May 20, 2009
Our View: McDowell has posted two Nationwide top-10s and several top-20s, so if you caught him on the right week, he's produced for you. Unfortunately, he's been hard to handicap.
Our View: Hope springs eternal, but that victory is his only top-10 in the last three years at Lowe's and during that span his average finish is only slightly better than 20th.
Our View: We all want that Richard… we all do.
Our View: In these one-off rides, Tracy could be one of the best values in the game. Put a note in your calendar.
Our View: His lawyer Bill Diehl represented Elliott Sadler earlier this year while he was fighting Richard Petty Motorsports for wrongful termination. This could be a long, drawn out process.
"It was a big accomplishment for team and for myself," said Matos about setting the fastest time among rookies. "Being the fastest rookie means a lot to me and being the quickest of the second day means a lot to me as well. It gave me a lot of confidence, which allowed me to work on race setup. The car ran flawless all month and we're proud to be here today.
Our View: The Indy 500 starts 33 cars, which is the IRL's biggest field of the year, but that is still relatively small and allows for some great dark horses. Matos could be one of these.
By a quirk of the schedule, NASCAR runs two of their toughest races back-to-back. Two weeks ago, points were on the line at the "Track Too Tough to Tame." This week, NASCAR adds 100 miles to a typical race and runs the longest event of the year—the Coca-Cola 600. Those extra trips around the track are no small factor as engines are already stretched to their breaking point during a 500-miler.
Two weeks ago at Darlington, some surprising faces graced the top 10 and that could happen again at Lowe's. Rookies are not supposed to fare well on that tough old track, but Brad Keselowski backed up his victory at Talladega with another top-10. Joey Logano likewise posted his second top-10 of the season on that unforgiving course, and this is a race that could fit his driving style to a "T." So far in 2009, he's shown a tendency to improve as the race progresses and 100 extra miles give him and crew chief Greg Zipadelli plenty of opportunities to adjust.
The usual suspects will dominate the front of the grid, however. Lowe's is the house that Jimmie Johnson built and he once earned five victories and eight top-three finishes in eight consecutive races. "Rowdy" Kyle Busch swept the top-five in his last three starts, but his record in Nationwide is what truly recommends him this week. In the second series, he swept victory lane last year and finished second in fall 2007.
One way or another, the 600 will be one of the most competitive races of the year for fantasy owners, because those extra miles equal 100 Jokers in an already stacked deck.
Join us at http://www.eventdaygames.com/ this week to play along with our unique fantasy game.
Our View: The infraction was for an oversized engine and NASCAR seems to be sending a very clear message. Luckily for them (not so much for Long), this did not happen to one of the marquee drivers.
For the record, this gives car owner Danielle Long -153 points.
With all the major series taking last week off from points' paying races, this week's Unified Power Rankings were reorganized by two factors. First, the Camping World Truck Series raced under the lights at Lowe's, which allowed their top contenders to make up a little ground in the standings, and the All-Star race was run the following night.
Secondly, since the Unified Power Rankings looks at only the last three months, the Daytona Speedweek races are aging off this list. Drivers who peaked in the first race of the season are falling by the wayside.
Tony Stewart earned his first victory as an owner/driver and that allowed him to make up some ground on the Formula 1 giants at the top of the standings. However, their advantage is too great, so Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello continue to dominate the first two spots. Each of these drivers should be anchoring your fantasy roster in their respective games.
Kurt Busch's solid third-place—combined with Jeff Gordon's accident in the All-Star race—caused those two drivers to swap positions four and five. Since Busch is a lesser value in most fantasy games, however, his worth on fantasy owners' rosters takes an even greater leap.
Truck driver James Buescher earned his fifth consecutive top-15 in that series to make him a solid mid-range pick while he climbs onto this list for the first time in 2009. Meanwhile, Cup regular Martin Truex Jr. failed to advance from the Sprint Showdown and now hovers on the cusp of falling outside the top 50.
Unified Power Rankings
|10||Ron Hornaday Jr||82.60||11||1|
|24||Dale Earnhardt Jr||71.71||26||2|
|27||Scott Lagasse Jr||69.22||42||15|
|35||Johnny Benson Jr||67.60||34||-1|
|48||Martin Truex Jr||60.55||38||-10|
The Unified Power Rankings are based on "percentage points." Starting with a 100 score for the winner of a Nationwide race, each subsequent position is decremented by a percentage that relates to the number of drivers in the field. In a 50-car field of potential qualifiers, the second-place driver receives 98 points, third-place gets 96 points, the 43rd-place driver gets 16 points (because he beat eight other driver to even get into the field) and so on until the last non-qualifier in 50th-place gets two points.
Only races run in the last three months count in this formula.
The Cup, IRL and Formula 1 series start at 110 points for a victory (since its so difficult to win one of these races) and then decrements 1/50th of 110 points for each subsequent position. It’s an unscientific way to determine who is the best in their series, while simultaneously trying to compare apples to oranges.
Our View: Kasey Kahne pulled off the sweep last year and then went on to finish second in the fall, but Kevin Harvick was not as lucky in 2007. That year, he finished 21st in the 600 after winning the All-Star race and was 33rd that fall, so fantasy owners still want to watch Stewart closely in practice.
Conversely, we will see if Lewis Hamilton can reverse his fortunes after winning in 2008 and finishing second in his first attempt in 2007.
Monaco Grand Prix, last five years
|Cristiano da Matta||6.00||6|
|Jacques Villeneuve Jr||12.50||14||11|
|Nelson Piquet Jr||17.00||17|
Our View: If he has been strong enough eight top-10s so far this year, any improvement in his performance at all will make him a place-and-hold driver.