Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#1
The Auto Club 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series stops at California Speedway's two mile oval for the second race of the 2008 season, the Auto Club 500. Race Preview looked at past performances and season trends to predict how the field might finish during Sunday's race.


When: Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 4:00 p.m./et


Weather: Partly cloudy with high around 63; wind out of the WSW at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 10%.


The Track: California Speedway

California is a 2 mile long D-shaped oval. It has intermediate (14 degree) banking on the corners which allows for drivers to run their cars nearly wide-open the entire way around the track. The aerodynamic package in the car is very important.


Key to Race: AERODYNAMIC PACKAGE RULES???

This is a race that used to be won or lost in the wind tunnel, but the Car of Tomorrow isn't as dependent on aerodynamic packages as the Car of Yesterday. Judging from the Daytona 500 this race should be very competitive, but as is the case with most races, expect the multi-car teams like Roush, Gibb, Hendrick, and RCR to have a big advantage.


Qualifying Procedures:

51 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, February 22 at 6:40 pm/et. Cars that were in the top 35 in owner's points during the 2007 season are guaranteed a spot in the race.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: It is tough not to pick the native Californian. Johnson won the last race at Fontana and posted top three finishes in three of the last five races at the facility.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has three career wins at Fontana and had one of the best cars on the track during last year's edition of the Auto Club 500. He is a great pick again this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has won two of the last four races at Fontana. He is a lock to finish in the top five again this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished sixth or better in six of his seven Cup starts at Fontana. This is one of his favorite tracks and we like his chances on Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior overruled his crew chief during the Daytona 500 and was passed by cars with fresh tires during the final laps of the race. Fontana is a track he has had decent success at in the past and if he learns to listen to the advice of his crew at Hendrick Motorsports he will be a great pick to crack the top five.

6 to 10

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has finished in the top 10 in the past five races at Fontana. After being dismissed by Hendrick Motorsports, he is driving with a chip on his shoulder and is a great fantasy pick.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has been fairly strong at CIS during his career. He could notch the second win of the 2008 season for Penske Racing
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been great at Fontana during his career. He has four top 10 finishes, including a win, in eight career starts at the track. We look for him to have the Bud car out on Sunday.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has never won in 13 career starts at Fontana. His Toyota was strong at Daytona, but we don't expect it to be quite as good this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been consistently good at Fontana in his career. He is a lock to post a solid finish.

11 to 20

No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: Truex looked great at Fontana last September. He could threaten to crack the top 10 again this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has finished well the past four races at CIS. We think he is a lock to finish in the top 15 again this weekend.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has never finished worse than 20th in four career starts at Fontana. He is a great third driver on any fantasy team this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has five top 10 finishes in nine career starts at Fontana. He is a decent pick as a third or fourth fantasy driver on Sunday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has struggled during the past five races at Fontana. He will be lucky to crack the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 25 Casey Mears: Mears is just a middle-of-the-pack driver. We don't recommend using him as anything but a fourth or fifth member of fantasy teams.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle slumped during the past four races at Fontana, but he has had decent success at the track in the past. There are much better tracks to use him.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: We hope Sorenson will use his fifth place finish at Daytona to build some momentum for his season. He is a very talented driver and this is a make-or-break season for him.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been very successful during his career at Fontana. He will have to make Sunday's race during qualifying, but he is a definite solid sleeper pick.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: The 2008 Daytona 500 champion has been awful the past few races at Fontana. Don't let Sunday's win fool you into choosing him this weekend.

21 to 30

No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin is always worth having on your fantasy team as a fourth or fifth driver. The guy is just so consistent.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte led four laps on his way to an 11th place finish at Fontana during last September's race. He is a sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya didn't do much at Fontana in 2007. There are far better options this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler had a strong finish at Daytona, but Fontana hasn't been good to him since 2005. We wouldn't use him as anything but a fourth or fifth fantasy driver.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan finished 12th and 16th last year at Fontana. He is one of our sleeper picks this weekend.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. was impressive at Daytona. He will face a tougher challenge this weekend at Fontana, but he is a very talented driver.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard has cracked the top 25 in both of his career starts at Fontana. He isn't a bad choice as a fifth driver on your fantasy team.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney hasn't cracked the top 20 in the past six races at Fontana. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon is a California native, but this is a track he would be better off skipping. Avoid him like the plague.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has been abysmal at Fontana since his seventh place finish in 2004. He is guaranteed to make the race, but we can't recommend him.

31 to 40

No. 40 Dario Franchitti: The Flying Scotsman was decent at Daytona, but we expect he will have a more difficult time with his car's roll entering Fontana's corners.
No. 44 Dale Jarrett: Jarrett had a nice run at Daytona, but should fall back into the mid-30's this weekend.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty has led a lap in each of the past two races at Fontana. That doesn't make him worthy of a fantasy pick.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has never finished better than 25th at Fontana in his career. We don't see him ending that streak this weekend.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley won't match his career average finish of 21.3 at Fontana in his Hall of Fame Racing Toyota.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann will have to make Sunday's race during qualifying, but that is the case every weekend and he doesn't seem to be intimidated by it.
No. 70 Jeremy Mayfield: Mayfield wasn't awful at Daytona, but he is a back-of-the-pack driver and isn't a fantasy option.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith was a back-of-the-packer during the Daytona 500 and should struggle again this weekend.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has been just awful the past three races at Fontana. Stay away from him.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil is guaranteed to make the field, but that doesn't mean he won't get lapped very quickly.

Field Fillers

No. 84 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger missed the Daytona 500 and will struggle to make the field this weekend.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: We expect "Front-Row Joe" will make plenty of races then get lapped very quickly this season.
No. 49 Ken Schrader: If it has wheels, Schrader can drive it...unfortunately he has to qualify it to drive it in Sunday's race.
No. 27 Mike Skinner: Skinner can drive a truck, but he will be challenged trying to get the No. 27 car into Sunday's field.
No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott should have the No. 21 Wood Brothers car in the field, but we don't like his chances
No. 60 Boris Said: Said missed the Daytona 500 and isn't worth taking a chance on this weekend.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier missed the Daytona 500 and it won't surprise us if he misses this weekend's race too.
No. 87 Kenny Wallace: Wallace won't be in Sunday's starting 43.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti has no chance.
No. 37 Kevin Lepage: It is a long trip from Lepage's home state of Vermont to California. To bad he has no chance to make Sunday's race.
No. 08 Burney Lamar: Would take a miracle.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Carl Edwards

Sleepers:

1. Kasey Kahne
2. Brian Vickers
Busts:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Ryan Newman
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#2
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Auto Club 500
Track history

From World War II until the end of 1983, this Fontana, California site was home of Kaiser Steel. After Kaiser went bankrupt, the site was left to deteriorate into rusting rubble. In November 1993, Roger Penske and Kaiser Ventures Inc. started discussions on cleaning up the site for a possible superspeedway. On Nov. 22, 1995, after getting race dates from NASCAR and CART, a work force that numbered in the thousands began demolition and construction. More than 21,000 tons of hazardous waste was removed. Then a million more tons of rubble was removed. The final cost of the 2-mile California Speedway was around $120 million. Since then, they have added road courses and a drag strip to the racing complex. The facility hosts NASCAR, IRL, Motorcycle Racing, NHRA, the IROC Series and Grand American sports car racing. It is also the home of six different racing schools. In 1998, 15,777 seats were added raising the grandstand capacity to 86,232. The following year, 28 skyboxes were added to the rim of the grandstands, which currently hold about 92,000 fans. There is still plenty of room for expansion at this 568-acre facility. In August 2007, the speedway showcased its multi-million dollar Midway redesign which included Wolfgang Puck's Apex restaurant, a town center and new concert stage.


First Cup race

Joe Nemechek put the No. 42 Felix Sabates owned Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the pole for the June 22, 1997 California 500 Presented by NAPA with a qualifying lap of 183.015 mph. Jeff Gordon, driving the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet at an average race speed of 155.012 mph, took the inaugural win.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. There were 51 cars on the entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualified will be competing in front of 92,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Sunday's Auto Club 500 in Fontana, California.


Mid-pack picks

Since this is only the second race of 2008, about half of the drivers who finished in the top twenty at Daytona are still considered sleepers this early in the season. Matt Kenseth, who is 36th in the points right now, will likely be contending for the win at Fontana.

Jamie McMurray heads to his favorite track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit this weekend. In nine career Cup starts, he has five top-10 finishes, including three top-five finishes. McMurray said "California Speedway is statistically my best track on the circuit." He's considered a "closer" here since he is one of the best at improving positions during the final 10 percent of the race. If you planned on using McMurray any time soon, this would be a good time.

For his first Cup start at the California Speedway, this race in 2004, Kasey Kahne drove from the pole to a 13th place finish. Including his September 2006 win, Kahne has scored five top tens in eight Cup starts at this track. He started on the front row in 2nd in this race last February, led 20 laps but lost the engine. Overall, his laps led percentage (14.8%) is the best of all active drivers. Coming off a 7th at Daytona, look for Kahne to be up front this weekend.

Greg Biffle, currently 10th in the point standings, might slip down to mid-pack after a few races but he's a good choice for a third or fourth driver this weekend. NASCAR Media loop data shows Biffle leads all drivers with 134 of the fastest laps over the last six Fontana Cup races. Only one driver, his teammate and track favorite Matt Kenseth, leads him in percentage of laps led in those 6 races. Don't expect another win from Biffle this weekend but a repeat of his 15th place finish in this race last season is not out of the question.

Casey Mears, our deepest pick this weekend, looked really strong at Daytona. He was running with the leaders most of the race and was in the top 5 before hitting the wall in the closing laps. The native Californian, who considers Fontana a home-town track, scored top 15's in three of the his last four Cup starts at the speedway. He almost pulled off a Fontana win in the Nationwide (Busch) Series with a runner-up in last fall's race. Tag Mears onto the tail end of your roster and expect a top 15 run on Sunday.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#3
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The UAW-Ford 500
The NASCAR Cup Series moves to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third race of the Sprint Cup Season, the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. We looked at this winter's Vegas practice sessions, past performances, and season trends to predict how the field might finish.


When: Sunday, March 2, 2008; 4:30 p.m./et


Weather: Sunny with a high around 64; wind out of the N at 18 mph. Chance of precipitation 20%.


The Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile tri-oval that was reconfigured in 2007. The banking on the corners was been increased from 12 degrees to 20 degrees. Roush-Fenway Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have dominated races at the track since it opened in 1998.

Key to Race: BEAT THE BIG BOYS

There have been ten races run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and cars from the Roush-Fenway and Hendrick Motorsports have won nine of them. The ability these teams have to experiment with different aero packages and setups means any of their cars could win the race.


Qualifying Procedures:

48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, February 29 at 6:40 pm/et. Cars that were in the top 35 in owner's points during the 2007 season are guaranteed a spot in the race.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has won the past three Las Vegas races?enough said.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has three consecutive top five finishes at Vegas. He should be in the lead pack again this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has won two of the last five races at Vegas. He is a great bet to crack the top five again this weekend.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has three straight top 10 finishes at his hometown track. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has been a top five finisher at Vegas four times. There is a great chance he could find his way to victory lane for the first time at the track this weekend.

6 to 10

No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has never finished outside the top 10 during his career at Vegas. We like his chance to keep the streak alive this weekend.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has been on fire so far this season. He has had decent success at Vegas during his career and is a great pick on Sunday.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has notched five top five finishes in 10 career starts at Vegas. He is a great sleeper option this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards was terrific Monday at Fontana, but he hasn't had a heck of a lot of success at Vegas during his career. We think he should finish inside the top 15, but his chances of winning aren't very good.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has been hit-or-miss in Vegas during his career. He has been strong so far this season and we see no reason he won't flirt with cracking the top 10 on Sunday.

11 to 20

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior isn't a great pick in Vegas. He has just two top 10 finishes in eight career starts in the Sin City.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has two top five finishes and two 35th or worse finishes at Vegas in his career. We expect he will be pushing to crack the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: Truex finished 12th during last year's edition of this race. We predict he will finish right around there again this year.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick is a lock to crack the top 20 and might even sneak into the top 10 with a little luck.
No. 25 Casey Mears: Las Vegas is one of the best tracks for Mears. If there is ever a weekend to use him it is this one.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has six top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at Vegas. He should be just outside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle's average finish at Las Vegas is 17th. That is about where we think he will finish this weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been awesome so far this year. He is worth taking a chance on this weekend as your fourth or fifth driver.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has never cracked the top 15 at Vegas. He isn't a great pick this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray should be a middle-of-the-packer this weekend. He isn't worth using as much more than a fourth or fifth driver.

21 to 30

No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has had decent success during his career at Vegas and is worth using as a fifth driver this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler's average finish at Vegas during his career is 25th which is about where we think he will finish this weekend.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon is having an excellent season, if you overlook his penalty. Another top 20 finish wouldn't surprise us. But we are talking about Robby.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann is proving this season that he is a very talented driver. We like him as a sleeper most weekends.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya hasn't had quite the success people expected from him in his sophomore season. We think he will struggle again this weekend.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. had some bad luck that took him out of last weekend's race. He is a wildcard this weekend, but we don't recommend using him in fantasy leagues.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has been terrible at Las Vegas during his career. We think he is due for a breakout season this year, but this isn't the week to use him.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan finished 37th last year at Vegas. He will improve this week, but he still isn't a great choice.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard should finish in the mid-to-high 20's this weekend.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has back-to-back 21st place finishes this season. We don't think he will do that well this weekend.

31 to 40

No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley is going to finish in the top 30 most races, but he will rarely crack the top 20.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has been quietly having a great season. We expect he will crack the top 35 this weekend, but not do much better.
No. 44 Dale Jarrett: Jarrett has had a nice run this season, but he should fall back into the mid-30's this weekend.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has been terrible this season and Vegas isn't one of his better tracks. Avoid him.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has been decent this season, but we still don't consider him a fantasy option.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario has struggled in his first two NASCAR races. This is a trend we don't see ending.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty has been terrible this season and we don't see him improving.
No. 70 Jeremy Mayfield: We have to wonder if the No. 70 car wishes it had Johnny Sauter back.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith is a back-of-the-packer.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil is guaranteed to make the field and should get lapped rapidly.

Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott did well at Fontana and should get the No. 21 car into Sunday's field as well.
No. 84 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has missed the first two races of the season and should struggle to make the field this weekend.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier's next Spring Cup race will be his first.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: Nemechek has barely made the first two races of the season. His luck will eventually run out.
No. 49 Ken Schrader: Schrader has yet to make a race this season. It is a trend that should continue.
No. 27 Mike Skinner: Skinner will be watching the race on television.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti has made both races this season, but we think he will miss this week.
No. 08 Burney Lamar: He would have to find a pit crew if he makes the race.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Kyle Busch

Sleepers:

1. Mark Martin
2. Casey Mears

Busts:

1. Clint Bowyer
2. Juan Pablo Montoya
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#4
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack:UAW-Dodge 400
Track history

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway, situated on 1600 acres northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, opened for business in 1996. The facility covers over a dozen forms of racing, including a go-kart track, a 4,000-foot drag strip, a 3/8 mile "bullring" oval, a couple of road courses, paved and dirt short tracks, motocross circuits, and a Cup Superspeedway. They are also home to several racing schools like the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Mario Andretti Racing School. With Las Vegas food and entertainment nearby, and over 100,000 affordable hotel rooms available, LVMS is a favorite of race teams and fans alike. The speedway was opened September 15, 1996 with the Indy Racing League Las Vegas 500k, won by Richie Hearn. NASCAR Cup racing came to LVMS in 1998 with the inaugural Las Vegas 400. The superspeedway is a 1.5 mile tri-oval. The backstretch runs 1,572 feet and the front is 2,275 feet.
In 2007, the Cup drivers competed on a brand-new track configuration. The 1.5 mile track was changed to its current 20 degree banking compared to the previous 12 degrees in the turns. For the fans, pit road was relocated 150 feet closer to the grandstands and the new fan-friendly garages debuted that weekend as well.


First Cup race

Dale Jarrett ran a 168.224 mph qualifying lap in Robert Yates Racing's No. 88 Quality Care Ford to start on the pole for the March 1, 1998 Las Vegas 400. He led 40 laps but dropped out on lap 219 after losing the engine. Mark Martin put Roush Racing's No. 6 Valvoline Ford 7th in the lineup, led 82 laps and took the inaugural victory with a race speed of 146.554 mph.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. There were 48 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 142,000 fans in the grandstands for a total purse of $6,459,779. Here are our picks for Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Mid-pack picks

Since it's still early in the season, mid-packers aren't necessarily mid-pack in the point standings at this time. Some are in the top 15 but will drop like stones after four or five races. Others, deep in the standings, will likely be moving up. That said, other than the track favorites, we'll be picking from all over the standings for the next couple of weeks.

Jeff Burton's combined Cup and Nationwide (Busch) Series numbers show 5 wins, 12 top tens and an average finish of around 9th in 17 starts. It's an understatement to say he does well at LVMS. He's the only driver to finish all 10 Cup races and 9 on the lead lap. Burton has two top 15's this season so far and Sunday should be no exception.

Mark Martin leads all drivers with 8 top tens in Cup series races at Las Vegas. The inaugural race winner is a fantasy option every time he enters a race at this track. Like Burton, he brings the car home in one piece (running at the finish in 9 out of 10 races). His 11.2 average finish makes him a good choice for a third of fourth driver in your roster this weekend.

In four Cup starts at this track, Kasey Kahne averaged a 3.5 start (best in the series) including 2 poles. As to his finishes; he wrecked twice and finished 2nd and 4th in the other two starts. The runner-up finish was in only his 3rd Cup Series career race. Kahne is back running like he did in 2006. With a 7th at Daytona and a 9th last Monday at Fontana, look for another top 10 from him on Sunday.

Greg Biffle has an average finish of 10th in his last three Cup starts at LVMS. In the Nationwide Series, he averaged an 11.3 finish at Las Vegas for six races. Oh yeah, let's not forget his two starts in the Craftsman Truck Series. He started both races 5th in the lineup, finished the first in 5th and won the other. Biffle has finishes of 10th and 15th so far in 2008 and that is where we expect to find him this weekend.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#5
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Kobalt Tools 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the fourth race of the 2008 season, the Kobalt Tools 500. We looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish on Sunday afternoon.


When: Sunday, March 9, 2008; 2:00 p.m./et


Weather: Sunny with a high around 57; wind out of the W at 4 mph. Chance of precipitation 10%.


The Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway

Atlanta Motor Speedway is a wide, 1.5 mile oval. It has 24 degree banking on the corners. Due to the fast surface and steep banking it is known as the fastest track on the NASCAR circuit.


Key to Race: READY FOR ANOTHER BACK FLIP?

This is a race that appears to be wide-open. Carl Edwards won both 2005 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Jimmie Johnson won both races at the track in 2007 both drivers have a great chance to win this weekend.


Qualifying Procedures:

48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, March 7 at 6:45 pm/et. Cars that were in the top 35 in owner's points during the 2008 season are guaranteed a spot in the race.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has visited Victory Lane in the past two Atlanta races. We think there is a great chance he can get his first win of the 2008 season this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: In seven career starts at Atlanta, Edwards has finished in the top seven an impressive six times. 2008 is starting to look like the year of "Crazy" Carl.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart won the October 2006 race at Atlanta and finished second last March. Depending on how sore he is from trying to "knock the wall down" in Vegas he should be in contention for the win this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four career wins at Atlanta and has finished in the top 10 in 14 of the last 18 races at the track. His body is very sore from the intense crash he had at Vegas, but another top five finish should be expected.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has been great at Atlanta during his career. In 16 races he has nine top 10 finishes. He will be very good on Sunday.


6 to 10

No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has four top five finishes in eight career races at Atlanta. He looks like the Kahne of 2006 rather then the disappointing driver we watched last season. We like his chances on Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has nine top 10 finishes in the last 13 races at Atlanta. He should find himself in the top 10 again this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been very good at Atlanta since 2004. A top 15 finish is nearly guaranteed.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished sixth in both of last year's races at Atlanta. He is worth taking a chance on this weekend for another top 10 finish.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has won at ATL before, but he has cracked the top 10 just once since 2003. His hit-or-miss results at the track make him a risky pick this weekend.

11 to 20

No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has just one top 10 finish in five career ATL starts. He should be in the top 15, but we don't see a top 10 finish.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has never cracked the top 10 at Atlanta. He isn't a great pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle was terrible at Atlanta in 2007, but he has led 285 laps in the past six races at the track. He should wind up be in the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: Truex has been very mediocre during his career at Atlanta. We have been impressed with his consistency this season, but a top 10 finish might be out of his grasp on Sunday.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top 10 in five of the past seven races at Atlanta. He won't finish in the top 10, but a top 15 finish is expected.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson was awesome at ATL in 2007 and with his strong start to the 2008 season we love him as a third or fourth driver in all fantasy leagues.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won at Atlanta in 2001, but he has been terrible the past 12 races at the track. Save him for another weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2008 season. He is worth using as a fourth or fifth driver in all fantasy leagues.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has had success at Atlanta during his career and has been great this season. We like him has a fourth or fifth driver this weekend.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman is the maestro of qualifying at Atlanta. In the 12 races he has run at the speedway he has started from the pole seven times. We like him to grab the pole, but he should finish outside the top 20.

21 to 30

No. 25 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged a 23rd place finish at Atlanta during his career. We feel he will finish right about there this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has struggled to crack the top 20 in 2008. He isn't worth using in fantasy leagues.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has never been great at Atlanta, but he should be good enough this weekend to crack the top 25.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya had one good race and one bad race at ATL last season. He is too hit-or-miss for us this weekend.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard has averaged a 22nd place finish at Atlanta during his career. He is a decent sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Atlanta has never been one of Gordon's better tracks, but he should be good enough to finish in the top 30.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann was on a roll until last weekend. He will continue to be a risky pick.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has had some awful luck this season. We can't recommend him as a fantasy option until he can make it through a race without an incident.
No. 6 David Ragan: The Georgia native struggled at Atlanta during his rookie season, but he should be better at the track this season.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley is going to continue finish in the top 30, but he will rarely crack the top 20.


31 to 40

No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has been the biggest surprise so far this season. We doubt he will continue his strong finishes, but he might be worth using as a fifth fantasy driver.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has been quietly having a great season. If he continues to be consistent he might be worth using as a fifth fantasy driver.
No. 70 Jeremy Mayfield: Mayfield has been a nice surprise this year. We doubt he will continue his top 30 finishes, but he has driven very well so far.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip looked great during the October race at Atlanta, but we don't think he is worth using in fantasy leagues.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs will continue to be hit-or-miss this season. He is very talented, but CNC Racing will struggle to give him a consistent ride.
No. 44 Dale Jarrett: Jarrett has 11 top five finishes at Atlanta during his career?unfortunately his days of glory are a distant memory.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has been terrible this season. Avoid him.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario continues to struggle in his conversion from open wheel to NASCAR. Not a fantasy option.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty has been terrible this season. Not a fantasy option.
No. 01 Regan Smith: The man from Cato has a lot to learn about driving a car in the Sprint Cup.

