May 31, 2009

Dover Cup Results

A slow pit stop for four tires late in the race appeared to be the unmaking of the No. 48 team. Jimmie Johnson restarted the Autism Speaks 400 ninth on lap 368 and with only a few laps laps he needed to pass a lot of cars. He slipped past David Stremme when that driver crashed and then had to sweat out four more laps under caution—watching precious time slip away.

Once the green waved again on lap 375, he steadily climbed toward the lead and passed Tony Stewart on the high side with only three laps remaining.

Finishing second, Stewart took the point lead from Jeff Gordon, who had a miserable day and fell two laps off the pace to finish 26th.

At the beginning of the week, we said Roush-Fenway would be strong. Greg Biffle finished third with Matt Kenseth on his back bumper. Biffle and Carl Edwards got to banging in the middle stages of the race, but the No. 99 was able to hold onto a top-10 finish in seventh. Jamie McMurray also finished on the lead lap in 14th.

Joey Logano kept his streak of top-15s alive at three with a 15th. That was also his fifth straight top-20.

Results, with career avg. finish

FinishStartDriverLapsLaps LedStatusAvg Fin
18Jimmie Johnson400298Running10.40
231Tony Stewart4006Running11.67
35Greg Biffle40041Running10.64
414Matt Kenseth4007Running13.62
519Kurt Busch400
Running20.50
62Kasey Kahne400
Running24.09
713Carl Edwards40012Running7.60
811Ryan Newman400
Running10.33
917Casey Mears400
Running20.38
1028Mark Martin4001Running12.70
1125Clint Bowyer400
Running14.29
1222Dale Earnhardt Jr400
Running17.05
1312Sam Hornish Jr400
Running24.33
1418Jamie McMurray400
Running16.00
1521Joey Logano400
Running15.00
1632Jeff Burton400
Running16.32
1735Kevin Harvick400
Running18.35
181David Reutimann40025Running20.00
194Reed Sorenson4004Running23.14
2020Marcos Ambrose400
Running26.00
2115Martin Truex Jr399
Running12.71
2233Regan Smith399
Running26.67
236Kyle Busch399
Running15.33
2426David Ragan399
Running23.00
259Brian Vickers399
Running21.55
2642Jeff Gordon398
Running12.36
2710Elliott Sadler3982Running21.38
2827Bobby Labonte397
Running16.76
297A J Allmendinger396
Running31.60
303Juan Montoya3953Running24.40
3130David Stremme370
Accident33.00
3236Paul Menard363
Running24.00
3340Robby Gordon282
Accident23.88
3441John Andretti253
Accident25.64
3529Michael Waltrip250
Engine21.43
3616Denny Hamlin232
Accident25.57
3723Scott Speed118
Engine37.00
3838Joe Nemechek67
Drive Shaft25.00
3939Dave Blaney66
Transmission25.44
4037Mike Bliss56
Electrical33.20
4134Mike Skinner51
Engine22.25
4243Tony Raines42
Accident31.79
4324David Gilliland381Power Steering26.33
44
Brad Keselowski0
DNQ
45
Max Papis0
DNQ
46
Derrike Cope0
DNQ25.04
47
David Starr0
DNQ

IRL: Milwaukee Results

Scott Dixon improved last year's Milwaukee result by only one position, but it was the one that counted. In this race last year, he finished second, but he was not going to be denied in 2009. He took the lead from Ryan Briscoe on lap 201 and then scooted out to a 2.13 second lead; Briscoe held on for second.

If you chose to do this one by the number, it was an uneven day. Tony Kanaan entered the weekend with the best average finish during the last five Milwaukee races, but he crashed early on lap 12 and finished 20th. On the other hand, Dario Franchitti had the second best average finish during that span and he managed to finish third.

Graham Rahal and Danica Patrick rounded out the top five.

Results, with career avg. finish

FinishStartDriverLapsStatusAvg Fin
14Scott Dixon225Running6.00
21Ryan Briscoe225Running7.00
38Dario Franchitti225Running2.80
42Graham Rahal225Running14.50
57Danica Patrick225Running9.00
69Raphael Matos225Running6.00
713Marco Andretti225Running12.00
86Hideki Mutoh224Running10.00
95Mario Moraes224Running16.00
1014Dan Wheldon224Running8.00
1120Helio Castroneves222Running12.33
1218Ryan Hunter-Reay222Running13.50
1310Tomas Scheckter222Running11.40
1412Robert Doornbos220Running14.00
1515Justin Wilson219Running11.00
1619Ed Carpenter219Running13.67
1716Paul Tracy219Running17.00
1817E J Viso175Mechanical13.00
1911Mike Conway55Mechanical20.00
203Tony Kanaan12Accident5.50
2121Stanton Barrett0DNQ

Johnson wins Dover thriller

Jimmie Johnson restarted the Autism Speaks 400 eighth on lap 375 and rapidly charged through the field. In the final laps, he passed Tony Stewart on the high side to win a race he dominated most of the afternoon.

