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Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Bojangles' Southern 500

By Brian Polking
Edited by Keith Hernandez

Denny Hamlin

Despite 10 top-10 finishes in 14 starts at Darlington, Jimmie Johnson's hold on the top spot in the driver rankings was in question after two solid but unspectacular practices. The three-time track winner quickly changed that during qualifying by putting his No. 48 on the outside of the front row. As a result, the defending race winner remains in the top spot heading into Saturday night's Bojangles' Southern 500.

While Johnson held fast atop the rankings, the second-place spot did change hands. Carl Edwards grabbed the spot after he was the only driver to crack the top five in both practice sessions Friday. Of course, his solid career resume at Darlington don't hurt his value either. Edwards has six top-10s in nine starts at the track, including finishes of second and seventh the past two seasons. As he has been most of 2013, he should be an excellent fantasy option this weekend.

A pair of Joe Gibbs Racing drivers also moved up the rankings as Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch both land in the top five. Kenseth has been thriving in his first year at JGR, and he currently leads the series in laps led. Meanwhile, he was already in a groove at Darlington, notching six top-10s in his last eight starts at the track. Busch on the other hand is a former winner at Darlington, and he has compiled a 7.3 average finish in his last three starts at the track. Both drivers qualified in the top 10 Friday, and it wouldn't be a shock to see either driver end their night in Victory Lane.

Lurking just outside the top five is Martin Truex Jr., and while he may not be a big name, he could perform like one this weekend. After all, he cracked the top 10 in both practices Friday, and his 11.3 average finish at Darlington is the fourth best among active drivers. In seven starts at the track, he has six top-15 finishes, and he has finished 10th in fifth in his two most-recent starts. Truex will roll off fifth Saturday night, and he could easily finish right around the top five, as well.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper option this weekend may want to take a chance on Juan Pablo Montoya. He vaulted into the top 15 in the driver rankings after cracking the top 10 in both practices Friday and qualifying 12th. Yes, his career numbers at Darlington are ugly, but he did manage a top-five finish at the track in 2010. He also followed up strong practices at Richmond a couple of weeks ago with a top-five finish on race day. If he backs up his practice times this weekend, Montoya could be a sneaky top-10 pick for fantasy owners.

Rk
Driver
Car No.
Make Sponsor Team
Starting Pos
1
Jimmie Johnson
48
Chevrolet Lowe's Home Improvement Hendrick Motorsports
2
2
Carl Edwards
99
Ford Fastenal Roush Fenway Racing
17
3
Matt Kenseth
20
Toyota Dollar General Joe Gibbs Racing
7
4
Denny Hamlin
11
Toyota FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing
6
5
Kyle Busch
18
Toyota M&M's Joe Gibbs Racing
3
6
Martin Truex Jr.
56
Toyota NAPA Auto Parts Michael Waltrip Racing
5
7
Kasey Kahne
5
Chevrolet Farmers Insurance Hendrick Motorsports
4
8
Brad Keselowski
2
Ford Miller Lite Penske Championship Racing
26
9
Greg Biffle
16
Ford 3M Roush Fenway Racing
9
10
Jeff Gordon
24
Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger Hendrick Motorsports
8
11
Clint Bowyer
15
Toyota 5 Hour Energy Michael Waltrip Racing
13
12
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
88
Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew Hendrick Motorsports
16
13
Kevin Harvick
29
Chevrolet Budweiser Richard Childress Racing
10
14
Juan Pablo Montoya
42
Chevrolet Target Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
12
15
Ryan Newman
39
Chevrolet Quicken Loans Stewart-Haas Racing
21
16
Tony Stewart
14
Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops Stewart-Haas Racing
20
17
Kurt Busch
78
Chevrolet Furniture Row Furniture Row Racing
1
18
Aric Almirola
43
Ford Smithfield Richard Petty Motorsports
18
19
Jeff Burton
31
Chevrolet Caterpillar Richard Childress Racing
11
20
Joey Logano
22
Ford Shell/Pennzoil Penske Championship Racing
30
21
Jamie McMurray
1
Chevrolet McDonald's Earnhardt Ganassi Racing
25
22
Mark Martin
55
Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine Michael Waltrip Racing
22
23
Paul Menard
27
Chevrolet Menard's Richard Childress Racing
15
24
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17
Ford Best Buy Roush Fenway Racing
14
25
Marcos Ambrose
9
Ford Stanley Black & Decker Richard Petty Motorsports
24
26
Regan Smith
51
Chevrolet Guy Roofing Phoenix Racing
27
27
Casey Mears
13
Ford GEICO Germain Racing
19
28
Bobby Labonte
47
Toyota Kroger JTG Daugherty Racing
23
29
David Ragan
34
Ford Detail Doctor Front Row Motorsports
31
30
Landon Cassill
33
Chevrolet Honey Nut Cheerios Richard Childress Racing
32
31
Danica Patrick
10
Chevrolet GoDaddy.com Stewart-Haas Racing
40
32
David Gilliland
38
Ford Love's Travel Stops Front Row Motorsports
29
33
Travis Kvapil
93
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
28
34
Dave Blaney
7
Chevrolet Florida Lottery Tommy Baldwin Racing
37
35
David Reutimann
83
Toyota Burger King BK Racing
33
36
Timmy Hill
32
Ford C & J Energy Services FAS Lane Racing
41
37
David Stremme
30
Toyota Swan Racing Swan Racing
39
38
Scott Speed
95
Ford WRL Leavine Family Racing
36
39
J.J. Yeley
36
Chevrolet Golden Corral Tommy Baldwin Racing
42
40
Mike Bliss
19
Toyota Plinker Tactical Humphrey Smith Racing
38
41
Josh Wise
35
Ford Blockbuster.com Front Row Motorsports
34
42
Joe Nemechek
87
Toyota AM FM Energy NEMCO-JRR Motorsports
43
43
Michael McDowell
98
Ford Ambient Edge HVAC Phil Parsons Racing
35

 



 


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