Field Fillers

No. 21 Johnny Sauter: Sauter had some strong finishes last year, but we don't think he will do much in the No. 21 ride.
No. 84 Mike Skinner: Skinner used his strong qualifying effort at Vegas to earn a ride in the No. 84 car. He should get the car into the race, but he isn't a fantasy option.
No. 49 Ken Schrader: Schrader made the Vegas race and finished in the top 25. He is far too risky to use even in the deepest fantasy league.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier struggled last weekend and will struggle again this weekend.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: Nemechek missed the Vegas race and will need some luck to make the race this weekend.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti missed the race in Vegas and should miss this weekend's race as well.
No. 08 Burney Lamar: Not a chance.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Carl Edwards
3. Tony Stewart
4. Jeff Gordon

Sleepers:

1. Reed Sorenson
2. Brian Vickers

Busts:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Ryan Newman
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#6
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack: Kobalt Tools 500
Track history

Fireball Roberts earned just $10,130 for winning the 1960 Dixie 300, the first race at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). The purse for all the drivers totaled $39,000. In contrast, during the March 2007 race, Scott Riggs blew an engine, finished 43rd and collected $74,334. Opened in July 1960, AMS was one of the best of the new superspeedways being built all over at the time. This 1.54-mile oval is the fastest track the Cup guys compete on and is the one they fear the most. Since it is not a "restrictor plate" track and speeds top 200 mph at the end of the backstretch, drivers know if they find the wall here, they will definitely know it. The good thing about not having restrictor plates is the cars will be spread out and wrecks like the "Big One" wrecks at Daytona and Talladega aren't usually a concern at Atlanta. Bruton Smith purchased the Speedway in 1990 and has spent over $100 million improving the facility, including the nine-story structure that houses the corporate offices of AMS as well as 46 luxury condos. Recent additions also include a road course and over 53,000 more seats giving AMS a total capacity of 124,000 seats. In 1997, at a cost of $30 million, the start/finish line was moved from the south side of the track to the north side, and the configuration of the Hampton, Ga. facility changed from a 1.522- mile oval to a 1.54-mile quad-oval similar to Lowe's and Texas Motor Speedways.


First Cup race

On July 31, 1960, Fireball Roberts started on the pole for the 1960 Dixie 300 in the John Hines owned No. 22 car. Roberts led 28 laps in the 1960 Pontiac, including the last one, to win the first Cup race held at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A 22-year old Richard Petty drove the soon-to-be famous No. 43 Petty Plymouth to a 20th place finish in that race as well.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart. There were 48 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 124,000 fans in the grandstands for a total purse of $5,060,012. Here are our picks for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 in Hampton, Georgia.


Mid-pack picks

Jeff Burton, coming off a strong top 5 finish at Las Vegas, likes Atlanta almost as much as LVMS. Besides 12 top tens in 27 Cup starts, including top fives in the last two, Burton won the last two Nationwide Series races at AMS as well. He's tuning up for Sunday's event with another NNS start on Saturday. If he does as well this weekend as we think, Burton will no longer be a mid-pack pick in 2008.

Reed Sorenson recorded his career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish of third-place in last season's second race at what is considered his hometown track. In five starts at AMS he has one top five (third) and three top ten finishes. He has an 18.4 average finish. He looked good last weekend at LVMS and came away with an 18th place finish. Sorenson is a good choice for fourth or fifth in your lineup.

Clint Bowyer is having a slow start this season with a definite mid-pack 23.7 average finish. At this time last year, he was holding a 20th place average finish and he scored a 6th at Atlanta. Bowyer followed up with another 6th in the October race at this track. Six might be his favorite AMS number since he finished in that position in the 2007 Nationwide Series race as well. We're expecting him to finish around 6th on Sunday.

Bobby Labonte leads all active drivers with six Cup Series wins at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He is third, behind track favorites Stewart and Gordon, in the percentage of laps led category. Labonte ran two Craftsman Truck races here in 2005 and finished 2nd and 5th. We don't expect a 7th win but Labonte should be good for a top 15 in Sunday's race.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#7
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Food City 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to Bristol Motor Speedway's half mile oval for the fifth race of the 2008 season, the Food City 500. Race Preview looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.


When: Sunday, March 16; 2 p.m./et


Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 51; wind out of the NW at 11 mph. Chance of precipitation 10%.


The Track: Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway is a half mile oval with high-banking around the entire track. The corners are banked 36 degrees with 16 degree banking on the straight-aways. This is a track that very few drivers have been able to dominate. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon have all had decent success at the track, but that status can change with one nudge to the left rear bumper.


Key to Race: DON'T BRING YOUR BEST CAR

The Bullring in Bristol has been described a flying an airplane in a gymnasium. There will be no cars that escape Sunday's race without damage. This race is one of the most entertaining on the circuit for fans and frustrating for drivers. Expect tempers to flare as the cars bump and bang. The driver that wins the race will have to have excellent pit stops and lots of luck.


Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs on Friday, March 14th at 3:45 pm/et. Cars that were in the top 35 in owner's points following the 2007 season are guaranteed a spot in the race.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the August 2007 race at Bristol and has placed in the top 12 the past four races at the track. With his early success in 2008 he is a great pick.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart led 257 laps during last March's race at Bristol. If he can figure out how to drive on Goodyear tires he should be in the front again on Sunday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins at Bristol and has led nearly 2,400 laps at the track. He should be in the top five once again on Sunday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch led 29 laps on his way to winning last March's race at Bristol. He has finished eighth or better in the past four races at the track and is an excellent pick.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne had one of the top cars during last August's race at Bristol. He captured the pole, led 305 laps and finished an impressive second place. This weekend should be a great opportunity for Kahne to get the Bud car into Victory Lane.


6 to 10

No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has nine top 10 finishes in 14 career races at Bristol. He finished fourth during last year's March race and is a great choice on Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has excelled at Bristol in his career. He has finished 16th or better in his last 13 starts at the track. Look for him to earn another top 10 finish on Sunday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has nine top 10 finishes in 16 career races at Bristol. He has led 539 laps during the last five races at the track, making him a great option to finish in the top 10.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has finished second in two of the last six races at Bristol. He is a great third or fourth driver in all fantasy leagues.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in his past two starts at Bristol. He should be back into the top 10 once again on Sunday.


11 to 20

No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has never finished worse than 22nd at Bristol in his career and has six top 10 finishes in 10 career starts. He is a great fantasy option on Sunday.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has won five races at Bristol during his career, but his last three races at the track he has averaged just a 24th place finish. He is still a strong option on Sunday, but we wouldn't anchor our team with him.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has led just one lap in the past five races at Bristol. He is usually a top pick, but we don't recommend him this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin was a hit-or-miss driver at Bristol in 2007. He blew an engine and finished 43rd in August race and led 177 laps on the way to a 14th place finish in March. We think he should bring a strong enough car to crack the top 15, but we don't think he is predictable to be worthy of a top 10 selection.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: Truex Jr has averaged a 26th place finish at Bristol during his career. The success he had at the track while in the Nationwide Series has yet to carry over and we like other drivers much better this weekend.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte's average finish during his career at Bristol is 19th. We think that is about where he will finish on Saturday.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has three finishes in the top 10 and three finishes in the 30s during his last six races at Bristol. His inconsistency makes him a very risky pick.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the 2008 season. Even though he is in the top 10 in points he will have to make Sunday's race during qualifying. He is still worthy of fantasy consideration.
No. 25 Casey Mears: Mears has just one top 10 finish in 10 career starts at Bristol. He isn't a fantasy option.


21 to 30

No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya qualified second last March at Bristol, but we think he will need a few more starts at the tricky track to figure out what is necessary for a strong finish.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray looked great at Bristol last March, but then struggled in the August race. We don't recommend using him as much more than a fifth fantasy driver.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson had a tough race last weekend, but with his limited success during his career at Bristol we don't see his luck changing.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has been decent at Bristol in his career. He is a bit of a sleeper this weekend.
No. 44 Dale Jarrett: Jarrett has a history of doing very well at Bristol. With all his success and experience at the track he isn't a terrible option this weekend.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: We love what Riggs has been able to accomplish so far this year. He is quickly becoming a great value as a fifth driver in all fantasy leagues.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler had a rough outing at Atlanta last weekend. Unfortunately for him and his team his recent runs at Bristol don't point to a change in his luck.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has looked much more consistent so far this season, but we don't think he quite ready to be considered a fantasy option.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has made 43 career starts at Bristol in his career. It should be good for something, right?
No. 70 Jeremy Mayfield: Mayfield has had some decent success at Bristol in his career. He could be worthy of being used as a fifth fantasy driver this weekend.


31 to 40

No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard finished 24th during last year's August race at Bristol. We predict that is about where he will cross the finish line on Sunday.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: If you are looking for a driver to finish in the low-30s this weekend, Robby is your guy. He won't kill your team, but he won't give it a ton of help.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann has never qualified for a race at Bristol. He should make the field this week, but we doubt he will finish decent enough to make much of a fantasy impact.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. continues to show why NASCAR insists rookies have a yellow stripe on their bumpers.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley finished 13th at Bristol in August, but that was in a different car racing for a different team.
No. 8 Aric Almirola: Almirola relieves Mark Martin from behind the wheel of the No. 8 car for the next couple weeks. He is not a fantasy option.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has been awful at Bristol in his career. He is not an option this weekend.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney continues to struggle. He isn't an option
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario has finished 33rd in three of his first four Cup starts. We expect he won't do quite so well this weekend.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty seems to have gotten even worse this year?who knew that was possible.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith finished 25th in his first career start at Bristol last season. He won't finish anywhere near that well this weekend.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: "Awesome Bill" will try and get the No. 21 into Sunday's field. We think there is a good chance it will happen.
No. 84 Mike Skinner: Skinner got the No. 84 car in last weekend's race and he should do the same this weekend.
No. 49 Ken Schrader: Schrader has run nearly 19,500 laps at Bristol during his career. All that experience should be good enough to get the No. 49 car into Sunday's race.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: We expect Nemechek will grab the final spot in the field for Sunday's race.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: We have a feeling poor Patrick will look lost this weekend at Bristol.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti missed the race in Atlanta and should miss this weekend's race also.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Carl Edwards
2. Tony Stewart
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kyle Busch

Sleepers:

1. Travis Kvapil
2. Brian Vickers

Busts:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Denny Hamlin
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#8
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Food City 500
Track history

Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) was built after Larry Carrier and Carl Moore saw a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960. They wanted to build a smaller version of CMS in Tennessee and decided on a half-mile oval. Work began on a former dairy farm in 1960 and a year later the speedway was born with 22 degree banking in the turns. 18,000 fans attended the first NASCAR race at BMS in 1961. In 1969 BMS was reshaped with the turns banked at 36 degrees. After the reshaping it became a 0.533-mile oval.


In August of 1992 the track was resurfaced from the original asphalt to become the first speedway to host a NASCAR Cup event on a concrete surface. In March 2007, right after the Food City 500, a multimillion-dollar project of removing and replacing the concrete racing surface, asphalt apron, pit road and all the retaining walls around the track was started. Conditions do not change during a race because concrete isn't as sensitive to weather changes like an asphalt paved track. Since the straightaways are only 650 feet long on the 0.533-mile oval, the drivers are constantly braking, turning and accelerating which makes for a demanding race. The key to passing at Bristol is to be at the bottom in the turns and getting a good run off the corners. That's why shocks, springs and brakes are critical in the race setup.
First Cup race

On July 30, 1961, Fred Lorenzen started the No. 28 Holman-Moody 1961 Ford on the pole for the Volunteer 500. He made it through 175 laps of the 500 lap event before losing the rear end and finished 33rd. Jack Smith, who started 12th in his own No. 46 Pontiac, led the most laps (243) and earned $3,025 for the inaugural BMS victory.


Since this is the fifth race of the season, the top 15 in the point standings is starting to become more stable. With that in mind, we'll stay away from those drivers for mid-pack picks, as well as the track favorites, from now on.

As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. There were 46 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 160,000 fans in the grandstands for a total purse of $5,661,265. Here are our picks for Sunday's Food City 500 in Bristol, Tennessee.


Travis Kvapil will be running the race at BMS in a car that already visited victory lane. Yates Racing purchased (from Roush Fenway Racing) the 2007 Bristol Sharpie 500 race winning chassis that was driven by Carl Edwards. Kvapil has completed 1848 of 2000 Cup career laps at Bristol (92.4 percent). His best Cup finish at BMS is a seventh. Kvapil has three truck starts at Bristol, one from the pole, with finishes of 1st, 8th and 11th. He's a good choice for at least a top 15 on Sunday.

NASCAR Media gives Elliot Sadler a Bristol Driver Rating of 92.9 (eighth-best), an Average Running Position of 14.9 (ninth) and he has run 68% of the laps in the top 15 (2,046 of 3,004). He picked up his first Cup career win at Bristol (2001). Sadler pounded the outside wall a few times last Sunday at Atlanta, finally giving up the ghost on lap 257, but we think he'll rebound with a top 15 this weekend.

Clint Bowyer scored 307 points in the two Bristol races last year. That was third highest behind favorites Busch and Edwards (last year's race winners as well). Coming off a 6th at Atlanta and top tens in the last two Bristol races, Bowyer is a strong third or fourth pick for your Food City 500 roster.

We're going deep with Brian Vickers this weekend since his team is outside the top 35 in owners points and he has to race his way into the field. Vickers has a respectable 14th place average finish in the first four races this season. He finished 15th in this race last season. If you don't mind a gamble on a go-or-go-homer, Vickers will make a great pick to round out your fantasy team at the half-mile bull-ring.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#9
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Goody's Cool Orange 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to Martinsville Speedway for the sixth race of the 2008 season, the Goody's Cool Orange 500. Race Preview looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish on Sunday afternoon.

When: Sunday, March 30, 2008; 2:15 p.m./et

Weather: Mostly sunny with a high around 67; wind out of the E at 8 mph. Chance of precipitation 20%.

The Track: The Big Paperclip

Martinsville Speedway is a half mile paperclip shaped track. It has intermediate 12 degree banking on the turns. This is Jeff Gordon's track. He has won four of the last nine races including both in 2005.

Key to Race: LOOK OUT FOR THE HENDRICK BOYS

Hendrick Motorsports has ruled Martinsville. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have combined to win six of the last seven races at the track. Roush-Fenway and Joe Gibbs shouldn't be completely ignored on Sunday, but if it isn't Gordon or Johnson taking the checkers we will be a little surprised.

Qualifying Procedures:

47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, March 28 at 3:40 pm/et.

Top 5

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has won the past three races at Martinsville. Enough said!!!
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has seven career wins at Martinsville. He is one of our favorites to win on Sunday.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart is the only driver not named Johnson or Gordon to win a race at Martinsville since 2004. He is a great pick to get his first win of the 2008 season on Sunday.


No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch led 106 laps on his way to a fourth place finish in the last race at M'ville. He has finished ninth or better in four of his last five races at the track and is an excellent pick.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has four top eight finishes in five career starts at M'ville. He should bounce-back from the disappointing finish of the Bristol race to crack the top five this weekend.


6 to 10

No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has completed nearly 97.5 percent of the laps in his 13 career starts at M'ville. He should continue to avoid accidents and crack the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top five in seven of his 16 career starts at M'ville. He is a good pick on Sunday.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has led just 18 laps in eight career starts at M'ville. He appears to be back on-track this season and a top 10 finish is a great possibility.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has never had terrific success at Martinsville. In 16 career starts at the track he has just two top five finishes. He has improved in each of his last four starts at the track and could be poised to take the checkers on Sunday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton was in the right place at the right time to win the Bristol race. He has 13 top 10 finishes in 27 starts at Martinsville making him a strong pick to run out front and "vulture" another win in the final laps.


11 to 20

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has yet to crack the top 10 at Martinsville. He finished 11th last October at the Paperclip and is a great pick as a third driver this weekend.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer's worst career finish at M'ville is 23rd. He is an excellent third or fourth driver on all fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has just one top 10 finish in 10 career starts at M'ville. He has had an awesome year so far, but we just can't recommend him this weekend.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has been okay at Martinsville during his career and should crack the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has qualified in the top ten in all but two career starts at M'ville. With track position so important this weekend, his strong qualifying skills make him a good pick.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya finished eighth and 16th last season at M'ville. This is a good weekend to use the 2007 Rookie of the Year.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: M'ville is a track that Truex would prefer to avoid. In four career starts he has yet to crack the top 15. We think this is a good weekend to avoid him.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte's average finish during his career at Bristol is 16th. We think he will finish a little worse than that on Sunday.
No. 25 Casey Mears: Mears has just one top 10 finish in 10 career starts at M'ville. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers is 17th in the standings so finally he won't have to make a race during qualifying. However, he was terrible at Bristol so we question how strong his short-track car will be this weekend.


21 to 30

No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has cracked the top 26 in all three of his career starts at M'ville. We expect he should do it again this weekend.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has been a middle-of-the-packer at M'ville during his career, but since he is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race he is certainly worth using as a fifth fantasy driver.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann takes over the No. 44 ride for Dale Jarrett, who retired following the Bristol race. Reutimann has been decent this year and is a decent low-cost option as a fifth driver in most fantasy leagues.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has just three top 10 finishes in 18 career starts at M'ville. There are far better options this weekend.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has been pretty awful at M'ville during his career. He should be avoided.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard finished 24th during last year's October race at M'vilee. We predict that is about where he will cross the finish line on Sunday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil might wish he could skip this weekend's race. In five career starts at M'ville he has yet to crack the top 20.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been the biggest disappointment of the 2008 season, but he has finished in the top 10 in six of his 10 career Martinsville starts. He will have to race his way into Sunday's race making him a terrible fantasy option.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has finished between 23rd and 31st in every race this season. We don't see that trend ending on Sunday.
No. 8 Aric Almirola: Almirola was the biggest surprise of the Bristol race. He will likely come back to earth a little this weekend.


31 to 40

No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland had a strong finish at Bristol and could crack the top 30 again this weekend.
No. 70 Jeremy Mayfield: Mayfield is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race but that doesn't mean he is worth using.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has been better the past two races, but he still isn't a fantasy option.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith finished 26th in his first career start at Martinsville last season. He won't finish that strong this weekend.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario has finished between 33rd and 36th in his first five Cup starts. We expect he will be around there again this weekend.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley has a new crew chief for Sunday's race. It remains to be seen if the change will help his car run faster.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has finished 43, 42, 37, 34, and 39 in the past five Martinsville races. Don't use him.
No. 21 Bill Elliott: "Awesome Bill" will use his past champions provisional to get the No. 21 car in Sunday's race.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is taking over the No. 00 car this weekend. He will likely earn the yellow-stripe on his bumper.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney obviously didn't get the memo that Toyota has strong cars this season. He will have to race his way into Sunday's field.


Field Fillers

No. 84 Mike Skinner: Skinner has done a great job getting the No. 84 car into races. He isn't worth a spot on a fantasy roster.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty will struggle to race his way into Sunday's field.
No. 49 Ken Schrader: Schrader should be one of the final cars to make Sunday's race.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: We expect Nemechek will grab the final spot in the field for Sunday's race.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier missed Bristol and will likely miss Martinsville too.
No. 08 Tony Raines: Raines takes over the No. 08 car for Sunday's race. He isn't a option.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti will be on the outside looking in.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Tony Stewart
4. Kyle Busch

Sleepers:

1. Bobby Labonte
2. Juan Pablo Montoya

Busts:

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Casey Mears
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#10
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Goody's Cool Orange 500
Track history

One of the oldest tracks on the Cup circuit, Martinsville Speedway opened as a half-mile dirt track in 1947 with only 750 seats. The track hosted one of 8 races held in the 1949 "Strictly Stock" series which eventually became the NASCAR Cup series. Today, Martinsville seats 91,000 and has 25 corporate suites. The Virginia track, paved in 1955, is a flat paperclip shaped half-mile oval, which is tough on drivers, brakes and sheet metal. Most of the passing is done by shoving someone out of your way. This usually causes some payback, but that's racin' on a short track. Since it doesn't take long before the leaders catch the end of the field, they're coming up on some cars that don't want to go down a lap. That's when it really gets hairy. These guys at the rear are usually not handling very well already, but now they'll overdrive the cars to stay ahead of the leaders. Martinsville is a lot different from the half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, which is high-banked and totally concrete. Martinsville is flatter, with longer 800-foot asphalt straights, and a concrete surface, added in 1976, throughout the turns. At .526 miles, it is also Sprint Cup's shortest track

First Cup race

Curtis Turner, in his No. 41 Frank Christian-owned 1949 Oldsmobile, led a field of 15 cars to the green flag of the September 25, 1949 Strictly Stock race on the ? mile dirt oval track. Turner led 18 laps and finished 9th. Red Byron started the No. 22 Parks Novelty Oldsmobile 3rd in the lineup, led 97 of the 200 lap race, and finished 3 laps ahead of 2nd place, Lee Petty. Byron earned $1,500 for the win. He won 2 races in the 8-race season and became the 1949 series champion.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart. There were 47 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 91,000 fans in the grandstands. Here is our picks for Sunday's Goody's Cool Orange 500 in Martinsville, Virginia.


Mid-pack picks

Bobby Labonte is the only driver to win in all three NASCAR series at Martinsville (Truck?2005, Nationwide?1992, Sprint Cup?2002). He has scored two top-fives at Martinsville in his last five starts at this track. Labonte has also started the race within the top-10 eight times, including the pole in 1995. Of a possible 14,862 laps at Martinsville, Labonte has completed 13,961 (93.9%) including 316 laps led. His average start at the track is 17.9 and average finish is 16.2.

Juan Pablo Montoya has only two previous starts at Martinsville Speedway but they were worthy of considering him this week. Mike Forde (NASCAR Media) gives Montoya an 11th best 83.4 Driver Rating and show his Average Running Position at Martinsville is a 10th best 15.4. Last year, in his rookie season, he completed all 1,006 laps at the track in those races. In this race last season, he finished 16th and came back in October to finish 8th (led 9 laps). Coming off a 15th place finish at Bristol, look for Montoya to be in the 10th to 15th place range again on Sunday.

Jamie McMurray needs to race into the field at Martinsville. McMurray said: "Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks, so to know that I have to qualify my way in, I'm glad that it's at Martinsville." It ranks as his second best qualifying track (Sonoma is best) with an average starting position of 13.4. He averages a 15.7 finish here, his fifth best track on the circuit. We think he's worth a gamble as your fourth or fifth driver this week.