Our View: While most of the race was a "snoozer," along with Greg Biffle, there was a spirited battle at the end.

IRL: Dixon wins Milwaukee

Scott Dixon scooted past Ryan Briscoe on lap 201 and then stretched his advantage to 2.13 seconds before the end of the ABC Supply 225, according to IndyCar.com.

Our View: Briscoe held onto second, while Dario Franchitti and Graham Rahal finished third and fourth respectively.

Gordon, Andretti to the back

Jeff Gordon (with a backup car) and John Andretti (transmission) will drop to the back of the field to start the Autism Speaks 400.

Our View: This won't matter a bit. Gordon was scheduled to start 42nd after crashing in qualification and Andretti qualified 41st.

Earnhardt, McGrew unite early

Lance McGrew will be on top of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pit box one week early, according to ESPN.com, since Brad Keselowski failed to qualify for Sunday's Autism Speaks 400. Brian Whitesell will actually be making the setup calls, however, according to a tweet from @BobPockrass.

Our View: This allows Earnhardt and McGrew to start developing chemistry. That will pay dividends in the next couple of weeks, but fantasy owners shouldn't think about starting him at Dover. Once they have a full race under their belt, however, Earnhardt should be watched in Pocono prelims.

Weather or not?

A brief rain shower moved through, but has given way to bright blue skies, according to a tweet from @NASCARSays—the official news site of NASCAR PR.

Our View: Let's hope the sun stays out. Another rainy week would play havoc with your fantasy roster.

Trucks: Scott follows Loop Data

One of the biggest tools we use at FantasyRacingGames.com is the loop data report. Apparently Brian Scott does as well.


video

Competition caution coming

After last night's tire killing Camping World Truck Series race, NASCAR has decided to throw a competition caution at lap 30 of the Cup race, according to a tweet from @BobPockrass.

Our View: We can't remember the last time they had to do this during all three races during the weekend. Dover has been concrete for a long while, but for some reason it is not taking to the current tire compound. As with Nationwide, this will allow teams to make a final adjustment - and expect Jeff Gordon to jump up 10 - 15 spots during it.

Dover pit stall selections

The pit stall selections have been published at Jayski.com.

Our View: As expected, David Reutimann has the first stall at the turn one end of pit road. Jimmie Johnson took the last stall in turn four and it will be interesting to see if this provides a benefit.

May 30, 2009

Trucks: Dover Results

It's always great to see a first time winner. Brian Scott rolled the dice and stayed out on old rubber while those around him cut their tires and slammed the wall. Dennis Setzer also stayed out on old tires, but could not quite make the pass for the lead.

Two of the drivers snake bit by a blown tire were Kyle Busch and Colin Braun, who were running first and second at the time and who slapped the wall within seconds of one another. Braun would not recover and he retired 16 laps from the end of the race. Busch charged from 15th to ninth, but was unable to crack the top-five again.

It was a rough day for the point leader Ron Hornaday Jr. After starting from the pole, he cut a tire early and did major damage to his truck. The No. 33 crew made a valiant effort to get back on track, but Hornaday retired with crash damage after completing only 43 laps. About the only good news is that he managed to retain the point lead by a mere 27 markers over Mike Skinner and 29 points over Matt Crafton.

Results, with Avg. finish

FinishStartDriverLapsLaps LedStatusAvg Fin
13Brian Scott20014Running16.50
225Dennis Setzer200
Running13.20
314David Starr2003Running8.50
413Jason White200
Running23.00
54Johnny Sauter200
Running5.00
623Matt Crafton200
Running16.44
75Chad McCumbee200
Running13.75
811Mike Skinner2005Running9.67
910Kyle Busch200133Running11.80
106Terry Cook200
Running12.50
1116J R Fitzpatrick200
Running11.00
1220Tayler Malsam200
Running12.00
1312Stacy Compton200
Running11.00
1426Chris Fontaine2005Running14.00
1536Tim Bainey Jr2001Running15.00
1622Max Papis199
Running16.00
1719Timothy Peters198
Running12.33
188Todd Bodine197
Running17.80
1918Rick Crawford197
Running10.00
207Johnny Benson Jr19523Engine14.80
2124Scott Wimmer192
Running21.00
222Colin Braun1844Accident15.00
2315T J Bell171
Running21.67
2417James Buescher160
Running24.00
259Brian Ickler65
Accident25.00
261Ron Hornaday Jr4312Accident8.20
2727Dexter Bean38
Handling27.00
2829Andy Ponstein31
Alternator28.00
2921Ryan Hackett26
Engine29.00
3033Norm Benning26
Vibration30.00
3128Johnny Chapman23
Overheating32.50
3235Wayne Edwards18
Oil29.33
3331Kevin Lepage15
Brakes26.67
3434Brandon Knupp12
Transmission34.00
3532Brent Raymer10
Vibration35.00
3630Mario Gosselin7
Accident36.00

N'Wide: Dover Results

Once again, Kyle Busch led the most laps at a race and failed to win. This time his disappointment was intensified by the fact that it was his teammate Joey Logano who helped ruin his day. Busch may have had a tire going down on the final restart, but he failed to get up to speed quickly enough to keep from being run into from behind by the No. 20. One way or the other, Logano proved that he is hungry for victory. He wound up second.

