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Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500
The trend is good news for pole-sitter Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer and Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart. These four drivers will make up the first two rows when the field takes the green Sunday, and of the four, Bowyer and Kahne should be the two drivers that fantasy owners target. Bowyer has been an absolute stud at Talladega. He has won the last two fall races at the track and has finished in 12th or better in nine of his last 10 starts at the track, including six straight. Meanwhile, Kahne has back-to-back top-10s at Talladega and has finished as high as second on two different occasions.
Other drivers starting near the front that deserve consideration from fantasy owners this weekend include Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon. Biffle will roll off fifth, and he has finished in the top five in two of the three plate races in 2012. The only plate race he didn't finish in the top five was the July race at Daytona when he was wrecked while running second on the final lap. Gordon, on the other hand, has momentum on his side. He has finished third or better in five of the last six races leading up to Talladega, and at an unpredictable track, there is nothing wrong with playing the hot hand.
Owners looking for some sleeper starting up front should take a chance on Trevor Bayne and Michael Waltrip. The two will start eighth and 11th, respectively, and both have finished in the top 20 in their last two starts at the Talladega. Waltrip actually finished in the top 10 at Talladega last fall, and Bayne did the same earlier this year. Both drivers are former plate tracks winner, as well, and could deliver some big time results on Sunday.
Last but not least, fantasy owners need to remember not to write off any drivers with a history of success at Talladega that might have struggled in qualifying. Yes, recent history says the eventual winner will probably start up front, but the top 10 will be filled with drivers that started up front, toward the back and everywhere in between. As long as your lineup of drivers avoids the big wrecks, you are going to be in good shape.
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