KFFL Mobile | NFL News | MLB News | NASCAR News

Fantasy NASCAR Practice Recap: Bojangles' Southern 500

By Brian Polking

On the heels of a forgettable 2012 season, Carl Edwards has been doing his best to make amends with fantasy owners by getting off to a fast start in 2013. After cracking the top five in both practice sessions at Darlington Friday, it appears the he could continue to deliver for fantasy owners this weekend. Keep in mind that Edwards has six top-10 finishes in nine starts at the track, including finishes of second and seventh in 2011 and 2012. Edwards has all the makings of a top-five fantasy option, and at worst, owners are probably looking at a top-10.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Edwards' Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle could also make a solid fantasy option this weekend. He showed plenty of muscle in practice Friday, ranking ninth and sixth in the two sessions. Biffle is also a two-time winner at Darlington, and he has finished in the top 15 in six of his last eight starts at the track, including two straight. His recent results suggest that he is at least a top-10 pick this weekend, but given the impressive showing in practice, Biffle also offers top-five upside.

Speaking of top-five upside, Matt Kenseth was once again fast on the practice charts. He enters Saturday's race having led a series-high 764 laps in 2013, and he ranked ninth and seventh in the two sessions Friday. Meanwhile, Kenseth has actually been enjoying the best stretch of his career at Darlington, finishing in the top 10 in five of his last seven starts. Considering how strong he has been in his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing, don't be surprised if Kenseth makes a run at his first Cup Series win at Darlington this weekend.

One driver that already has a Darlington win under his belt that could be back for more is Kyle Busch. He ranked inside the top 10 in both practices Friday, and in addition to his victory at the track in 2008, Busch has been very reliable the past few years. In fact, he has a 7.3 average finish in his last three Darlington starts and hasn't finished worse than 11th during the stretch. Busch has the potential to win whenever he shows up at the track so when he also brings consistency to the table, he can be a very valuable addition to fantasy rosters.

Fantasy owners may also want to make room on their rosters for Martin Truex Jr. In addition to cracking the top 10 in both practices Friday, he has been somewhat of a Darlington ace throughout his career. His 11.3 average finish at the track is the fourth best among active drivers, and in seven starts, he has tallied six top-15s. Perhaps more importantly, Truex has been getting better at Darlington, finishing 10th and fifth the past two years. Pencil in Truex for a solid run Saturday night, and don't be surprised if he makes a run at a top-five finish.

Two big names that didn't crack the top 10 in practice but still deserve consideration from fantasy owners are Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne. Both drivers did crack the top 15 in both sessions, and both have been strong at Darlington recently. In fact, Hamlin owns a series-best 5.9 average finish at the track and has a win and a 3.0 average finish in his last three starts. He will be running the entire race Saturday night for the first time since his back injury, and fantasy owners should expect him to return with a vengeance. Kahne on the other hand doesn't boast the career numbers of Hamlin, but he has finished fourth and eighth at Darlington in the last two years. He will also be making his second start at the track for a Hendrick Motorsports organization that has been excellent at Darlington so don't be surprised if Kahne's upward trend continues.

As far as sleeper options are concerned, Juan Pablo Montoya could be the cream of the crop. After ranking eighth on the charts in the first practice, he topped the leaderboard in Happy Hour. Granted, he has finished 20th or worse in five of his six starts at Darlington, but the lone exception was a fifth-place run in 2010. Not to mention the fact that Montoya did back up his fast practice times a couple of weeks ago at Richmond, coming within an ill-timed caution of winning before settling for fourth. If he backs up his practice speeds this weekend, Montoya could be a surprise top-10 option.

