May 1, 2009

Martin found something in Nationwide race

Mark Martin thinks he found something. Immediately following Friday's Nationwide Series Lipton 250 (in which he finished seventh), Martin called to crew chief Alan Gustafson to tell him he found something that could be used in Saturday's Cup race.

Our View: The cars are very dissimilar, but when a veteran like Martin says he learned something, fantasy owners should take note. If he wasn't on your radar before this, he should be now.

Kyle Busch wins Richmond Nationwide race

Kyle Busch won the Lipton Tea 250 to take his 24th Nationwide Series win.

Our View: He back in top form and fantasy owners can realistically expect him to carry that momentum into Saturday's Cup race. Join us for a cell phone fantasy game at Event Day Games.

Yahoo! Qualification Story

Brian Vickers backed up a strong practice with a pole winning run in qualification. It shouldn't have come as much of a surprise, but this team may be one of the best sleepers at Richmond nevertheless. Check out the Yahoo! qualification story for more information.

Martin quickest in Happy Hour

Mark Martin posted the quickest average speed in Happy Hour practice, with a speed of 121.995 mph during 11 laps.

Our View: That speed is respectable, but we would have liked to see him sustain it during a longer run. Still, Martin is capable of winning again this week, just like he did two weeks ago at Phoenix.

Johnson fastest in Happy Hour

Jimmie Johnson posted the fastest single lap in Happy Hour practice at Richmond with a speed of 124.636 mph.

Our View: His average speed of 119.745 mph during 24 laps was not bad either, and it placed him fourth on that chart. He could be poised to win his fourth race on this track in his last five starts.

Stremme scrapes wall in Happy Hour

David Stremme scraped the wall just past the one hour mark of Happy Hour and scratched the Star Trek decals off the right side of his Dodge.

Our View: Stremme was probably on a qualification practice run at the time, because his early speed was not great in terms of the fastest single lap. He was, however, 15th quickest at the time based on average speed with a 118.324 during 18 laps.

IRL: Ganassi has Dynamic Duo

Chip Ganassi will enter the last two champions of the Indy 500 (Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti) in this year's edition of that race, according to

Our View: That is certainly a dream team that makes him hard to overlook for your IndyCar fantasy team.

Truex wins Richmond practice 1

Martin Truex Jr. posted the single fastest lap in the first practice session at Richmond for the Crown Royal 400 at 123.046 mph.

Our View: His average speed was not bad either, with an average of 119.407 mph during 39 laps. He should be watched closely in Happy Hour and could be a solid dark horse. The only two drivers who beat his mark in terms of average speed were "go-or-go-homers" Joe Nemechek (120.196 during 12 laps) and Dave Blaney (119.595 during 17 laps), but they were not working on race trim.

Junior Will Not Roll out a Backup

Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not do enough damage to necessitate rolling out a backup car during his early crash at Richmond. He got back on track and logged more than 20 laps in the first hour of practice.

Our View: At that time, he was fairly competitive. He had the ninth quickest average speed at 119.206 mph during 23 laps. Unfortunately, his fastest single lap was only 27th best at 120.595.

Bliss replaces Keselowski at Richmond

Mike Bliss will replace Brad Keselowski in the No. 09 this week. Tuesday's preliminary roster had the younger driver listed.

Our View: While we have been cautioning Keselowski all week about jumping series too soon, there is such a thing as momentum and the Young Gun had it. Bliss should not be as highly regarded in terms of his chances to finish among the top 15.

Biffle also spins in Richmond Practice 1

Greg Biffle followed Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the spin cycle at Richmond only moments after the series went back to business at Richmond. Unlike Earnhardt, however, he did not make significant contact with the wall.

Our View: The drivers are hitting the track on "full kill," and it's biting them. Now that these two incidents are in the books, hopefully they will calm down.

Junior crashes in Richmond Practice 1

Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashed barely one minute into the first practice session at Richmond after making contact with Juan Montoya. The damage may be enough to necessitate a backup car for the No. 88 team.

Our View: Junior was hoping to capitalize on some of the momentum he gained with last week's strong Talladega run, but it seems like Fate may have a different idea altogether. Regardless of whether he is forced into a backup, this hurts his Richmond odds.

Harvick has Most Top-10 Laps

Kevin Harvick has spent more time in the top 10 than any other driver during the last five years. He's logged 2,807 laps among the leaders and this has paid dividends in the form of eight top-10s in 10 starts and an average finish of 8.5.

He may not have been the strongest overall at Richmond, however. With two fewer seasons under his belt, Denny Hamlin has logged 2,162 laps with the leaders, which equates to 89.7% of the time compared to Harvick's 70.0. Kyle Busch has raced at Richmond only four seasons, and he also has been stronger than Harvick with a top-10 percentage of 73.1% and an average result of 6.75.

DriverLaps in Top-10Possible Laps%
Kevin Harvick 2,8074,01070.0%
Tony Stewart 2,5714,01064.1%
Dale Earnhardt Jr2,3714,01059.1%
Kyle Busch2,3473,21073.1%
Denny Hamlin2,1622,41089.7%
Ryan Newman 2,1574,01053.8%
Jeff Gordon 2,0144,01050.2%
Greg Biffle 1,8704,01046.6%
Kurt Busch 1,8524,01046.2%
Mark Martin 1,7874,01044.6%
Kasey Kahne 1,7324,01043.2%
Jimmie Johnson 1,7294,01043.1%
Jeff Burton 1,6874,01042.1%
Matt Kenseth 1,5744,01039.3%
Jeremy Mayfield 1,1022,00055.1%
Clint Bowyer1,0942,41045.4%
Martin Truex Jr9382,41038.9%
Carl Edwards 7153,61019.8%
Jamie McMurray 5774,01014.4%
Bobby Labonte 5734,01014.3%
Brian Vickers 5223,61014.5%
Dave Blaney 5183,61014.3%
Elliott Sadler 4734,01011.8%
Casey Mears 3824,0109.5%
Michael Waltrip 3192,81011.4%
Joe Nemechek 2044,0105.1%
David Ragan1811,61011.2%
David Reutimann1711,61010.6%
Reed Sorenson1602,4106.6%
Scott Riggs1234,0103.1%
Juan Montoya951,6105.9%
Tony Raines 912,4003.8%
David Stremme232,0001.2%
David Gilliland172,0100.8%
Robby Gordon 144,0100.3%
Paul Menard11,6100.1%
A J Allmendinger11,6100.1%
Sam Hornish Jr18100.1%
Todd Bodine 08000.0%
John Andretti04000.0%

Keselowski gets back to business

Winning a Cup race was nice, but this week Brad Keselowski's focus returns to running strong in the Nationwide Series at Richmond, according to

Our View: It is easy to lose perspective, but drivers like Joey Logano and Scott Speed are proof of how difficult it can be to jump series without enough seat time to perfect their craft.

Richmond Drama

If last year was any indication, fantasy owners will need to wait for the checkered flag to count their points, according to the Sporting News Wire Service, because Richmond has also had their share of wild finishes. Last year, Kyle Busch spun Dale Earnhardt Jr. with two laps remaining and handed the lead to Clint Bowyer.

Our View: Richmond also had a 12-car, "Big One" crash on lap 230 in this race last year that necessitated a red flag. There may still be a couple of wild cards in the deck.