Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Pure Michigan 400

by Brian Polking on August 17, 2013 @ 12:45:16 PDT

 


The good news for Jimmie Johnson is that he was blazing fast in practice at Michigan Saturday, posting the third-fastest lap in the early session and topping the charts in Happy Hour. The bad news is that his run of bad luck at the track continued, and he will start from the rear of the field in a backup car after a late crash in final practice. Of course, Johnson has shown in the past that a backup car won't necessarily slow him down, but there is now a bit of uncertainty. In case Johnson doesn't perform up to his normal standards, fantasy owners may want to save him for another day in formats that limit the number of times a driver can be used.

Kasey Kahne

On the flip side, Johnson's teammate Kasey Kahne is among the drivers that fantasy owners may want to take advantage of this weekend. Kahne cracked the top 10 in the both practices Saturday and was second on the charts in the opening session. He is also a former winner at Michigan, and he has finished second on three other occasions. Kahne finished fourth at MIS last August, and earlier this year, he was leading the race when he cut a tire and slammed the wall. Don't be surprised if he finishes what he started in the June event and ends up in victory lane Sunday. At the very least, Kahne deserves to be considered a top-five option.

Another driver with top-five potential this weekend is Kurt Busch. After turning the sixth-fastest lap in the first practice at Michigan Saturday, he climbed to fourth in the final session. Busch is also a former winner at Michigan, and while he has had trouble the last four races at the track, he has also had plenty of speed. In fact, he was running solidly in the top five throughout the afternoon in the June race at MIS and had led 21 laps before spinning out in traffic and ruining a great day. Busch has another fast car this weekend and is definitely worth adding to fantasy rosters.

Fantasy owners that are willing to gamble a bit in an attempt to gain ground in their leagues may want to consider Juan Pablo Montoya this weekend. He was arguably the most impressive driver during practice Saturday, posting the fourth-fastest lap in the first session and the second-fastest lap in Happy Hour. Montoya's overall record at Michigan isn't impressive, and in 13 starts, he has managed just three top-10s finishes. However, he definitely has one of the faster cars heading into Sunday's race. Owners willing to take the risk could catch lightning in a bottle.

For those owners that would prefer to go the conservative route, Clint Bowyer is the perfect option. He was rock solid in both practices sessions Saturday, ranking ninth and eighth. Meanwhile, he has finished eighth or better in five straight starts at Michigan, including three straight seventh-place finishes. Granted, Bowyer has never finished in the top five at MIS, but he is a safe bet to land somewhere in the top 10 this weekend.

As far as sleeper options are concerned, veteran Jeff Burton might be the best of the bunch. After ranking 14th on the charts in the first practice Saturday, Burton moved up to seventh in Happy Hour. He also finished in the top 10 at MIS in June. Based on his practice times, Burton could end up finishing in or around the top 10 again this weekend.

Meanwhile, youngsters Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. could also be worth a look as sleeper picks this weekend. Dillon is subbing for the injured Tony Stewart this weekend, and he ranked 13th and sixth in the two practice sessions Saturday. He also finished a career-best 11th at the track earlier this year while driving for the No. 33 team. Stenhouse on the other hand ranked 12th and 10th in the two practices Saturday and finished a respectable 16th at MIS in June. Both drivers could end up in the top 15 this weekend.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
199.457
36.098
19
2
42
Chevrolet
Target
198.758
36.225
30
3
16
Ford
First/3M
198.725
36.231
25
4
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Serta
198.451
36.281
37
5
24
Chevrolet
Standox
198.446
36.282
28
6
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops
198.342
36.301
25
7
31
Chevrolet
Cheerios
198.260
36.316
25
8
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
198.189
36.329
25
9
5
Chevrolet
Pepsi Max
198.167
36.333
30
10
17
Ford
Fifth Third
198.091
36.347
28
11
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
198.036
36.357
25
12
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans/PTA
197.851
36.391
27
13
88
Chevrolet
National Guard Youth Foundation
197.819
36.397
33
14
1
Chevrolet
Advil
197.677
36.423
21
15
43
Ford
Eckrich
197.509
36.454
23
16
27
Chevrolet
Nibco/Menards
197.498
36.456
24
17
2
Ford
Miller Lite/Luke Bryan
197.455
36.464
35
18
18
Toyota
Interstate Batteries
197.298
36.493
22
19
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
197.141
36.522
25
20
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
197.141
36.522
19
21
99
Ford
Best Buy Geek Squad/Fastenal
196.980
36.552
15
22
22
Ford
Shell Pennzoil
196.780
36.589
21
23
10
Chevrolet
GoDaddy
196.759
36.593
34
24
9
Ford
DeWalt
196.555
36.631
21
25
13
Ford
Valvoline NextGen
196.464
36.648
18
26
20
Toyota
Dollar General
196.009
36.733
23
27
38
Ford
Long John Silver's
195.913
36.751
27
28
21
Ford
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
195.652
36.800
15
29
11
Toyota
FedEx Freight
195.583
36.813
24
30
51
Chevrolet
South Point Hotel & Casino
195.265
36.873
23
31
47
Ford
Kings Charcoal
195.185
36.888
29
32
34
Ford
Taco Bell
195.117
36.901
14
33
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
194.853
36.951
18
34
95
Ford
194.363
37.044
6
35
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
194.023
37.109
13
36
36
Chevrolet
193.804
37.151
10
37
30
Toyota
Lean1
193.632
37.184
21
38
7
Chevrolet
193.564
37.197
10
39
32
Ford
U.S. Chrome
193.232
37.261
14
40
33
Chevrolet
LittleJoesAutos.com
192.750
37.354
14
41
87
Toyota
Unsponsored
189.399
38.015
11

