Fantasy NASCAR practice recap: Samsung Mobile 500

by Brian Polking on April 14, 2012 @ 09:51:11 PDT

 


Fantasy owners that thought Mark Martin's value would suffer with his move to a part-time schedule better think again. The veteran has a 12.2 average finish in four starts in 2012, picking up two top-10s and a pole. In fact, he is currently 25th in the standings and ahead of guys like Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch despite missing two races. The ageless wonder continued his strong season at Texas Thursday, topping the charts in the opening practice. With four finishes of sixth or better in his last six starts at the 1.5-mile track, Martin might just be getting started this weekend.

Greg Biffle

Point leader Greg Biffle could be in for a strong weekend, as well. He posted the second fastest lap in the first practice, and his streak of seven straight top-10 finishes at Texas is currently the longest in the Cup Series. Biffle has done everything but win in 2012, and with three straight top-five finishes at Texas, he could change that Saturday night.

Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger and Regan Smith rounded out the top five, and while Harvick can likely be penciled in for a top-10, Allmendinger is the most intriguing fantasy option. He is coming off a second-place finish at Martinsville, and he has four top-15 finishes in his last five starts at Texas. He finished a career-best 10th at the track last fall, and if he builds on that run, Allmendinger could be a sneaky top-10 driver this weekend.

Smith led all drivers in terms of 10-lap average speeds, but only three drivers ran enough consecutive laps to qualify. Smith hasn't really had a lot of luck at Texas either. He has a 29.4 average finish in eight starts and has yet to crack the top 20 at the track.

In Happy Hour Friday, Trevor Bayne climbed to the top of the charts. He has finished 17th in all three career starts at Texas, and he could make an excellent sleeper pick this weekend. Bayne's Wood Brothers Racing team gets equipment from Roush Fenway Racing, and RFR placed four drivers in the top seven spots at Texas last April. Bayne runs a limited schedule, and in fantasy leagues that limit the number of times each driver can be used, he is even more valuable. Take advantage of him this weekend.

Biffle continued his solid weekend in the final session, posting the second fastest lap once again. He was followed by his teammate and defending race winner Matt Kenseth. Kenseth leads all drivers with an 8.7 average finish at Texas, and he has finished fourth or better in three straight starts. In fact, Kenseth has nine top-10 finishes and seven top-fives in his last 10 starts in Texas. Both he and Biffle should be contenders for the win Saturday night.

Clint Bowyer and Allmendinger rounded out the top five, and owners can add Bowyer to the list of drivers to consider this weekend. He has finished ninth or better in three straight starts at Texas, including a runner-up effort last April. Bowyer has been off to a strong start with Michael Waltrip Racing, and the good times should continue this weekend.

After posting the second fastest lap in both practices, Biffle finally climbed to the top of the charts in Happy Hour when it came to 10-lap average speeds. He was followed by former Texas winner Jimmie Johnson. Johnson's 10.2 average finish is the second best at the track, and he has four runner-up finishes to go along with his victory. As always, Johnson should be an elite fantasy option this weekend.

MWR teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Martin ranked third and fourth in terms of 10-lap average speeds, and David Ragan completed the top five. Like Bowyer and Martin, Truex has enjoyed some past success at Texas. He has a pair of top-10 finishes in his last four starts at the track, including an eighth-place run last fall. MWR is off to an incredible start in 2012, and all three drivers are worthy of fantasy consideration this weekend.

Owners looking for a sleeper should look to Marcos Ambrose. He ranked sixth and 10th in the two practice sessions, and his recent results at Texas are encouraging. Ambrose has three straight finishes of 12th or better at the track, including a career-best sixth-place finish last April in his first start at Texas with Richard Petty Motorsports.

