
123.052
11
20
Matt Kenseth
10
19
123.003
12
13
Casey Mears
1
10
122.905
13
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
58
67
122.775
14
39
Ryan Newman
1
10
122.77
15
16
Greg Biffle
31
40
122.726
16
15
Clint Bowyer
63
72
122.692
17
29
Kevin Harvick
9
18
122.692
18
51
A.J. Allmendinger
10
19
122.649
19
1
Jamie McMurray
1
10
122.647
20
55
Brian Vickers
1
10
122.592
21
9
Marcos Ambrose
34
43
122.437
22
22
Joey Logano
47
56
122.343
23
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
122.116
24
14
Tony Stewart
36
45
122.054
25
43
Aric Almirola
42
51
121.848
26
36
J.J. Yeley
2
11
121.707
27
47
Bobby Labonte
39
48
121.626
28
83
David Reutimann
51
60
121.604
29
93
Travis Kvapil
3
12
121.412
30
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
51
121.412
31
35
Josh Wise
18
27
121.337
32
30
David Stremme
26
35
121.336
33
32
Terry Labonte
2
11
120.502
34
10
Danica Patrick
39
48
120.335
35
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
47
56
119.823

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
18
Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota
15.249
125.831
63
2
20
Matt Kenseth Home Depot/Husky Toyota
15.259
125.749
60
3
11
Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
15.270
125.658
47
4
31
Jeff Burton Cheerios Chevrolet
15.277
125.601
83
5
5
Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevrolet
15.279
125.584
59
6
29
Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet
15.288
125.510
72
7
24
Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
15.294
125.461
57
8
1
Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet
15.296
125.445
64
9
78
Kurt Busch Furniture Row/Beautyrest Chevrolet
15.305
125.371
74
10
48
Jimmie Johnson Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet
15.316
125.281
48
11
22
Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
15.318
125.264
75
12
2
Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford
15.320
125.248
86
13
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Best Buy Ford
15.322
125.232
53
14
27
Paul Menard Menards/Sylvania Chevrolet
15.326
125.199
65
15
15
Clint Bowyer NAPA Filters Toyota
15.326
125.199
45
16
56
Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
15.327
125.191
43
17
16
Greg Biffle 3M Ford
15.337
125.109
55
18
9
Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford
15.347
125.028
70
19
42
Juan Pablo Montoya Target/Mountain Dew Chevrolet
15.348
125.020
68
20
51
A.J. Allmendinger Guy Roofing Chevrolet
15.359
124.930
66
21
43
Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford
15.363
124.897
68
22
13
Casey Mears GEICO Ford
15.370
124.841
55
23
55
Brian Vickers RK Motors Toyota
15.380
124.759
37
24
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet
15.403
124.573
54
25
19
Mike Bliss Plinker Tactical Toyota
15.411
124.508
6
26
30
David Stremme Swan Energy Toyota
15.427
124.379
36
27
39
Ryan Newman Haas Automation Chevrolet
15.429
124.363
39
28
10
Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
15.431
124.347
60
29
38
David Gilliland A&W All American Food Ford
15.449
124.202
35
30
14
Tony Stewart Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
15.473
124.010
66
31
93
Travis Kvapil Burger King/Dr.Pepper Toyota
15.477
123.978
48
32
7
Dave Blaney Sany Chevrolet
15.483
123.929
43
33
83
David Reutimann Burger King/Dr.Pepper Toyota
15.486
123.905
57
34
99
Carl Edwards Kellogg's/Frosted Flakes Ford
15.491
123.865
42
35
36
J.J. Yeley United Mining Equipment Chevrolet
15.559
123.324
76
36
98
Michael McDowell Phil Parsons Racing Ford
15.563
123.292
25
37
35
Josh Wise MDS Transport Ford
15.564
123.285
44
38
47
Bobby Labonte Bush's Beans Toyota
15.674
122.419
51
39
34
David Ragan Dockside Logistics Ford
15.688
122.310
30
40
95
Scott Speed Sin City Motorsports Ford
15.766
121.705
5
41
32
Terry Labonte OXY Water Ford
15.820
121.290
38
42
33
Landon Cassill Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet
16.113
119.084
14

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
18
Kyle Busch
2
11
124.874
2
2
Brad Keselowski
2
11
124.702
3
22
Joey Logano
2
11
124.475
4
31
Jeff Burton
50
59
124.112
5
20
Matt Kenseth
2
11
124.053
6
13
Casey Mears
3
12
123.994
7
15
Clint Bowyer
25
34
123.987
8
48
Jimmie Johnson
2
11
123.855
9
29
Kevin Harvick
44
53
123.708
10
38
David Gilliland
3
12
123.641
11
51
A.J. Allmendinger
44
53
123.618
12
17
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
36
45
123.511
13
39
Ryan Newman
2
11
123.458
14
24
Jeff Gordon
1
10
123.345
15
27
Paul Menard
35
44
123.331
16
43
Aric Almirola
36
45
123.301
17
78
Kurt Busch
47
56
123.136
18
5
Kasey Kahne
41
50
123.013
19
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
31
40
123.002
20
14
Tony Stewart
37
46
122.943
21
1
Jamie McMurray
42
51
122.881
22
36
J.J. Yeley
18
27
122.397
23
10
Danica Patrick
47
56
122.378
24
11
Denny Hamlin
36
45
122.311
25
99
Carl Edwards
26
35
122.229
26
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
45
54
122.174
27
83
David Reutimann
41
50
122.163
28
9
Marcos Ambrose
41
50
122.146
29
16
Greg Biffle
45
54
121.943
30
47
Bobby Labonte
36
45
120.847

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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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