Brian Vickers can breathe easier since he's locked into the field with an owners top 35 guarantee at Martinsville. He has just one top ten in six Cup starts at this track but we're picking him based on his 2008 Cup performance. Okay, he wrecked at Bristol two weeks ago, but throw away that DNF and Vickers has averaged a 14th place finish for the other four races so far. Consider Vickers as a fifth driver for Sunday's event.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#11
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Samsung 500
The NASCAR Nextel Cup series moves to Texas Motor Speedway for the seventh race of the season, the Samsung 500. Race Preview took a look at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish on Sunday afternoon.


When: Sunday, April 6, 2008; 2:15 p.m./et


Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 78; wind out of the SSE at 14 mph. Chance of precipitation 20%.


The Track: Texas Motor Speedway

Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 quad-oval. It has intermediate 24 degree banking on the turns. This is another Roush track. Roush tends to dominate 1.5 mile tracks and they are the team to beat on Sunday.


Key to Race: WHICH ROUSH CAR WILL WIN

Anytime the NASCAR CUP Series visits a 1.5 mile track Roush Racing is the favorite to win. The surface at Texas has great grip and thus the cars can run wide-open the entire way around. A quality engine is very important with the car running wide-open for 500 miles. The multi-car teams like Roush, Gibbs and Hendrick have a big advantage. If a Roush car doesn't find victory lane a Gibbs or Hendrick car likely will.


Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standing will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, April 4 at 4:40 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:


Top 5

No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has led at least one lap in eight of the last nine races at Texas. He is a good bet to make a return to victory lane on Sunday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won the November race at Texas in 2007 and in nine career starts at the track he has seven top 10 finishes. He has yet to find victory lane in 2008, but could do it on Sunday.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke has seven top 10 finishes (including a win) in 12 career starts at Texas. He is a great pick this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in all but one of his career starts at Texas. We like his chances this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton, our current points leader, dominated last April's race at Texas. He is a great pick to finish in the top five again on Sunday.


6 to 10

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has led laps in each of the last three races at Texas. This could be his chance to get his first win for Hendrick Motorsports.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has seven top 10 finishes in 14 career starts at Texas. He, like teammates Johnson and Earnhardt Jr, could visit victory lane for the first time in 2008 on Sunday.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne won the April 2006 race at Texas. He should be in the lead-pack all day Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has finished in the top 15 in all five of his career starts at Texas. Another top 15 should be expected.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been great in three of the last four races at Texas. He is a lock to crack the top 10.


11 to 20

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has just two top ten finish during his career at Texas so he is a risky pick, but with the way he has been driving he should be close to cracking the top 10 this weekend.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has had seven top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at Texas during his career. The No. 2 team has to be looking at Sunday's race as a chance to turn the season around.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards loves 1.5 mile ovals, but he has been very average lately at Texas. We think he is a lock to make the top 15 and a top five won't surprise us, but there are much more low-risk picks this weekend.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Texas isn't one of Bowyer's favorite tracks. He will crack the top 20, but we don't think he has quite enough to be a top 10 car this weekend.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin, back behind the wheel of the No. 8 car, has a win and five top fives in his career a TMS. He will cruise around in the top 15 and could sneak into the top ten when the race is over.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: Last week's strong finish put McMurray back in the top 35. Texas is one of his favorite tracks, so now might be a good time to buy him before his price begins to go back up.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers must be happy to be away from the short-tracks. He is a solid option as a fourth driver on most fantasy teams.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has had success at Texas during his career. We like him to finish just outside the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished outside the top 20 in four of the last five races at Texas. He is driving like a new man this season, but we still can't recommend him.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman could grab the pole, but he has been terrible in every race at TMS, but one, since 2003.


21 to 30

No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has had zero success at Texas during his career. The youngster should be much better this visit to the track, but we think he is too risky to recommend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya was hit-or-miss at TMS during his rookie campaign. As a result we think he should crack the top 20, but barely.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has had decent success at Texas during his career. He is an okay fourth or fifth driver on any fantasy team this weekend.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard finished 15th last April at Texas and should flirt with a top 25 finish again this weekend.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Based on his career numbers at Texas, Riggs will just miss finishing in the top 20 this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler won at Texas in 2004, but he hasn't had much success at the track lately. There are far better options this weekend.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil will continue to do just enough to finish in the top 30. He won't help your fantasy team much though.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland is quietly having a decent season. He won't do enough to help your fantasy team, but he won't hurt it too much either.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has been pretty awful at Texas during his career. He should be avoided.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley was a little faster last week, but he still isn't worthy of fantasy consideration.


31 to 40

No. 70 Jeremy Mayfield: Mayfield has finished 98.5% of the laps run this season. That is much better than nearly everyone expected.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has cracked the top 20 just once during his career at TMS. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip continues to slide out of the top 35. He will need a strong performance this weekend to avoid needing to race his way into next weekend's show.
No. 44 David Reutimann: With Reutimann back to making races during qualifying he is a poor choice.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. is outside the top 35 and will need to race his way into Sunday's field. He shouldn't have a problem during qualifying, but it still makes him a risky choice.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith has never made a Cup start at Texas. He isn't an option on Sunday.
No. 21 Bill Elliott: "Awesome Bill" will use his past champions provisional to get the No. 21 car in Sunday's race.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Texas is a long way from Scotland, but Dario should be able to race his way into Sunday's field and might even crack the top 30 for the second time in his NASCAR career.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell didn't embarrass himself last week?but this is a different week.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney will have to race his way into Sunday's field. He isn't an option.


Field Fillers

No. 84 Mike Skinner: Skinner has done a great job getting the No. 84 car into races, but he isn't worth a spot on a fantasy roster.
No. 45 Chad McCumbee: McCumbee takes over for Kyle Petty this weekend. He is a talented driver, but isn't worthy of fantasy consideration.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier should get the No. 10 into Sunday's race.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: We expect Nemechek will grab the final spot in the field for Sunday's race.
No. 08 Burney Lamar: Lamar isn't an option.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti will be on the outside looking in.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Tony Stewart
4. Denny Hamlin

Sleepers:

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Jamie McMurray

Busts:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Ryan Newman
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#12
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Samsung 500
Track history

NASCAR speedway owner Bruton Smith announced plans to build a multi-million dollar superspeedway in the Fort Worth/Dallas market late in 1994. Construction started in August 1995 on the 1.5-mile dual-banked Texas Motor Speedway. Dual-banked turns angled at 8 and 24 degrees allow NASCAR and Indy-style racing.

On the first lap of the inaugural Cup race in 1997, as the field entered Turn 1, 13 of the 43 car starting field were involved in a massive wreck. Darrell Waltrip's car was the only one to be retired after the accident. TMS did some reconstruction work in 1998, eliminating the 8-degree dual-banking, resurfaced the track, all to the tune of $4 million. They also added 4,800 seats in 1998.

In 1999, TMS spent $2.5 million on the 4/10-mile clay-surfaced dirt track to host the World of Outlaws sprint cars. 10,000 more seats were added in 1999, bringing the total capacity to 154,861. The sold-out 1999 PRIMESTAR 500 was the largest attended sporting event in Texas history. In 2000, TMS had to fix some track flaws, a dip, caused by erosion, under turn 4 and other problem areas in turns 1 and 2.

Late in 2001, TMS was in the resurfacing mode again. This time, the entire 1.5-mile speedway was repaved with a granite-based asphalt compound over a concrete base. The track had been extremely fast since it opened and after that resurfacing, the straightaway speeds approached 200 mph.


First Cup race

The 1997 Interstate Batteries 500, the inaugural Cup race at TMS, was run on April 6, 1997. Qualifying was rained-out, so the current point leader at the time, Dale Jarrett, lined up in front of the field with his No. 88 Quality Care Ford. Jarrett led 42 of the 334 lap event and finished 2nd. Jeff Burton drove the No. 99 Exide Batteries Ford from 5th in the lineup, led 60 laps, and scored the victory. With an average race speed of 125.111 mph, due to several wrecks, it was the slowest Texas Cup race on record.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart. There were 46 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of almost 160,000 fans in the grandstands for a total purse of $7,336,866. Here are our picks for Sunday's Samsung 500 in Fort Worth, Texas.


Mid-pack picks

Last week we gambled on Jamie McMurray since he had to race his way into the field at Martinsville. He made the cut with a 5th place start, finished a season-best 8th and has a guarantee start in this week's race at TMS. McMurray is a "closer" at this track. He doesn't qualify that well (30.1 average start) but he finished every one of his 8 starts nearer the front with a 13.8 average finish. In 2007, he scored a 5th place in this race and a 9th in the November event. Another top ten in Fort Worth is not out of the question.

Kurt Busch is barely a mid-packer (16th in the standings) but he's still fair game for us to consider this week. He qualifies well here (average 14.7 in ten Cup starts) and his average 12.0 finishes are also pretty respectable. His last three TMS finishes were 8th, 11th and 8th. Martinsville wasn't too kind to Kurt last weekend but he did score top 15s in the two races prior this season. Busch should notch his 8th Texas top ten this weekend.

Casey Mears runs his best at intermediate size tracks like Fort Worth. He scored seven of his eleven career top five finishes at these tracks; two of those at TMS. He has a 14.6 average finish for his eight Texas Cup starts. Coming off a break-through top 10 (7th) at Martinsville, look for another possible top 10 (more likely a top 15) from Mears on Sunday.

Juan Pablo Montoya logged in his 2nd career top ten (8th) in this race during his rookie season last year. In 2008, he has been consistently improving his finishes. He scored a 32nd place finish in the season opener at Daytona. Since then, he's finished 20th, 19th, 16th, 15th and 13th last week at Martinsville. See a pattern? Enough said. We're looking for Montoya to score his first 2008 Sprint Cup Series top ten this weekend.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#13
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Subway Fresh Fit 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Phoenix International Speedway for the eighth race of the 2008 season, the Subway Fresh Fit 500. Race Preview took a look at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish on Sunday.


When: Saturday, April 12, 2008; 8:40 p.m./et


Weather: Sunny with a high around 89; wind out of the ENE at 11 mph. Chance of precipitation 20%.


The Track: Phoenix International Raceway

PIR is a one mile oval. It has relatively flat (11 and nine degree banking) on the turns. Hendrick's Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon won the 2007 races at PIR, Kevin Harvick dominated both races in 2006 and the Busch Brothers won both races at the track in 2005. All five should be great picks once again.


Key to Race: HENDRICK DUE FOR A WIN???

Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Racing have both had past success at PIR and we anticipate a driver from one of these stables will take the checkers. With Hendrick shutout for the first seven races we feel they are overdue for a win and will be surprised if Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, or Dale Earnhardt Jr. don't get the first win of 2008 for the overdue team.


Car Of Tomorrow Race? YES

Qualifying Procedures:

45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Thursday, April 10 at 7:00 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5


No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has seven top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at PIR. He won the November race and is our pick to finally pilot notch the first win of 2008 for Hendrick Motorsports.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon won last April's race and has 15 top 10 finishes in 18 career starts at PIR. We look for him to be very strong this weekend.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke has finished second in the past two April races at PIR. He is almost a lock to crack the top five once again.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished in the top five in three of the last four races at PIR. He is a great option to crack the top five once again this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has led 316 laps in the past four races at PIR including wins in both the 2006 races. He is an excellent pick to crack the top five this weekend.


6 to 10

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 11 in five of the past six Phoenix races. With the success he is having in 2008 we aren't going to pick against him.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has back-to-back top 10 finishes at PIR. The way he is driving this year a trip to victory lane on Saturday wouldn't surprise us.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has had decent success at PIR during his career. We like him to make the top 10, but just finish outside the top five.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been awesome at PIR during his career. He has two wins and 14 straight top 15 finishes. He is a great pick for another excellent finish on Saturday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has two wins in 12 Cup starts at PIR, but he hasn't had much success the past five races at the track. We expect he will return to his successful ways this weekend with a top 10 finish.


11 to 20

No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has finished in the top 22 in all four of his career starts at PIR. Another top 15 should be expected.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top 20 in his last 21 starts at PIR. He won't crack the top 10, but he should have no problem with a top 15 finish.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne was terrible the past two races at PIR. He has had some strong runs during his career at the track, but he is a bit of a risky pick.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers is a great sleeper pick this weekend. He has always qualified strong at PIR and should crack the top 15.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch won the fall race at Phoenix in 2005, but he hasn't been great at the track since. The No. 2 team needs to finish strong on Saturday or they will drop out of the top 15.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: PIR isn't one of Bowyer's favorite tracks. He will crack the top 20, but will be doing well to finish in the top 15.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has five top 10 finishes in the past seven races at Phoenix. He is a great sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has led 342 laps in the past six races at PIR, but he has just one top 10 finish during that period. He isn't a great choice this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has cracked the top 20 in six of the seven 2008 races. He is becoming a decent fourth fantasy driver.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: Jamie Mac is back on track?.well until this weekend. PIR has been historically one of his worst tracks. He will be doing well to crack the top 20.


21 to 30

No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has three top five finishes at PIR in 11 career starts, but he also has four 38th or worse finishes. Use him at your own risk.
No. 38 David Gilliland: PIR is one of Gilliland's better tracks. He could sneak into the top 20 on Saturday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has been terrible at PIR during his career. Our advice to you is to avoid him this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has had zero success at PIR during his career. He should be better this visit to the track, but he isn't a great choice.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: PIR is Yeley's home-track. We expect he will be a little better than average this weekend.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil will continue to do just enough to finish in the top 30. He won't help your fantasy team much though.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson finish right in the middle of the field on Saturday. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard has never cracked the top 20 at PIR. We don't think that streak will end this weekend either.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has turned into a very average driver the past couple years. He won't help your team, but he won't destroy it. There are far better fantasy options.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has averaged a 35th place finish the past four races at PIR. No, this is not the weekend to use him in fantasy leagues.


31 to 40

No. 7 Robby Gordon: Robby has averaged a 28.1 place finish at PIR during his career. He takes too many chances to help your fantasy team.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. is back inside the top 35 so he is guaranteed to make the race. We still don't think he is a great option.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Poor Rudy! He has had nothing but terrible luck since taking over the No. 44 car.
No. 70 Johnny Sauter: Sauter is back behind the wheel of the No. 70 car after the Jeremy Mayfield experiment was put out of its misery. The No. 70 car should do better, but it still isn't a fantasy option.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier made the November race at PIR. He should get the No. 10 car into Saturday's field and could surprise with a top 25 finish.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: "Crash" McDowell hopes to just avoid the highlight films this weekend.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has been wicked bad in the past three races at PIR. In those races the Captain of Waltrip Racing has averaged a 39th place finish. Stay away!
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney will have to race his way into Saturday's field. He isn't an option.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith will need to race his way into Saturday's race. It shouldn't be an issue for him.
No. 21 Bill Elliott: "Awesome Bill" will use his past champions provisional to get the No. 21 car into Saturday's race.


Field Fillers

No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Franchitti will race in the Nationwide and Cup races at PIR this weekend. Maybe the Nationwide start will help him on Saturday.
No. 84 Mike Skinner: Skinner has done a great job getting the No. 84 car into races, but he isn't worth a spot on a fantasy roster.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty is back behind the wheel of the No. 45 ride this weekend. We would rather see Chad McCumbee.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: We expect Nemechek will grab the final spot in the field for Sunday's race.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti will be on the outside looking in.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Tony Stewart
4. Matt Kenseth

Sleepers:

1. Brian Vickers
2. Bobby Labonte

Busts:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Jamie McMurray
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#14
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Subway Fresh Fit 500
Track history

In 1964, the Phoenix International Raceway was built in the foothills of the Estrella Mountains to accommodate open-wheel racing. The 1-mile oval track has 11-degree banking in Turns 1 and 2 and 9-degree banking in Turns 3 and 4. The 1,179-foot frontstretch and 1,551-foot backstretch have very little banking (less than 9 degrees). In 1988, NASCAR began racing at the Arizona track, hosting the annual fall 312 lap Checker Auto Parts 500.

The track is similar to a short track in that the corners are flat, long and sweeping. The cars spend a lot of time in the corners which makes the setups extremely important. The preferred line is at the bottom of the track at the start, but a higher second groove develops during the race.

PIR spent $5 million to install 1,044 Musco lighting fixtures and ran its first night-time Cup event and first spring race as well in April 2005.


First Cup race

Geoffrey Bodine put the No. 5 Levi Garrett Chevrolet on the pole for the November 6th, 1988 Checker 500, led 2 laps and finished 6th. Ricky Rudd looked to be the winner, leading the most laps (183) but the engine went south in the No. 26 Quaker State Buick dropping him to 26th place. Alan Kulwicki started the No. 7 Zerex Ford 21st in the lineup, led 41 laps including the last, to take the inaugural PIR Cup victory.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart. There were 45 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 77,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Saturday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Avondale, Arizona.


Mid-pack picks

According to NASCAR Statistics, Bobby Labonte leads all drivers in positions improved in the last 10 percent of laps in each race. In the last six Cup races at PIR, Labonte improved 19 positions making him the top "closer" at this track. He scored top tens in half of his 18 Cup starts at PIR including five of the last seven. If you've been holding out on Labonte this is a good track to put him in as your fourth or fifth driver.

Martin Truex Jr. fell out of the top 15 in points last week so he's fair game for a mid-pack pick. We like his numbers at Phoenix. Before moving up to Cup, Truex averaged a 6th place finish in three Nationwide (Busch) Series starts at PIR. His average isn't as high in Cup (15.2 in four starts) but in his last race here in November 2007, Truex started 2nd, led 72 laps and finished 7th. We suggest putting him in the middle of your roster this weekend.

Mark Martin has led 608 laps at Phoenix in 22 starts. His average finish of 9.4 is third best to track favorites Johnson and Gordon. Martin owns 14 top tens including a win at this venue. He ran one career Craftsman Truck race at PIR in 2006 and finished 2nd. Martin finished 6th and 5th in his two Nationwide Series starts here. The "part-timer" finished 8th last weekend at Texas. You can expect a top 15 or better from Martin on Saturday.

Brian Vickers has the best Sprint Cup average start (7.7) of all active drivers at Phoenix. A 15.3 average finish is respectable as well. Last weekend he finished just outside the top 15 at Texas Motor Speedway. In the prior race at Martinsville, Vickers was running in the top 5 with three laps to go when he ran out of fuel (finished 23rd). Vickers is due for a strong finish.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#15
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Aarons 499
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series descends on Talladega Superspeedway for the ninth race of the 2008 season, the Aaron's 499. This year's edition of the Aaron's 499 should be one of the wildest races of the season. Race Preview sheds a light on how the field might finish on Sunday.

When: Sunday, April 27, 2008; 2:21 p.m./et


Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 82; wind out of the ENE at 4 mph. Chance of precipitation 30%.


The Track: Talladega Superspeedway

Talladega Superspeedway is a 2.66 tri-oval. It has steep 33 degree banking in the turns and 18 degree banking on the straightaways. As a result of the incredible speeds the cars run NASCAR has made this is restrictor plate track. This means all cars entered in the race must use the restrictor plates on their engines to limit air-intake and thus reduce their horsepower.


Key to Race: AVOID THE BIG WRECK

As is the case with all restrictor plate races the field always becomes bunched up in two-wide groups of up to 30 cars. These freight-train like packs cruise around the track just inches away from each other. It just takes just one car to have a flat tire or get loose and a massive accident will occur. If a driver can get lucky and stay away from the inevitable crash they have a great chance to finish in the top 20.


Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standing will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Saturday, April 26 at 11:10 am/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5


No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has six career wins at Talladega, including both the 2007 races. We think this will be the weekend Gordon gets to victory lane for the first time in 2008.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won the 2006 April race at Talladega and finished second in both of last year's races. He is a great pick to win on Sunday.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has cracked the top 10 in his last seven starts at Talladega. He is a great option on Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr has been great in two of the past three races at Talladega. This could be a good opportunity for his first top five finish of 2008.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke doesn't like restrictor plate racing, but he is getting good at it. He has led at least one lap in eight-straight Talladega races and is a great pick this weekend.


6 to 10

No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished in the top six in three of the past five Talladega races. We think his past success at the track will lead to another top 10 finish.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last 10 races at Talladega. He should finish in the top 10 again on Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior is in danger of losing his title as the "King of Talladega". After not finishing worse than second in seven-straight races he has cracked the top 10 just once in the past six races at the track. He is a hit-or-miss pick on Sunday.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards had back-to-back-to-back top ten finishes at Talladega before struggling at the track in 2007. We don't think he will have enough speed to crack the top five, but he should finish in the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin had never cracked the top 20 in three career Cup starts at Talladega prior to last October's race. We think he will finish inside the top 10 again, but a top five finish might be asking too much.


11 to 20

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has averaged just a 32nd place finish during his six Talladega starts. We think he is due for a top ten finish, but there are better options this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 25 just once in the past five races at Talladega. He isn't a strong option on Sunday.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has three top 10 finishes in the last eight Talladega races. He has the ability to run in the front and is a decent pick this weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers is a great sleeper pick this weekend. He won at Talladega in 2006 and has three top 10 finishes in seven career starts.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Talladega isn't one of Bowyer's favorite tracks. He will crack the top 20, but we would be surprised if he finished in the top 15.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne's average finish at Talladega is 20th. That is right around where we see him finishing this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has cracked the top 20 in seven of the eight 2008 races. He should finish in the top 20 once again this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has led laps in four of the past five races at Talladega. He is a decent pick as a fourth or fifth driver on all fantasy teams.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland excels at restrictor plate races. If there is ever a weekend to use him this is it.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has never had success at Talladega. In 10 career Cup starts his best finish is just 13th. Save him for another week.


21 to 30

No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has three poles and has led at least one lap in the past 10 races at Talladega. He is a decent sleeper pick on Sunday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has cracked the top 20 in all three of his career starts at Talladega. We think his streak of top 20 finishes will likely end on Sunday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has cracked the top 30 just twice in the past five races at Talladega. He isn't worth using on Sunday.
No. 6 David Ragan: We see Ragan's streak of top 30 finishes growing to eight on Sunday.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has finished in the top 20 in his past three starts at Talladega. He a very interesting sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has finished in the top 20 in seven of the last 10 races at Talladega. He is fearless and isn't a bad option as a fifth fantasy driver on Sunday.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. ran well at Daytona and might be worth using in Sunday's restrictor plate race.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson finished 10th in the October 2007 race at Talladega. He won't be that strong this week, but he should crack the top 30.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann was strong in last October's Talladega race. He could surprise on Sunday.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley hasn't been terrible at Talladega during his career, but he hasn't been great. A top 20 finish isn't out of the question.


