NASCAR Fantasy Racing Preview: LifeLock.com 400
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.July 8, 2009 9:08 am UTC 1 Comment
Greetings On Pit Row readers,
Chicagoland Speedway hosts one race a year and only eight Cup races have been held here so many fantasy owners may look for data from some of the similar cookie-cutter tracks. The most similar configuration is Kansas Speedway. Both are 1.5-mile, D-shaped ovals. The race at Kansas is held during the Chase so you’ll have to go back to last season for those numbers. Las Vegas Motor Speedway has some similarities and has been visited once earlier in the season.
Qualifying has not been very important at Chicago – anywhere in teens will do. Kyle Busch won from the pole last year but of the eight Cup races held at Chicagoland, the winner has started from outside of the top-10 on five occasions.
As I stated on this week’s On Pit Row, I prefer to look at each start individually but similar track numbers are helpful to break a split decision between two drivers. For more advice, please join me for this week’s live fantasy chat Thursday at 7PM Eastern!
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.
Good luck this week and please leave your comments below! Download a printer-friendly version here.
- Tony Stewart… Six top-five finishes over the eight races held at Chicagoland, including two wins (’04, ’07) Has led laps in six races, leading all drivers in total laps led. Y! B-1
- Jimmie Johnson… Good qualifier. Seven career starts: no wins but six finishes of sixth or better. Had led laps in six races. After his first attempt never started worse than eighth. Y! A-1
- Matt Kenseth… Good qualifier. Last four starts: started 10th or better in all four. Finished seventh or better in the last three races- led laps in all of them. Has led laps in six of the eight races held, finished 14th or better in seven of them. Led an average of 144.0 laps in the ’05 and ’06 races. Y! A-2
- Kyle Busch… Won from the pole last year, leading 165 laps. Has never finished worse than 14th in four races. Y! A-3
- Jeff Gordon… Four top-five finishes, including a victory in ’06. Has finished worse than 17th only once, due to an accident. Has led laps in four races. Y! A-4
- Greg Biffle… Improving slowly but surely. Finished 20th in ’03 and ’04, finished 11th ’05-’07, career-best four-place finish last year, led 43 laps
- Brian Vickers… Strong qualifier. Started fifth or better in three of four attempts. Two top-10 finishes, never finished worse than 14th. Y! B-2
- Kevin Harvick… Strong value play. Won the first Chicagoland races in ’01 and ’02. Has top-five finishes in three straight races. Had led laps in five of eight career starts, including two of the last three
- Ryan Newman… Strong qualifier. Has started third or better three times in seven attempts. Won the pole in ’02, won the race in ’03. Poor finishes from ’04-’06 but top-10s in ’07 and ’08. Y! B-3
- Kurt Busch… Has finished in sixth or eight place on five occasions. Finished 28th or worse in three other starts. Y! B-4
- Mark Martin… Had led laps in four races. Last top-10 came in ’05, finished inside the top-20 in the three races since.
- Jeff Burton… Good qualifier. Won the pole in ’06, started third last year. Two of his three career top-10s have come in the last three races. Finished 30th or worse three times in the five previous races.
- Clint Bowyer… Three career starts: ninth, 10th, 22nd.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr…. Good qualifier. Started second and fifth in the last two races, finished 16th and 19th. Started 25th in ’05 and ’06- finished with a win and another top-five. Had led laps in four of eight races and in three of the last four. Y! B-5
- Carl Edwards… Four career starts: only one finish better than 20th. Kasey Kahne… Career-best 15th-place finish last year, finished 23rd or worse in the four other career starts. Y! B-6
- David Reutimann… Two career starts: 43rd (engine), 14th-place finishes. Y! B-7
- AJ Allmendinger… Strong value play. Started 39th, finished 13th last year in first career Chicagoland start. Y! C-1
- Denny Hamlin… Three career starts: has never finished better than 14th, but has started 13th or better each time. Y! B-8
- Juan Pablo Montoya… Two career starts: 15th and 18th-place finishes.Joey Logano… Started 13th, finished ninth last year at Kansas in the Nationwide Series.
- Martin Truex Jr…. Career-best ninth-place last year, led laps in the last two races.
- Sam Hornish Jr…. Started 35th, finished 37th last year last year in first career Chicagoland start. Y! C-2
- David Ragan… Two career starts: 25th and eighth-place finishes.
- Casey Mears… Weak value play. Strong qualifier (in odd number years). Six career starts: has started fourth in ’03, third in ’05 (finished ninth) and first in ’07 (finished fifth).
- Marcos Ambrose… Started 24th, finished 15th last year in the Nationwide Series. Y! C-3
- Bobby Labonte… No top-10 finishes in eight races, 23.1 average finish. Y! C-4
- Jamie McMurray… Career-best eighth-place finish as a rookie in ’03, finished 22nd or worse in the last four races.
- Elliott Sadler… Finished 12th last year, finished 21st or worse in five of the previous six races.
- Brad Keselowski… Long shot value play. Two Nationwide Series starts: finished 14th and third.
- Reed Sorenson… Heading the wrong way in qualifying and finishes: ’06- 18th/seventh, ’07- 22nd/12th, 08- 32nd/31st.
- Scott Speed… Truck series: started and finished eighth at Kansas. ARCA series: won at Kansas, finished third at Chicagoland.
- Paul Menard… Two career starts: 42nd and 26th-place finishes.
- David Stremme… Declining in three career starts: ’05- 16th, ’06- 21st, ’07- 34th.
- Michael Waltrip… Finished 30th or worse in four straight races.
- Robby Gordon… Two top-20 finishes in the last five races.
- Bill Elliott… Solid from ’01-’03. Finished 28th or worse in three straight races.
- John Andretti… No starts since ’07: finished 18th.
- David Gilliland… Two career starts: 16th and 42th-place (engine) finishes.Regan Smith… Started 33rd, finished 34th last year in first career Chicagoland start.
- Joe Nemechek… Finished 29th or worse in three straight races.
- Dexter Bean… ARCA series: average finish 13.0 in four starts (best finishes: fourth, seventh)
- Mike Bliss… Starts in ’04 and ’05. Average start 9.0 but two DNFs.
- Dave Blaney… Three DNFs in the last five races, finished 17th in ’06, 23rd last year.
- Tony Raines… Last start came in ’07, finished 24rd.
- Mike Wallace… Last start came in ’05, finished 25th.
- Mike Skinner… Last start came in ’02, finished 23rd.