Welcome back, everyone, to the Frontstretch Fantasy Insider, the column that puts your virtual racing team in position to win. This week, we break down the numbers on who rules the roost at Michigan International Speedway. Most races are built on speed, but this one has a history of turning into a fuel mileage race, with the top-five drivers running at half speed for the last dozen or so laps. Keep in mind that leaves room for the underdog, a place where slow and steady can trump raw horsepower time and time again.
So, without further delay, here’s who you want and who you don’t setting your roster for this Sunday’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400!
When it comes to fuel-mileage finishes, Roush Fenway Racing has one of the best track records out there. So this week, you want to make sure you’ve got Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards on your rosters. Edwards has run at Michigan 11 times, finishing in the top 10 all but once, with seven top fives and a pair of wins to go along with an average finish of sixth. Kenseth’s numbers aren’t quite that good, but whose are? He’s competed in 21 events at MIS and has 13 top 10s, nine top fives, and a pair of wins. Kenseth has also finished on the lead lap in every race he’s run there, with the exception of spring 2007, when he was involved in an early crash and wound up 42nd. Definitely grab these two for Sunday; you won’t be disappointed.
Who Will Carry You
Once again this week, you’ll spend a lot of points snagging the big names for your team, meaning you’re gonna need some cheaper, middle of the road drivers to fill out that last spot or two. So when setting your lineups this week, take a good look at Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Casey Mears. Yes, Casey Mears. While he hasn’t set the world on fire since taking over for Brian Vickers, this team has Michigan figured out. The No. 83 car has posted five consecutive top 10s, with a win and three straight poles at the 2-mile oval. The driver isn’t half bad at MIS, either; Mears finished in the sixth spot in the second race held here last year and again, he’s cheap to have on your team.
The bad news for Keselowski last week was his top-20 finish streak came to an end. The not so bad news was it was via a 21st-place run. The “rookie” seems to get better with each passing week and finished 24th at Michigan in 2009, making him a must have for your team as a sleeper pick. Finally, we come to young Logano, who had a nice top-10 result messed up last weekend after some contact with Kevin Harvick. Regardless of that, he still finished 13th and has three top-15 finishes in a row heading to MIS. In 2009, Joey improved upon his 25th-place run in his first trip to a seventh in his second, showing how quickly he learned the ins and outs of this wide racetrack. A fifth-place effort at California in 2010 is also a good indicator he’ll have a good run in Michigan, so fill out your roster with the No. 20 this weekend.
Who Will Bury You
Juan Pablo Montoya is just too up and down to have on your fantasy team this season. JPM has seven top-10 finishes in the first 14 races, which is great! But he also has six finishes between 34th-38th, which is horrible. At Michigan, his stats are just as bad; he has just one top-15 run and an average finish of 26th. Bottom line: he’s not worth the points it’s gonna cost you this weekend.
Well, those of you who followed my advice for Pocono had quite a week. While Kyle Busch continued a trend of drivers coming out of nowhere at certain tracks to have near career-best runs or even wins, the rest of my drivers did quite well. Tony Stewart posted a top-five effort, and the ‘Dinger and Hornish ran 10th and 11th. The worst pick was Keselowski, who had a 21st-place run. Not bad for your worst driver that you got cheap, anyways!
I replaced Brad with Kenseth, who finished 17th, and also had Edwards, who came home in 12th, for a dominating week in the Frontstretch Fantasy Racing’s Game of Tomorrow! That’s moved me up several spots in the standings, although I’ve got plenty of work still ahead of me if I’m going to contend for our season-long championship. Make sure to check out the game and get your lineups set before the drop of the green flag this weekend; then, see if you can outdo my team on Sunday!
And of course, don’t forget to check in next Thursday as we look ahead to the first road course of the year in Sonoma, Calif. Until then, good luck with your picks!