The following fantasy NASCAR piece is courtesy of our friends at RotoExperts.com.
By: Scott Engel, RotoExperts.com
The Chase for the Cup is on, and that means the Fantasy Racing season is in its all-important final weeks. Here are some helpful facts and interesting quotes from the Chase participants, in order of how I rank them the rest of the way.
Entering the 2008 Chase, he had 11 wins during the Sprint Cup "playoffs," more than any other driver. Johnson is only one of two drivers to make the Chase every year so far. He has remained in the Top 12 for 20 consecutive weeks and has been a Top Five finisher in all six of his Sprint Cup seasons. "I don't know why or how certain tracks or this time of year works out so well for us. The car is still a hand full. Some weeks it doesn't mess up, others you just can't get it right. I fear Talladega the most. You can't control what happens there. The fact that we won in 2006 and 2007 helps me focus on the right things. I'm thankful it looks like we might be peaking at the right time."
On sleeper drivers during the final weeks
"David Ragan is certainly knocking on the door. I'd love to see my teammate, Casey Mears, win a race. He gets stronger every week, with a better understanding of his car."
On Fantasy Sports
"I'm in a Fantasy Football league, so I know all about it. How did his draft turn out? "I wish I knew."
Busch led the pre-Chase standings for 21-of-26 weeks. In the 2007 Chase, he had five top-5 finishes and six top-10s. His Average Running Position of 9.3 led all drivers prior to the Chase. "Pretty much everywhere we've been, we haven't been worse than a tenth-place car. This was supposed to be a building year, but things came along really fast. A lot of guys enter their prime in their fourth or fifth years, but we can have plenty more opportunities to win championships down the line."
"Kasey Kahne is very capable; he just missed out on the Chase. I'd like to see my brother (Kurt) steal a win from some other guys as long as he doesn't do it to us."
On Fantasy Racing Owners approaching him
"I get that all the time. Now that we're doing well, I hear it a lot more. It makes people who may have not usually watched the sport recognize more drivers and their talents. Hopefully we can bring them some more success and help them wrap up some of their deals, too."
He finished ninth in the 2007 Chase, with one win. In 2006, he didn't make the Chase, but finished 12th before the field was expanded. He only had one pole before the Chase started, but only one DNF as well. "The mile and a half-tracks really work well for us, like Kansas, Charlotte and Homestead. Any time you have other guys excelling (referring to Johnson and Busch), it pushes you a little bit more."
What will happen if he falls during a victory flip?
"The AFLAC Duck will give me cash."
On Fantasy Racing owners
"I get calls on Saturday saying "Hey, how's it looking? Jeff Gordon, how does he look?"
Junior entered the Chase with only one win, but he had 13 top-10s in his first 26 starts and then finished fifth at Loudon. He had nine Top-5 showings in the first 27 races. Earnhardt only had three Top-10 finishes in the last 10 races of the 2007 season, but that was before he moved over to Hendrick Motorsports. Jeff Burton says "He drives a lot like his father." Jimmie Johnson said "He has really looked good all year, so he has a real chance of winning another race."
Burton earned 13 Top-10 finishes in the first 27 races. In the 2007 Chase, he registered eight Top-10 finishes, He led for the standings for four consecutive races in 2006. "If I look back on history, we've had success at almost every track in the Chase. Talladega and Martinsville will be wild cards for everybody. At least some of the Chase participants will be involved in major wrecks there."
"Brian Vickers at the big tracks, like Texas and Charlotte."
On Fantasy Racing owners approaching him
"Every week I hear it...I have you on my team. I got you in my pool...My response is, 'I have me in the pool too, and it's in a hell of a bigger way!'"
Not only did Stewart fail to get a win in the first 27 races, he didn't take a pole, either. In the 2007 Chase, he had five Top-10 finishes. In 2006, he failed to make the Chase, yet Stewart won at Kansas, Atlanta, and Texas. "It's been one of those years like the Twilight Zone. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. You show me a guy who isn't frustrated, and I'll show you a guy I can beat nine times out of 10 for the rest of my life. It's been a miserable season because of things [beyond] our control. There's no guarantee that those guys (Busch, Johnson, and Edwards) will have final weeks like the first 26."
Any similarities between him and future Fantasy star Joey Logano?
"I'm about 40 pounds heavier, and he's four inches taller."
On Fantasy Racing
"Anything that keeps the fans involved...that gives them a chance to have their input...is great. If I can make a difference, it's pretty cool. If I knew I'd be a factor, I'd be a bookie in Las Vegas, sitting in air conditioning instead of a 120-degree car. But it's nice to know that, when someone says they have you in their league, you do [well] and you made somebody's day."
