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Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: AdvoCare 500

By Brian Polking
Edited by Keith Hernandez

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson
Who else, really?

Armed with a series-leading 6.5 average finish and four wins at Phoenix, Jimmie Johnson was the easy choice for the top spot in the driver rankings to open the week. After winning the pole in record-breaking fashion Friday and posting excellent practices Saturday, he is an equally easy choice for the No. 1 spot in the final rankings. Throw in the fact that he has 12 top-five finishes in his last 14 starts at Phoenix, and Johnson is all but a lock to contend for a victory this weekend. He needs to be clicked in every fantasy format.

While Johnson holds steady at the top, Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin both jump into the top five in the final rankings. Kahne qualified seventh Friday, and Hamlin will join Johnson on the front row. Kahne has also finished sixth or better in three of his last five starts at Phoenix, winning at the track in the fall of 2011. Hamlin, on the other hand, has nine finishes of sixth or better in 16 starts at Phoenix, including three straight finishes of third or better.

Two other drivers that have seen their stock rise this weekend are Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. In fact, both drivers secure spots in the top 10 in the final rankings. Gordon qualified fifth Friday and was solid throughout practice Saturday. He has also finished 11th or better in six of his last eight starts at Phoenix, winning at the track in 2011 and finishing ninth earlier this year. Meanwhile, Junior followed an 11th-place effort in qualifying Friday with a respectable showing in practice Saturday. Not to mention the fact that he finished fifth at Phoenix in March and has quietly posted the second-best average finish in the Chase since a mechanical issue in the opener.

After pacing the opening practice session Saturday and qualifying in the top 10, Kurt Busch moves up in the final rankings and rounds out the top 10. He had a rough outing at Phoenix earlier this year, but in his last 10 starts at the track, he has seven top-15 finishes, including six top-10s. Busch is also a former winner at the track, so he has plenty of upside to offer fantasy owners this weekend.

When it comes to sleeper options, Mark Martin may be the safest pick for fantasy owners. He slides into the top 15 in the final rankings, and after a respectable 16th-place effort in qualifying, he enjoyed a strong showing in practice. Meanwhile, Martin has been one of the most consistent performers at Phoenix throughout his career. His 9.4 average finish at the track is the second best in the series, and in 33 career starts, he has just two finishes outside the top 20.

In deeper leagues, fantasy owners may want to consider Marcos Ambrose as another potential sleeper. He sneaks into the top 20 in the final rankings, and he was solid throughout both practice sessions Saturday, especially on longer runs. Ambrose has also finished in the top 20 in eight of his 10 starts at Phoenix, including four of his last five, so he shouldn't hurt fantasy owners too much even if he isn't able to fully back up his practice times on race day.

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

 



 


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