31 to 40

No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has made the top ten twice in the past 13 races Talladega. He should finish around the top 30 and could sneak into the top 20 with some luck.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip took the pole in October's race at Talladega. He could crack the top 25, but we just don't see him as much of a fantasy option.
No. 8 Aric Almirola: The rookie is a very risky pick this weekend. Avoid him!
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard has never cracked the top 34 at Talladega. We don't think that streak will end this weekend.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, but we don't like his chances.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: Even though he is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, McDowell is not a fantasy option.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney cruised to a very impressive third place finish during last October's race at Talladega. He will have to race his way into Sunday's field making him a risky fantasy pick.
No. 70 Ken Schrader: Schrader brings his decades of experience to the No. 70 team. He should get the car into the field, but we don't like his chances once the green flag waives.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier should make the race, but he will struggle with restrictor plate racing.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Franchitti should get the No. 40 into Sunday's race. He isn't a fantasy option.


Field Fillers

No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger is back behind the wheel of the No. 84 car. He isn't an option.
No. 21 Jon Wood: Wood takes the helm of the Wood Brother's No. 21 car. He will struggle to even qualify for Sunday's race.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty hasn't qualified for a race since mid-March. Don't even consider him.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: We expect Nemechek will grab the final spot in the field for Sunday's race.
No. 09 Sterling Marlin: Marlin will make an appearance during qualifying and he should head home immediately afterwards.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti will be on the outside looking in.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kurt Busch
4. Martin Truex Jr

Sleepers:

1. Brian Vickers
2. David Gilliland

Busts:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Kasey Kahne
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#16
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Aaron's 499
Track history

Talladega Superspeedway was built in 1969 in an old soybean field near Anniston, Alabama. Track builders Bill France, Sr. and Bill Ward wanted it to be the biggest and fastest superspeedway on the Cup circuit. It is, without a doubt, the fastest racetrack in the world. Bill Elliott qualified at over 212 mph in 1987 at the 2.66-mile facility, which led to NASCAR's decision to slow down the cars here and at Daytona because speeds were getting unsafe. Both tracks use restrictor plates to limit the horsepower of the cars. Speeds on the straights (4,000 foot backstretch and 4,300 foot frontstretch) still exceed 200 mph.


The track is a high-banked trioval that is four lanes wide, with 33 degree banking at the ends and 18-degree banking in the trioval. For this reason, Talladega has a lot of 3-wide racing and it's not unusual to see the whole field running together at top speed the same as they did when the green flag dropped at the beginning of the race. The drivers run wide open all the way around the track, never lifting except to avoid getting caught up in the big wrecks, which are common in restrictor plate racing.


First Cup race

On September 14, 1969, after driving the No. 71 K & K Insurance '69 Dodge to a 196.386 mph qualifying lap, Bobby Isaac started on the pole for the first NASCAR Cup race, the Talladega 500. After leading 13 laps, Isaac finished 4th. Richard Brickhouse, in the No. 99 Nichols Engineering '69 Dodge, started 9th and won the race. The average race speed for that event was 153.778 mph.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. There were 46 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 143,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Sunday's Aaron's 499 in Anniston, Alabama.


Mid-pack picks

NASCAR Media rates Brian Vickers 5th overall at Talladega amongst the drivers entered in Sunday's race. According to their loop data, he's 4th among "closers" (improving positions in the last 10 percent of the race) and 5th in "quality" passes (passing cars under green while running in the top 15). In seven Cup starts at this track, Vickers has scored three top 10 finishes including his one Cup career win in 2006. In the other restrictor plate race in February 2008, the Daytona 500, he finished 12th. Vickers is a good choice for a fourth or fifth driver.

Jamie McMurray is a strong candidate for a top 15 this weekend. He's average a 13th place finish in the last three Cup races this season. In eleven starts at this track, McMurray has averaged a 17.8 place finish. He does better in the spring races with an average finish of 10th place in those five events (including three top fives). The loop data ranks McMurray 3rd amongst drivers running the most in the top 15 at Talladega in the last six races.

If you were wondering when to use David Gilliland now is the time to put him on your roster. In his first trip to Talladega in 2006, Gilliland sat on the pole and finished 15th. In this race last year, he came close to another pole (started 2nd along side track favorite Jeff Gordon) and finished 4th. Gilliland entered his first Daytona race in February 2007, sat on the pole and finished 8th. He came back to DIS in July, started 32nd and marched his way forward to an 11th place. He likes restrictor plate racing.

With five laps to go in February's Daytona 500, and while running 5th, Casey Mears got into the wall ruining a possible restrictor plate top 5. In the last three Cup races this season he's scored two top 15's. Mears finished 6th at Talladega last October. He's our deep pick for the tail end of your roster for a possible top 15 or better on Sunday.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#17
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Dan Lowry 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Richmond International Raceway for the 10th race of the 2008 season. The Dan Lowry 400 should be full of excitement as the drivers try to manage the tricky configuration of RIR's "long-short" track. We looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish on Saturday night.


When: Saturday, May 3, 2008; 7:45 p.m./et


Weather: Scattered thunder showers with a high around 75; wind out of the SSE at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 60%.


The Track: Richmond International Raceway

Richmond is a .75 mile D-shaped oval. It has fairly flat 14 degree banking in the turns and 8 degree banking on the straightaways.


Key to Race: SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

Saturday night racing seem to bring out the best and worst in NASCAR drivers. The Dan Lowry 400 should be no different. There should be plenty of bent sheet metal when the race is over and there will be at least a few angry drivers.


Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standing will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, May 2 at 5:40 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5


No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has had excellent runs at RIR during his career. He has five top five finishes in six career starts. It is tough to pick against him.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson admitted in the past that RIR is a tough track for him, but he won both races at the track in 2007. He won't dominate nearly as much as he did in '07, however he is still a great option.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has never finished worse than 15th at RIR and he has three top six finishes in four career starts. The Virginia native is a great pick this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon took the pole and finished fourth at Richmond in May and qualified second and finished fourth in September. He is once again a very good option.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke has three career wins at RIR and has 12 top 10 finishes in 18 career starts. He hasn't won at the track since 2002 so he is due to visit victory lane.


6 to 10

No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has finished in the top 12 in the last seven races at RIR. He should be in the top 10 once again this weekend.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch won the fall race at RIR in 2005 and finished in the top 10 in both races last year. He is a great pick to crack the top 10 again this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has one win and nine top 10 finishes in 16 career starts at RIR. He has been terrible in three of the last four races this season, but we think he bounce-back and crack the top 10 on Saturday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has three career wins at RIR, including the May 2006 race. Look for No. 88 to be near the front all night.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has never finished worse than 12th at RIR during his career. We don't see the trend ending on Saturday.


11 to 20

No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has finished in the top 10 in four of the last six races at RIR. He is a fine pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished eighth or better in five of the past seven RIR races. He is a great option as a third or fourth driver on fantasy teams.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards hasn't had a great deal of success at RIR during his career, but he might be worth taking a chance on this weekend.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very successful at RIR in the past. He is worth taking a gamble on this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton blew an engine and finished last during the May 2007 race at RIR, but he has seven top five finishes and 12 top ten finishes in 27 career starts at the track. He is a decent pick this week.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has averaged a 13th place finish in 44 career starts at RIR and has finished in the top 20 in all but one of his last 14 starts at the track. He is a great pick on Saturday.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan ran an excellent race at RIR last September. He could be a bit of a sleeper pick on Saturday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has been a top 20 finisher the past four races at RIR. He should be around there once again this weekend.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Richmond is a track where Truex has struggled. In four career starts his average finish is 31st. His lack of success makes him a bit of a very risky selection.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: If there is ever a weekend to use Labonte it might be this one. He has been solid throughout his career at RIR and could crack the top 15 with a strong run.


21 to 30

No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard has finished in the top 21 in the past four races of the 2008 season. He is quickly becoming an option as a fourth fantasy driver in most leagues.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann is a sleeper pick this weekend. He has had decent success at RIR during his career and could surprise some people with where he finishes on Saturday.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers is usually a great sleeper pick, but he has never been great at RIR. Stay away from him this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has been excellent this season, but he struggled terribly at Richmond in 2007. We think there is a great chance he could smash up his car and a few others on Saturday.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been very average this season and RIR is one of his worst tracks. Avoid him!
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has resurrected his career this season, but he has never had much success at RIR. A top 20 finish is unlikely.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson hasn't been terrible at RIR during his career. His average finish is 23rd and we expect that is about where he will finish on Saturday.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has just one top 10 finish in 18 career starts at RIR. There are far less risky picks for Saturday's race.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: RIR isn't a track where Mr. Riggs has had much career success. We expect he will finish right around his career average at the track, which is 28th.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith is driving the Steak Umm Burgers car this weekend. That has to be worth something on this list. We have bumped him up a couple slots due to great sponsor.


31 to 40

No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon hasn't cracked the top 15 in the past nine races at RIR. He isn't an option.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has finished 20th or better just twice this season. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip is having a much better season this year than last, but he will likely never be a fantasy option.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has driven very well the past three races of the 2008 season, but Richmond is a track that gives him fits. He will struggle to crack the top 30 on Saturday.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front-Row Joe" lived up to his name last weekend. He will get the No. 78 car into Saturday's race as well.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: Even though he is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, McDowell is not a fantasy option.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Richmond is a track that Blaney has been decent at lately, but he will need to make the race during qualifying so he is a risky fantasy pick.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley missed last weekend's race and will once again have to race his way into Saturday's field. He isn't worth using in fantasy leagues.
No. 70 Johnny Sauter: Sauter is back behind the wheel of the No. 70 car. He should make the race, but isn't a good option.
No. 40 Ken Schrader: Schrader takes over the No. 40 car for the injured Dario Franchitti. He should get the No. 40 into Sunday's race.


Field Fillers

No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier will struggle with the challenge of driving a stock car at RIR.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger is back behind the wheel of the No. 84 car. He isn't an option.
No. 21 Jon Wood: Wood stays in the seat of the Wood Brother's No. 21 car. He will struggle to qualify for Saturday's race.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty will continue to struggle with qualifying. Don't even consider him.
No. 33 Scott Wimmer: Wimmer will make an appearance during qualifying and he should head home immediately afterwards.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti will be on the outside looking in.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Jeff Gordon

Sleepers:

1. Mark Martin
2. David Ragan

Busts:

1. Brian Vickers
2. Juan Pablo Montoya
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#18
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Dan Lowry 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Richmond International Raceway for the 10th race of the 2008 season. The Dan Lowry 400 should be full of excitement as the drivers try to manage the tricky configuration of RIR's "long-short" track. We looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish on Saturday night.


When: Saturday, May 3, 2008; 7:45 p.m./et


Weather: Scattered thunder showers with a high around 75; wind out of the SSE at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 60%.


The Track: Richmond International Raceway

Richmond is a .75 mile D-shaped oval. It has fairly flat 14 degree banking in the turns and 8 degree banking on the straightaways.


Key to Race: SATURDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

Saturday night racing seem to bring out the best and worst in NASCAR drivers. The Dan Lowry 400 should be no different. There should be plenty of bent sheet metal when the race is over and there will be at least a few angry drivers.


Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standing will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, May 2 at 5:40 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5


No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has had excellent runs at RIR during his career. He has five top five finishes in six career starts. It is tough to pick against him.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson admitted in the past that RIR is a tough track for him, but he won both races at the track in 2007. He won't dominate nearly as much as he did in '07, however he is still a great option.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has never finished worse than 15th at RIR and he has three top six finishes in four career starts. The Virginia native is a great pick this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon took the pole and finished fourth at Richmond in May and qualified second and finished fourth in September. He is once again a very good option.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke has three career wins at RIR and has 12 top 10 finishes in 18 career starts. He hasn't won at the track since 2002 so he is due to visit victory lane.


6 to 10

No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has finished in the top 12 in the last seven races at RIR. He should be in the top 10 once again this weekend.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch won the fall race at RIR in 2005 and finished in the top 10 in both races last year. He is a great pick to crack the top 10 again this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has one win and nine top 10 finishes in 16 career starts at RIR. He has been terrible in three of the last four races this season, but we think he bounce-back and crack the top 10 on Saturday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has three career wins at RIR, including the May 2006 race. Look for No. 88 to be near the front all night.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has never finished worse than 12th at RIR during his career. We don't see the trend ending on Saturday.


11 to 20

No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has finished in the top 10 in four of the last six races at RIR. He is a fine pick this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished eighth or better in five of the past seven RIR races. He is a great option as a third or fourth driver on fantasy teams.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards hasn't had a great deal of success at RIR during his career, but he might be worth taking a chance on this weekend.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very successful at RIR in the past. He is worth taking a gamble on this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton blew an engine and finished last during the May 2007 race at RIR, but he has seven top five finishes and 12 top ten finishes in 27 career starts at the track. He is a decent pick this week.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has averaged a 13th place finish in 44 career starts at RIR and has finished in the top 20 in all but one of his last 14 starts at the track. He is a great pick on Saturday.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan ran an excellent race at RIR last September. He could be a bit of a sleeper pick on Saturday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has been a top 20 finisher the past four races at RIR. He should be around there once again this weekend.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Richmond is a track where Truex has struggled. In four career starts his average finish is 31st. His lack of success makes him a bit of a very risky selection.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: If there is ever a weekend to use Labonte it might be this one. He has been solid throughout his career at RIR and could crack the top 15 with a strong run.


21 to 30

No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard has finished in the top 21 in the past four races of the 2008 season. He is quickly becoming an option as a fourth fantasy driver in most leagues.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann is a sleeper pick this weekend. He has had decent success at RIR during his career and could surprise some people with where he finishes on Saturday.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers is usually a great sleeper pick, but he has never been great at RIR. Stay away from him this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has been excellent this season, but he struggled terribly at Richmond in 2007. We think there is a great chance he could smash up his car and a few others on Saturday.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been very average this season and RIR is one of his worst tracks. Avoid him!
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has resurrected his career this season, but he has never had much success at RIR. A top 20 finish is unlikely.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson hasn't been terrible at RIR during his career. His average finish is 23rd and we expect that is about where he will finish on Saturday.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has just one top 10 finish in 18 career starts at RIR. There are far less risky picks for Saturday's race.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: RIR isn't a track where Mr. Riggs has had much career success. We expect he will finish right around his career average at the track, which is 28th.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith is driving the Steak Umm Burgers car this weekend. That has to be worth something on this list. We have bumped him up a couple slots due to great sponsor.


31 to 40

No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon hasn't cracked the top 15 in the past nine races at RIR. He isn't an option.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has finished 20th or better just twice this season. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip is having a much better season this year than last, but he will likely never be a fantasy option.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has driven very well the past three races of the 2008 season, but Richmond is a track that gives him fits. He will struggle to crack the top 30 on Saturday.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front-Row Joe" lived up to his name last weekend. He will get the No. 78 car into Saturday's race as well.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: Even though he is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, McDowell is not a fantasy option.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Richmond is a track that Blaney has been decent at lately, but he will need to make the race during qualifying so he is a risky fantasy pick.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley missed last weekend's race and will once again have to race his way into Saturday's field. He isn't worth using in fantasy leagues.
No. 70 Johnny Sauter: Sauter is back behind the wheel of the No. 70 car. He should make the race, but isn't a good option.
No. 40 Ken Schrader: Schrader takes over the No. 40 car for the injured Dario Franchitti. He should get the No. 40 into Sunday's race.


Field Fillers

No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier will struggle with the challenge of driving a stock car at RIR.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger is back behind the wheel of the No. 84 car. He isn't an option.
No. 21 Jon Wood: Wood stays in the seat of the Wood Brother's No. 21 car. He will struggle to qualify for Saturday's race.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty will continue to struggle with qualifying. Don't even consider him.
No. 33 Scott Wimmer: Wimmer will make an appearance during qualifying and he should head home immediately afterwards.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti will be on the outside looking in.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Jeff Gordon

Sleepers:

1. Mark Martin
2. David Ragan

Busts:

1. Brian Vickers
2. Juan Pablo Montoya
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#19
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Dodge Challenger 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series moves to the newly repaved Darlington Raceway for the 11th race of the 2008 season. The only race this season at the "Track Too Tough To Tame" promises to be filled with excitement. We looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish.


When: Saturday, May 10, 2008; 7:20 p.m./et


Weather: Isolated T-storms with a high around 87; wind out of the W at 8 mph Chance of precipitation 20%.


The Track: Darlington Raceway

Darlington is a 1.366 mile oval. It has 25 and 23 degree banking in the turns and three and two degree banking on the straight-aways. Darlington rewards aggressive and fearless drivers which is why it is the "Track Too Tough To Tame".


Key to Race: THE TRACK TOO TOUGH TO TAME

Darlington is a track that Jeff Gordon has managed to tame. He has seven career victories at the track, including last year's edition of the race, and is our favorite to take the checkers.


Qualifying Procedures:

45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2007 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, May 9 at 5:15 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has seven wins in 27 career starts at Darlington. He has tamed the "Track Too Tough To Tame".
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has two wins and has finished out of the top 10 just once in nine career starts at Darlington. He should be in the top five all day.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin had arguably the best car on the track during last year's race at Darlington. He should be tough to beat again this weekend.

No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke has eight top 10 finishes in 15 career starts at Darlington. He has never won at the track and hasn't seen Victory Lane this season so we think he is due to do a little fence climbing.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in six of the last seven races at Darlington. We like his chances to do it again on Saturday.


6 to 10

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has had very limited success at Darlington during his three career starts at the track. He should love the new increased speeds at the track and we expect he will finish in the top 10.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle dominated two of the last three races at Darlington. He has to be one of the favorites to find victory lane again this year.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer took the pole and finished ninth last year at Darlington. He is a strong bet to finish in the top 10 again this year.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has three poles and two top five finishes in five career starts at Darlington. He is someone to watch this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has made the top 10 in three of his four career starts at Darlington. He is a good option on Saturday.


11 to 20

No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has five top five finishes in nine career starts at Darlington. He is a great option this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has had back-to-back top 10 finishes at Darlington. We think he should just miss the top 10 this weekend, but will cruise to a solid top 15 finish.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished 30th or worse in three of the last four races of 2008. He has been great the past two races at Darlington and could use this weekend to get back on track.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has had 16 top five finishes at Darlington during his career. He won't win this weekend, but his ability to drive smart races should have him near the top 10.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has cracked the top 14 in both of his career starts at Darlington. We expect he will finish right around 15th this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has struggled the past four Darlington races. We expect he will be better this weekend, but a top 10 finish might be asking too much.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch hasn't cracked the top 10 at Darlington since 2004. We don't see that trend ending this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been very hit-or-miss at Darlington in his career. He is a risky pick on Saturday.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has finished in the top 25 in 21 of the last 22 Darlington races. He is a decent choice as a fourth fantasy driver on all teams this weekend.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann blew an engine during last year's race at Darlington. He has been great this season and is a decent sleeper pick this weekend

21 to 30

No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has been good at Darlington in his career. We think a top 25 finish should be expected.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan finished 27th in his first race at Darlington. We expect he will improve a little, but he will struggle to crack the top 20 on Saturday.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya will finish in the middle of the pack on Saturday. There are far better fantasy options.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers is usually a great sleeper pick, but besides strong qualifying efforts he has never been great at Darlington. Stay away from him this weekend.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has been terrible at Darlington during his career. There are far better fantasy options this weekend.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson's average finish at Darlington during his career is 25th. We expect he will finish right around there on Saturday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has never cracked the top 30 at Darlington during his career. He should do it this weekend, but he won't crack the top 20.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has cracked the top 15 in three of his last four starts at Darlington. He is a decent bet to finish in the top 25 again.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard had a tough time during last year's race at Darlington. We think he will be better this season, but we can't recommend him.
No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott brings his 50 career starts at Darlington to the No. 21 car. He won't have enough to crack the top 25, but he should be in the top 30.


31 to 40

No. 40 Sterling Marlin: Marlin will get the No. 40 into the race and is an interesting fantasy option. He is a bit of a sleeper on Saturday.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland will struggle to crack the top 30 on Saturday.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs' best career finish at Darlington is 25th and his average finish at the track is 31st. He should be avoided this weekend.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has finished 20th or better just twice this season. He isn't a fantasy option in his first visit to Darlington.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith is making his first career start at Darlington. He will be a non-factor on Saturday.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front-Row Joe" will get the No. 78 car into Saturday's field and should finish in the top 35.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has finished 35, 34, 33, 35, and 37 in his last five races at Darlington. We see a trend here.
No. 70 Johnny Sauter: Sauter is back behind the wheel of the No. 70 car. He should make the race, but isn't a good option.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley will make the race, but he isn't worth using in fantasy leagues.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney will make the race and could surprise with a top 25 finish, but he is too risky for us to recommend.

Field Fillers

No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, but in his first trip to Darlington he is not a fantasy option.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty will continue to struggle. Don't even consider him.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger will get the No. 84 car into the race. He isn't an option.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier will struggle during his first visit to Darlington.
No. 34 John Andretti: Andretti will be on the outside looking in.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Tony Stewart

Sleepers:

1. Mark Martin
2. David Reutimann

Busts:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kurt Busch
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#20
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Dodge Challenger 500
Track history

Harold Brasington had a dream in 1949 that he could turn an old cotton field in Darlington, SC into a super speedway for stock car racing. His friends and family thought he was crazy, but, he and his crew spent a year shaping the 1.366 mile speedway. Brasington often drove the bulldozers and grading equipment himself. The original planned track layout was a normal oval, but the owner of the land didn't want his minnow pond disturbed. The track was narrowed at the west end to allow for the pond, giving Darlington its egg-shaped design. Brasington expected about 10,000 fans for the first race in 1950 and was shocked when 25,000 fans packed the speedway.

On September 4, 1950, the first Cup race, the Southern 500, was run at Darlington Raceway. It became an annual Labor Day weekend race up until 2004 when it was moved to November in a swap for a California Speedway event.
In 1960, a second Darlington race, the Spring event, was added to the schedule and the track hosted two races up until 2005. In that year, the fall race was dropped from the schedule. A new Darlington tradition was started for the Spring event that same year and continues today. Since the race is on the eve of Mother's Day, several mothers of the participating drivers serve as grand marshals and give the command: "Sons and gentlemen, start your engines!".

Darlington Raceway is known as the track "Too Tough to Tame", which is why drivers never forget a Darlington victory. It's a track where, without warning, one could get his "Darlington Stripe" after getting too close to the wall. It is definitely a driver's track.

After the 2007 Cup race at Darlington, the entire track was scheduled to undergo a complete resurfacing. Paving began in mid-January, took nearly 15,000 tons of asphalt to complete and replaced a surface that was laid in 1994. All of the bumps were removed and, during a test of the new smooth surface in March 2008, speeds had increased to 200 mph at the end of the backstretch. This weekend will mark the first time the Cup drivers will race on the new surface.

First Cup race

Curtis Turner ran an 82.034 mph lap in the Eanes Motor Co. No. 41 Oldsmobile to start on the pole of the 3-wide 75 car field in the September 4, 1950 Southern 500. He led 22 laps of the 400 lap event but crashed on lap 275. Johnny Mantz started 43rd in the No. 98 Westmoreland 1950 Plymouth, dominated the event by leading 351 laps and finished 9 laps ahead of runner-up, Fireball Roberts.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman. There were 45 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 68,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Saturday night's Dodge Challenger 500 in Darlington, South Carolina.

