NASCAR Fantasy Racing Preview: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen
by Eric McClung, Special To NASCAR news, fantasy racing advice and statistics On Pit Row
Follow @ericmcclung on Twitter for NASCAR, IndyCar, golf and various other fantasy sports picks.August 5, 2009 10:06 am UTC 1 Comment
Six races have passed since the Sprint Cup series drivers have needed to make a right-hand turn on the race track. For fantasy owners, the results from the June race at Infineon Raceway is good starting point for making evaluations. Watkins Glen International features longer straightaways allowing for more speed while Infineon is a more technical course.
At the first glance, the rankings might be a bit eye-opening since this is perhaps the only type of race neither Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon are locks in the top-three.
In their place I’ve got two foreigners: Juan Pablo Montoya, already a threat to win on any road course, is on fire. JPM should have won at Indianapolis and was the runner-up last week at Pocono. He is basically a lock to make The Chase and ought to find the bonus points from a victory to be very tempting.
Macros Ambrose can simply do no wrong on a road course. After starting from the rear at The Glen one year ago and at Infineon in June, Ambrose ended both races in the third position. Assuming pre-race equipment problems don’t send him to the rear again, Ambrose will only gain by better starting track position.
Here’s an explanation of the highlighted text in the rankings.
- Y! A/B/C - The top options in the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing game by driver list.
- Strong qualifier – History of winning poles or qualifying inside the top-five.
- Good qualifier – History of qualifying inside the top-10.
- Value play – Good recent history at this week’s track. Drivers to consider as low-rent salary cap options or alternative options in allocation formats.
- Risky play – Good overall history at this week’s track but poor recent finishes.
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- Tony Stewart… Strong qualifier. Best average start (5.5) and average finish (5.7) among all drivers at The Glen. Has won four times in the last seven races, runner-up twice. Finished second, led 11 laps at Infineon. Y!-B1
- Juan Pablo Montoya… DNF as a rookie. Started 25th, finished fourth last year. Finished sixth at Infineon. Y!-B2
- Marcos Ambrose… Started 43rd, finished third in his first career start at The Glen last year. Started from the near, finished third at Infineon. Won last year’s Nationwide race at The Glen Y!-C1
- Kyle Busch… Won from the pole last year. Average finish of 5.6 in the last three races. Qualified second, finished 22nd, led 10 laps at Infineon. Finished second in last year’s Nationwide race at The Glen Y!-A1
- Jimmie Johnson… Strong qualifier. Average start of 3.8 over the last five races. Seven career starts: finished seventh or better four times. Finished fourth at Infineon. Y!-A2
- Denny Hamlin… Has finished where he’s started in three career starts: ’08- 8th/10th, ’07- 2nd/2nd, ’06- 10th/10th. Finished fifth, led 33 laps at Infineon. Y!-B3
- Jeff Gordon… Good qualifier. Has four victories but none since ’01, average finish of 20.1 in the seven races since despite an average start of 7.3 Finished ninth at Infineon. Y!-A3
- Mark Martin… Risky play. No starts since ’06. All three career wins have come from the pole (’93-’95). Nineteen career starts: 12 top-fives, 16 top-10s. Y!-A4
- Carl Edwards… Streak of three top-10 finishes at The Glen. Finished 13th at Infineon.
- Kasey Kahne… Risky play. Tied a career-best finishing 14th last year. Won at Infineon. Y!-B4
- Robby Gordon… Strong value play. 10 career starts: seven top-five finishes. Won in ’03, finished 27th last year. Finished 36th at Infineon. Y!-C2
- AJ Allmendinger… Strong value play. Started 37th, finished 11th in his first career start at The Glen last year. Finished seventh at Infineon. Y!-C3
- Elliott Sadler… Strong value play. Last six races: average finish of 13.5. Finished 10th at Infineon. Y!-B5
- Brian Vickers… Last four starts: one DNF, average finish of 14.0 in the three other races. Won the pole, finished 16th at Infineon. Y!-B6
- Kevin Harvick… Eight career starts: won in ’06, four other top-10 finishes. Finished worse than 15th only once.
- Kurt Busch… Eight career starts: two DNFs, average finish of 15.2 in the six other races. Y!-B7
- Ron Fellows… Finished 13th last year, fourth in ’07. Runner-up in ’99 and ’04. Average finish of 36.7, four DNFs in seven other career starts. Finished 27th at Infineon. Y!-C4
- Martin Truex Jr…. Weak value play. Great runs the last two years: ’08- started 18th, finished fifth. ’07- Started 12th, finished sixth. Y!-B8
- Joey Logano… Finished 19th at Infineon. Finished seventh in last year’s Nationwide race at The Glen
- Patrick Carpentier… Long shot value play. Two career starts at The Glen: ’08- 20th, ’07- 22nd. Finished 11th at Infineon.
- Ryan Newman… Hit or miss in seven career starts. Three top-10s, average finish of 23.8 in the other four races.
- Jeff Burton… Last four starts: two DNFs, finished 17th and 11th in the other two.
- Matt Kenseth… Last top-10 came in ’04, average finish of 15.8 in the four races since.
- Clint Bowyer… Finished 23rd last year, career average finish of 17.7
- Bobby Labonte… Last three races: two DNFS, 24th, 24th.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr…. Started second, finished 22nd last year.
- Max Papis… Started 42nd, finished 43rd (DNF) in his first career start at The Glen last year. Finished 12th at Infineon.
- Jamie McMurray… Owns a single top-10 finish, average finish of 19.6 in five other career starts.
- Casey Mears… Owns a single top-10 finish, average finish of 24.8 in five other career starts.
- Greg Biffle… Only one top-10 in six career starts, average finish of 32.4 in the other five races despite some good qualifying runs.
- David Ragan… Lost track position in two career starts: average start 18.0, average finish 31.
- Sam Hornish Jr…. Started 34th, finished 32nd in his first career start at The Glen last year.
- David Reutimann… Started 28th, finished 33rd in his first career start at The Glen last year.
- P.J. Jones… Finished 37th last year, fourth in ’02, eighth in ’93 and 29.4 in five other career starts. DNF at Infineon.
- Reed Sorenson… Going backwards in three career starts: 31st, 28th, 12th.
- David Stremme… Started 25th, finished 21st in his only career start at The Glen in ’07.
- Scott Speed… Finished 37th at Infineon.
- Andy Lally… ’07- Finished 10th in the Nationwide race at The Glen, 08- won the pole, finished fourth at ARCA series road course. No career Cup starts.
- Paul Menard… Five career starts: one top-20 finish.
- David Gilliland… DNF last year, finished 33rd in his only first start at The Glen in ’07.
- John Andretti… No starts at The Glen since ’03.
- Joe Nemechek… DNF his last two races at The Glen (’08, ’06)
- Dave Blaney… Last four races at The Glen: DNF, 35th, DNF, 34th.
- Terry Labonte… Last started at The Glen in ’07: started 38th, finished 30th.
- Tony Raines… Started 42nd, finished 41st in his only career start at The Glen in ’03.
- Brian Simo… DNF in ’01 and ’06.