Brad Keselowski was in the right place to take advantage of the contact, and he won his third Nationwide Series race. The No. 88 has been a consistently strong contender in the second series, so chances are good that you were rooting for him at the end.

Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers and Carl Edwards round out the top 10.

Results, with career average finish

FinishStartDriverLapsLaps LedStatusAvg Fin
112Brad Keselowski2002Running8.40
21Joey Logano20087Running7.33
317Clint Bowyer200
Running6.86
47Brian Vickers200
Running6.20
58Carl Edwards200
Running9.67
610Paul Menard200
Running21.71
74Scott Speed200
Running7.00
823Jason Leffler200
Running15.08
913Jason Keller200
Running13.17
1021Justin Allgaier200
Running10.00
1129Michael McDowell200
Running11.00
129Brendan Gaughan200
Running12.00
135Kevin Harvick200
Running12.57
1416Mike Bliss200
Running10.89
1530Bobby Hamilton Jr200
Running14.87
1639Brian Keselowski200
Running16.00
173Kyle Busch200108Running16.10
1814Scott Wimmer199
Running11.15
1940Michael Annett1981Running19.00
2031Brandon Whitt198
Running21.50
2138Danny O'Quinn Jr196
Running22.50
2234Morgan Shepherd196
Running24.00
2318Eric McClure196
Running25.40
2441Kevin Conway194
Running27.00
2511Greg Biffle191
Running9.60
2642Mike Harmon175
Black Flagged Too Slow36.56
2733Scott Lagasse Jr158
Accident33.33
2837Tony Raines151
Running17.38
2920Steve Wallace145
Accident23.00
302David Ragan145
Accident25.00
3125Peyton Sellers128
Running31.00
326Ryan Newman126
Accident18.00
3328Kenny Wallace972Engine14.85
3422Marc Davis83
Accident34.00
3535Kevin Lepage65
Accident24.86
3643Kertus Davis43
Overheating33.20
3736Ken Butler III26
Accident37.00
3827John Wes Townley26
Accident34.00
3919Mark Green14
Quit26.00
4026Johnny Chapman13
Quit38.00
4115Terry Cook11
Quit41.00
4224Dennis Setzer8
Quit26.89
4332Casey Atwood8
Quit22.00
44
Jeffrey Earnhardt0
Did Not Qualify

IRL: Milwaukee Lineup

The lineup is set for Sunday's ABC Supply Co. 225 and Ryan Briscoe is picking up where he left off last year—at the front of the pack. This track has not always been kind to him with a 22nd in 2005 and an 18th in 2006, but after taking 2007 off, he won last year.

Graham Rahal will start to his outside, which is the same position he started last year. Unfortunately, he ran into trouble in that race and finished 25th.

The driver with the best five-year average finish will start in third. Tony Kanaan has won twice and finished fourth or better at Milwaukee since 2004, so he has to be considered a favorite for your fantasy roster.

Lineup

StartDriverAvg. FinAvg. StartAttempts
1Ryan Briscoe9.5014.002
2Graham Rahal25.002.001
3Tony Kanaan2.604.805
4Scott Dixon7.258.004
5Mario Moraes23.0023.001
6Hideki Mutoh12.0014.001
7Danica Patrick10.0012.504
8Dario Franchitti2.759.254
9Raphael Matos


10Tomas Scheckter11.008.004
11Mike Conway


12Robert Doornbos


13Marco Andretti13.676.003
14Dan Wheldon7.609.405
15Justin Wilson7.0022.001
16Paul Tracy


17E J Viso8.0010.001
18Ryan Hunter-Reay15.0012.001
19Ed Carpenter13.2012.405
20Helio Castroneves12.602.805
DNQStanton Barrett


Trucks: Scott records first win at Dover

Brian Scott and crew chief Jeff Hensley made a gutsy call to stay out on old tires and held off Dennis Setzer and the field to win his career first Camping World Truck Series race.

Our View: This race has been full of surprises—and it's been hard on Truck regulars. Ron Hornaday and Todd Bodine had big problems early, which made this anyone's race.

IRL: Briscoe on Milwaukee pole

Ryan Briscoe will lead the field to green at the Milwaukee Mile after posting a four-lap average speed of 168.394.

Our View: In three previous starts, Briscoe has an average finish of only 13.7, but fantasy owners should be more concerned with the fact that he's the defending winner of this race.

Complete Lineup

N'Wide: Keselowski wins after Logano (nearly) spins Busch

Brad Keselowski inherited the lead of the Heluva Good! 200 at Dover after first-place Kyle Busch got nudge by second-place Joey Logano.

