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Fantasy Insider: Jeff Gordon Must Win to Keep Streak Alive

Well, how about the call to take Casey Mears over Kasey Kahne last week! Not only did Mears beat him by six positions at Phoenix, he did it with a top-25 effort, just like I called it. So excuse me if I pat myself on the back a little after what has been a long 2010 NASCAR season. This weekend, I like Mears again, believe it or not. And I am staying away from all three drivers running for the championship. I’ve got to believe if it gets to 20 to go and they are all running in a row, somebody is going to do something to someone, and that won’t help your fantasy team one bit.

So what does that mean for your own roster running for a title? Don’t worry, I’ve got all the picks and expert info to make sure you’re not running out of gas at the finish. Let’s take a look at some safer picks to bring that trophy home to your living room… shall we?

Studs

It doesn’t get a whole lot safer than Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon at Homestead-Miami. Since reconfiguring the track, Gordon has finished in the top nine in all but one event, despite the 1.5-mile oval being the lone track we visit on the Cup circuit where he hasn’t won. But what convinces me even more to put Gordon on my team this weekend is the fact he has not won a race yet this year. I believe this veteran is just too good of a driver to go a full season without a victory – pit swap or not. In fact, I say he takes the checkered flag on Sunday going away, leaving all three championship contenders in his wake.

As for Biffle, he used to own this place with three straight wins before three more mediocre finishes in the last three years brought him back down to earth. But teammate Matt Kenseth was second at Texas and Carl Edwards won at Phoenix, showing that Roush Fenway Racing is at least going down swinging. With back-to-back top-five runs at Texas and Phoenix, look for Biffle to contend for at least a top-three finish.

Who Will Carry You

Since Mears didn’t sour me last week, I am going with him again this week. Besides, this column is my last fantasy report of 2010 and if he goes out and stinks the place up, I won’t have to explain myself to you next week. Mears has run in the top 20 in four of the last five Homestead races and has been between 24th and 26th in five of his last six races in 2010. If you go out, get four studs and need a low-priced filler, he’s an excellent choice.

Another low-priced driver you want to take a look at is Regan Smith. Smith and his little team that could, Furniture Row Racing based way out in Denver, will still be in Miami this weekend after losing a motorcoach and transporter in an accident returning home from Phoenix. Their chassis supplier, RCR, stepped up by providing a fully stocked transporter for them this weekend, and with top-13 finishes in three of the last six races, I am sure the team’s kind gesture won’t go to waste.

Finally, we’ll go with old reliable Jamie McMurray. Jamie has had a great Chase, filled with little to complain about except for the fact he wasn’t in it. 2010 has been his best season yet, with three victories – including the season-opening Daytona 500 – and winning at Miami would make for a nice bookend to 2010. With a third-place run two years ago at Homestead, accomplishing that fairy tale is not totally out of the question.

Who Will Bury You

This Sunday, while one Hendrick driver will run for a championship and another will try to keep his streak of seasons with at least one win intact, another will be plodding along in the teens to mid-20s, bringing an end to another dismal season at HMS. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has an average finish of 24th at Homestead, and hasn’t finished higher than 28th in three years. Two years ago, he was 41st, and all indicators say he’ll struggle to crack the top 20 again this time around.

Well there it is, your final Fantasy Insider for 2010. I hope we here at Frontstretch were helpful in getting you to the top of your league and winning on a regular basis. For those of you not contending this weekend, you get to just sit back, relax, and enjoy watching the fine race that Miami puts on every year; and while you’re at it, why don’t you give our Game of Tomorrow a try and see if you like it enough to come back and play full-time in 2011! I know some people find the finale boring if they’re not in contention, especially since this track is an intermediate; but while some people don’t think NASCAR should hold its season finale in “North Cuba,” as Bruton Smith calls it, it’s certainly a better race then the alternative they suggested of having the finale out in northern Mexico (Las Vegas).

Hope you all have a safe winter, and we’ll see you back here in February for Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway!

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