Mid-pack picks

Matt Kenseth has not had a top ten since Fort Worth (four races ago). Darlington is one of his better tracks. Kenseth averaged a 19.4 finish in 14 Cup starts but had finishes of 3rd and 7th in the last two trips to the South Carolina track. In the Nationwide Series, Kenseth's 37th place in the 2007 Darlington race, due to a wreck, broke his string of 11 straight top tens (including 2 wins). He's pulling double duty again this weekend with entries in both series. We recommend Kenseth in the middle of your roster this week.

Another driver doing the Darlington Double this weekend is Mark Martin. Besides driving Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s former No. 8 ride at DEI, Martin will ironically drive FOR Dale Jr. in his No. 5 Nationwide car. Martin's combined stats in both series for 69 starts show 9 wins, 10 poles, 43 top tens and an average finish around 13th place. He won two of the three IROC series races held at Darlington as well. Oh yeah, let's not forget his worst finish in the last three Cup starts this season was an 8th.

Yet another Darlington double-dipper this weekend is Bobby Labonte who has been quietly moving up in the point standings. After a 13th last weekend at Richmond, Labonte jumped up four spots to 18th in the points. In 41 combined (both series) starts at Darlington, he has 2 wins and an average finish of around 14th place. We think Labonte will come away with top 15 s in both the Petty Dodge in the Cup race and the Richard Childress Racing Chevy in the Nationwide event.

Sterling Marlin, filling in for Dario Franchitti who is on the mend from a broken ankle, is our deepest pick this week. The Ganassi No. 40 team is outside the top 35 in owner points and must qualify on speed. There are only 45 cars going for the 43 slots this week and Marlin, who has 3 poles here, should make the show. He has two Darlington wins (last in 2002) and finished in 13th place in this race last season. Since Marlin is only a part-timer this season, he should be a reasonably priced option in most fantasy games. He's a good choice for a possible top 15 on Saturday night.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#21
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Coca-Cola 600
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the 12th race of the 2008 season, the Coca-Cola 600. Race Preview looks at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to shed a light on how the field might finish on Sunday night.


When: Sunday, May 25, 2008; 5:45 p.m./et


Weather: Sunny with a high around 81; wind out of the ESE at 4 mph Chance of precipitation 0%.


The Track: Lowe's Motor Speedway

LMS is a 1.5 mile quad-oval. It has 24 degree banking in the turns and five degree banking on the straightaways.


Key to Race: THE TRACK THAT JOHNSON OWNS

Not only is Lowe's on the front of Jimmie Johnson's car, but it is the name of the track that he dominates. Johnson has finished in the top two in 10 of the last 12 races (including All-Star Challenges) at the track. Even though he wasn't impressive during Saturday's All-Star Challenge it is tough to pick against J.J. in the Coca-Cola 600.


Qualifying Procedures:

48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Thursday, May 22 at 7:00 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has dominated Lowe's Motor Speedway in his career. He is a MUST use this week.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy, like teammate Denny Hamlin, had engine troubles during Saturday's All Star Challenge at LMS. This concerns us a little, but he has been too good this season to bump him too far down the list.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne's victory in Saturday's All Star Challenge and his two career full-length race wins at LMS make him a great pick on Sunday.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 15 in all six of his career starts at LMS. We like his chances on Sunday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon won the October race at LMS in 2007 for his fifth career win at the track. His past success at the track makes him a great option Sunday.


6 to 10

No. 20 Tony Stewart: Smoke finished sixth in last May's race at LMS, but hasn't won at the track since 2003. We think he will crack the top 10 on Sunday, but we don't think he has enough horsepower in his engine to take the checkers.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears won last year's edition of the Coca-Cola 600. He is our sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 11 in six of his last seven starts at LMS. He should finish around there again on Saturday.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer led 79 laps on his way to a second place finish during last October's race at LMS. We don't see him repeating a top five finish, but he should have enough speed to crack the top 10.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin blew an engine during the All-Star Challenge at LMS on Saturday. His team will have to provide a stronger power plant to ensure he makes it the entire 600 miles. We dropped him down a bit due to very slight concerns about the engine.


11 to 20

No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle had a great car during Saturday's All Star Challenge, but he has struggled the past three full-length races at LMS. We think he will crack the top 15 and could have a top five car, but his recent struggles at the track scare us a little.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has won two races at LMS so he knows his way around the track. We like his chances to crack the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth led 82 laps at LMS in 2007, but had two disappointing finishes. His recent struggles force us to drop him outside the top 10.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has 17 top five finishes during his career at LMS. He is a good low-risk pick on Saturday.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has seven poles in 14 career starts at LMS, but he has finished terrible in the past four full-length races at the track. He should qualify strong and crack the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the All-Star Challenge at LMS last season, but he hasn't finished better than 13th in any full-length race at LMS since 2001.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has finished in the top 10 in two of the past three races this season. If he is available in your fantasy league?add him.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has two top five finishes and six finishes worse than 30th in his 15 career starts at LMS. He is a risky pick on Saturday.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has been terrific at LMS during his career. If you are ever going to have the No. 43 car on your team this is the weekend.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has just one top 10 finish in five career starts at LMS. He will be doing well to crack the top 15 on Sunday.


21 to 30

No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. ran very well during the Sprint Showdown and the All Star Challenge on Saturday. He could have his best finish of the year on Sunday.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray was one of the fastest cars during testing at LMS this year, but that didn't translate to Saturday's All Star Challenge. He isn't worth using as anything but a fourth or fifth diver in fantasy leagues.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers' crew dominated the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge on Saturday proving the No. 83 team's driver isn't the only talented member of the team.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann continues to prove that he has enough skill to be a consistent top 20 driver. He should finish right around the top 20 once again this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan finished 37th and 40th during last year's races at LMS. He drove well during the Sprint Showdown on Saturday and should finish in the top 25 in the Coca-Cola 600.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard was decent in both of his first two career starts at LMS last season. He is a decent fifth driver this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya will finish in the middle of the pack on Sunday. There are far better fantasy options.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has been much better the past month. He is someone to keep an eye on in deep fantasy leagues.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has had some decent success at LMS during his career. He is a bit of a sleeper option on Sunday.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson won't come close to matching the fourth place finish he had during the 2007 Coca-Cola 600.



31 to 40

No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has been horrible the past five races at LMS. Avoid him.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has had issues and failed to crack the top 25 in the past four races of the 2008 season. He isn't worth using in fantasy leagues until a road course.
No. 40 Sterling Marlin: Marlin will get the No. 40 into the race and should finish in the low-30s.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland will once again struggle to crack the top 30 on Sunday.
No. 70 Johnny Sauter: Sauter should get the No. 70 car into Sunday's race and could be a bit of a surprise.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley will have to get the No. 96 car into the race during qualifying. If he is able to make the race he could finish in the top 30.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith will be a non-factor on Saturday.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front-Row Joe" will get the No. 78 car into Sunday's field and should finish in the top 35.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has crashed in six of his last eight starts at LMS. He isn't an option.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, but he has finished on the lead lap in just one of his six career Cup starts.


Field Fillers

No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger will get the No. 84 car into the race. He isn't an option.
No. 33 Ken Schrader: Schrader can drive the wheels off anything. This week he will driver the wheels off the No. 33 car.
No. 45 Kyle Petty: Petty will continue to struggle. Don't even consider him.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: There is one word to describe Carpentier's rookie season?..UGLY!!!!!
No. 08 Tony Raines: Raines should be one of the final drivers to make the race.
No. 21 Jon Wood: Wood is back behind the wheel of the No. 21 car. He will struggle to qualify for Sunday's race.
No. 34 Jeff Green: Green will battle for one of the final spots in Sunday's race.
No 50 Stanton Barrett: Barrett won't make the field.

Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Carl Edwards

Sleepers:

1. Casey Mears
2. Travis Kvapil

Busts:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kurt Busch
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#22
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack:Coca-Cola 600
Track history

Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner built the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1959. On June 19, 1960, the first World 600 was held at the Concord, NC track. Over the years, thousands of grandstand seats and luxury suites were added. In 1984, Lowe's added 40 condominiums above turn one, and 12 more in 1991, offering year-round living at a modern racing facility. In 1992, at a cost of $1.7 million, a 1,200-fixture MUSCO lighting system was added. This system uses mirrors to simulate daylight without glare or light poles. Lowe's became the first superspeedway to hold a night-time auto race. A $1 million 20,000 square-foot Cup garage was opened in 1994. Besides the 1.5-mile quad oval, Lowe's has a 2.25-mile road course, a karting layout in the infield, a quarter-mile and fifth-mile layouts as well.

Since most race shops are located in the Concord area, there are at least 15 drivers attempting to make both the Cup and Nationwide Series races this weekend at LMS.


First Cup race

On June 19, 1960, after driving the John Hines owned No. 22 Pontiac to a 133.904 mph qualifying lap, Fireball Roberts started on the pole for the first NASCAR Cup race, the World 600. After leading the first 191 laps of the 400 lap event, Roberts crashed and finished 35th. Joe Lee Johnson, in Paul McDuffie's No. 89 Chevrolet, started 20th and won the race in front of 35,462 fans. The average race speed for that event was 107.735 mph.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart. There were 48 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 171,000 fans in the grandstands for a total purse of $6,648,557. Here are our picks for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, North Carolina.


Mid-pack picks

Bobby Labonte has more career Cup Series top tens (17) at LMS than any other track. In 30 starts here he's average a 12.7 start and a 12.8 finish, including wins in the 1995 Coca-Cola 600 and the 2000 UAW-GM Quality 500. Labonte's worst finish in the last 16 Cup races at this track was an 18th. Impressed? This is a good week to put him near the front of your fantasy roster.

You can't argue with 4 wins and an average finish of 16.1 for 46 Cup starts at Lowe's. Mark Martin added 6 Busch Series wins at this track to those stats as well. NASCAR Media ranks him 3rd overall of all active drivers entered in this event. In the last six Cup races here, Martin spent 75.4 percent of the laps running in the top 15. This was second highest to top track favorite, Jimmie Johnson.

Last season, Casey Mears came alive with his win at LMS in the May race. He averaged a 29.4 finish in the first eleven Cup races in 2007. Following his win here in Race 12, he averaged a 14th place finish (including six top tens) for the rest of the season. Going into this weekend's event, Mears has a 2008 average finish of 24.3 including 3 DNF's. According to NASCAR's loop data, he's 4th best in running in the top 15 over the past six Charlotte races. We think Mears, who is running the milestone 500th chassis built by Hendrick Motorsports, is in for another turn-around weekend.

Travis Kvapil drives for a team that searches for sponsorship almost every week. His steady improvement this season has been attracting backers. In the last four races, Kvapil has moved from 24th to 18th in Cup point standings. Two of those races, Talladega and Darlington, both tough tracks, resulted in top ten finishes. We're backing Kvapil (NOT financially!) this weekend to come in with another top 10 or 15.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#23
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Best Buy 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Dover International Speedway's concrete palace for the 13th race of the 2008 season, the Best Buy 400. Race Preview has looked at past performances, practice sessions, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to predict how the field might finish.


When: Sunday, June 1, 2008; 2:10 p.m./et


Weather: Sunny with a high around 80; wind out of the NW at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 20%.


The Track: Dover International Speedway

Dover is a one mile oval. It has 24 degree banking in the turns and nine degree banking on the straightaways.


Key to Race: THE MONSTER MILE

Dover International Speedway is the "Monster Mile". The high-banked concrete track allows drivers to run at very fast speeds. Getting the proper car setup is very tricky, so multiple-car teams have an even bigger advantage then normal. Look for Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing to lock up a majority of the top 10.


Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, May 30 at 3:00 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5


No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has finished in the top five in four of his five Cup races at Dover. This is the perfect track for his aggressive driving style.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won the September race at Dover and has finished in the top five in the past three races at Dover. He is a great pick to crack the top five again this week.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four career wins at Dover and has cracked the top 12 in his last four starts at the track. He is a great pick.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle won the June 2005 race at Dover and has led laps in five of the past six races at the track. He should be in the lead group all day.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior should have one of the fastest cars on the track this weekend. He finished third last September at Dover and could be even better this weekend.


6 to 10

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has three career wins at Dover and seven top 10 finishes in 12 starts. He struggled the last three races at the track, but should bounce back for another top 10 finish.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. won last June's race at Dover. He has been great at the place he considers his home track and is a terrific pick this weekend.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished between eighth and 12th in all four of his career starts at Dover. He should finish around there again this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin had been very successful at Dover in his career prior to last September's race when he finished a disappointing 38th place. He is a lock to crack the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 15 in 11 of the past 12 Dover races. He is a great pick this weekend.


11 to 20

No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has been excellent at Dover during his career. In 11 Cup starts he has three wins and is always a contender to win the pole. We like his chances this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won the June 2006 race at The Monster Mile and will be in the lead group all day. He is a decent pick to win.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has cracked the top 15 just once in his last six races at Dover. This is a rare weekend we don't recommend Smoke.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has cracked the top 10 just one time in eight career starts at Dover. He isn't a terrific pick this weekend.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Dover is one of Mark Martin's favorite tracks. He has 20 top five finishes during his career and was one of the best drivers at the "Monster Mile" in 2007.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick hasn't led a lap at Dover since 2003 and has finished out of the top 10 in six of the last seven races at the track. He will struggle to finish in the top 15.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. is running very well. He is worth adding if he is available in your league.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has seven top 20 finishes in his last nine starts at Dover. He was excellent last weekend at Charlotte and could be a sleeper this weekend.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has finished in the top 20 in three of the past four races at Dover. He has been great at the track during his career and is a great value pick on Sunday.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan hasn't had any success at Dover in his career, but he is driving very well this year. A top 20 finish should be expected.


21 to 30

No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has been one of the biggest disappointments of the Cup series this season. Dover isn't one of his better tracks so we don't recommend him.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has had success at Dover in the past. This could be a chance for him to gain some momentum this season.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann had his first career top 10 finish in the Cup series last weekend. He should be around the top 20 on Sunday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has cracked the top 10 just once in the past seven races this season. He isn't a good pick.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has been much better the past month. He is someone to keep an eye on in deep fantasy leagues.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has been very average the past month. He will finish in the middle of the pack on Sunday. There are far better fantasy options.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil hasn't had much success at Dover in his career. He is still a great fourth or fifth fantasy driver, but we think he will struggle on Sunday.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger has had a great month of May. He still isn't guaranteed a spot in Sunday's field, but for those willing to take a risk he could be worth taking a chance on.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has never had much success at Dover. This isn't the weekend to use the No. 83 car.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard finished 21st in his first trip to Dover. He will be doing well to match that finish this weekend.




31 to 40

No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland should crack the top 30 on Sunday.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has led 29 laps in the past three races at Dover, but he has just one top 15 finish. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon had one of his best finishes of the 2007 season during the June race at Dover. He could sneak in to the top 25 again on Sunday with any luck.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith should be a non-factor on Saturday.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has finished in the top 30 in 10 of his past 12 races at Dover. He will be doing well to finish in the top 30 again this weekend.
No. 70 Jason Leffler: Leffler takes over the No. 70 car for Sunday's race. He has had past success so he could be a bit of a sleeper, but we think he is far too risky to use.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley will have to get the No. 96 car into the race during qualifying. If he is able to make the race he could finish in the top 30.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race. That is about all the Double-Zero car has going for it.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs hasn't had much success during his career at Dover. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 40 Jeremy Mayfield: Mayfield will get the No. 40 into the race and should finish in the low-30s.


Field Fillers

No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front-Row Joe" will get the No. 78 car into Sunday's field and should finish in the top 35.
No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott isn't a fantasy option.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier has blown an engine or had an accident the past four races. He isn't worth using.
No. 45 Chad McCumbee: McCumbee takes the wheel of the No. 45 car for Sunday's race. He will need to qualify the car so he isn't worth adding in fantasy leagues.
No. 08 Tony Raines: Raines should be one of the final drivers to make the race.
No. 34 John Andretti: Lil'John isn't an option.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Greg Biffle

Sleepers:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Martin Truex Jr.

Busts:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Tony Stewart
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#24
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Best Buy 400
Track history

Known as the "Monster Mile", the one-mile concrete oval Dover International Speedway hosted its first Cup race in 1969. Two years later, the NASCAR races were extended to 500 miles and continued up until 1993 when its present 400-mile format was established.

Engine failures were common in the 500-mile races. Since the track has banked straightaways as well as the turns, rpm's stay at a high level throughout the lap. Dover has 24-degree banking in the turns and 9-degree banking on the 1,076-foot frontstretch and backstretch.

The Nationwide (Busch) Series joined Cup racing at Dover in 1982 giving the facility a larger weekend crowd. This, in turn, triggered grandstand expansions which continued for 16 consecutive seasons.

During the mid-1990's the facility made some dramatic improvements. For the fans, after Delaware passed a law allowing them to exist at horse racing facilities, Dover Downs installed several slot machines. For the drivers, the asphalt track was ripped up and replaced by a concrete surface. This made for a faster, smoother and more competitive race.

The Indy Racing League began running at Dover in 1998. Tony Stewart, in an open-wheel car, set a track record of over 185 mph around the 1-mile oval. Two years later, Kurt Busch won the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (from the pole).


First Cup race

David Pearson put the Holman-Moody No. 17 Ford on the pole with a qualifying lap of 130.43 mph to lead the 32 car field for the 1969 Mason-Dixon 300. He led 26 of the 300 lap event but wrecked after 65 laps and finished 23rd. The Petty Enterprises No. 43 Ford, driven by Richard Petty, rolled off 3rd at the start, led 150 laps and finished 6 laps ahead of 2nd place, Sonny Hutchins and his No. 90 Ford. Petty earned $4,725 for the victory.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. There were 46 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 147,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Sunday's Best Buy 400 in Dover, Delaware.


Midpack picks

Mark Martin is one of three active drivers (Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott the others) with four Cup wins at the Monster Mile. Martin leads all active drivers with 20 top fives. He averaged a 5.5 finish in the last eight Cup races at this track with a worst finish of 14th. Martin has scored more championship driver points in the last 10 Dover Cup races than any other driver. So far this season, he has averaged a 14th place finish for his limited Cup schedule (9 out of 12 races).

After this weekend, Matt Kenseth will probably slip out of the mid-pack range and into the top 15 but, for now, we still get to pick him. NASCAR Media gives him the number 2 driver rating overall and lists him at, or near, the top of several loop data categories for the past six Dover Cup races. He leads all drivers in the "Quality Passes" (passing while running in the top 15) category. Kenseth tops the laps led list and is second in the "Laps running in the top 15" category.

Jamie McMurray has a 14.8 average finish in ten Cup starts at the Delaware track. He finished 8th here last September. He's ranked first in the NASCAR loop "Green Flag Passes" category for the last six Dover races. McMurray passed cars 279 times under green flag conditions. He is in the top ten (8th) on the list of active drivers scoring the most points in the last ten Dover races. This would be a good week to add McMurray in as your fourth or fifth driver.

We're going out on a limb for our deepest pick this week. It has been four years since Jeremy Mayfield set the standing track qualifying record of 161.522 mph. He ran terrible in the first seven races of this season before being replaced in the No. 70. Mayfield is subbing for Dario Franchitti (on the mend) in the No. 40 this weekend but must make it in on speed (outside top 35 in owners' points). After all that, we're still gambling on Mayfield at the tail-end of our roster. He does have 3 poles, an average finish of 18.8 in 25 Dover races and he finished in the top 15 in five out of his last seven starts.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#25
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Pocono 500
The NASCAR Nextel Cup series heads to Pocono Raceway's famed 2.5 mile triangle for the 14th race of the 2008 season, the Pocono 500. Race Preview looked at past performances, practice sessions, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to predict how the field might finish.


When: Sunday, June 8, 2008; 2:10 p.m./et


Weather: Isolated T-storms with a high around 84; wind out of the WSW at 9 mph Chance of precipitation 30%.


The Track: Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway is a 2.5 mile tri-oval. It has 14 degree banking in turn one, eight degree banking in turn two, and six degree banking in turn three.


Key to Race: THE POCONO TRIANGLE

Pocono has three turns and three straightaways. The track is a test for engine builders as the cars will run at a very high RPM three times on each lap for an extended period of time. Denny Hamlin won both poles and races at Pocono in 2006 and Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch took the checker flags during the 2007 season making all three great options.


Qualifying Procedures:

45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, June 6 at 3:40 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5


No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has cracked the top 10 just twice at Pocono in his career, but he is driving so well we can't pick against him.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been awesome at Pocono in his career. In four races he has two wins and has never finished worse than sixth.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four career victories at Pocono, including a win in last June's Pocono 500. He should be battling for the lead all day.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch won two of the last five Pocono races and was one of the fastest drivers during testing at Pocono earlier this year. This is a great opportunity for the No. 2 team to turn their disappointing season around.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has finished 15th or better in 10 of his 11 career starts at Pocono. He should finish in the top five once again on Sunday.


6 to 10

No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished in the top seven in the last five races at Pocono. He should notch another top seven finish this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior hasn't run well in six of the last seven races at Pocono, but he is a much more consistent driver this season. We expect he will return to the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished in the top 10 in both races at Pocono last season. He is a great pick once again this weekend.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton is having an amazing season. He won't win Sunday's race, but he will be in the top 10 when the checkers fly.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears was great at Pocono in 2007. He is a bit of a sleeper this weekend.


11 to 20

No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth's average finish at Pocono is just 15th, but he has been driving very well lately. We think he should finish just outside the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman was excellent at Pocono in 2007. He will compete for the pole this weekend and could crack the top 10.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 10 in eight of the last nine races this season, but he has averaged just a 25th place finish in the last four Pocono races. We think he will finish in the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has finished 17th or better in his last six starts at Pocono. He should crack the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Pocono has never been one of Biffle's better tracks. Stay away from him this weekend.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has averaged a 15th place finish in his four career starts at Pocono. We think he will finish right around his average on Sunday.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been awesome during qualifying at Pocono, but has almost always disappeared during the race. He should qualify well again, but we don't have a lot of faith in a strong finish.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top five in 19 of his 42 career starts at Pocono. He shouldn't crack the top five on Sunday, but another top 10 finish wouldn't surprise us.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan is quietly having a great season. He has eight top 20 finishes in 13 starts so far this year. We like his chances to earn another top 20 finish on Sunday.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney turned in another solid finish last weekend. It is time to add him to your fantasy roster while he is a great value.


