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Two seasons after his release from Penske Racing, Kurt Busch's career has risen from the ashes thanks to a gritty performance behind the wheel of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.

Busch didn't win, but he did just about everything but. He wheeled the Denver, Colo.-based organization into the Chase, the first time a single-car team has qualified for NASCAR's postseason. Busch finished 10th in the final standings with a solid log of 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The performance earned Busch a spot in a fourth Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet for 2014.-NASCAR Communications
Fri, Dec 20, 2013 10:22:00 AM

Chase Elliott struggled a little in the first and only practice session before STP 500 qualification. His top speed of 96.337 mph was only 29th best. He must qualify in the top 36 to make the show since the No. 25 does not have any owner points.

Elliott has the experience of his teammates to fall back on, however, and they are liable to contribute to a setup that is good enough to improve a few positions. Once qualified, he has all day Saturday to get his rhythm.
Mar 27 - 3:09 PM

Ryan Newman posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the STP 500. His top speed was 97.835 mph, which narrowly beat AJ Allmendinger with a 97.679 and Jeff Gordon with a 97.664.

This is not usually one of Newman’s better tracks, but he finished third last fall after qualifying ninth. His single victory came in 2012 after starting fifth, so starting position would seem to be a key factor in his success.
Mar 27 - 3:03 PM

Austin Dillon blew an engine in the final minutes of the first practice session at Martinsville. He was 15th fastest at the time.

Martinsville is a rhythm track and not generally hard on engines. Still, this will hurt Dillon’s handicap for the STP 500 and makes him a risky fantasy proposition.
Mar 27 - 2:58 PM

Last week was the first time Ragan appeared comfortable behind the wheel of the No. 18. This week he returns to a track where he scored a top-10 in 2015.

Ragan’s latest effort at Martinsville ended in a 10th-place finish in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500. It was this first lead lap finish in the No. 34 and he had to overcome crash damage to get it. This week he will be a good value if he stays out of trouble.
Mar 27 - 11:57 AM

Brett Moffitt will make his first start at Martinsville this week, but he has tasted success there in the past. He won the 2010 UNOH Performance 200 in the K&N East series.

Normally that would not be enough to excite fantasy players, but Moffitt has performed well in the No. 55 this year and he could be on track to finish in the top 20.
Mar 27 - 11:54 AM

David Gilliland has finished better than he started in the last six consecutive races at Martinsville. He also improved over his qualification effort in three of the previous four events and was sidelined by crash damage in the one race in which he faded.

Last spring Gilliland improved 13 positions in the spring and 12 in the fall. That makes him a great value in games that offer place differential points.
Mar 27 - 11:52 AM

JR Motorsports enters new territory this weekend as the organization makes its debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) with driver Cole Custer and the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado.

This weekend’s event in Martinsville marks the first of 10 NCWTS races Custer will compete in for JR Motorsports. Custer will also drive the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado in events at Dover International Speedway (May 29), Gateway Motorsports Park (June 13), Iowa Speedway (June 19), Eldora Speedway (July 22), Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 19), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Aug. 30), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 26), Martinsville Speedway (Oct. 31) and Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13).-JR Motorsports
Mar 26 - 10:18 PM

Slugger Labbe, crew chief for the No. 33 Joe Falk team, has been suspended for three weeks for rules violations stemming from Auto Club Speedway. The team had an "unapproved truck trailer arm installation" according to a NASCAR press release.

The No. 33 finished 27th in the Auto Club 400 with Brian Scott behind the wheel, but they ran much better than that for most of the afternoon. Labbe’s loss will impact the team and negatively affect their fantasy handicap
Mar 26 - 11:40 AM

Sam Hornish Jr. has made eight previous starts at Martinsville, but his most recent effort came in fall 2012. He finished 13th in a third Penske Racing entry.

Hornish also missed the entire 2011 season and the spring 2012 event which means fantasy players have to go back to 2010 for a complete picture of his results. He finished 13th that spring, but sustained damage and finished 25th in the fall—four laps off the pace.
Mar 26 - 10:54 AM

Chase Elliott will make his Cup debut this week, but that does not mean he is lacking in short track experience. His last three starts in the XFINITY series at Richmond and Bristol combined resulted in a sweep of the top five in qualification and finishing results.

Elliott will be in equipment that rivals teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson—both of whom have eight Martinsville victories. What he does with that equipment remains to be seen, but a top-20 is not out of the question.
Mar 26 - 10:44 AM

Alex Kennedy will make his second start of the season in the No. 33 Joel Falk / Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. His first attempt came two weeks ago at Phoenix where he finished 38th after taking a provisional to get into the show.

Flat tracks are supposed to be kind to road racers, and while that is not uniformly true, Kennedy scored a 28th at Pocono last year. He deserves attention this week and a possible start if he practices well.
Mar 25 - 6:14 PM

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