Our View: Busch had a flat, but it is unclear if that came before or after the contact. One thing is certain; the teenager showed he was hungry for the win. In typical fashion, Busch stormed off without comment, so we are left to speculate.

Indy Lights: Romancini on Milwaukee pole

Mario Romancini won the pole for the Husar's House of Fine Diamonds 100, according to a tweet from @IndyCarPR. He broke Pablo Donoso's qualifying record set last year.

Our View: The advancement from Indy Lights to IRL (and the crossover) is a little slower than Nationwide to Cup, but this is still the most likely road to the major leagues.

N'Wide: Four drivers do double duty

Four drivers in the Nationwide Heluva Good! 200 will also run in the AAA Insurance 200. They are Mike Bliss, Kyle Busch, Terry Cook and Scott Wimmer.

Our View: Practice makes perfect—and Busch will actually run the triple header with Sunday's Cup Autism Speaks 400.

Kasey Kahne on Dover

Here are some excerpts from an interview after Saturday's practice sessions for the Autism Speaks 400.

YOU WERE SECOND IN PRACTICE TODAY, HOW WAS YOUR CAR? “So far, so good. Our Budweiser Dodge feels really strong again today. Kenny (Francis, crew-chief) really seems happy with the car, so we just tried to fine-tune our package a bit to stay with the race track. It’s a long race tomorrow and our (race) package has to be right when we get the green flag to go racing. We’re fairly close, but we’re really fast too.”

HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO RUN IN TRAFFIC ENOUGH TO GET A FEEL FOR HOW THE R6 ENGINE PERFORMS WITH OTHER CARS AROUND YOU? “Not really. I was pretty much by myself all practice. It’s kind of how practice is at Dover. Everybody is heading into the pits to make changes and you don’t really have the traffic you look for in practice.”

DOVER HASN’T BEEN TOO FRIENDLY TO YOU IN RECENT YEARS. HOW NICE IS IT TO START UP FRONT TOMORROW? “No kidding. I’ve been in a lot of little deals (wrecks) that were never really our fault. When you hit oil or get involved in wrecks just driving down the straighaways and get collected, it’s tough to swallow sometimes. Dover’s been a rough place for us recently, but I think we have as good a race car as we’ve brought here in recent years. I’m excited for tomorrow.”

HOW PHYSICALLY DEMANDING OF A RACE WILL TOMORROW BE? “It certainly gets your attention. You can run pretty hard here and the track is pretty rough. The concrete is pretty rough and you get bouncing around like you’re on really, really hard tires. It’s a little bit physical compared to some of the other tracks, but nothing too out of control.”

THIRTY-SEVEN RACES HAVE BEEN WON INSIDE THE TOP-THREE STARTING SPOTS. YOU START IN SECOND POSITION, HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DOES THAT GIVE YOU HEADING INTO TOMORROW? “Qualifying is a big part of your race day success at Dover. We’ve got a great starting position and a great pit stall, so that’s a nice advantage. Just as important is the fact that our race car was strong in race trim all day today. We unloaded fast and have been fast all weekend.”

IRL: Barrett going home

According to a tweet from @IndyCarPR, Stanton Barrett has loaded up and is going home from Milwaukee after crashing in practice.

Our View: That certainly won't help his campaign to win rookie honors, but the team says they will be ready for the next race at Texas Motor Speedway

Hamlin post single fast lap in Dover Happy Hour

Denny Hamlin posted the single fastest lap in Dover's Happy Hour with a speed of 151.286 mph.

Our View: His average speed of 146.188 mph during 71 laps was among the worst, however. Given his recent struggles at Dover, we recommend parking him until next week's Pocono race.

Kahne wins Dover Happy Hour

Kasey Kahne posted the quickest average speed in Dover Happy Hour at 147.875 mph during 27 laps.

Our View: Kahne had one of the strongest cars last week at Lowe's, and he has something to prove this week. Start him with confidence.

N'Wide: Competition caution coming

According to a tweet from @BobPockrass, NASCAR will throw a competition caution at lap 35 to allow drivers to assess their tire wear.

Our View: Safety should come first, but this also allows veteran teams to make a final adjustment before the race truly gets underway.

Ky Busch fastest in Dover practice 2

Kyle Busch posted the fastest single lap in the Saturday morning practice session with a speed of 153.512 mph.

Our View: His average speed of 148.829 mph was only eighth best, but that is still a great combination of top end speed and durability.

Reutimann wins Dover practice 2

David Reutimann continues to hold the hot hand in NASCAR. He posted the quickest average speed of 149.618 during 27 laps.

Our View: His fastest single lap wasn't bad either. With a speed of 152.983 mph, he was third best behind Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne.

USAC racer dies in crash

Chad McDaniel died Friday night due to injuries sustained in a crash at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, according to ThatsRacin.com.

Our View: Dirt and short track racing is where the major league stars cut their teeth, but most importantly, they do this because they love it. Fans of auto racing send their sympathies and appreciate the passion of drivers like McDaniel.

