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Fantasy NASCAR rankings: Ford EcoBoost 400

By Brian Polking

Matt Kenseth
This weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway may be the season finale, but last weekend's race at Phoenix is probably going to end up being the most memorable of the year. Kevin Harvick snapped a 44-race winless drought, and that just scratches the surface of the headline-worthy drama. Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer tangled on the track and kept the fight going into the garage area before police eventually separated them. Meanwhile, a cut tire sent Jimmie Johnson into the wall and basically handed a championship to Brad Keselowski.

For Keselowski, his impending championship is a reminder that it is sometimes better to be lucky than good. Despite his incredible performance during the first eight races of the Chase, Johnson had caught him, passed him and padded his lead. Now, a cut tire has Keselowski 20 points out front and one top-15 finish away from his first career Cup title and the first career Cup title for owner Roger Penske. Yes, the same bad luck that befell Johnson could strike Keselowski at Homestead. However, he has the added advantage of being able to play it safe and conservative throughout Sunday's race and still come out on top. As long as the engineers and mechanics put the car together properly, Keselowski is going to be the 2012 Sprint Cup champion.

As for the incident between Gordon and Bowyer, it is a perfect example of how drivers never forget anything that happens on the track even during the course of a 10-month season. It was way back on April 1 at Martinsville that a bonsai, three-wide pass attempt by Bowyer sent then-leader Gordon and several other cars spinning into the wall. It was a reckless move by Bowyer that likely cost Gordon a win. More than seven months later, Gordon got his revenge, dashing any hopes Bowyer had of rallying to win the championship. Yes, it was unfortunate that other drivers got caught up in the feud, but heck, NASCAR suspended Kyle Busch for retaliating against Ron Hornaday under caution when Busch made sure nobody else was involved. At the end of the day, there is always going to be an element of self-policing to NASCAR that no amount of fines, penalties or suspensions will ever eliminate.

There are 400 miles left of racing in the 2012 Cup Series season. A champion is going to be crowned, and everyone else will have a couple of months off to figure out how to be the one celebrating at the end of the 2013 season. The same goes for fantasy players. Whether you are trying to hang on to win your league or making one last push to take the top spot, it all comes to an end Sunday at Homestead.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Matt Kenseth
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
11
2
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
8
3
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Subway Roush Fenway Racing
4
4
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
12
5
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
7
6
Brad Keselowski
2
Dodge Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
3
7
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
10
8
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
6
9
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
23
10
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
15
11
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
41
12
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
13
13
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Office Depot Stewart-Haas Racing
35
14
Mark Martin
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
9
15
Joey Logano
20
Toyota Home Depot Joe Gibbs Racing
1
16
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Medallion Financial Richard Petty Motorsports
5
17
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet U.S. Army Stewart-Haas Racing
19
18
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
33
19
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Mountain Dew AMP Energy Hendrick Motorsports
16
20
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
2
21
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
18
22
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
26
23
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
14
24
Sam Hornish Jr.
22
Dodge Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
17
25
Regan Smith
51
Chevrolet Tag Heuer Phoenix Racing
24
26
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
6
Ford Fifth Third Roush Fenway Racing
27
27
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Clorox Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing
21
28
Trevor Bayne
21
Ford Motorcraft Wood Brothers Racing
20
29
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kingsford JTG Daugherty Racing
32
30
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
28
31
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
38
32
David Reutimann
10
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
37
33
David Ragan
34
Ford 8-Hour Alert Front Row Motorsports
34
34
David Gilliland
38
Ford MHP Front Row Motorsports
40
35
Dave Blaney
36
Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing Tommy Baldwin Racing
31
35
David Stremme
30
Toyota Inception Motorsports Inception Motorsports
22
36
Ken Schrader
32
Ford C&J Energy FAS Lane Racing
42
37
J.J. Yeley
37
Chevrolet C&C Audio Video Max Q Motorsports
39
38
Landon Cassill
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
30
38
Mike Bliss
19
Toyota Plinker Tactical Humphrey Smith Racing
29
40
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Curb Records Phil Parsons Racing
25
42
Josh Wise
26
Ford MDS Transport Front Row Motorsports
36
43
Scott Riggs
23
Chevrolet North Texas Pipe R3 Motorsports
43

 



 


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