Fantasy NASCAR team preview: Hendrick Motorsports

by Cory J. Bonini on January 20, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT


No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet

Owner: Jeff Gordon
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Crew chief: Chad Knaus
Sprint Cup debut: 2001
Age: 33
Career Sprint Cup wins: 40
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 1

2009 fantasy outlook: Johnson tied Cale Yarborough last year as the only drivers in NASCAR history to win three straight Cup titles and is looking to make it four in a row. Hendrick's superb engineering team has led to Johnson encountering one engine-related DNF in his three-year streak of dominance, which is basically unheard of in the sport. Be conscious that a fourth consecutive title may be a bit too much to ask for, however.

No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet

Owner: Rick Hendrick
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Crew chief: Steve Letarte
Sprint Cup debut: 1992
Age: 37
Career Sprint Cup wins: 81
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 7

2009 fantasy outlook: Gordon is just one year removed from placing second in the Sprint Cup standings, and he placed seventh last year. The veteran racer continues to be the No. 2 performer at Hendrick, behind Jimmie Johnson's three-year run of sheer dominance. Few drivers are more consistent on a yearly basis than Gordon, who has finished in the double digits (12th in 2005) just once since 1993. Gordon is a surefire No. 1 fantasy option.

No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet

Owner: Rick Hendrick
Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew chief: Tony Eury Jr.
Sprint Cup debut: 1999
Age: 34
Career Sprint Cup wins: 18
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 12

2009 fantasy outlook: Junior returns for his second season in the No. 88 car, looking to better last year's disappointing 12th-place finish. He won a lone race in 2008, the LifeLock 400, and he placed in the top 10 eight times in his first 10 races. Earnhardt is the third best driver on his team, and is generally overvalued in fantasy circles due to his sprawling popularity. View him as a weak No. 1 driver for fantasy purposes.

No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet

Owner: Mary Hendrick
Driver: Mark Martin
Crew chief: Alan Gustafson
Sprint Cup debut: 1981
Age: 50
Career Sprint Cup wins: 33
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 28

2009 fantasy outlook: Martin joins Hendrick Motorsports for 2009 as a full-time driver for the first time since 2006, taking over for Casey Mears in the No. 5 car. In just 24 races in 2008, Martin finished 28th in the standings. He hasn't won a race since 2005, but he now can enjoy the stability and quality engineering that comes under the Hendrick umbrella. View the veteran as a strong No. 2 fantasy option in 2009.

No. 25 Chevrolet

Owner: Rick Hendrick
Driver: Brad Keselowski
Crew chief: Lance McGrew
Sprint Cup debut: 2008
Age: 24
Career Sprint Cup wins: 0
2008 Sprint Cup rank: 57

2009 fantasy outlook: Keselowski, twice a winner in the Nationwide Series, will enter seven races under Hendrick Motorsports in 2009. Veteran crew chief Lance McGrew will be on his side, but Keselowski's very limited Sprint Cup Series experience won't be. Fantasy owners need not pay attention to the youngster unless he surprises early.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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