N'Wide: Logano wins Dover pole

On the one-year anniversary of his first Nationwide start, Joey Logano won the pole for the Heluva Good 200 at Dover with a speed of 155.959 mph.

Our View: Nine of the top-10 qualifiers are Cup regulars. Only Brendan Gaughan in ninth does not have a fulltime ride.

Complete Lineup

May 29, 2009

Yahoo! Qualification Story

Starting up front is important on a rhythm track. Check out this five-page summary (.pdf) of who's hot at Dover after qualification for the Autism Speaks 400.

N'Wide: Dover's last five races

If you're wondering why Roush-Fenway Racing has been so strong on Sundays lately, it's because they've been warming up on Saturday. Matt Kenseth didn't run either race last year, but his position atop the last five races average grid is significant nonetheless because it highlights the strength of the organization. Look a little further down the list and you will find Carl Edwards, who despite a 26th in fall 2006, still has a better than 10th-place average finish on the strength of one victory, a runner-up finish and four consecutive results of sixth or better. Cross reference that with his five consecutive top-fives in Cup, and you have found your favorite this week.

Clint Bowyer also swept the top-10 in Nationwide competition last year, and will be one of the strongest Cup "Claim Jumpers" in the field.

Mike Bliss was in the right place at the right time last week to win the rain-shortened Carquest Auto Parts 300, but he's been hovering around the head of the pack on a weekly basis. And he's likely to do so again with a second last fall and three top-10s in his last four starts at Dover. If he does not take top honors among the Nationwide regulars, chances are good that Brad Keselowski will. He's finished seventh or better in his last three starts on the concrete high banks in Delaware.

Results, last five years

DriverAvg Finish2008.22008.12007.22007.12006.2
Matt Kenseth 3.33

352
Casey Mears 4.00


4
Clint Bowyer6.67109

1
David Stremme7.00113


Carl Edwards 8.00526126
Mike Bliss 8.2521849
Denny Hamlin10.00611240
Joey Logano10.00146


Greg Biffle 10.00
59188
Michael Waltrip 10.00



10
Brad Keselowski10.2537724
Kasey Kahne 11.00
10
12
Bobby Labonte11.00

11

David Reutimann11.501741015
Scott Wimmer11.8041229311
Kyle Busch12.00128

7
Scott Riggs12.00



12
Reed Sorenson12.67

5276
Bobby Hamilton Jr12.7515141210
Todd Kluever13.00



13
Kevin Harvick 13.752817
73
Jason Keller 14.001916813
Juan Montoya14.00


14
Dario Franchitti15.00
15


Ken Schrader15.00



15
Sterling Marlin15.00

15

Jason Leffler 16.0072730115
Josh Wise16.001319


Martin Truex Jr16.00

2
30
Martin Truex Jr16.00

2
30
Chase Miller16.00

16

Ward Burton17.00


17
J J Yeley17.00


259
Mike Wallace 17.60128133322
Jamie McMurray 18.008
40204
Marcos Ambrose18.001630206
Dave Blaney 18.33

231616
Steve Wallace18.801811222221
Jeff Burton19.00


19
John Andretti19.00



19
Patrick Carpentier20.0020



Stacy Compton 20.00



20
Kevin Hamlin21.0021



Kenny Wallace 21.002920

14
A J Allmendinger21.00

21

Tony Raines 21.50

358
Casey Atwood 21.50

14
29
Regan Smith 21.50


2617
Kelly Bires22.00341319

Landon Cassill22.67252518

Brandon Whitt23.0023



Sam Hornish Jr23.00
23


D J Kennington23.00


23
David Ragan24.00929323218
Tim McCreadie24.00

24

Stanton Barrett 24.25272117
32
Ashton Lewis 25.00



25
Eric McClure26.0024262628
Auggie Vidovich27.00



27
Kyle Krisiloff27.50

3421
Richard Johns28.00

28

Tim Sauter 28.00



28
David Gilliland29.00


29
Derrike Cope 29.673224

33
Morgan Shepherd 30.0022223838
John Wes Townley30.0030



Kevin Conway30.00


30
Danny Efland31.0026
36

Scott Lagasse Jr31.0031



Jay Sauter31.00



31
Travis Kvapil31.00


31
Robby Gordon 31.00

31

Robert Richardson31.50

2736
Bryan Clauson32.003331


Johnny Sauter 32.0040


24
Stephen Leicht32.67

413423
Brett Rowe33.00
33


Carl Long33.00

33

Donnie Neuenberger 35.004334253934
Shane Hall 35.00



35
Larry Gunselman36.0036



Shane Huffman36.50


3736
Brad Coleman37.00
3242

Paul Menard37.00



37
Marc Mitchell37.00

37

Kertus Davis 38.003736

41
Kevin Lepage 38.003935
40
J C Stout38.00
38


Jon Wood 38.00



38
Johnny Chapman38.503839


Burney Lamar38.673542

39
Brent Sherman39.00

4335
Brad Teague 39.50
37
42
Kenny Hendrick 40.504140


Terry Cook41.00
41


Mike Harmon 41.00
4339

Jerick Johnson41.00


41
Justin Hobgood42.0042



Sean Caisse42.00



42
Chris Wimmer43.00



43
Randy MacDonald 43.00


43
Dominick Casola44.00
44


Four go home from Dover

Four drivers failed to qualify at Dover for the Autism Speaks 400. They are Brad Keselowski, Max Papis, Derrike Cope and David Starr.