Owners looking for some drivers to avoid may want to consider steering clear of the Stewart-Haas Racing duo of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Both Stewrat and Newman boast solid career numbers at Darlington, and both have three top-10s and two top-five finishes in four races at the track since becoming teammates in 2009. That being said, neither driver ranked better than 20th in either practice session Friday. Not to mention the fact that neither has been setting the world on fire in 2013, especially Stewart. Despite the past Darlington success, banking on Stewart and Newman this weekend could be a recipe for disaster.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
42
Target Chevrolet
27.772
177.070
5
2
17
Zest Ford
27.813
176.809
5
3
99
Geek Squad Ford
27.855
176.543
5
4
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
27.863
176.492
5
5
78
Furniture Row Racing / Serta Chevrolet
27.942
175.993
6
6
16
Meguiar's Ford
27.943
175.987
5
7
20
Home Depot / Husky Toyota
27.945
175.974
5
8
24
Cromax Pro Chevrolet
27.967
175.836
7
9
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
27.971
175.811
14
10
18
Doublemint Toyota
27.976
175.779
4
11
88
National Guard Chevrolet
28.004
175.603
5
12
29
Budweiser Chevrolet
28.016
175.528
5
13
11
SportClips Toyota
28.041
175.372
20
14
5
Time Warner Cable Chevrolet
28.107
174.960
24
15
48
Lowe's Emerald Green Chevrolet
28.126
174.842
5
16
93
Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
28.129
174.823
3
17
43
Smithfield Ford
28.152
174.680
5
18
22
Shell Pennzoil Ford
28.154
174.668
8
19
15
KFC Boneless Toyota
28.177
174.525
22
20
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
28.196
174.408
7
21
13
GEICO Ford
28.208
174.334
16
22
39
Quicken Loans Chevrolet
28.226
174.222
8
23
55
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
28.227
174.216
5
24
27
Menards / Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet
28.263
173.994
8
25
95
Ford
28.296
173.791
3
26
14
Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet
28.323
173.626
31
27
51
Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet
28.349
173.466
5
28
33
Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet
28.385
173.246
9
29
47
Kingsford Charcoal Grill Out for Mom Toyota
28.392
173.204
5
30
83
Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
28.441
172.905
4
31
2
Miller Lite Ford
28.480
172.669
19
32
35
MDS Transport Ford
28.517
172.445
15
33
34
Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts Ford
28.535
172.336
15
34
38
Long John Silver's Ford
28.551
172.239
8
35
19
Plinker Tactical Toyota
28.840
170.513
1
36
98
Curb Records Ford
29.011
169.508
1
37
30
Swan Energy Toyota
29.095
169.019
5
38
10
GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
29.140
168.758
18
39
9
Stanley Ford
29.182
168.515
6
40
32
OXY Water Ford
29.243
168.163
4
41
7
SANY Chevrolet
29.455
166.953
19
42
36
Chevrolet
29.566
166.326
10

10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
15
1
10
169.205
2
2
2
11
168.930
3
5
1
10
168.607
4
14
1
10
168.006

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver
Team
Best Time
Best Lap
Laps
1
27
Menards / Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet
28.268
173.963
58
2
15
KFC Boneless Toyota
28.323
173.626
54
3
1
McDonald's Chevrolet
28.436
172.936
52
4
88
National Guard Chevrolet
28.492
172.596
52
5
99
Geek Squad Ford
28.511
172.481
48
6
18
Doublemint Toyota
28.541
172.299
68
7
56
NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
28.547
172.263
51
8
42
Target Chevrolet
28.549
172.251
43
9
20
Home Depot / Husky Toyota
28.575
172.094
51
10
16
Meguiar's Ford
28.577
172.082
53
11
43
Smithfield Ford
28.615
171.854
42
12
55
Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
28.615
171.854
46
13
11
SportClips Toyota
28.626
171.788
50
14
5
Time Warner Cable Chevrolet
28.631
171.758
43
15
13
GEICO Ford
28.719
171.232
56
16
48
Lowe's Emerald Green Chevrolet
28.727
171.184
61
17
22
Shell Pennzoil Ford
28.730
171.166
68
18
98
Curb Records Ford
28.734
171.142
4
19
78
Furniture Row Racing / Serta Chevrolet
28.748
171.059
38
20
14
Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet
28.771
170.922
52
21
17
Zest Ford
28.777
170.886
40
22
2
Miller Lite Ford
28.778
170.881
67
23
31
Caterpillar Chevrolet
28.784
170.845
70
24
29
Budweiser Chevrolet
28.824
170.608
57
25
39
Quicken Loans Chevrolet
28.859
170.401
57
26
24
Cromax Pro Chevrolet
28.893
170.200
44
27
95
Ford
28.907
170.118
4
28
9
Stanley Ford
28.907
170.118
31
29
51
Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet
28.943
169.906
55
30
93
Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.066
169.187
40
31
10
GoDaddy.com Chevrolet
29.175
168.555
36
32
34
Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts Ford
29.198
168.422
44
33
83
Burger King / Dr Pepper Toyota
29.208
168.365
47
34
87
RoyalTeakCollection.com Toyota
29.256
168.089
19
35
33
Little Joe's Autos Chevrolet
29.356
167.516
13
36
38
Long John Silver's Ford
29.370
167.436
29
37
47
Kingsford Charcoal Grill Out for Mom Toyota
29.370
167.436
41
38
36
Chevrolet
29.392
167.311
34
39
7
SANY Chevrolet
29.406
167.231
35
40
32
OXY Water Ford
29.430
167.095
48
41
19
Plinker Tactical Toyota
29.439
167.044
7
42
30
Swan Energy Toyota
29.545
166.444
15
43
35
MDS Transport Ford
29.564
166.337
17

10-Lap Average Speeds (must run 10 consecutive laps)

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
27
1
10
170.124
2
88
1
10
170.080
3
2
1
10
169.350
4
56
31
40
168.990
5
15
34
43
168.683
6
22
45
54
168.312
7
51
34
43
167.812
8
24
31
40
167.603
9
29
36
45
167.581
10
1
31
40
167.540
11
48
44
53
167.448
12
18
54
63
167.144
13
31
50
59
166.676
14
20
31
40
166.665
15
55
29
38
166.439
16
83
32
41
166.351
17
39
45
54
165.248
18
13
22
31
164.997



 


Rate this article

Poor  
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10
 Excellent

Average score: Fewer than 3 votes.