Although Biffle didn't make the Chase in 2007, he won at Kansas and Atlanta. If he wins the Cup title, he would become the only driver to have won a title in all three NASCAR series. The last time he made the Chase (2005), Biffle was the runner-up to Stewart. "They say you have to lose one before you win one. God, I hate that. Experience is definitely a factor. You want to stay out of trouble...keep your car clean and be consistent. There's a stat that says [I] and Jimmie Johnson are the only two drivers to win races in every year of the Chase (through 2007)."
On Fantasy Racing
"It's great for the sport, it keeps so many people interested. It's fun to make a difference."
Hamlin had three Top-10 finishes during the 2007 Chase. In 2006, he finished in the Top-10 in seven of the 10 Chase events. Hamlin finished in the Top-10 in 15 of the first 27 races of the 2008 season. "I'm looking forward to Talladega. That's a question mark for other guys, but I consider it a strong suit. We're on an upswing, and that's a pretty good thing. Momentum and confidence go a long way. Consistency is still the basis of the sport. In my rookie year, we peaked in the Chase, [and] I learned a lot from that.
On Fantasy racing owners
"I hear a lot from them, especially at the short tracks. But we're working hard at those short tracks."
Gordon did not win in the first 27 races, but he took two poles. He has four DNFs this season. Last year, Gordon had nine Top-10 finishes during the Chase, including wins at Charlotte and Martinsville. "We feel like the New York Giants right now. We could be inches away from getting this all turned around. Dover and Kansas can be good tracks for us; we're capable of putting up good numbers there. I don't look at Martinsville as a wild card like some others do."
On the greatest drivers of all time
"I haven't seen Talladega Nights, but Ricky Bobby would have to be one."
His favorite NFL team
"I've always been a big 49ers fan. For me, it [was all] about Montana and Rice growing up."
On his Fantasy Football team
"I have Jay Cutler, Kellen Winslow Jr., Reggie Wayne, and Willis McGahee. McGahee didn't play in the first week; I was not happy about that. When Donald Driver's TD was called back in the first week, I was so mad. That was like getting caught speeding on pit road. But we were going against a team that played Tom Brady, so that played a big role in the first win. Last year, I had Frank Gore on my team, and I can pull for him and the Niners at the same time. This year, I don't have any 49ers on my team, but I'm still pulling for them."
On being on the cover of EA Sports' NASCAR '09 video game
"I'm starting to scratch my head, wondering if it's like the Sports Illustrated [cover] jinx! But really, it's a great game, I'm proud to have that relationship with EA Sports, and the fact that they chose me is incredible. I'm a big video game person myself. I'm more of a Splinter Cell kind of guy. I like the Tom Clancy games."
Harvick has no poles this season but no DNFs. He had seven Top-10 finishes in the eight races prior to the beginning of the Chase. Last year, he had four Top-10 finishes during the Chase run. "Our aggressiveness level needs to come up a notch. There's more than just the Chase. There's the races within the race. The race for 35th, and the race for Rookie of the Year. Guy like Kahne, Ragan, and Ryan Newman can throw caution to the wind, and they have nothing to lose. I look at the 48 car (Johnson) as the one to beat."
His advice to Fantasy Racing owners
"I wouldn't bet against us. I always hear, 'You did really good for me, or you really screwed me up.'"
Kenseth is only 1-of-2 drivers to make the Chase every year since its inception. In 2007, he had six Top-10 finishes during the Chase and won at Homestead. In 2006, he had five Top-10 finishes in the final 10 races. "We've never done well at Martinsville; that's the one I'm least looking forward to. Everyone is thinking about the 18 (Busch), but Jimmie Johnson will outdo everyone more times than not."
Kenseth, the Packers fan
"The whole team, especially the defense, has looked sharp."
Kenseth, the Fantasy Football owner
"I have some sleepers; I drafted Matt Forte real late, although I hate having any Bears on my team. Eddie Royal went crazy for me in the opener, and no one thought about him."
Bowyer had five Top-10 finishes during the 2007 Chase run. In 2006, he had four Top-10s in the final 10 races. His average running position before the Chase started, though, was 18.1 "There's no reason to hold back and be conservative now. You're pushing every button you possibly can in every situation. Anything that can happen, will happen at Talladega."
On Fantasy Racing owners
"I hear, 'You're doing a good job. Keep up the good work.' I think it's a really positive thing."