Our View: That's a bit of a shocker were Keselowski and Papis are concerned. This is the first race in 2009 that the No. 13 has failed to make.

Reutimann on Dover Cup pole

David Reutimann picked up where he left off last week—at the head of the field. The No. 00 won the pole with a speed of 156.794 mph.

Our View: No one can say that he backed into this result. Starting up front is crucial at Dover, so this gives him good odds to finish in the top 10.

Gordon crashes in quals

Jeff Gordon has crashed in qualification and will likely have to roll out a backup car.

Our View: Last year, Jimmie Johnson overcame a crash in practice, so it can be done. In fact, with the new pit road – it should be slightly easier.

Charlotte was final straw for Hendrick/Jr.

According Brian Whitesell, Charlotte's disappointing result was the final straw for Rick Hendrick in his decision to replace Tony Eury Jr. In a press conference this week, he said: “The race at Charlotte [was the final straw], we did not get the result there that we were looking for. The decision was made by Mr. Hendrick that it was time for a change and that’s the reason it happened this week."

Our View: His 40th-place finish was bad enough, but worse still, the No. 88 was never in contention.

N'Wide: McDowell admits "monster" is scary

Heading into the weekend's Nationwide race, Michael McDowell admits that Dover International Speedway can be a little intimidating, saying "“The ‘Monster Mile’ is a bit more scary than the monster statue out front, for sure. I was a little intimidated the first time I came here in the Cup car. We ran decent, but most importantly, I learned a lot about racing the track and being comfortable in the seat. Dover is most like a high speed rollercoaster ride.”

Our View: This will be McDowell's first Nationwide start and he hasn't been overly impressive in Cup with a best of 29th in two starts.

Trucks: Hornaday on Dover pole

Ron Hornaday Jr. bettered a field of 36 cars to win the pole for the AAA Insurance 200. His top speed was 155.541 mph.

Our View: Hornaday was already considered a favorite this week, but you may want to take a look at the outside of the front row. Colin Braun in a Roush-Fenway Ford F-150 starts there and this organization is strong in all divisions.

Starting Lineup (on Fox Sports)
Avg. Finish, last five races

Digger not to blame for Fox decline

According to Fox Sports chairman David Hill, "Digger" is not to blame for the declining ratings for NASCAR.

Our View: Perhaps it's a combination of things: Fox's broadcast style that that features "entertainment" over reporting the race, an overabundance of commercials and refusal to implement the same kind of side by coverage that IRL fans love—and yes, that stupid gopher is the face of their frivolousness.

N'Wide: Leffler to make 200th start

Jason Leffler is scheduled to make his 200th career Nationwide start this week at Dover, according to NASCAR.com.

Our View: In his first 199 starts, Leffler has 57 top-10s, 29 top-fives and two victories. With the way he's run in this series this year, he could start his third hundred run with a third victory.

Reutimann fastest in Dover's first practice

David Reutimann posted the fastest single lap in Friday's practice session, with a speed of 157.467 mph.

Our View: Drivers typically work on qualification trim in this session, so Reutimann is a good bet to start up front for Sunday's race.

IRL: Scheckter to run at Milwaukee

Tomas Scheckter will race for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing this week, according to IndyCar.com.

Our View: Scheckter has some strong runs there with third-place finishes in 2005 and 2006, but his last attempt was a little more what fantasy owners can expect this week. In his most recent outing in 2007, he finished 17th.

Last Five Races Average Finish

Mayfield also withdrawn

Jeremy Mayfield has withdrawn his entry for J.J. Yeley from the Dover race, according to ESPN.com.

Our View: Along with Todd Bodine's withdrawal, this makes the entry list 47 cars. That should make it a little easier for your favorite "go-or-go-home" driver make the show.

Gunselman withdraws from Dover, seeks driver

Todd Bodine has decided to step down as driver of the No. 64 Larry Gunselman Toyota, which has caused them to withdraw their Dover effort and seek a new driver, according to the team.

Our View: Fans of dark horses have to pull for every independent team, but the chances of the No. 64 making the show in the next few months are slim with any driver behind the wheel.

Busch bangs Starr in practice

A much faster Kyle Busch banged into David Starr in the early stages of the first practice session and made slight damage.

Our View: Starr refused to make room for Busch, which is one of the perils of this tight track.

Ky Busch weighs in on Jr.

Kyle Busch has added his two cents to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. crew chief change, according to RacingOne.com.