21 to 30

No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has three top five finishes in eight career starts at Pocono. He is a decent sleeper pick.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has run very well lately. He should finish near the top 20 on Sunday.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has just two top 10 finishes in 10 career Pocono starts. We don't think he will make it three on Sunday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil continues to surprise with his strong finishes. He should finish right around the top 20 again on Sunday.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte is usually decent at Pocono. This isn't a bad weekend to use him.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya made the top 20 in both of his career starts at Pocono. We expect he will notch another top 25 finish at the track this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has made the top 10 in just two of his 18 career starts at Pocono. He hasn't been a fantasy option lately so avoid using him on your team.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard will crack the top 30 on Sunday, but we don't think he will do enough to make him a fantasy option.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has never cracked the top 30 at Pocono, but he is driving much better this season.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson led five laps last August at Pocono. He should finish in the top 30 on Sunday.


31 to 40

No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann was terrible in his first two starts at Pocono. We usually like his chances, but this weekend he isn't a strong pick.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger has had a great month of May. He won't have an issue qualifying for the race and should crack the top 30.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley will get the No. 96 car into the race during qualifying and could finish in the top 30 with any luck.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has been had success at Pocono during his career. He might be worth gambling on for those in very deep leagues.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has cracked the top 25 just one time in the past seven Pocono races.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith should be a non-factor on Sunday.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has finished 35th or worse in five of his last six Pocono starts. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 70 Jason Leffler: Leffler should get the No. 70 car into Sunday's field, but he won't be a fantasy option.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race. That is about all the Double-Zero car has going for it.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario is back behind the wheel of the No. 40 car. He is too risky of a pick for us to recommend.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott is guaranteed a spot in the field, but he isn't a fantasy option.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier finally made it through a race last weekend without blowing an engine or getting in an accident.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte will get the No. 45 car in Sunday's race.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front Row Joe" will struggle to get the No. 78 car into Sunday's race.
No. 34 Tony Raines: Raines should be one of the final drivers to make the race.



Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kurt Busch

Sleepers:

1. Kurt Busch
2. Casey Mears

Busts:

1. Kasey Kahne
2. Greg Biffle
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#26
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Pocono 500
Track history

Pocono Raceway is a very demanding track not only on the drivers, but on the equipment as well. It is a 2.5-mile triangular oval with different length straightaways and different banking in the three turns. The front stretch is 3,740 feet where the cars are going 200 mph into a tight 14-degree banked first turn. The backstretch is 3,055 feet leading into an 8 degree sweeping turn 2. The short straight is 1,780 feet running into a tight 6 degree turn 3. The track has been described as "the superspeedway that drives like a road course". The facility was built in 1968 as a three-quarter mile raceway and was expanded to its current 2.5-mile configuration in the early 1970's.


First Cup race

The first 500-mile NASCAR race, the Purolator 500, was held on August 4, 1974. With a 144.122 mph lap in the Bud Moore No. 15 Ford, Buddy Baker qualified on the pole to lead the 35-car field. He led 11 laps and finished 2nd. Richard Petty started his No. 43 STP Dodge 3rd on the grid, led 152 laps and took the win in the rain-shortened (480 miles) inaugural event. Petty earned $17,000 for the win.



As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart. There were 45 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of over 76,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Sunday's Pocono 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.


Mid-pack picks

If Kurt Busch can't improve on his 21st place standing in the 2008 points after this weekend, he's missed his best opportunity of the year. Over the last ten Pocono races, no one has scored more championship points. Busch is second to track favorite, Ryan Newman, in percentage of laps running in the top 15 (82.9%) over the last six Pocono races. He led the most laps (343) in those six events. Oh yeah, he won here last July. This is one weekend Kurt may outrun his hot-running brother Kyle.

Bobby Labonte, a 3-time Pocono winner, has a 17.4 average finish for 30 starts at this track. His average start of 25th in the last five races here isn't all that good, but he averaged a 15th place finish in those events. Labonte usually does well at the Long Pond track and if you put him in as your third or fourth driver, expect another top 15 or better finish this weekend.

According to NASCAR's loop data, Mark Martin is number one among "Closers" (improved 29 positions in the last 10 percent of the last 6 races). Having a 10.7 average finish over 42 races says Mark Martin is no slouch at Pocono. He's never won here but did finish 2nd six times and 3rd in four others. Martin finished 9th here last July and should match or better this on Sunday. His 2008 average finish is 14.9 so far.

Brian Vickers struggled with Toyota's problems in their first season (2007) and had Pocono finishes of 35th and 29th. In his previous six starts at the Pennsylvania tri-oval, Vickers averaged a 4.5 start and an 8.5 finish. He's third in the loop data category of laps led (140) in the last six Pocono races. This includes last year when he never led a lap. We think, with Toyota's improvement in 2008, Vickers will be back in contention for a win on Sunday.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#27
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The LifeLock 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway's two mile tri-oval for the 14th race of the season, the LifeLock 400. Race Preview looks at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to predict how the field might finish on Sunday.


When: Sunday, June 15, 2008; 2:17 p.m./et


Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 79; wind out of the WSW at 9 mph Chance of precipitation 20%.


The Track: Michigan International Speedway

MIS is a 2.0 mile tri-oval. It has 18 degree banking in the turns and 12 degree banking in the tri-oval.


Key to Race: A ROUSH RUNAWAY

Even though Roger Penske is a former owner of Michigan International Speedway, Penske Racing will have to be flawless to win a race that should be dominated the fearsome-five from Roush Fenway Racing.


Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, June 13 at 3:10 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 10 in six of his seven career starts at MIS. He won last June's race and could win on Sunday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth was taken out by an accident early in the June 2007 race at MIS. The poor result was his first finish worse than 17th in 15 careers starts at the track. He is a terrific option this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has 15 top five finishes in 30 career starts at MIS. He has had one of the best cars on the track in the last four races at MIS and is a great pick to make the top five on Sunday.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Kurt has led 10.5 percent of the laps he has run at MIS in his career. He should finish near the top five on Sunday.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne was dominant at MIS prior to last year's races at the track. He is driving as well has anyone in the series the past month and should be a top 10 finisher.


6 to 10

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy led 43 laps in the past five MIS races and finished in the top 15 in both 2007 races. He should be near the top 10 all race.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin hasn't finished worse than 14th during his brief career at MIS. He is a strong pick once again.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has been good but not excellent at MIS. In 12 career starts he has five top 10 finishes. JJ has been doing his best Mark Martin impression this season and will likely finish solid, but never be in real contention to win the race.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has been in the top 10 in nine of the last 11 MIS races. He hasn't been driving well lately and he is due to finish in the top 10 for the first time since mid-May.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished 15th or better in his last four races at MIS. He is a decent pick this weekend.


11 to 20

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has led a lap in each of the last five races at MIS. He has been driving awesome lately and is a very good pick on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has six top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at MIS. He is a solid pick on Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. finished second at MIS in both 2007 races. He should have a strong car once again and it won't shock us if he breaks into the top 10.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been pretty average in his last nine races at MIS. There are better tracks to use him.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers drove out of his mind at Pocono last weekend and has had past success at MIS during his career. This is a good weekend to use the No. 83 car.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has just two top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at MIS, but he is worth using as a fourth driver on all fantasy teams.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has finished in the top 15 in six of his last nine starts at MIS. He should qualify well, but we doubt he will have a top 10 finish.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has four finishes outside the top 17 in his last five starts at MIS. He has had great success at the track during his career, but don't like him as much more than a fourth driver on most fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan should finish right around 20th place on Sunday.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray should have a strong car this weekend, but we wonder if he needs a change of scenery to get his career back on track.


21 to 30

No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer hasn't been great at MIS during his career. He can't help but improve on his average 26th place finish at the track.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann has finished in the top 20 in four of the last five races this season. He was decent at MIS last year and might be worth taking a chance on this weekend.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger had driven excellent lately. He is someone to add in deep fantasy leagues.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has quietly put together four top 20 finishes in the past five races. He is worth using as a fifth driver in deep fantasy leagues.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has just one top 10 finish in his last seven starts at MIS. He isn't a great fantasy choice.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil will be a top 25 finisher on Sunday.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has been a top 25 finisher in the last four races at MIS. He could make it five straight on Sunday.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has finished in the top 10 in two of his four career starts at MIS. We doubt he will crack the top on Sunday, but if you are ever going to use the No. 41 this might be the weekend to do it.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler was terrible at MIS in 2007 and hasn't driven very well lately. We don't like his chances this weekend.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has averaged a 22nd place finish at MIS during his career. He should finish around 22nd on Sunday.


31 to 40

No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith has finished in the top 30 in the last seven races. He should accomplish that once again this weekend.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. will make his first Cup start at MIS this weekend. He should finish in the mid-20s.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya was a disaster at MIS in 2007. He isn't a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has cracked the top 25 in 10 of the last 12 races at MIS. This might be a decent weekend to use the No. 55 car.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race. He should crack the top 35, but he isn't going to do much to help your fantasy team.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has had success at MIS during his career. He might be worth taking a chance on for those in very deep leagues.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard will crack the top 30 on Sunday, but we don't think he will do enough to make him a fantasy option.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley captured the pole during last June's race at MIS so he shouldn't have any trouble getting the No. 96 car into the field.
No. 70 Jason Leffler: Leffler should get the No. 70 car into Sunday's field, but he won't be a fantasy option.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario was a non-factor last weekend at Pocono. He is too risky of a pick for us to recommend.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott is guaranteed a spot in the field, but he isn't a fantasy option.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier has made it through back-to-back races without blowing an engine or getting in an accident.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte will get the No. 45 car in Sunday's race even if he has to use a Past Champions Provisional.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front Row Joe" will struggle to get the No. 78 car into Sunday's race.
No. 34 Tony Raines: Raines should be one of the final drivers to make the race.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Carl Edwards
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kurt Busch

Sleepers:

1. Kurt Busch
2. Brian Vickers

Busts:

1. Clint Bowyer
2. Mark Martin
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#28
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: LifeLock 400
Track history

Built in 1968 by Lawrence H. LoPatin, a Detroit land developer, at a cost of about $6 million, Michigan International Speedway is a 2-mile asphalt D-shaped oval located on 1400 acres in the Irish Hills of southeastern Michigan. Charles Moneypenny, designer of the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway, designed the Michigan oval as well. It has 18-degree banking in turns and 12-degree banking in the tri-oval, which is part of the 3,600-foot frontstretch. The 2,242-foot backstretch is banked five degrees. After LoPatin overextended himself and filed bankruptcy, Roger Penske took over ownership of Michigan International Speedway in 1973 and invested millions in improving the facility.

In 1999, Penske teamed up with International Speedway Corporation to jointly own the speedway. MIS seated 25,000 fans when it opened. Every few years grandstands were added bringing it up to its current capacity of 137,243 seats. The track was resurfaced in 1977, 1986 and again in 1995. In 2004, Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) walls were added to the track.

Since the corners are so long, drivers are in the gas hard all throughout the race. This may contribute to the engine failures seen in past races at MIS. It's not unusual to see cars racing 3 or 4 and sometimes 5-wide on the long straightaways.

First Cup race

Donnie Allison clocked a 160.135 mph lap in the No. 27 Banjo Matthews Ford to start up front for the 1969 Motor State 500. He blew an engine 115 laps into the 250 lap event. Cale Yarborough started the famous Wood Brothers No. 21 Mercury Cyclone fourth in the field of 38 cars and went on to win the event. He beat David Pearson's No. 17 Ford by five car lengths and earned a $17,625 payday.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth. There were 45 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 153,000 fans in the grandstands and in the infield. Here are our picks for Sunday's LifeLock 400 in Brooklyn, Michigan.


Midpack picks

Kurt Busch, the most recent Michigan winner, is ranked first in the NASCAR loop data "Fastest Laps Run" (laps where a driver had the fastest speed on the lap) category for the last six Michigan races (93 laps). Busch leads all drivers in the number of laps led (172) in those races as well. Considering he has four DNF's in fourteen MIS starts and still has an 18.9 average finish (including 2 wins), Busch is a good pick for your second or third driver.

Barely in the mid-pack range, Martin Truex Jr. is a strong pick this weekend. In 2007, he came up short with two runner-up finishes at MIS. In his two starts here back in the Busch Series, Truex started on the pole and had top 5 finishes in both events. He has scored more Sprint Cup championship points at this track over the last two races than any other driver. It wouldn't be a stretch to see him score his second career Cup victory this weekend.

With four Cup and two Nationwide (Busch) Series winner's trophies from Michigan, Mark Martin knows how to find victory circle. He has averaged an 11.2 start and a 13.0 finish over 44 Cup races. Coming off a 10th at Pocono we think Martin is an excellent pick for a third or fourth driver this weekend.

Bobby Labonte has 3 Cup Series and 1 Nationwide Series wins and 4 pole awards at the Brooklyn, Michigan track. He has a 12.4 average start and a 13.5 average finish over 31 trips to MIS. Labonte's most recent finish here was a 9th. This week he signed on for another four years with Petty Enterprises. With that uncertainty behind him, Labonte should be a good choice for a possible top fifteen or better on Sunday.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#29
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Toyota/Save Mart 350
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Infineon Raceway's 1.99 mile road course for the 16th race of the 2008 season, the Toyota/SaveMart 350. Race Preview has looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to predict how the field might finish.


When: Sunday, June 22, 2008; 5:17 p.m./et


Weather: Sunny with a high around 82; wind out of the SW at 16 mph Chance of precipitation 10%.


The Track: Infineon Raceway

Infineon is a 1.99 mile road course. It has 10 turns including some of the only right-hand turns NASCAR drivers will make all season.


Key to Race: GORDON, BORIS, AND THE BOYS

Jeff Gordon has been the King of Infineon. In 15 career starts the No. 24 driver has won an impressive five races. Then there are the road track specialists. Drivers like Ron Fellows, Boris Said, Scott Preutt, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Robby Gordon are always a threat to win on road courses.


Qualifying Procedures:

47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, June 20 at 7:10 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:


Top 5

No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has been awesome at Infineon. He holds the all-time record for wins at the track with five.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya won last year's race at Infineon. This is the weekend for the No. 42 team to get back on track.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has improved with each race at Infineon. A top five finish on Sunday won't surprise us.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has been excellent at Infineon. In nine career starts he has two wins and five top 10 finishes.
No. 60 Boris Said: Said a great option on Sunday. He is a strong bet to crack the top 10.


6 to 10

No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has three top five finishes in seven career Infineon starts. We think he will be in the top 10 when the checkers fly Sunday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished 10th and 12th during his two career starts at Infineon. The talented driver has showed he can drive on any surface and any track configuration making him a great pick on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished in the top 15 in four of his five career Infineon starts. He is a decent option on Sunday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton five top 10 finishes at Infineon during his career
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Road courses are where Gordon shines. We think he is a solid bet to make the top 10 on Sunday.


11 to 20

No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman is a great option on Sunday. In six career starts at Infineon he has four top 10 finishes.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has led just three laps during his career at Infineon. He does have a top five finish, but there are much better weekends to use him.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards led 18 laps during last year's race at Infineon. He won't crack the top 10, but he should finish in the top 15.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: We recommend steering clear of the talented Kenseth this weekend. In eight career starts at Infineon he has never finished better than 11th.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne is yet another top driver who has never had much success at Infineon. In four career races he has never finished better than 23rd.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been hit-or-miss at Infineon during his career. He won't match his second place finish of last year, but he should crack the top 15.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has been great at Infineon during his career. We think he will finish near the top 15 on Sunday.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has finished fourth and 16th in his two career starts at Infineon. We expect he will finish in the top 20 on Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has averaged a 22nd place finish in eight career races at Infineon. There are much better weeks to use No. 88.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. will make his first Cup start at Infineon this weekend. He has proved he can turn left during his time in open wheel racing and is a great pick this weekend.


21 to 30

No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario has had Sunday's race circled on his schedule since the beginning of the season. This will get a chance to see just what the Scotsman can do.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished worse than 20th just once in five career Infineon starts. He could make some noise on Sunday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil just continues to get it done. He will finish near the top 25 on Sunday.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has averaged just a 23rd place finish during his career at Infineon. There are better weekends to use the No. 83 car.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. will be lucky to crack the top 20 on Sunday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has finished better than 20th just once in five career starts at Infineon.
No. 01 Ron Fellows: Road course specialist Ron Fellows will drive the No. 01 in Sunday's race. The Canadian has finished in the top 15 in two of the last three races at Infineon. He is a great sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 41 Scott Pruett: Pruett takes the helm of the No. 41 car for Sunday's race. He is a very experienced road course driver and might be worth taking a chance on for this weekend.
No. 66 Max Papis: Open wheel star Max Papis takes the wheel of the No. 66 car on Sunday. He is someone that could surprise.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte will get the No. 45 car in Sunday's race even if he has to use a Past Champions Provisional. He has driven well at Infineon in the past and could surprise with a top 10 finish.


31 to 40

No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip sat out last year's race at Infineon so that Terry Labonte could drive the No. 55 car. He hasn't been terrible at the track during his career, but there are much stronger options this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan hasn't made enough right-hand turns in his career to be a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier had the best race of his brief NASCAR career last Saturday at Michigan. He is poised for a strong finish on Sunday.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland is a driver that has performed much better on the faster tracks. He will struggle this weekend.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has been good this season, but he hasn't been great at Infineon in his career. We don't recommend him.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann has never started a race at Infineon. He isn't worth using this weekend.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger is another driver with zero experience in Wine Country. Avoid him.No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard is making his first start at Infineon. There are far better options than No. 15 this weekend.
No. 34 Brian Simo: Simo, a California native, finished 10th in last year's race at Infineon. He is a high-risk/high-reward driver.
No. 8 Aric Almirola: Almirola returns to the seat in the No. 8 car. He has a lot to learn about driving on road courses and isn't a fantasy option.


Field Fillers


No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has been a disaster at Infineon during his career. Don't use him.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, but we expect Sunday will be a struggle for the rookie.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley isn't guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race and with all the road course specialists he might struggle to make the field.
No. 70 Scott Riggs: Riggs should get the No. 70 car into Sunday's field, but he won't be a fantasy option.
No. 21 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has experience driving on road courses, but he is a risky choice in his Sprint Series debut.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front Row Joe" will struggle to get the No. 78 car into Sunday's race.
No. 02 Brandon Ash: Ash has qualified for two previous Infineon races, but even if he can get the No. 02 into the race he isn't worth using.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Juan Pablo Montoya
3. Kyle Busch
4. Tony Stewart

Sleepers:

1. Boris Said
2. Ron Fellows

Busts:

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Clint Bowyer
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#30
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Toyota/Save Mart 350
Track history

Robert Marshall Jr. and Jim Coleman built the first Sears Point 2.52 mile road course in 1968. For the next 20 years, Sears Point hosted events for USAC, Indy cars, SCCA races, drag races, motorcycle road and motocross races and some non-Cup NASCAR races. The first Cup Series race was held there in 1989. The Craftsman Truck Series began competition at the track in 1995.

During the 1990's, several million dollars was spent on beautification and modernization of the facility, including the new medical facility, VIP suites, and a track reconfiguration to its current 1.99-mile layout. Since 2000, another $50 million went to projects such as new grandstands, pedestrian tunnels, a 44-car garage area, repaving of the road course, enlargement of the pit road to accommodate the entire 43-car starting grid, and sightline improvements so the fans can see almost the entire road course from their seats. Sears Point was renamed Infineon Raceway at the start of the 2002 season.


First Cup race

The inaugural Cup Series race, the 1989 Banquet Frozen Foods 300, was held on June 11, 1989. Rusty Wallace put the Raymond Beadle owned No. 27 Kodiak Pontiac on the pole, led 10 laps and finished 2nd by a little over 1 second. Ricky Rudd started 4th, led 61 of the 74 lap event and took the flag in Kenny Bernstein's No. 26 Quaker State Buick. Rudd earned $62,350 for the victory in front of around 60,000 fans.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart. There were 47 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. Here are our picks for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, California.


Midpack picks

We're going with a given at Infineon. Robby Gordon (31st in the points) is probably on most lists but we pick mid-packers every week. In his last eight starts at the Sonoma track, he's averaged a 16th place finish, including a win in 2003 and a wreck (DNF) in 2006. He's second, behind favorite 'the other' Gordon, in laps led over the last three races (48 of 330). Not only is Gordon fearless at this track, he can get the job done. If he doesn't get too fearless, look for a top 10 on Sunday.

Kurt Busch is rated third overall by NASCAR Media at the Sonoma track and is tops in several categories. He was running in the top 15 for more laps than any other driver in the last three races (298 of 330 laps). He's number one in the 'Average running position' (7.133) category in those three races as well. If you want consistency at Infineon, Kurt Busch is your pick.

Juan Pablo Montoya has been finishing mid-pack (or worse) with only four top 15's out of 15 starts so far this season. The defending winner of this race should make a huge improvement this weekend. He can make right and left turns with the best of them. Montoya became the first rookie to win at Infineon Raceway and he set a record for winning from the deepest starting spot (32nd). Besides the Cup victory, Montoya won his first Nationwide Series road race in Mexico last season. This is his weekend to perform.

We have to pick a "hired gun" this weekend. Boris Said has a lot to prove. Said offered, "So far, this has been the worst year of my career. I haven't finished a race yet." His team retired early due to an engine failure in the 24 Hours of Daytona. He failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 missing by fewer then two-tenths-of-a-seconds. He got wrecked while running in the top 10 in the Mexico City Nationwide road race in April. He should make the field this week since he has the best qualifying average (a 4.3) in the last three Cup races at Infineon. His worst Cup finish in the last five races at this track was a 17th. NASCAR ran four Craftsman Truck Series races here (1995-98); Said entered three and won the last one.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#31
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Lenox Industrial Tools 301
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the 17th race of the 2008 season, the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Race Preview has looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to predict how the field might finish on Sunday.

When: Sunday, June 29, 2008; 2:17 p.m./et


Weather: Showers with high around 69; wind out of the E at 8 mph. Chance of precipitation 60%.


The Track: New Hampshire International Speedway

NHMS is a 1.058 mile flat-oval. It has 12 degree banking on the corners with 2 degree banking on the straight-aways. Ryan Newman has been great at NHMS during his career. He earned his first career Nextel Cup victory at the track and passed Tony Stewart late in the 2006 September race for another win at NHMS. Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer won at NHMS in 2007.


Key to Race: THAT IS ONE BIG PAPERCLIP

NHMS is a big version of Martinsville. It is basically a mile long paperclip. The track has two long straight-aways with tight corners at the ends. The race will be hard on brakes and tires. The team that can figure out a setup that allows them to keep the brakes and tires fresh will have a big advantage. Look for the Newman, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch to have strong runs in Sunday's race.


Qualifying Procedures:

45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, June 27 at 3:10 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy dominated the July 2006 race at NHMS, but has cracked the top 10 just once in the past three races at the track. He should be back in the top five on Sunday.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Between 1997 and 2001 Gordon finished in the top five in seven of eight races at NHMS. He finished second, second and third in the past three races at NHMS and should crack the top five once again Sunday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished in the top 10 in nine of the last 10 NHMS races. There is a very good chance he could get his first win at the track this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin won last July's race at NHMS and has finished in the top six in three of his four Cup races at NHMS. He is an excellent pick on Sunday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has finished in the top 15 in 11 of his 12 career Cup start at NHMS. He is a great pick for Sunday's race.


