Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Party in the Poconos 400

by Brian Polking on June 8, 2013 @ 12:05:00 PDT

 


Jimmie Johnson was already sitting atop the driver rankings for Pocono heading into the weekend, and Mother Nature helped ensure he remains there in the final rankings. Qualifying for Sunday's race was rained out, putting Johnson on the pole at a track where clean air is crucial and where 10 of the last 11 winners have started in the top 15. Now, the two-time Pocono winner is in prime position to improve on his series-leading 9.0 average finish at the track. Throw in the facts that Johnson topped the charts in the first practice Saturday and has finished outside the top 15 just once in 22 Pocono starts, and fantasy owners are going to be hard-pressed to find a safer option this weekend.

Player Name
Thanks to Jared, Mother Nature

Another driver who benefited from the rain was Carl Edwards. In fact, Edwards climbs to the No. 2 spot in the final rankings thanks in part to being awarded a spot on the front row for the start of Sunday's race. Of course, it also helps that Edwards is a two-time winner at Pocono and has finished 12th or better in five of his last six starts at the track, including three straight. Not to mention the fact that he posted the second-fastest time in Saturday's first practice session. Don't be surprised if Edwards runs near the front most of the afternoon en route to a solid finish.

Add Kyle Busch to the list of drivers who was smiling when the clouds rolled in Friday. He has run hot and cold at Pocono throughout his career, but he does have three finishes of third or better in his last six starts. With the rain awarding him a top-10 starting spot, Busch should be able to stay out of the heavy traffic that has given him trouble in the past. Throw in the top-10 practice speeds, and Busch moves back into the top 10 in the final rankings. Pocono still isn't his strongest track, but the potential reward is always high with Busch, especially with him starting near the front.

On the flip side, Friday's bad weather probably wasn't what Tony Stewart wanted to see, but "Smoke" still lands in the top 10 of the final rankings. Even though he will start 19th Sunday, he practiced in the top 10 Saturday, and history says he will get to the front. Stewart is a two-time Pocono winner, and he has finished 11th or better in eight of his last nine starts at the track. During the stretch, he has tallied six top-five finishes, including five finishes of third or better. It was a painfully slow start for Stewart in 2013, but he did win last weekend at Dover, and he could continue to make amends with fantasy owners this weekend at one of his best tracks.

The rain likely cost Juan Pablo Montoya some track position, as well, but fantasy owners should still consider him a potential sleeper option this weekend. He ends up in the top in the top 15 in the final rankings despite the poor starting spot, but there are plenty of other reasons to like his chances. Montoya has been running well lately and has picked up all three of his top-10s this year in the last five races. He also ranked in the top 10 in the first practice Saturday and has four top-10s in his last eight starts at Pocono. Don't forget that he nearly won last weekend at Dover, and he could sneak into the top 10 again Sunday.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
1
2
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Fastenal Roush Fenway Racing
2
3
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
10
4
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
17
5
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
5
6
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Stewart-Haas Racing
19
7
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
8
8
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
7
9
Matt Kenseth
20
Toyota Dollar General Joe Gibbs Racing
4
10
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
20
11
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew Hendrick Motorsports
6
12
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
11
13
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet Quicken Loans Stewart-Haas Racing
23
14
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
3
15
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Target Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
25
16
Joey Logano
22
Ford Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
21
17
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
15
18
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
13
19
Mark Martin
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
14
20
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
9
21
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet McDonald's Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
22
22
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
26
23
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Smithfield Richard Petty Motorsports
12
24
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
24
25
A.J. Allmendinger
51
Chevrolet Guy Roofing Phoenix Racing
18
26
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
16
27
David Gilliland
38
Ford Love's Travel Stops Front Row Motorsports
31
28
David Reutimann
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
34
29
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kroger JTG Daugherty Racing
29
30
Danica Patrick
10
Chevrolet GoDaddy.com Stewart-Haas Racing
30
31
David Ragan
34
Ford Detail Doctor Front Row Motorsports
28
32
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
27
33
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
39
34
Landon Cassill
33
Chevrolet Honey Nut Cheerios Richard Childress Racing
37
35
Dave Blaney
7
Chevrolet Florida Lottery Tommy Baldwin Racing
32
36
David Stremme
30
Toyota Swan Racing Swan Racing
33
37
Jason Leffler
19
Toyota Plinker Tactical Humphrey Smith Racing
42
38
Timmy Hill
32
Ford C & J Energy Services FAS Lane Racing
38
39
J.J. Yeley
36
Chevrolet Golden Corral Tommy Baldwin Racing
35
40
Scott Riggs
44
Ford No Label Xxxtreme Motorsports
43
41
Josh Wise
35
Ford Blockbuster.com Front Row Motorsports
36
42
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy NEMCO-JRR Motorsports
40
43
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Ambient Edge HVAC Phil Parsons Racing
41

Facebook Twitter Google +

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.

Don't miss these great reports....


What do you think? Sound off!



Recent KFFL releases