September 26, 2013

FANTASY: The Concrete Chase

AAA 400 Fantasy Preview


Kenseth has dominated the first two Chase races. (NHMS/HHP)
Two Chase races, two Matt Kenseth wins.

The 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup seems to be shaping up like the 2011 season, when Tony Stewart won the first two Chase races and five in the 10-race stretch to edge Carl Edwards for the championship.  This year, it's Kyle Busch, whose two second-place finishes are keeping him in the hunt, that might race Kenseth to the finish line.

Of course, it's too early anoint a champion.  Jimmie Johnson has finished both Chase races in the top five, and there are still eight races left to go.  A lot can happen.

Johnson has an incredible seven wins at Dover, but Kenseth has been very strong there as well, so the Chase certainly won't be decided anytime soon.  Here's a look at how those drivers, along with some other favorites, could help Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing teams this weekend:

The Track


Dover International Speedway is a one-mile oval with banking up to 24 degrees in the corners.  It is surfaced with concrete, which makes it different than most other tracks that are paved with asphalt.  Aside from similar distance, it really has very little in common with this past weekend's track here at New Hampshire.

X-Factor


It seems like come Chase time, so teams are just dialed in.  Kenseth's No. 20 is a great example of this.  Stats don't account for momentum, so some fantasy management comes down solely to intuition.

Fantasy Strategy


Any tracks smaller than the 1.5-mile cookie cutters seem to strongly favor certain drivers.  Some, Johnson being an example, have just figured out a track like Dover.  A strong history combined with a solid Chase contender should lead to fantasy success this weekend.

A-List


Start


  • #20 Matt Kenseth - It's hard to bet against him anywhere with how strong he's been.  Now, consider that he has eight top-fives in the last 11 races at Dover; he's a great option.
  • #24 Jeff Gordon - He cost himself last week with a poor pit stop late in the race while leading, but before that, Gordon was well on his way to a fifth consecutive top-10 on the season.  He has four career wins at Dover.
  • #48 Jimmie Johnson - As mentioned earlier, Johnson has seven career wins at Dover, and he's led no less than 43 laps in any of the 10 most recent races at the Monster Mile.


Park


  • #15 Clint Bowyer - I still don't think it's fair to make Bowyer the whipping boy for everything that happened with Michael Waltrip Racing, but that's what fans have decided to do.  The simple truth is that he admits it's affected him and that's shown, as he's finished 24th and 16th respectively in the first two Chase races.


B-List


Start


  • #16 Greg Biffle - His 12.5 average finish at the Monster Mile ranks as fifth best in the field this weekend.  He's also coming off a third-place finish at NHMS.
  • #18 Kyle Busch - With back-to-back second place finishes to start the Chase, the No. 18 is clearly a team dialed in right now.  In the last 11 Dover races, Busch has two wins and seven top-10s, so there's strong evidence to support starting him this weekend.
  • #22 Joey Logano - With five top-10s at Dover in nine starts, statistically, he has a better than 50% chance of getting another this weekend.
  • #99 Carl Edwards - He leads the field with an 8.6 average finish at the Monster Mile.  Yet, he hasn't won at the track since 2007, so he's due.


Park


  • #14 Mark Martin - Just ignore the 12.2 average finish at Dover and 24 top-fives in 54 starts.  Martin is no longer in his prime and has scored a top-10 in less than 25% of the races he's started this season.
  • #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. - With just nine top-10s in 27 Dover races, Junior isn't an option this week.  A 33% top-10 finish rate just doesn't cut it on the B-list.


C-List


Start


  • #17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - There are very few Sprint Cup Series stats by which to assess Stenhouse, but he has finished 12th and 13th at Dover, so he does seem to run well at the track.
  • #47 AJ Allmendinger - He hasn't been half bad this season and the Dinger has three top-10s in 11 Dover starts ... not bad for the C-list.


Park


  • #51 Ryan Truex - Based on decent outputs from the No. 51 this season, the younger Truex seems like an option, but he's finished a best of 35th in his two starts this season.  Starting him is a little too much of a Hail Mary.


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Drivers are listed by car number and not necessarily in rank order.

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