There were also several big names to avoid, including Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon. Busch ranked 19th and 27th in the two sessions, while Gordon ranked 28th and 30th. Tony Stewart didn't impress either, and he was forced to a backup car after a wreck in Happy Hour. He did manage to get about 40 minutes of practice time in with his new car, but he is still facing an uphill battle. That being said, it is impossible to write him off completely. After all, he has won the last three races at 1.5-mile tracks, including a dominating victory at Texas last fall. If there was ever a driver to give the benefit of the doubt to, it is Stewart this weekend.

Happy Hour Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Make Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
21
Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
184.641
29.246
28
2
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M Filtrete
184.370
29.289
36
3
17
Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy
184.351
29.292
76
4
15
Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy
184.269
29.305
54
5
22
A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil
184.005
29.347
31
6
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser
183.955
29.355
45
7
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office / March of Dimes
183.830
29.375
55
8
51
Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services
183.699
29.396
67
9
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts
183.680
29.399
62
10
20
Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General
183.405
29.443
44
11
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley
183.405
29.443
57
12
13
Casey Mears Ford GEICO
183.287
29.462
48
13
55
Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's 2011 Best of the Best
183.243
29.469
65
14
99
Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal
182.686
29.559
46
15
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats
182.630
29.568
58
16
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army
182.587
29.575
46
17
10
David Reutimann Chevrolet Accell Construction
182.420
29.602
26
18
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards
182.186
29.640
37
19
34
David Ragan Ford Scorpion Truck Bed Liners
182.125
29.650
26
20
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard
182.063
29.660
52
21
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
181.879
29.690
63
22
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools
181.873
29.691
51
23
98
Michael McDowell Ford Curb Records
181.818
29.700
3
24
5
Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance
181.745
29.712
46
25
95
Scott Speed Ford Tommy Williams Drywall
181.714
29.717
7
26
30
David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports
181.714
29.717
8
27
18
Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries
181.586
29.738
57
28
47
Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans
181.586
29.738
67
29
2
Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
181.580
29.739
69
30
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 20 Years
181.415
29.766
76
31
49
J.J. Yeley Toyota JPO Absorbents
181.287
29.787
5
32
78
Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American
181.172
29.806
61
33
42
Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target
181.099
29.818
43
34
43
Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield
181.014
29.832
60
35
14
Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy / Office Depot
180.904
29.850
40
36
38
David Gilliland Ford ModSpace
180.886
29.853
14
37
26
Josh Wise Ford Morristown Driver's Service
180.723
29.880
11
38
23
Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe / Embassy Suites
179.778
30.037
7
39
87
Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves
179.742
30.043
11
40
19
Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing
179.271
30.122
8
41
83
Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper
178.808
30.200
37
42
74
Stacy Compton Chevrolet Turn One Racing
178.459
30.259
7
43
93
Travis Kvapil Toyota Dr Pepper
178.430
30.264
27
44
32
Reed Sorenson Ford Jani-King
178.171
30.308
31
45
36
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Jimmie Johnson's Anything With an Engine
177.872
30.359
24
46
33
Tony Raines Chevrolet Precon Marine
177.480
30.426
24

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

Rk
Car
Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
16
Greg Biffle
4
13
179.473
2
48
Jimmie Johnson
37
46
178.991
3
56
Martin Truex, Jr.
26
35
178.873
4
55
Mark Martin
23
32
178.780
5
34
David Ragan
1
10
178.774
6
78
Regan Smith
33
42
178.409
7
51
Kurt Busch
50
59
178.388
8
18
Kyle Busch
40
49
178.371
9
14
Tony Stewart
20
29
178.366
10
1
Jamie McMurray
39
48
178.134
11
27
Paul Menard
7
16
178.072
12
11
Denny Hamlin
41
50
177.968
13
24
Jeff Gordon
30
39
177.911
14
17
Matt Kenseth
55
64
177.865
15
15
Clint Bowyer
33
42
177.817
16
2
Brad Keselowski
50
59
177.813
17
5
Kasey Kahne
37
46
177.793
18
43
Aric Almirola
50
59
177.760
19
20
Joey Logano
17
26
177.399
20
39
Ryan Newman
26
35
177.280
21
31
Jeff Burton
32
41
177.063
22
13
Casey Mears
28
37
176.825
23
42
Juan Pablo Montoya
17
26
176.091
24
83
Landon Cassill
13
22
176.088
25
47
Bobby Labonte
43
52
175.894