Our View: "You got to make the most popular driver in the sport competitive -- so you got to do what you got to do, I guess," Busch said. There is a little bitterness to that statement, considering that Busch was the driver moved out of his ride to make room for Earnhardt.

Trucks: Dover's last five races

There is a long history of part time drivers finding success in the Camping World Truck Series at Dover. From last year's winner Scott Speed, to Tony Stewart who finished second in 2005, Cup and Nationwide drivers have used this race to get the rhythm of the week started.

Partly due to their success, Truck regulars have not dominated the top of the average finish grid. Only Ron Hornaday Jr. and Johnny Benson Jr. enter the weekend with at least three consecutive top-10s, which makes them best bets to highlight your roster. That also leaves the field wide open for the remaining spots—and given the strength of interlopers, this might be a good week to gamble on Max Papis.

Notably, this track has not been kind to Kyle Busch. He won there in 2005, but has slowly been sliding down the grid since until he bottomed out with a 27th-place finish last year. In the Cup series, he's also been hit or miss with a victory last spring, but two 40-something finishes in his last five starts.

Results, last five years

DriverAvg Fin20082007200620052004
Scott Speed1.001



Tony Stewart2.00


2
Hank Parker Jr3.00



3
Mark Martin3.50
61

Ron Hornaday Jr3.753174
Mike Bliss4.50
54

Dave Blaney 6.00



6
Ricky Craven 7.00


7
Andy Houston 7.00



7
Travis Kvapil 7.6743

16
Colin Braun8.008



Carl Edwards 8.00

2
14
A J Allmendinger9.00
9


David Reutimann9.00

5517
Mike Skinner 10.007722104
Aaron Fike10.00
10


Timothy Peters10.00

146
Rick Crawford 10.609238112
David Starr 11.606251188
Terry Cook 12.0013816320
Deborah Renshaw12.00


12
Aric Almirola12.00

12

Jon Wood 12.5015


10
Stacy Compton12.50232


Kyle Busch12.502712101
Bobby Hamilton Jr13.00

13

Johnny Benson Jr13.50104634
Willie Allen14.00
14


Shane Sieg14.5014


15
Chad Chaffin 15.0021

231
Ryan Matthews15.00
15


Jack Sprague 15.402289299
Ted Musgrave Sr15.601120181712
Chad McCumbee16.00121323

Justin Marks16.0016



Blake Bjorkland16.00
16


Matt Crafton 16.8052615929
Donny Lia17.0017



Tim Sauter 17.00
17


Bobby East17.00

17

Ken Schrader17.33
33
145
Dennis Setzer 17.601819201318
Todd Bodine 17.752911328
Shelby Howard19.0019



Bobby Hamilton Sr20.00


2119
Todd Kluever20.00


20
Andy Lally22.0022



Ken Weaver22.00



22
Regan Smith 22.00


22
Brad Keselowski22.50


1530
Erik Darnell22.67251825

Brendan Gaughan22.7520361916
Robert Huffman 23.00


3511
Shane Hmiel 23.00



23
Chase Montgomery23.00


1828
Tracy Hines23.00


2521
Steve Park 23.33

213613
Kevin Lepage23.50

2819
Landon Cassill24.0024



Shane Huffman24.00
24


Erin Crocker24.00

24

Jimmy Spencer Sr24.00


24
Kevin Love24.00



24
Jason White26.003022


Robert Pressley 26.00


26
Derrick Kelley26.00



26
Marcos Ambrose26.00

26

Scott Lynch27.00
27


Rich Bickle 27.00


27
Kyle Krisiloff27.00

27

Scott Lagasse Jr27.33262135

Morgan Shepherd29.00
29


Kerry Earnhardt29.00

29

T J Bell30.00
30


Bill Lester30.00
35303025
J C Stout31.0031



Kraig Kinser31.00
3131

Kelly Sutton31.33

363127
Brandon Whitt31.50


3231
Brian Scott32.0032



Dana White 32.00
32


Jerry Hill 32.00



32
Joey Miller32.00

32

Ryan Seaman33.0033



Wayne Edwards 33.00


33
Boston Reid33.00

33

Lance Hooper 33.00



33
Larry Gunselman34.0034



Clint Bowyer34.00
34


Phil Bonifield 34.00



34
Johnny Chapman34.00

34

Nick Tucker35.0035



Mark McFarland 35.00



35
Butch Miller36.0036



Robert Richardson37.00

37

Ryan Moore38.00

38

May 28, 2009

Monster Slayers

Event Day Games Preview: Drivers have been in survival mode lately. From the track Too Tough to Tame, to NASCAR's version of Noah's Ark last week in Charlotte, to the Monster Mile, it just keeps getting rougher.

Dover is one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. Concrete high-banked courses require drivers to pull heavy G-loads in the corners, and this track is nearly as much turn as it is straightaway. The groove at exit is narrow, since all of that momentum pushes a car from the bottom of the course to the outside wall and track blocking, "Big One" crashes are nearly as prevalent at Dover as on one of the restrictor-plate superspeedways.

