Fantasy NASCAR Rankings: Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500

by Brian Polking on October 26, 2013 @ 15:25:01 PDT

 


Given his impressive numbers at Martinsville Speedway, it was going to take a terrible warm-up performance from Jimmie Johnson to knock him out of the top spot in the driver rankings for Sunday's Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500. Instead, the eight-time track winner qualified second Friday and was one of the strongest cars in practice Saturday. Needless to say, Johnson easily hangs on to the No. 1 spot in the final rankings, and now, he will try to add to a Martinsville resume that includes a series-leading 5.3 average finish and 16 top-five finishes in 23 starts. Johnson needs to be owned in all fantasy formats, and for owners who have been saving him in survivor-style leagues, this is the race to use him.

NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray
McMurray: valid sleeper

While Johnson holds steady atop the rankings, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer both move up a spot within the top five. Both drivers qualified in the top five Friday, and both continued to post fast times in race trim during Saturday's practices. Meanwhile, Busch has four top-five finishes in his last six starts at Martinsville, including a second-place run last fall and fifth-place finish earlier this year. Bowyer on the other hand has been on a tear at the track since joining Michael Waltrip Racing. He has a 5.7 average finish in three Martinsville starts with MWR, including a career-best second-place run in the spring. Both deserve heavy consideration in all fantasy formats.

Rounding out the top five in the final rankings is Denny Hamlin, and no driver has boosted his stock more this weekend. After all, he won the pole in record-breaking fashion Friday. Granted, Hamlin has basically been useless for the last four months as far as fantasy owners are concerned, but his career numbers at Martinsville are excellent. In addition to his four wins at the track, he has finished sixth or better in 11 of his 15 starts. Hamlin appears poised to break out of his slump in a big way this weekend, and fantasy owners should definitely take advantage.

Fantasy owners looking for a safe, reliable option outside the top five should consider turning to Dale Earnhardt Jr. He moves into the No. 9 spot in the final rankings thanks to a 12th-place qualifying run and stout practice times. He has also finished in the top 15 in seven of his last 10 starts at Martinsville, and in his last six starts, he has four finishes of seventh or better, including a pair of top-three runs. Fantasy owners should feel confident that they will get a solid top-10 performance out of Junior, and a great run isn't out of the question.

Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper option this weekend may want to consider Jamie McMurray, who jumps into the top 15 in the final rankings after a top-10 effort in qualifying and solid practice times. He has also finished in the top 20 in five of his last six starts at Martinsville, and during the stretch, he has three finishes of 11th or better, including a seventh-place run in the spring. McMurray is coming off a win last weekend at Talladega, and it is looking increasingly likely that he can help out fantasy teams again this Sunday.

In deeper leagues, David Ragan could be worth a flier from fantasy owners as he slides into the top 25 of the final rankings. He delivered a surprising eighth-place effort in qualifying, and while his practice times weren't as strong, they weren't awful either. At worst, Ragan should be able to use his excellent track position to stay on the lead lap through the early stages of the race and finish in or around the top 20. Meanwhile, there is always a chance that he hangs around the top 10 all afternoon and ends up being an incredible sleeper pick.

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

 

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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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