Brian Brown

NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

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The Irwin Tools Night Race

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The NASCAR Sprint Cup makes its next stop at Bristol Motor Speedway's half-mile coliseum for the Irwin Tools Night Race. We looked at past performances, season trends, and spoke to team contacts to give the internet's best prediction of how the field should finish.


When: Saturday, August 27; 7:43 p.m./et.


Weather: Isolated T-storms with a high around 83; wind out of the NNE at 9 mph. Chance of precipitation 30%.


The Track: Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol Motor Speedway is a half-mile oval with high-banking the entire way around. The corners are banked 36 degrees with 16 degree banking on the straight-aways. This is a track where 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 Saturday's race without at least a little sheet metal damage. This is one of the most entertaining races on the circuit for fans and most frustrating for drivers. Expect tempers to flare as the cars bump and bang. The driver that wins the race will be the one with the best set of pit stops and the most luck.


Qualifying Procedures:

47 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying on Friday, August 26 at 5:10pm/et. Cars that finished in the top 35 in the 2011 owner's points are guaranteed a spot in the race.


Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has had one of the top cars the past six races at Bristol. There is a good chance he can take the checkers again on Saturday.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson had one of the fastest cars in the past five Bristol races and won the 2010 spring race. He will be tough to beat.
No. 22 Kurt Busch: Busch has won five races at Bristol during his career and was awesome at the track in 2010. He is still a strong option.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards won two of the last nine races at Bristol and has placed in the top 16 the past 11 races at the track. He is a great pick.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has 15 top 10 finishes in 23 career starts and has led 539 laps during the last 11 races at the track. He is a great option on Saturday.


6 to 10

No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has 12 top 10 finishes in 21 career races at Bristol. He is once again a driver to consider.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has 11 top 10 finishes in 17 career starts at Bristol. He is a very good fantasy option.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five wins and has led nearly 2,400 laps at Bristol during his career. He should be in the top 10 once again on Saturday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has led 282 laps in the past nine races at Bristol. He should have the No. 11 inside the top 10 when the dust settles.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has led 771 laps in the past 11 races at Bristol. He is struggling a bit lately which bumps him out of our top five.


11 to 20

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has been very successful at Bristol in his career. In his last 20 starts at the track he has finished 17th or better in 18 of them. Look for him to finish just outside the top 10.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has eight finishes in the top 10, one in the teens, and four finishes in the 30s during his last 13 races at Bristol. His inconsistency makes him a bit of a risky play.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in five of his last nine starts at Bristol. He should finish near the top 10 once again.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton won the 2008 spring race at Bristol and has been fast at the track lately. He will be fighting for another top 10 finish this weekend.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann was impressive in three of the last five races at Bristol. He is a solid choice in any league.
No. 5 Mark Martin: Martin has averaged a 14th place finish during his 44 career starts at Bristol, but we suspect at this point in his career he would rather skip the track. He isn't a top option.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been hit-or-miss at Bristol lately. He should just miss the top 15 this weekend.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has cracked the top 20 in five of his past eight Bristol starts. We like his chances to do it again on Saturday.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski ran decent in his last three runs at Bristol. He is a good third driver in fantasy leagues.
No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has struggled a little at Bristol so far in his career, but we have a feeling he will be a little better this trip to the "Bullring".


21 to 30

No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has cracked the top 25 in seven of the last eight Bristol races. He should do it again this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has averaged a 16th place finish at Bristol during his career. The Terrific Tasmanian should finish just outside the top 20 this visit to the Volunteer State.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has finished outside the top 20 in eight of the last 13 races at Bristol. We don't recommend using him as much more than a fourth or fifth fantasy driver this weekend.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has averaged a 22nd place finish at Bristol during his career. The success he had at the track while in the Nationwide Series has been slow to carry over. We like other drivers much better this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan continues to struggle at Bristol. He isn't a fantasy option this weekend.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Bobby is driving well this year and has been fast at Bristol in the past. He isn't a terrible option.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger has just two top 30 finishes at Bristol in his career. His lack of success at the track bumps him from our top 25.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been very average at Bristol. There are better options to sneak onto your roster.
No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith has averaged a top 25 finish at Bristol. He will be just a little slower than his average this weekend.
No. 36 Dave Blaney: Blaney drove a smart race at Bristol this spring. He isn't a bad option in deep leagues.


Field Fillers

No. 13 Casey Mears
No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 51 Landon Cassill
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 32 Terry Labonte
No. 37 Jeff Green
No. 46 J.J. Yeley
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 95 David Starr
No. 77 Scott Wimmer
No. 50 T.J. Bell
No. 46 Scott Speed

Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kurt Busch
4. Carl Edwards

Sleepers:

1. Paul Menard
2. Marcos Ambrose

Bust of the Week:

Mark Martin



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