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
88
1
10
196.656
2
42
6
15
196.609
3
78
8
17
196.514
4
31
1
10
196.113
5
2
4
13
195.798
6
10
2
11
194.069

Second Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Make
Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
29
Chevrolet
Rheem
202.577
35.542
25
2
5
Chevrolet
Pepsi Max
202.338
35.584
27
3
48
Chevrolet
Lowe's
202.304
35.590
28
4
42
Chevrolet
Target
202.077
35.630
26
5
1
Chevrolet
Advil
201.675
35.701
23
6
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row/Serta
201.568
35.720
10
7
55
Toyota
Aaron's Dream Machine
201.551
35.723
18
8
99
Ford
Best Buy Geek Squad/Fastenal
201.489
35.734
16
9
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
201.461
35.739
22
10
56
Toyota
NAPA Auto Parts
201.235
35.779
27
11
18
Toyota
Interstate Batteries
201.218
35.782
31
12
17
Ford
Fifth Third
201.202
35.785
17
13
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops
201.134
35.797
25
14
31
Chevrolet
Cheerios
201.044
35.813
21
15
22
Ford
Shell Pennzoil
201.039
35.814
20
16
43
Ford
Eckrich
200.848
35.848
30
17
88
Chevrolet
National Guard Youth Foundation
200.529
35.905
33
18
16
Ford
First/3M
200.423
35.924
23
19
13
Ford
Valvoline NextGen
200.317
35.943
23
20
24
Chevrolet
Standox
200.178
35.968
31
21
27
Chevrolet
Nibco/Menards
199.983
36.003
23
22
2
Ford
Miller Lite/Luke Bryan
199.906
36.017
19
23
39
Chevrolet
Quicken Loans/PTA
199.767
36.042
19
24
38
Ford
Long John Silver's
199.750
36.045
20
25
9
Ford
DeWalt
199.579
36.076
31
26
20
Toyota
Dollar General
199.529
36.085
20
27
10
Chevrolet
GoDaddy
199.507
36.089
19
28
21
Ford
Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
199.021
36.177
25
29
47
Ford
Kings Charcoal
198.774
36.222
18
30
83
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
198.325
36.304
27
31
34
Ford
Taco Bell
198.194
36.328
19
32
35
Ford
MDS Transport
198.080
36.349
7
33
51
Chevrolet
South Point Hotel & Casino
197.840
36.393
37
34
11
Toyota
FedEx Freight
197.623
36.433
24
35
93
Toyota
Burger King/Dr Pepper
197.222
36.507
15
36
30
Toyota
Lean1
196.528
36.636
16
37
36
Chevrolet
196.191
36.699
5
38
95
Ford
195.977
36.739
6
39
32
Ford
U.S. Chrome
195.849
36.763
13
40
98
Ford
195.477
36.833
7
41
7
Chevrolet
194.626
36.994
10
42
87
Toyota
Unsponsored
193.206
37.266
9
43
33
Chevrolet
LittleJoesAutos.com
192.983
37.309
12

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
48
5
14
200.006
2
43
5
14
199.289
3
24
15
24
199.048
4
55
9
18
198.147

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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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