6 to 10

No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has nine top five finishes, including two wins, in 18 career starts at NHMS. He is a terrific option on Sunday.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer dominated last year's September race at NHMS. He will bring a similar setup this weekend and is a great pick.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been decent at NHMS except for the 2005 fall race when he was taken out by Kyle Busch. He should finish in the top 10 again on Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has back-to-back top five finishes at NHMS. He should be in the top 10 again Sunday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has finished in the top 10 in six of the last 10 races at NHMS. He should be right near the top 10 again this weekend.


11 to 20

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Carl has just one top 10 finish in seven career NHMS starts. We feel he will flirt with a second top 10 finish this weekend
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle finished in the top five in the last three of the last six races at NHMS, but he hasn't been terrific the last three starts at the track. He should just miss finishing in the top 10.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch swept both races at NHMS in 2004 and finished second in the summer race at 2005, but that was with Roush. He has struggled at NHMS since leaving the Cat in the Hat's race team.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has eight top 10 finishes in 14 career starts at NHMS. He won the September 2006 race at track and could crack the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has an impressive history at NHMS. In 25 starts at the track he has won four races and he has finished in the top 18 in the last eight races making him a safe pick.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers continues to drive excellent. He has been okay at NHMS in his career and could crack the top 20 on Sunday.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: In 12 career Cup starts at the Magic Mile, Newman has nine top 10 finishes including two wins. He also has four poles at the track making him a decent sleeper pick.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya had decent success at NHMS during his rookie year. He is worth using as a fourth or fifth fantasy driver this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan cracked the top 20 in both starts at NHMS last year. He should continue the trend this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has finished 20th or better in three of the last five races this season, but he has struggled at NHMS in his career. We think he should finish right around 20th on Sunday.


21 to 30

No. 41 Reed Sorenson: NHMS is one of Sorenson's best tracks. He should finish just outside the top 20 on Sunday.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished in the top 15 in just twice of his last six starts at NHMS. He isn't recommended on Sunday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has never been great at NHMS during his career. He isn't worth using as much more than a fourth or fifth driver on fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland has never cracked the top 25 in three career starts at NHMS. He is driving great lately and should finish right around 20th.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley's average finish at NHMS is 14th. He is a great sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has cracked the top 20 in three of four starts at NHMS. He is a decent sleeper pick on Sunday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil continues his string of top 30 finishes. He hasn't finished outside the top 30 since the second race this season.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney snagged the pole in last July's race at NHMS. We predict he will qualify well once again and could crack the top 25.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann has never had much success at NHMS. There are much better weekends to use the No. 44.
No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger will get the No. 84 into Sunday's race, but he won't do enough to be useful in fantasy leagues.


31 to 40

No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has just one top 10 finish in his last 10 starts at NHMS. He isn't a great fantasy choice.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip hasn't been awful at NHMS in his last six starts at the track. He should crack the top 30 once again.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. will make his first Cup start at NHMS this weekend. He should finish in the mid-30s.
No. 15 Paul Menard: NHMS wasn't kind to Menard during his first two Cup starts at the track. He isn't a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race. He should crack the top 35, but he isn't going to do much to help your fantasy team.
No. 70 Johnny Sauter: Sauter won't have a problem getting the No. 70 car into Sunday's field. He won't be a fantasy option.
No. 8 Aric Almirola: Almirola has struggled since his first start in the No. 8 car. He isn't worth using.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith has been terrible in his two career starts at NHMS. He isn't an option this weekend.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has never had a great deal of success at NHMS during his career. He isn't worth using this weekend.
No. 40 Dario Franchitti: Dario will be a non-factor this weekend at NHMS.

Field Fillers

No. 21 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose will get the No. 21 into Sunday's field, but he isn't a factor.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier has blown an engine or been in an accident in five of the last eight races. Not an option.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte will get the No. 45 car in Sunday's race even if he has to use a Past Champions Provisional.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front Row Joe" will struggle to get the No. 78 car into Sunday's race.
No. 34 Tony Raines: Raines likely won't make the race.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Denny Hamlin

Sleepers:

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Brian Vickers

Busts:

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Ryan Newman
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#32
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Loudon, NH
Track history

New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the first superspeedway started in the U.S. since 1969, broke ground on August 13, 1989 and was ready for racing the next year. It is a 1.058-mile asphalt oval with 12-degree banking in the turns. The 1,500-foot frontstretch and backstretch are banked two degrees. The seating for 55,000 fans in the grandstands on opening day has been increased to its current 95,000 capacity.

The NASCAR Nationwide (Busch) Series held its first race, the Budweiser 300, on July 15, 1990. Tommy Ellis drove the No. 99 Goo Goo Clusters Buick to the victory in that event. For the next three years, the Nationwide Series was joined by CART and IRL at the Loudon track. The speedway hosted its first NASCAR Cup race in July 1993.

In the mid-to-late 1990's, several improvements were made at the facility. A 1.6 mile road course was added for motorcycles and sports cars. Four helipads, an expanded Corporate Hospitality area, VIP suites, an additional 52 bay garage and more grandstands were built. More parking and a five-lane access road were constructed.


First Cup race

On July 11, 1993, after driving the No. 6 Valvoline Ford to a 126.871 mph qualifying lap, Mark Martin started on the pole for the first NASCAR Cup race, the Slick 50 300. He led 29 of the 300 laps and finished 2nd. Rusty Wallace started the No. 2 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac 33rd in the lineup, got to the front to lead 106 laps and took the victory. This race marked the Cup Series debuts for Jeff Burton and Joe Nemechek.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. There were 45 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of over 95,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in Loudon, New Hampshire.


Mid-pack picks

Ryan Newman not only qualifies well at NHMS but, overall, it's one of his best tracks. He holds the track record with four career poles. Newman is tied with track favorite Hamlin with 75% of his finishes in the top ten. According to NASCAR Statistics loop data, over the past six races the two-time Loudon winner spent 80.1 percent (3rd highest) of the time running in the top 15. His last three Cup races at NHMS ended in 12th, 10th and 9th places.

Martin Truex Jr.'s worst finish in the last four races this season was 17th (twice). He has a New Hampshire winner's trophy from a Nationwide Series start. In the two Loudon Cup races last year, he had starts of 9th and 2nd; finishes of 3rd and 5th. This could be Truex Jr.'s best chance to move up in the point standings. We think he can pull off another top 5 this weekend.

J.J. Yeley's team is outside the top 35 in owners' points but with only 45 cars on the preliminary entry list, his odds of making the field are excellent. It looks like Yeley has figured out how to get around Loudon. He finished 10th here last September. The combined stats for his eight Cup and Nationwide finishes at NHMS average out to a respectable 17th place. Yeley has been running terrible recently, missed the cut at Sonoma last weekend but we think this is the week to stick him in the last slot on your fantasy roster.

Kurt Busch swept the 2004 Cup races and finished second in the July 2005 race. He entered only one truck race here (2000); started 5th, led 35 laps and scored the victory. Another driver who has been running awful lately, but he's always a good choice at New Hampshire. Don't expect another win from Kurt, but a top 15 is not out of the question.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#33
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Coke Zero 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona International Speedway for the 18th race of the 2008 season, the Coke Zero 400. Race Preview took a look at past performances, practice sessions, and trends to predict how the field might finish on Saturday.


When: Saturday, July 5; 8:19 p.m./et


Weather: Scattered T-storms with a high around 87; wind out of the ESE at 9 mph. Chance of precipitation 40%.


The Track: Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Raceway is a 2.5-mile tri-oval. It has extreme 31 degree banking on the corners which allows for drivers to run their cars wide-open nearly the entire way around the track. Due to the fast speeds that cars are able to run at Daytona, NASCAR has made all Nextel Cup races at the track restrictor plate races. This means all cars entered in the race must use a horsepower reducing restrictor plate on their engines.


Key to Race: AVOID THE BIG WRECK

As is the case with all restrictor plate races, cars become bunched in two and three-wide groups made of up to 30 cars. These freight train like packs cruise around the track at insane speeds just inches away from each other. It takes just one car to have a flat or get loose and a massive accident could wipe out half the field. A major accident will happen in Saturday's race. It is just a matter of when and how big. If a driver can get lucky and stay away from the inevitable crash he will have a great chance for a strong finish.


Qualifying Procedures:

45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Friday, July 4 at 4:10 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:


Top 5

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has never won a Cup race at Daytona. With his success this season there is a great chance that streak could end on Saturday.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has won two of the last seven full-length races at Daytona including the 2006 Pepsi 400. He finished third during this year's Daytona 500 and is overdue for his first win of the 2008 season.
No. 48 Jimmy Johnson: Johnson won the 2006 Daytona 500 and has been pretty dominant (eight top 10 finishes in 13 career starts) at Daytona during his career. He is another driver due for a win.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has been awesome in restrictor plate races during his career. We won't be surprised if he can win his third career race at the famous track this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has six career full-length race wins at Daytona and like Tony Stewart he is due for his first win of the 2008 season. He is a great pick on Saturday.


6 to 10

No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has three straight top 10 finishes at Daytona. He should make it four in a row this weekend.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in three of his five career starts at Daytona. He is a solid pick in this weekend's race.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards is a solid restrictor plate driver, but he hasn't had a ton of success at Daytona in his career. We expect he should be one of the top drivers Saturday's race.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has finished in the top five in seven of his 16 career Daytona starts. He will have to work much harder than he did at NHMS last weekend for a strong finish this week, but we like his chances to crack the top 10.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman led just eight laps on his way to winning this year's Daytona 500. He should be solid again, but we don't see him making a repeat trip to victory lane.


11 to 20

No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle, who just signed a three year extension with Roush Fenway, has three top 10 finishes in 12 career starts at Daytona. He should make it four top 10 finishes this weekend.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has been consistent at Daytona during his career, but the talented driver has yet to find victory lane at the famous track. A win will elude him again this time, but a top 15 finish is expected.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick hasn't cracked the top 10 in the past seven races of the 2008 season. Even though he has driven well at Daytona in the past, his recent struggles downgrade our hopes for him this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler was good in this year's Daytona 500 and has had success at the track in the past. He is an interesting sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Daytona was very good to Mears in 2006 (second and seventh), but he has struggled at the track ever since. He is out of the No. 5 car at the end of the season so the pressure that was on him prior to last week has been removed. We will see what Mears can do as he auditions for a new ride.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray won last July's Pepsi 400 at Daytona, but he struggled during the Daytona 500 this year. He is a tough driver to pick this weekend due to his lack of consistency this season.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 10 just once in the past eight Daytona races. He makes a great third driver on all fantasy teams this weekend, but we don't like his chances to carry your team.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has cracked the top 15 in the last five races at Daytona. He is a great sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin hasn't been great at Daytona lately, but the crafty veteran definitely knows how to get around the track.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Normally we don't like Gilliland, but he has been decent in restrictor plate races during his career. He captured a pole at Daytona in 2007 and is worth taking a flyer on as a fifth driver on fantasy teams.


21 to 30

No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson brought a fast car and finished fifth during this year's Daytona 500. He has sleeper potential this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin had has been simply awful at Daytona during his career. We recommend using the No. 11 car another weekend.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann has finished well during his two career starts at Daytona. We like his chances to crack the top 25 on Saturday.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan crashed during this year's Daytona 500 and finished 42nd. He will be better this weekend, but he still isn't worth using as anything but a fourth or fifth fantasy driver.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. was strong during his first race at Daytona and could crack the top 20 once again this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya won some support in the garage and in the stands for his actions against Kyle Busch at NHMS last weekend, but he has been terrible at Daytona in his career. He isn't worth using.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been surprisingly good at Daytona in his career. He should crack the top 25 on Saturday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: Daytona is a track where Truex has never been successful. He isn't worth using this weekend.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has been great at Daytona during his career and ran a decent race during this year's 500. He is worth using as a fifth driver this weekend.
No. 70 Johnny Sauter: Sauter has cracked the top 20 in three of his four starts at Daytona. He is a decent sleeper pick this weekend.


31 to 40

No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard will finish in the top 30 on Saturday. He won't help your fantasy team, but then again he won't hurt you either.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil hasn't had much success at Daytona in his career. He isn't worth using this weekend.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley snuck his way into the top five last weekend at NHMS, but that was a fluke. He will be lucky to crack the top 30 this weekend.
No. 60 Boris Said: Said has been very successful in three of the last four races at Daytona. He has sleeper potential, but he isn't worth gambling on.
No. 84 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 in February. He will make Saturday's race, but we don't think he is worth taking a chance on in fantasy leagues.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has just two top 25 finishes in his last seven starts at Daytona. He is not someone to have on your fantasy team.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney continues to be the definition of mediocre. He is never good, but never that bad. He won't help your fantasy team.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has always had a very difficult time staying out of trouble during restrictor plate races. He should be avoided this weekend.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith will do better than his 37th place finish at this year's Daytona 500, but not much.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in the race. He should also be guaranteed to not be on your fantasy team.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Jon Wood: Wood should be able to get the No. 21 Wood's Brothers car in the field, but we don't like his chances.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte is guaranteed to be in the race, but will once again be in the back-of-the-pack.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 this year. He should make this year's race, but he will struggle.
No. 09 Sterling Marlin: Marlin will attempt to get the No. 09 car into Saturday's race. He should get the car in, but isn't a fantasy option.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: Nemechek isn't much of an option on Saturday. He has just two top 10 finishes in 28 career Daytona starts.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Tony Stewart
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.


Sleepers:

1. Ryan Newman
2. Elliott Sadler

Busts:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jeff Burton
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#34
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Coke Zero 400
Track history

On July 5th, Daytona International Speedway will host its second race of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. This time it will be high-speed racing under the lights at the 480 acre facility which is considered the "World Center of Racing" hosting the famous Daytona 500 race in February. Banking in turns on the 2.5-mile track is 31 degrees. Banking in the tri-oval is 18 degrees and 3 degrees on the backstretch. The frontstretch is 3,800 feet and the backstretch is 3,400 feet. In addition to the tower suites, there are 168,000 grandstand seats for the fans to enjoy this exciting nighttime event.

First Cup race

The first Daytona Cup race was the February 1959 Daytona 500 won by Lee Petty. The first summer Cup event was the 1959 Firecracker 250 held on July 4th. Fireball Roberts put the Jim Stephens owned No. 3 Pontiac on the pole, led 84 of the 100 lap race and beat the rest of the 34 car field. He earned $7,050 for crossing the line 57 seconds ahead of runner-up Joe Weatherly's No. 12 Thunderbird.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart. There were 45 cars on the entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 168,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Florida.


Mid-pack picks

According to NASCAR Statistic's loop data, the driver with the best average finish (12.4) for the last seven races at Daytona is Elliott Sadler. Over those seven races, Sadler scored the third highest number of championship points. In the season-opener, Sadler started 35th in the lineup, avoided the expected mayhem and finished 6th. He wasn't as lucky in April at Talladega, the other restrictor plate track, getting caught up in the last lap wreck; but he did lead three laps in the event. Sadler scored top tens in 3 of the last 6 races this season. He's a good choice for a fourth or fifth driver on Saturday night.

Last week's winner, Kurt Busch, is ranked 5th overall in NASCAR's driver rating at Daytona. Busch had top five finishes in 3 of his last 4 DIS starts including a 2nd in the February Daytona 500. In the other race, he led 95 laps before being taken out by a wreck with Tony Stewart while battling for the lead. We think Busch has another top 5 coming this weekend.

David Gilliland has not been an option at most tracks except for the restrictor plate races. He sat on the pole for his first two Cup starts at the plate tracks (2006 Talladega and the 2007 Daytona 500). Gilliland has an average finish of 15.4 for all seven of his 'Dega and DIS Cup races. He should be a "bargain buy" in most fantasy games due to his 22nd place in the championship point standings.

Robby Gordon averaged a 13th place in his last five Daytona starts including an 8th in February's race. According to NASCAR's loop data, among the drivers on this weekend's entry list, Gordon is 1st among "Closers" (improving positions in the last 10 percent of the last 7 races at Daytona). He's at the top of list in the "Fastest on Restarts" (average speed of first two laps under green) in those seven races as well. Gordon is way back in 32nd spot in the standings and should be a reasonably priced pick for the last driver on your fantasy roster.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#35
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The LifeLock.com 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Chicagoland Speedway for the 19th race of the 2008 season, the LifeLock.com 400. We looked at past performances, practice sessions, and season trends to predict how the field might finish on Saturday.

When: Saturday, July 12, 2008; 8:15 p.m./et


Weather: Scattered thunderstorms with a high around 88; wind out of the WSW at 12 mph. Chance of precipitation 40%.


The Track: Chicagoland Speedway

Chicagoland is a 1.5-mile tri-oval. It has 18 degree banking on the corners with 11 degree banking on the front straightaway and five degree banking on the back straightaway. Roush Fenway is tough to beat on most 1.5 mile tracks, but the team has yet to win a race at Chicagoland. Look for Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth to be very strong on Saturday.


Key to Race: QUICK OUT OF THE PITS

As is the key with most 1.5 mile tracks, tire wear and pit stops will be a key to Saturday's race. Look for the drivers with the best pit stalls to have a big advantage in the race.


Qualifying Procedures:

45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be done on Thursday, July 10 at 8:40 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:


Top 5

No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished no worse than fifth in five of the last six Chicagoland races. He is our favorite to win on Saturday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has never finished worse than 14th in three career starts at Chicagoland. He has been driving so well we would be foolish to not pick him to finish in the top five.
No. 48 Jimmy Johnson: Johnson has been awesome at Chicagoland. In six races at the track he has finished outside the top six just once. He is a candidate to find victory lane on Saturday.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has led 289 laps in the past three races at Chicagoland. He has as good of a chance to win as anybody.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four top five finishes in seven career starts at Chicagoland. He is a great option on Saturday.


6 to 10

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards finally appeared to figure out Chicagoland last season. He is a strong contender to win Saturday's race.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won the 2005 race at Chicagoland and led at least two laps in each of the past three races at the rack. He should crack the top 10 again on Saturday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has two career wins at Chicagoland. We don't think he will make it three, but we like his chances to make the top 10.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in both of his career starts at Chicagoland. He is a great third car on most fantasy teams.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has five top 10 finishes in seven career starts at Chicagoland. We like his chances to crack the top 10 again on Saturday.


11 to 20

No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has back-to-back-to-back 11th place finishes at Chicagoland. He should be around the top 10 again on Saturday.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been excellent the past two Chicagoland races. He is a fine choice to make the top 15.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman has two top five finishes, including a win, in six career starts in Joliet. He will have a strong car, but will finish just outside the top 10.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished 17th and 14th in his only races at Chicagoland. He is usually a good shoe on intermediate tracks so a top 15 finish is expected.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne's best career finish at Chicagoland is 23rd making this a good weekend to avoid using the Budman.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Chicagoland is Sorenson's best track. He has sleeper potential this weekend.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin hasn't cracked the top 10 in the past five races at Chicagoland. He will be decent, but not great this weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has cracked the top 14 in all three career starts at Joliet. He missed last year's race when he failed to qualify, but he is one of our sleeper picks this weekend.

No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears has gone from the ugly duckling of Hendrick Motorsports to Lame Duck driver for the team. He had a strong run at Joliet last year and could surprise with a strong finish this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan continues to be a top 15 driver. There are far worse drivers to have as a fourth driver on your fantasy team.


21 to 30

No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya finished 15th at Chicagoland during his rookie year. He is a good fourth fantasy driver this weekend.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has finished in the top 20 in five of his seven career starts at Chicagoland. He isn't a bad fifth driver in most fantasy leagues.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been terrible the past three races at Chicagoland. He is to be avoided.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler hasn't been great at Joliet during his career. He should crack the top 30, but won't help your fantasy team.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: Truex brought a very strong car to Joliet in 2007, but he blew the engine and limped to a disappointing 39th place finish. He should crack the top 25 on Saturday.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland brought a good car to Chicagoland in 2007. He won't crack the top 15, but a top 25 finish should be expected.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has four top 20 finishes at Chicagoland during his career making him a decent option this week.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann blew an engine 43 laps into his only career start at Chicagoland. He will be in the middle of the pack on Saturday.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard had engine problems at Chicagoland last year and finished an awful 42nd. He grew up near Chicagoland and has the potential for a decent finish on Saturday.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has finished in the top 30 in the past four races this season. We see him continuing his streak on Saturday.


31 to 40

No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith has finished in the top 30 in eight of the last nine races this season. He should be close to accomplishing that again this weekend.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. will continue to flirt with being a top 30 driver. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley will get the No. 96 car into Saturday's race without a problem, but he is too hit-or-miss to be much of a fantasy option.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has been decent at Chicagoland during his career. We don't think he will do enough to make him worthy of using in fantasy leagues, but in very deep leagues this is a good weekend to use him.
No. 84 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger failed to qualify for last year's race at Chicagoland, but with only two cars going home he won't have that problem this week.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney has averaged a 32.6 finish the last five races at Chicagoland. He is not a fantasy option.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has never had any success at Chicagoland. Avoid him this weekend.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier finished an impressive 14th during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. We don't see him finishing anywhere near that well this weekend.
No. 70 Jason Leffler: Leffler bumps Johnny Sauter out of the No. 70 car for Saturday's race. The change won't make the car relevant.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell is guaranteed a spot in the race. He should also once again be guaranteed to not be on your fantasy team.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: Awesome Bill will have the No. 21 car in Saturday's race, but that is about it.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte won't need to use a Past Champion Provisional to be in the race, but he will once again be in the back-of-the-pack.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: Nemechek will make the race, but he isn't much of an option.
No. 08 Johnny Sauter: Sauter will struggle to get the No. 08 FUBAR Dodge into the race.
No. 34 Tony Raines: Raines hopes two more teams close shop before qualifying. That is his only chance of making the race.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Tony Stewart
2. Kyle Busch
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Matt Kenseth

Sleepers:

1. Reed Sorenson
2. Brian Vickers

Busts:

1. Elliott Sadler
2. Martin Truex Jr.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#36
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The LifeLock.com 400
Track history

For several years, NASCAR planned to build a track in the Chicago area. A preliminary plan was formed in late1995 between NASCAR's Bill France, Jr. and Tony George, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable location for the new venue, Dale Coyne, owner of the newly built (1998) Route 66 Raceway contacted France and George with a new idea. They formed Raceway Associates and planned a superspeedway adjacent to Coyne's highly successful drag racing facility. Their intent was to build the Chicagoland Speedway, a 1.5-mile oval racetrack, to host NASCAR and IRL events. Construction began in August 1999 and the racetrack hosted its first Cup event in 2001.

The difference between this track and the other 1.5-mile D-shaped ovals at Las Vegas, Kansas, Texas and Lowe's, is that the backstretch is slightly curved rather than a straightaway. This gives the drivers a feeling of turning left the entire race.