First Practice Speeds (sorted by Best Lap)

Rk
Car
Driver Make Sponsor
Best Lap
Best Time
Laps
1
55
Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's 2011 Best of the Best
189.427
28.507
27
2
16
Greg Biffle Ford 3M Filtrete
189.221
28.538
40
3
29
Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser
189.208
28.540
33
4
22
A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Shell / Pennzoil
188.930
28.582
53
5
78
Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American
188.877
28.590
53
6
9
Marcos Ambrose Ford Stanley
188.673
28.621
27
7
17
Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy
188.587
28.634
34
8
39
Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army
188.528
28.643
27
9
11
Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Office / March of Dimes
188.495
28.648
24
10
99
Carl Edwards Ford Fastenal
188.423
28.659
34
11
5
Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Farmers Insurance
188.370
28.667
35
12
56
Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts
188.278
28.681
32
13
13
Casey Mears Ford GEICO
188.265
28.683
34
14
27
Paul Menard Chevrolet Quaker State / Menards
187.891
28.740
34
15
20
Joey Logano Toyota Dollar General
187.885
28.741
25
16
2
Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
187.833
28.749
36
17
42
Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target
187.807
28.753
20
18
1
Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats
187.663
28.775
40
19
18
Kyle Busch Toyota Interstate Batteries
187.578
28.788
38
20
48
Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's / Kobalt Tools
187.552
28.792
29
21
10
David Reutimann Chevrolet Accell Construction
187.507
28.799
23
22
47
Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans
187.500
28.800
34
23
14
Tony Stewart Chevrolet Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy / Office Depot
187.428
28.811
32
24
31
Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
187.344
28.824
28
25
43
Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield
187.318
28.828
30
26
15
Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy
187.279
28.834
32
27
21
Trevor Bayne Ford Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center
187.169
28.851
33
28
24
Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 20 Years
187.143
28.855
33
29
51
Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction Services
186.355
28.977
24
30
34
David Ragan Ford Scorpion Truck Bed Liners
186.111
29.015
28
31
88
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard
186.008
29.031
41
32
83
Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper
185.382
29.129
22
33
98
Michael McDowell Ford Curb Records
185.141
29.167
12
34
49
J.J. Yeley Toyota JPO Absorbents
184.691
29.238
7
35
93
Travis Kvapil Toyota Dr Pepper
184.666
29.242
18
36
26
Josh Wise Ford Morristown Driver's Service
183.880
29.367
8
37
87
Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves
183.817
29.377
7
38
30
David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports
183.742
29.389
9
39
19
Mike Bliss Toyota Humphrey Smith Racing
183.680
29.399
8
40
32
Reed Sorenson Ford Jani-King
183.175
29.480
35
41
23
Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe / Embassy Suites
183.082
29.495
14
42
95
Scott Speed Ford Tommy Williams Drywall
182.970
29.513
25
43
36
Dave Blaney Chevrolet Jimmie Johnson's Anything With an Engine
182.383
29.608
39
44
38
David Gilliland Ford ModSpace
182.346
29.614
23
45
33
Tony Raines Chevrolet Precon Marine
181.147
29.810
25
46
74
Stacy Compton Chevrolet Turn One Racing
179.898
30.017
10

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

Rk
Car Driver
From Lap
To Lap
Avg. Speed
1
78 Regan Smith
33
42
180.801
2
13 Casey Mears
14
23
177.629
3
56 Martin Truex Jr.
21
30
177.131
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About Brian Polking

Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.

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