NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Insider: Can Martin Truex Jr. Get Revenge… & Save a Team at New Hampshire?

After a weekend filled with bumper cars and plenty of feuding, the next stop on the Sprint Cup schedule couldn’t be better. Several drivers are looking to extract some revenge after Infineon, and the 1-mile, short track feel of the New Hampshire oval makes for the perfect payback venue.

That means you may want to avoid a guy like Jeff Gordon, who has a bulls-eye attached to the No. 24, and a guy who drives with a bulls-eye every week, Juan Pablo Montoya. Instead, your focus should shift to the straight and narrow, meaning Gordon’s teammate Jimmie Johnson rises right to the top of the list for me. Heck, he has people pulling over and stopping to let him go by! There’s no safer pick for your roster right now during a weekend filled with potential landmines around every turn.

Who else should you add to the list to protect yourself from a Sunday filled with counterattacks? Read on in this week’s edition of the Fantasy Insider to ensure you surge ahead of the Loudon spinouts:

Studs

Well, it’s early summer, which means it’s time for the Tony Stewart Show. Stewart has posted top-10s in four of the last five races, with the other finish being a solid 15th. That success should carry over to the Northeast this weekend; he has six straight top-15 finishes and 11 top-5s at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with two career wins in 22 starts. Look for Smoke to stay hot with another top 10 at worst.

If beating Johnson in the Chase isn’t hard enough, now the other 11 drivers in it can thank Mr. Ambrose for handing Jimmie another 10 points. And while I highly doubt anyone is going to pull over and stop for him again this weekend, I also doubt there will even be many people in front of him to pull over. Johnson has seven straight top-10 runs at NHMS, and his career average finishing position is 10th. He’s got 11 top-10s in 16 starts, with just one result worse than 15th. And now, it seems, he also has luck on his side. That’s bad news for everybody else… but good news for your team, if you can afford him.

Who Will Carry You

This week, we’ve got some unfamiliar names in this section, as you’ll want to take a good, close look at David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr. and Bobby Labonte. Truex is the easiest choice of the three, as he’s got some really impressive numbers in New Hampshire. In eight races, he’s got four top 10s, three of which are top fives – a career-best for any track on the schedule. It all adds up to a strong average finish of 14th, and that’s a bit skewed by his 37th-place run last year that ended early in a crash. Look for him to get a top 15 on Sunday, regardless of what happens with newfound rival Gordon.

As for Reut, he’s been building his own momentum with eight straight top-20 runs leading up to Sunday. He also has four straight top-20s at this track, an average finish of 19th, and ran fourth in this race last June. All signs point to another top-20 this Sunday… at worst. Finally, we come to Labonte. Labonte terminated his contract with TRG Motorsports this week, and will drive the No. 7 for Robby Gordon Motorsports this Sunday. His average finish at New Hampshire is 16th, and he has seven consecutive top 25s, including a 10th in 2008. A change of scenery may be the boost he needs, pairing up with a team that’s riding the high of a second-place finish last weekend. I say a top 25 is well within the realm of possibility Sunday for a man that’s suddenly fighting for his career.

Who Will Bury You

This weekend, you’re going to want to stay away from Kasey Kahne. Fresh off back-to-back top-five finishes, he’s a bit pricey in most leagues, but with an average finish of 18th at Loudon he’s just not worth the price you’re gonna pay. Delving deeper, he has just one top 10 since 2006 and four finishes worse than 20th in that same time frame.

Well I don’t know about you, but last week my Frontstretch Game of Tomorrow squad posted four of my drivers inside the top 10, with the other being Elliott Sadler in 17th. How did your team do? Is yours falling as I continue to climb up through the rankings? Probably. So make sure you don’t forget to fill out your roster this week in Frontstretch’s fantasy racing game… or you’ll never end up catching me.

That’s the Fantasy Insider for this week. Now go set your teams, and we’ll see you back here next Thursday as we preview Saturday night’s 400-mile slugfest under the lights from Daytona!

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