Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Insider: Ambrose is the Favorite at Infineon

*Jeff Gordon* and *Tony Stewart* have dominated NASCAR’s road course races for the majority of their Sprint Cup careers. From 1998-2006, the two drivers combined to win 13 of the 18 road course races. Gordon and Stewart were on a different level than their competition, but as the numbers have shown in the last four seasons, the competition has caught up.

Gordon hasn’t won on a road course since 2006 and Stewart has two wins, but both came at Watkins Glen. During that same span, *Juan Pablo Montoya* and *Kyle Busch* each have a pair of road course victories and names like *Jimmie Johnson*, *Kasey Kahne* and *Marcos Ambrose* have crept into the fray of consistent contenders, and have outperformed Gordon and Stewart on numerous occasions in recent years.

Fantasy Insider: Rely on Roush at Michigan

There were some conflicting statistics heading into last Sunday’s race at Pocono when it came down to determining the race winner. The track said that 47 of the previous 66 winners came from a top-10 starting spot. The 2011 season said a top-10 starter had reached victory lane in only four of the first 12 races.

The last five race-winners started outside the top 20.

*Jeff Gordon’s* victory last weekend kept the odds in Pocono’s favor, after Gordon started third. It was the first time since April 17 at Talladega that a top-20 starter won a Sprint Cup race. *Jimmie Johnson* started second on that day. Statistically, more wins have come from starting positions 20-28 (seven) than 1-8 (five) in 2011.

Fantasy Insider: Hamlin, Stewart Seeking 2011 Breakthroughs At Pocono

*Brad Keselowski’s* victory last Sunday at Kansas may have been termed by many as a surprise, but really the win just fit into a new disturbing fantasy trend. Keselowski, who led nine laps on his way to victory, became the sixth driver in the last 13 races to lead under 15 laps and win the race. It has happened in three of the last four races.

In the previous race at Charlotte, *Kevin Harvick* led two laps. Dover is the lone exception in the last three weeks, but in that race *Matt Kenseth* led only 33 of the 400 laps. At Darlington, *Regan Smith* led 11 laps to pick up his first career win.

The fastest driver isn’t winning the majority of these races as of late. Fuel strategy and late-race restarts are really mixing up the results at race end in 2011 and for that reason, Keselowski’s win shouldn’t have been much of a surprise.

Fantasy Insider: Roush Teammates Should Be Strong at Kansas

These late-race restarts are killing me, and I know I’m not alone. As a fan, the chaos that ensued in the final laps of the Coca-Cola 600 couldn’t have been much more entertaining, but as a fantasy owner it can’t get much more frustrating than watching one of your drivers run out of gas on the final lap (*Denny Hamlin*, *Dale Earnhardt, Jr.*) or restart sixth and get caught up in somebody else’s mess (*Jeff Burton*). As the series heads to Kansas this weekend, I’m hoping for one thing: no green, white, checkered finish.

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