It’s a rhythm track, however, and once a driver learns the secrets to conquering the Monster, they can often string together some incredibly long streaks. Carl Edwards enters the weekend with five consecutive results of third or better, and this could very well be the week he snaps out of his early-season funk.

Roush-Fenway teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are two other drivers who swept the top-five last year and in the fall, three of the Cat in the Hat's men finished first, second and third. If you think you see a pattern emerging, jump on it.

Expect Hendrick Motorsports to be in their mirrors. Last fall, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson finished fourth and fifth on the Roushketeers' bumpers and Jeff Gordon came home just a couple of spots further back in seventh.

Join us at http://www.eventdaygames.com/ this week to play along with our unique fantasy game.

Earnhardt gets new chief

Beginning this week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have a new crew chief, according to SceneDaily.com. At Dover, Brian Whitesell will take over the duties for one week, while Lance McGrew will take over the permanent post next week at Pocono. Meanwhile, Tony Eury Jr. is being put to pasture in the research and development department.

Our View: Fantasy owners can reasonably expect short term benefits, but Earnhardt still has a way to go before he's going to be recommended for your roster.

May 27, 2009

Week 22 Unified Power Rankings

The three major auto racing series ran one of the biggest races of their season last week when Formula 1 took to the streets of Monaco, the NASCAR Cup series ran the "Coke 341," and the IRL ran the granddaddy of them all: the Indy 500.

Each of those races carry bonus points. Instead of 110 points for a first-place finish, drivers receive 125, but we had to make some adjustments for the Cup race. Since several drivers remained on track and received better results than they earned through the strength of their cars, we based the Power Point system on average running position for this week.

No matter how count them, Jenson Button continues to be the hottest driver in auto racing having won his fifth Grand Prix in six starts. The twisty streets of Monaco make passing a near impossibility, so no one was surprised that he took the checkers after sitting on the pole. Rubens Barrichello continues to be his wing man and finished second in Formula 1 competition for the third time this season. He's going to be hard to dislodge from that spot, in fact, because he's swept the top-five alongside Button.

Tony Stewart had flashes of brilliance last week in the rain-shortened "Coke 341," but when the field was shuffled by the final rain storm he found his No. 14 Chevy stranded in 19th. Five top-fives in the previous six races, however, gave him enough momentum to stay third on the grid and first among Cup regulars.

Nationwide regular Jason Leffler ran a smart race in the Carquest Auto Parts 300 to finish sixth. That helped elevate him into the top 10 on the Unified Power Rankings scale since it was his sixth consecutive top-10 in recent races.

The Indy Racing League finally ran enough races to include them in this formula and despite winning the Indy 500, Helio Castroneves does not top their chart. There a reason for that; even though the series has run enough times, the driver has not since he was forced to sit out the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg while being his trial for tax evasion was going on.

Dario Franchitti gets that honor. After winning the Grand Prix of Long Beach and finishing in the top 10 in three of the first four IRL races this year, he's the best of class. He shouldn't get too used to the position, however; unless Castroneves crashes early next week at Milwaukee, he is virtually guaranteed to dislodge the Scotsman.

Unified Power Rankings

RankDriverPointsLast week+/-
1Jenson Button110.6710
2Rubens Barrichello99.8320
3Tony Stewart91.6730
4Jason Leffler88.5073
5Kurt Busch88.4550
6Ryan Newman85.93104
7Jimmie Johnson85.9181
8Jeff Gordon85.454-4
9Denny Hamlin85.086-3
10Ron Hornaday Jr83.75111
11Dario Franchitti83.50NR
12Ryan Briscoe83.50NR
13Mark Webber82.00141
14Tony Kanaan81.25NR
15Danica Patrick81.00NR
16Dan Wheldon80.75NR
17Jeff Burton79.7512-5
18Mark Martin79.75202
19Kyle Busch79.5913-6
20Timo Glock79.509-11
21Brad Keselowski79.23232
22Carl Edwards77.3715-7
23Greg Biffle76.5416-7
24Fernando Alonso76.1721-3
25Joey Logano74.89316
26Kasey Kahne74.36293
27Matt Kenseth74.1918-9
28Scott Dixon74.00NR
29Matt Crafton73.7527-2
30Juan Montoya72.0019-11
31Dale Earnhardt Jr71.7926-5
32Nico Rosberg70.00375
33Brian Vickers69.5024-9
34Mike Skinner69.5032-2
35Johnny Benson Jr68.7534-1
36Jason Keller68.2530-6
37Scott Lagasse Jr68.25425
38David Reutimann68.2328-10
39Sebastian Vettel67.5017-22
40Steve Wallace67.38433
41Kevin Harvick66.7625-16
42Justin Allgaier66.75453
43Clint Bowyer65.9222-21
44Jamie McMurray65.91462
45Martin Truex Jr64.0038-7
46Rick Crawford63.755610
47Lewis Hamilton63.6736-11
48Stacy Compton63.00535
49James Buescher62.006213
50Marcos Ambrose61.9135-15