May 11, 2009

Mayfield Motorsports to Yeley, "not so fast"

It seems like the announcement J.J. Yeley would drive the No. 41 was a bit premature, according to No driver has been officially named yet.

Our View: Does it really matter? This team has been nothing more than field filler all year and when they qualify, it's a start and park operation. Yeley would be a huge step up for this team, but the team is not capable of backing him.

"Cookie-cutter" kings dominate Texas/Atlanta

The four drivers with the best "cookie-cutter" Fantasy Power Rankings * average dominated the last two races on unrestricted, intermediate speedways.

Our View: Jeff Gordon won at Texas and finished second at Atlanta, which contributed to his Power average of 10.21. Jimmie Johnson was second at Texas and ninth at Atlanta (with a Power average of 6.90), Tony Stewart was fourth at Texas and eighth at Atlanta (11.17) and Matt Kenseth was fifth at Texas and 12th at Atlanta (10.80). Those are the four best Power averages on this track type.

* The Fantasy Power Rankings is a driver's raw finish plus the time they spend among the lead, average running position and several other strength'-based intangibles.

Truck: Billy Ballew gets four race sponsor

Billy Ballew Motorsports will have sponsorship from the Samsung Instinct mobile phone during the next four races beginning at Lowe's, according to Brian Ickler and Ryan Lawler will share driving responsibilities.

Our View: Especially in the Craftsman Truck Series money is crucial to success since the purses are so small. This team has been able to do an amazing job with limited resources so far, mostly because of Kyle Busch's remarkable talent.

F1: Sauber's making progress

BMW Sauber earned their first two points of the season in the Spanish Grand Prix when Nick Heidfeld finished seventh, but team principal Mario Theissen believes the team is making notable progress, according to

Our View: The team hopes to have a "modified KERS" system in place for the Turkish Grand Prix in June. The added boost could help in the long straights between turns 10 and 12.

Nationwide: Suspended crewman resigns

Ben Williams, the crewman suspended last week for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy, has resigned from Roush-Fenway Racing.

Our View: The No. 16 team will need to find another gas man, and team chemistry always takes a while to build.

IRL: Everything falls in place for Sharp

Scott Sharp qualified only 20th for the Indy 500, but he's never been happier to be in the show, according to

Our View: "It seemed liked the car should have been faster, but you can only do what you can do," Sharp said. That doesn't exactly inspire confidence in potential fantasy players.

Notables on the outside looking in

Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are among the notable drivers on the outside of the top 12 in points who need to pick up the pace to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Our View: In the first several years of the Chase, it has been shown that drivers in the top 12 at this stage of the season are liable to stay there, which is bad news for these drivers' fans.

F1: Spanish GP Recap has published a snapshot analysis of the Spanish Grand Prix, and no one will be surprised to see Brawn Racing highlighted after Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello swept the race.

Our View: Two traditional powerhouses, McLaren and Williams struggled, which makes this an interesting season to handicap.


IRL: Hamilton confident about Indy

Davey Hamilton is approaching the Indy 500 with confidence after qualifying for the Indy 500 during the second day of time trials, according to

Our View: Hamilton has made the last two Indy 500s and finished ninth in the 2007 edition of this race, but he may yet be a little rusty. Those are his only two IRL events since midway through the 2001 season.

Yeley in for Mayfield

J.J. Yeley will sub for Jeremy Mayfield effective immediately, according to

Our View: It won't matter much who is behind the wheel; this team has struggled to finish better than 40th each time they have made the race. In addition, Mayfield cannot be listed as the owner, so any owner points will probably not help them climb toward the top 35.

Truex spends most time in Darlington top five

Martin Truex Jr. spent the most laps among the top five at Darlington, with 235 of 367 laps at the very top of the field. Tony Stewart (214), Ryan Newman (190), Greg Biffle (180) and Kasey Kahne (162) rounded out the top five.

Our View: This data is approximate and based on's TrackPass, but it is a good gauge of who showed the greatest strength. Put their name in a reminder file for next year's Southern 500.

Buescher wins ARCA contest

Up and coming driver James Buescher held off Justin Lofton at Kentucky Speedway to win the ARCA Drive Smart Buckle-Up Kentucky 150, according to

Our View: This series provides a great opportunity to learn the fast line around tracks like Kentucky Speedway—one of the "cookie-cutter" courses. This slightly improves Buescher's odds in the Nationwide Series on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks.

Keselowski earns respect

Brad Keselowski earned a Darlington stripe or two last weekend, but more importantly, he earned veterans' respect, according to

Our View: Rookie success is not unheard of at Darlington, but it is certainly uncommon. After winning Talladega and then finishing in the top 10 at Darlington in consecutive attempts, Keselowski can pretty much write his on ticket among mid-range teams.