Fantasy NASCAR team preview: Hall of Fame-Yates Racing

by Bryce McRae on February 2, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT


No. 96 Ford

Owner: Jeff Moorad, Tom Garfinkel, Max Jones
Driver: Bobby Labonte
Crew chief: Todd Parrott
Sprint Cup debut: 1991
Age: 44
Career Sprint Cup wins: 21
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 21

2009 fantasy outlook: Although he was one of the top drivers in the late 90s, Labonte's recent form leaves a lot to be desired. His average finish in the points is 21st over the last four years; he doesn't have a win since 2003 and has only five top-10s since 2006. He will pick up the car owners points from the No. 38 car, which will help his cause, but he will still be working with a new crew and new team. Labonte will run in at least 34 races this season, but he should be a low-end No. 2 - best drafted as a No. 3 - fantasy driver on your team.

No. 98 Menards Ford

Owner: Doug Yates, Max Jones
Driver: Paul Menard
Crew chief: Larry Carter
Sprint Cup debut: 2003
Age: 28
Career Sprint Cup wins: 0
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 26

2009 fantasy outlook: A new team, new car and new crew chief could slow Menard in 2009. Driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. last year, Menard managed just one top-five and one top-10 finish. Menard has yet to really establish himself on the circuit, despite his father's deep pockets and racing for one of the top teams. In his defense, Menard improved from 2007 (34th in 35 races) to a 26th-place finish last year, the best in his two full years (35 races in 2007) in the Sprint Cup. Given his new surroundings and lack of past success, Menard should be viewed solely as a midlevel No. 3 driver.

No. 38 Ford - no sponsor

Owner: Doug Yates, Max Jones
Driver: David Gilliland
Crew chief: TBD
Sprint Cup debut: 2006
Age: 32
Career Sprint Cup wins: 0
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 27

2009 fantasy outlook: It looks like Gilliland could be the odd man out for Hall of Fame-Yates Racing - Travis Kvapil is believed to be the favorite for the final car in Yates' three-car operation. Gilliland has improved his final standing in each of his three seasons on the circuit, though he has yet to finish in the top 25. He managed one top-five and two top-10 finishes last year, but he also finished second in the Sprint Cup with eight DNFs. If Gilliland finds a full-time sponsor, take him as a No. 3 driver.

No. 28 Ford - no sponsor

Owner: Doug Yates, Max Jones
Driver: Travis Kvapil
Crew chief: Ben Leslie
Sprint Cup debut: 2004
Age: 32
Career Sprint Cup wins: 0
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 23

2009 fantasy outlook: He still doesn't have a sponsor, but Kvapil appears to be the frontrunner for the third car in Yates' operation this week. He enjoyed his best season on the circuit last year with four top-10 finishes and his first pole, but he still finished only 23rd in the final points standings. He is relatively inexperienced at 32, so he could always improve given some more track time, but he will have to find a sponsor for the upcoming season first. Given all the risks surrounding him, he is no more than a No. 5 driver. Kvapil could be a No. 3 if he can land full-time sponsorship.

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.

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