First Cup race

Teammates Todd Bodine and Jimmy Spencer shared the front row in a pair of Travis Carter Kmart Fords for the start of the July 15, 2001 Tropicana 400. Bodine's No. 66 qualified on the pole with a speed of 183.717 mph. He led 6 laps and finished 14th. Spencer finished 5th after leading 50 laps in the No. 26. Kevin Harvick, driver of the Richard Childress No. 29 Goodwrench Chevrolet, started 6th in the lineup, led 113 of the 267 lap event, and scored his 2nd Cup career victory in only his 17th start. Harvick won this event in 2002 as well.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart. There were 45 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 75,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Saturday night's LifeLock.com 400 in Joliet, Illinois.


Mid-pack picks

NASCAR's loop data shows the series leader in the Average Finish category, at a 7.3, is Kurt Busch. He has accumulated the 3rd most championship points in the last three Chicagoland races. Busch isn't much of a lap-leader at this track (only 2 laps in 7 races) but he spent 76% of those races running in the top 15. Coming off a win at Loudon and a fourth at Daytona, look for Kurt Busch to carry the momentum in Joliet this weekend.

Reed Sorenson will be making his third start at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. His average finish of 9.5 shows this track is one of his best on the circuit. In those two starts, Sorenson leads all drivers in the "Quality Passes" category (86 passes while running in the top 15) per NASCAR Statistics. Over in the Nationwide Series, Sorenson has three starts at the Illinois track with all finishes in the top 15.

This would be a good week to put Casey Mears on your fantasy roster. Mears scored the 2007 Chicagoland pole and backed it up with a 5th place finish. In five starts he's average a 6.2 in the lineup and has finished in the top 15 three times. Over the last three Chicagoland races, Mears is 5th best in NASCAR's percentage of 'Laps in the Top 15' (88%) category. Not having a ride in 2009, he's still "auditioning" for the remainder of the season.

Brian Vickers did not qualify for this event in 2007, but even with that DNQ, he leads all drivers in qualifying at Chicagoland Speedway with a 3.7 average start. His 10.3 average finish in three starts is 8th best. Vickers worst finish in the last six races this season was a 16th. NASCAR statistics ranks him 5th in the Average Running Position (9.2) over the last three Chicagoland races. He might have ranked higher had he made the show in 2007. We expect another strong run from him this weekend.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#37
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Allstate 400
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Race Preview took a look at past performances, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish.


When: Sunday, July 27, 2008; 2:17 p.m./et


Weather: Isolated thunderstorms with a high around 83; wind out of the SW at 8 mph Chance of precipitation 30%.


The Track: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indy is a 2.5 mile oval. It has 9 degree banking in all of the turns.


Key to Race: THAT IS ONE BIG TRACK

Indy is arguably the most famous speedway in America. NASCAR drivers circle this race each year when the schedule comes out and they all are desperate to join the list of racing legends to take the checkers at the Brickyard. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Kasey Kahne are drivers to watch in this weekend's race.


Qualifying Procedures:

47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs that will be run on Saturday, July 26 at 10:10 am/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:


Top 5

No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has won two of the last three races at Indy. He loves this track more than any other driver in NASCAR and thus is our favorite to win on Sunday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has finished in the top 10 in all of his career starts at Indy. If Stewart doesn't take the checkers we predict it will be Rowdy.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four wins in 14 races at Indy. He is a great option in Sunday's race.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished in the top five in four of the last six races at Indy. He is a great option on Sunday.
No. 48 Jimmy Johnson: Johnson won the 2006 race at Indy, but that win is sandwiched between two crashes at the track. He will again be strong and should finish near the top five.


6 to 10

No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished in the top five in his first two starts at Indy before crashing the past two races at the track. We think he will avoid the crashes and finish very strong on Sunday.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: The Brickyard has been one of Harvick's best tracks. He has a win and five top 10 finishes in seven career starts at the track. We like his chances to finish near the top five once again on Sunday.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has never led a lap at Indy, but he has finished in the top 20 in all three starts. He is a fine pick this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has disappointed at Indy during his career. In eight career starts he has just two top 10 finishes. He should be strong this weekend in his Hendrick car and should finish just inside the top 10.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya is an interesting option this week. He used his years of experience in open-wheel cars at Indy to finish second in last year's edition of the race. He is a great pick this weekend.


11 to 20

No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top 10 in nine of his 14 career starts at Indy. He is a great sleeper pick on Sunday.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer was awesome at Indy in 2006 and finished 13th last year. He should finish in the top 15 again this weekend.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch has had a fast car the past couple years at Indy. He is a decent option on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has averaged a 19th place finish in his five Indy starts. He is a much better driver than that, but we don't recommend him as more than a third driver on most fantasy teams.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton won the pole during the 2006 edition of the Allstate 400. He should be fast in qualifying again on Saturday and a top 15 finish is expected.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has always had good cars at Pocono and Indy. He should be in the hunt to crack the top 15 this week.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has always been fast during practice sessions at Indy and finished fifth in last year's race. He is a sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has finished in the top 16 in the past seven races this season. He is a great pick to do it once again.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan continues to be a top 15 driver. There are far worse drivers to have as a fourth driver on your fantasy team.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr: Truex continues to be a driver that will finish from 15-to-20 this season. We expect that is where he will finish this weekend.


21 to 30

No. 12 Ryan Newman: The Indiana native has struggled in three of his past four starts at Indy. We wonder if all the "Silly Season" rumors regarding his future will slow him this weekend.
No. 5 Casey Mears: With a name like Mears you would think Casey would dominate at Indy, but he has averaged just a 24th place finish at the track. Avoid him this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has been terrible the past three races at Indy. He is to be avoided.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has been hit-or-miss all season. There is great chance he will be a miss this weekend.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has miles and miles of experience at Indy from his open-wheel racing days. He is a driver worth taking a chance on this weekend.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard finished 20th during his rookie start at Indy last year. He will struggle to finish that well again on Sunday.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has consistently brought a decent car to Indy. He should finish in the middle of the pack on Sunday.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland brought a good car to Indy in 2007. He should finish inside the top 25 on Sunday.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has had decent success at Indy in his career, but we think he will be lucky to crack the top 30 on Sunday.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon loves Indy! He has two top 10 finishes in eight career starts at the famous track. We like him to make the top 30 on Sunday.


31 to 40

No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann blew an engine last year at Indy, but he should finish in the middle of the pack on Sunday.
No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney finished a surprising ninth place at Indy last season. Even with the quality result he isn't a fantasy option.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil has been a middle-of-the-packer at Indy during his career. He isn't a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith makes his first appearance at the Brickyard this weekend. He is not someone worth taking a chance on.
No. 10 Patrick Carpentier: Carpentier is an interesting driver this weekend. He knows how to get around the track from his days in open-wheel racing, but we don't think he has enough horses this weekend to be a worthy fantasy selection.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley has always qualified well at Indy so he it shouldn't be an issue getting the No. 96 car into Sunday's race. He still isn't worth using in fantasy leagues.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs won't be one of the four drivers going home after qualifying this weekend, but he still isn't a fantasy option.
No. 84 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger failed to qualify for last year's race at Indy, but he won't have that problem this week.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell has a new crew chief this weekend and is guaranteed a spot in the race, but he should once again be guaranteed to not be on your fantasy team.
No. 70 Jason Leffler: Leffler should get the No. 70 car into Sunday's field, but he won't do enough to be a fantasy option.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: Awesome Bill will have the No. 21 car in Saturday's race, but that is about it.
No. 45 Terry Labonte: Labonte won't need to use a Past Champion Provisional to be in the race, but he will once again be in the back-of-the-pack.
No. 47 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose will be one of the final cars to make Sunday's field.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: Nemechek will make the race, but he isn't much of an option.
No. 08 Johnny Sauter: Sauter will struggle to get the No. 08 into the race.
No. 34 Tony Raines: Raines won't make the race.
No. 50 Stanton Barrett: Barrett will be headed home after qualifying.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Tony Stewart
2. Kyle Busch
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Matt Kenseth

Sleepers:

1. Juan Pablo Montoya
2. Reed Sorenson

Busts:

1. Ryan Newman
2. Casey Mears
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#38
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

Midpack Attack: Allstate 400 Track history

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a 2.5-mile semi-banked oval with 9-degree banking in all four turns. The lengths of the flat front and backstretches are 5/8-mile each and the short chutes are each a 1/8th-mile. The track is almost a perfect rectangle due to the confines of property that was available at the time. It was built as a test facility for the growing car industry and was paved with 3.2 million bricks in 1909. The Brickyard has hosted the Indianapolis 500 since 1911. When the track began to get worn around 1935, asphalt was applied to the rougher areas. By 1941, the main straightaway was the only bricked portion remaining. In 1961, except for the "yard of bricks" at the start/finish line, the entire track was blacktop. When NASCAR announced it was coming to Indy over a million fans applied for the 300,000 tickets to the inaugural event.


First Cup race

The first 400-mile NASCAR Cup race at the Brickyard was held on August 6, 1994. Rick Mast qualified on the pole with a lap of 172.414 mph in the No. 1 Skoal Racing Ford. Jeff Gordon drove the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet from 3rd in the lineup to the win with a race speed of 131.977 mph. It was the first of four Indy Cup wins for Gordon.


As fantasy players, your team budget won't allow you to pick all track favorites so Mid-pack Attack is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top 15 finish as track favorites Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart. There were 47 cars on the preliminary entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of over 250,000 fans in the grandstands. Here are our picks for Sunday's Allstate 400 at The Brickyard in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Mid-pack picks

Juan Pablo Montoya made history last year by becoming the first driver to compete in all three major events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; the Indianapolis 500, the United States Grand Prix and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Besides his win in the Indy 500, Montoya, making his first trip around IMS in a stock car in last year's Cup race, started on the outside pole, ran in the top 15 for the entire 160-lap event before bringing home a second-place finish. 'nuff said!

Mark Martin skipped five races so far this season and is still 28th in the points with a 15.1 average finish. He has finishes of 7th, 5th and 6th in the last three Indy Cup races. NASCAR Media gives him a 5th place in their loop data driver ratings for the last three races at this track. According to that data, he has run 87.3 percent of the time (2nd best) in the top 15 during those three races. Martin always deserves a look at Indianapolis.

Over the last five years, Kurt Busch has scored the 6th highest number of championship points in the Sprint Cup Indy races (behind Mark Martin and the four "track favorites" above). Aside from an early crash in the 2002 race, Busch has scored no worse than 18th in his other six starts at the Brickyard. We like him for a fourth or fifth driver on your roster this weekend.

In the 2007 Allstate 400, Reed Sorenson broke a 72-year old record by becoming the youngest driver (at 21 years old) to win a pole for a major race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He backed up that feat by leading 16 laps during the event and came away with a 5th place finish. He's a long-shot to repeat this finish again on Sunday but we're expecting at least a top 15 (or better) performance in his third trip to the Brickyard.
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#39
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Sunoco Pennsylvania 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway's 2.5 mile triangle for the 21st race of the 2008 season, the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Race Preview looked at past performances, practice sessions, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish.


When: Sunday, August 3, 2008; 2:17 p.m./et


Weather: Mostly sunny with a high around 83; wind out of the WNW at 7 mph. Chance of precipitation 10%.


The Track: Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway is a 2.5 mile tri-oval. It has 14 degree banking in turn one, eight degree banking in turn two, and six degree banking in turn three.


Key to Race: THE POCONO TOUGH TRIANGLE

Pocono has three turns and three long straightaways. This unique configuration forces engines to run at high RPM levels three times on each lap. The high RPM levels and the length of the race place a premium on a strong, reliable engine. Kasey Kahne won the spring race at the track this season, Denny Hamlin won both poles and races at Pocono in 2006 and Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch took the checker flags during the 2007 season making all four great options.


Qualifying Procedures:

44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs on Friday, August 1 at 3:40 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:


Top 5

No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been awesome at Pocono in his career. In five races he has two wins and has never finished worse than sixth.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has finished 15th or better in 11 of his 12 career starts at Pocono. He should finish in the top five once again on Sunday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has cracked the top 10 just twice at Pocono in his career and he finished 43rd in the spring race this year, but he is driving so well a top five finish is expected.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has always been awesome during qualifying at Pocono and he won the June race at the track. He is a great fantasy option this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four career victories at Pocono, including a win in the June 2007 race. He should be battling for the lead all day.


6 to 10

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has had one of the best cars in the past two Pocono races. He should be strong again on Sunday.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 12 races this season. He was strong at Pocono in June and we think he will finish in the top 10 again on Sunday.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch won two of the last six Pocono races and was one of the fastest drivers at the track earlier this year. This is a great opportunity for the No. 2 team to notch another top five finish.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished in the top seven in the five of the last six races at Pocono. He could notch another top seven finish this weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has four top five finishes in nine career starts at Pocono. He is a great sleeper pick.


11 to 20

No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 10 just once in the past six races of 2008, but Pocono has been a good track for him in his career. He could be in the top 10 when the checkers fly.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished in the top 14 in the past five races at Pocono. He should finish near the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top five in 19 of his 43 career starts at Pocono. He shouldn't crack the top five on Sunday, but another top 10 finish won't surprise us.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished in the top 10 in both races at Pocono last season, but laid an egg at the track in June. He should finish in the top 15 this weekend.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman was excellent at Pocono in 2007. He will compete for the pole this weekend and could crack the top 10.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has finished 17th or better in his last seven starts at Pocono. He could crack the top 15 again on Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has averaged a 15th place finish in his five career starts at Pocono. We think he will finish right around his average on Sunday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears was great at Pocono in 2007, but he struggled in June. He could be a bit of a sleeper this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Pocono has never been one of Biffle's better tracks. Stay away from him this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan is quietly having a great season. He has 11 top 20 finishes in 21 starts so far this year. We like his chances to earn another top 20 finish on Sunday.


21 to 30

No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger was great at Pocono in June and should be strong once again this weekend. He is a bit of a sleeper.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte is usually decent at Pocono. This isn't a bad weekend to use him.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann rebounded for a strong finish at Pocono in June after being terrible in his first two starts at the track. He could sneak into the top 20 once again this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has just two top 10 finishes in 11 career Pocono starts. We don't think he will make it three on Sunday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil should finish right around the top 20 again on Sunday.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya cracked the top 20 in two of his three career starts at Pocono. We expect he will notch another top 25 finish at the track this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has made the top 10 in just two of his 19 career starts at Pocono. He has experienced a rejuvenation lately, but this isn't a weekend to use him.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland turned in a top 20 finish after having a terrible qualifying effort at Pocono in June. He should once again finish in the top 25.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith had an excellent qualifying effort and a strong finish at Pocono in June. This might be the weekend to use the No. 01 car.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard will crack the top 30 on Sunday, but we don't think he will do enough to be a fantasy option.


31 to 40

No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney is a middle of the pack finisher. He won't crack the top 15 and shouldn't finish much worse than 30th.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has been had successful at Pocono during his career. He might be worth gambling on for those in very deep leagues.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson hasn't done enough to be a fantasy option this year. He once again won't be an option.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. was awful at Pocono in June. He had one of the slowest cars during qualifying and then crashed in the race. We think this is the style of track he could have success at, but we can't recommend him based on his previous performance.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley could finish in the top 30 with any luck this weekend.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has cracked the top 25 just one time in the past eight Pocono races. He isn't an option.
No. 10 Terry Labonte: Labonte takes the wheel of the No. 10 car this weekend. Avoid him.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has finished 35th or worse in six of his last seven Pocono starts. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell isn't guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, but with only one car going home after qualifying he should be set. That is about all we can say positive about the No. 00 car this weekend.
No. 70 Tony Raines: The driver of the No. 70 car continues to change with Tony Raines taking the wheel this weekend. He will get the car in the field, but isn't worth using in fantasy leagues.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott is guaranteed a spot in the field, but he isn't a fantasy option.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front Row Joe" will get the No. 78 car into Sunday's race.
No. 45 Chad McCumbee: McCumbee will battle with Chad Chaffin to be the only car not to qualify for Sunday's race.
No. 34 Chad Chaffin: Chaffin will battle with Chad McCumbee to be the only car not to qualify for Sunday's race.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kyle Busch
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Kasey Kahne

Sleepers:

1. Brian Vickers
2. Mark Martin

Busts:

1. Jamey McMurray
2. Greg Biffle
 

Hache Man

"Seven Days Without Gambling Makes One Weak"
#40
Re: Fantasy NASCAR News 2008

The Sunoco Pennsylvania 500
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway's 2.5 mile triangle for the 21st race of the 2008 season, the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Race Preview looked at past performances, practice sessions, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish.


When: Sunday, August 3, 2008; 2:17 p.m./et


Weather: Mostly sunny with a high around 83; wind out of the WNW at 7 mph. Chance of precipitation 10%.


The Track: Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway is a 2.5 mile tri-oval. It has 14 degree banking in turn one, eight degree banking in turn two, and six degree banking in turn three.


Key to Race: THE POCONO TOUGH TRIANGLE

Pocono has three turns and three long straightaways. This unique configuration forces engines to run at high RPM levels three times on each lap. The high RPM levels and the length of the race place a premium on a strong, reliable engine. Kasey Kahne won the spring race at the track this season, Denny Hamlin won both poles and races at Pocono in 2006 and Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch took the checker flags during the 2007 season making all four great options.


Qualifying Procedures:

44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2008 point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by two lap qualifying runs on Friday, August 1 at 3:40 pm/et.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:


Top 5

No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been awesome at Pocono in his career. In five races he has two wins and has never finished worse than sixth.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has finished 15th or better in 11 of his 12 career starts at Pocono. He should finish in the top five once again on Sunday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has cracked the top 10 just twice at Pocono in his career and he finished 43rd in the spring race this year, but he is driving so well a top five finish is expected.
No. 9 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has always been awesome during qualifying at Pocono and he won the June race at the track. He is a great fantasy option this weekend.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has four career victories at Pocono, including a win in the June 2007 race. He should be battling for the lead all day.


6 to 10

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has had one of the best cars in the past two Pocono races. He should be strong again on Sunday.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the last 12 races this season. He was strong at Pocono in June and we think he will finish in the top 10 again on Sunday.
No. 2 Kurt Busch: Busch won two of the last six Pocono races and was one of the fastest drivers at the track earlier this year. This is a great opportunity for the No. 2 team to notch another top five finish.
No. 20 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished in the top seven in the five of the last six races at Pocono. He could notch another top seven finish this weekend.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has four top five finishes in nine career starts at Pocono. He is a great sleeper pick.


11 to 20

No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has cracked the top 10 just once in the past six races of 2008, but Pocono has been a good track for him in his career. He could be in the top 10 when the checkers fly.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished in the top 14 in the past five races at Pocono. He should finish near the top 10 on Sunday.
No. 8 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top five in 19 of his 43 career starts at Pocono. He shouldn't crack the top five on Sunday, but another top 10 finish won't surprise us.
No. 07 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished in the top 10 in both races at Pocono last season, but laid an egg at the track in June. He should finish in the top 15 this weekend.
No. 12 Ryan Newman: Newman was excellent at Pocono in 2007. He will compete for the pole this weekend and could crack the top 10.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has finished 17th or better in his last seven starts at Pocono. He could crack the top 15 again on Sunday.
No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has averaged a 15th place finish in his five career starts at Pocono. We think he will finish right around his average on Sunday.
No. 5 Casey Mears: Mears was great at Pocono in 2007, but he struggled in June. He could be a bit of a sleeper this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Pocono has never been one of Biffle's better tracks. Stay away from him this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan is quietly having a great season. He has 11 top 20 finishes in 21 starts so far this year. We like his chances to earn another top 20 finish on Sunday.


21 to 30

No. 84 AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger was great at Pocono in June and should be strong once again this weekend. He is a bit of a sleeper.
No. 43 Bobby Labonte: Labonte is usually decent at Pocono. This isn't a bad weekend to use him.
No. 44 David Reutimann: Reutimann rebounded for a strong finish at Pocono in June after being terrible in his first two starts at the track. He could sneak into the top 20 once again this weekend.
No. 26 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has just two top 10 finishes in 11 career Pocono starts. We don't think he will make it three on Sunday.
No. 28 Travis Kvapil: Kvapil should finish right around the top 20 again on Sunday.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya cracked the top 20 in two of his three career starts at Pocono. We expect he will notch another top 25 finish at the track this weekend.
No. 19 Elliott Sadler: Sadler has made the top 10 in just two of his 19 career starts at Pocono. He has experienced a rejuvenation lately, but this isn't a weekend to use him.
No. 38 David Gilliland: Gilliland turned in a top 20 finish after having a terrible qualifying effort at Pocono in June. He should once again finish in the top 25.
No. 01 Regan Smith: Smith had an excellent qualifying effort and a strong finish at Pocono in June. This might be the weekend to use the No. 01 car.
No. 15 Paul Menard: Menard will crack the top 30 on Sunday, but we don't think he will do enough to be a fantasy option.


31 to 40

No. 22 Dave Blaney: Blaney is a middle of the pack finisher. He won't crack the top 15 and shouldn't finish much worse than 30th.
No. 66 Scott Riggs: Riggs has been had successful at Pocono during his career. He might be worth gambling on for those in very deep leagues.
No. 41 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson hasn't done enough to be a fantasy option this year. He once again won't be an option.
No. 77 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. was awful at Pocono in June. He had one of the slowest cars during qualifying and then crashed in the race. We think this is the style of track he could have success at, but we can't recommend him based on his previous performance.
No. 96 J.J. Yeley: Yeley could finish in the top 30 with any luck this weekend.
No. 55 Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has cracked the top 25 just one time in the past eight Pocono races. He isn't an option.
No. 10 Terry Labonte: Labonte takes the wheel of the No. 10 car this weekend. Avoid him.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has finished 35th or worse in six of his last seven Pocono starts. He isn't a fantasy option.
No. 00 Michael McDowell: McDowell isn't guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race, but with only one car going home after qualifying he should be set. That is about all we can say positive about the No. 00 car this weekend.
No. 70 Tony Raines: The driver of the No. 70 car continues to change with Tony Raines taking the wheel this weekend. He will get the car in the field, but isn't worth using in fantasy leagues.


Field Fillers

No. 21 Bill Elliott: Elliott is guaranteed a spot in the field, but he isn't a fantasy option.
No. 78 Joe Nemechek: "Front Row Joe" will get the No. 78 car into Sunday's race.
No. 45 Chad McCumbee: McCumbee will battle with Chad Chaffin to be the only car not to qualify for Sunday's race.
No. 34 Chad Chaffin: Chaffin will battle with Chad McCumbee to be the only car not to qualify for Sunday's race.


Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kyle Busch
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Kasey Kahne

Sleepers:

1. Brian Vickers
2. Mark Martin

Busts:

1. Jamey McMurray
2. Greg Biffle
 
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