NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Filling the Toolbox for Atlanta Success

After a re-energizing weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Cup Series heads to its fastest track for a 500-miler, driving on asphalt that rivals even Darlington in terms of abrasiveness. Atlanta Motor Speedway is a unique intermediate circuit, one that is largely dependent on handling and a driver willing to move all over the racetrack. With differing characteristics than Las Vegas and Fontana, it’s a quad-oval quagmire that forces you to make some major changes to your 1.5-mile lineup. But players, don’t despair – Frontstretch’s Fantasy Insiders are going to give you the lowdown on who to choose and who to chastise, avoiding those pesky engine woes in the process to help you rim-ride to a fantasy W this weekend.

Frontstretch NASCAR Fantasy Insider: Loading the Dice for a Sin City Payoff

The Sprint Cup Series concludes its two-week, West Coast tour with a stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday. It’s the first race of the season on a 1.5-mile oval, the most common distance for a NASCAR track in this division. Since being reconfigured with higher banking in the corners, LVMS has become an entirely different animal, going from “cookie cutter” to highly competitive throughout its 427-mile main event. With its asphalt ever aging, expect the racing to evolve even further this coming weekend. But when push comes to shove, LVMS is another intermediate oval, after all – which means it’s more than likely that come race’s end, the usual suspects from the sport’s biggest teams will be running up front. In 11 total races at this track, a car from Roush or Hendrick has stood in victory lane all but once, when Sterling Marlin pulled the upset for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2002.

Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Surviving (& Staying Awake) at Fontana

With the glitz and glamour of Daytona now behind us, the focus of the Sprint Cup Series turns west to Fontana and the 2-mile oval that marks the real beginning of the 2009 season. Though unique thanks to its empty grandstands and exceptionally boring races, the Auto Club Speedway is the first of many intermediate ovals that make up the meat and potatoes of the Cup schedule. And with the ban on testing, it seems to be a safe assumption that the same teams which were good on these tracks in 2008 will be the ones to beat on Sunday – and the drivers you should be picking for this weekend’s fantasy lineup.

Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Daytona 2009 – How To Make That Harvey J. Earl Trophy Yours

Just as the Daytona 500 brings stock car racing roaring back to life, it also marks the beginning of the 2009 season for hundreds of thousands of fantasy racers across the country. And just as every driver in the 500 field needs a strong finish this Sunday to kick off their campaigns, every fantasy racer wants to get a jump on their competition the first weekend of the season. Picking a restrictor-plate race is never easy – but Frontstretch’s own Bryan Davis Keith and Mike Neff are nonetheless going to bump-draft you to the front of your respective leagues.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Get a Head Start on 2009 with a 2008 Stats Review

A season of fantasy racing has once again come and gone. Jimmie Johnson was the best at the end of the year, and came home with his third consecutive Cup Championship. But while Johnson was on top when the Chase wrapped up, he was far from the best fantasy driver on the race track. Instead, the wheelman with the best average finish for the entire season – who should have scored the most fantasy points for gamers – was Carl Edwards. His average finish was 9.5, more than a full position better than second-place Johnson, who came home with a 10.528 average for the year.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: How to Hold Your Own Homestead Trophy Celebration

Is Jimmie Johnson going to stroke it for the title, or is he going to race like he’s been racing during the Chase to try and score max points? Will Carl Edwards’s push to get the most out of the race cause him to drive over the edge, or can he bring home the checkered flag? Will any of last year’s winners who haven’t won this year finally break through; or, will a non-Chaser continue the streak of at least one race won by a driver outside the Chase every year? Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers can make your fantasy dreams come true one last time – and which ones should be on the beach drinking Mai Tais already.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: How To Pick Your Team Wisely in Sprint Cup’s Penultimate Race

Jimmie Johnson is determined to rebound from a bad week while Carl is hoping to dominate again and continue to close the points margin on Johnson. Meanwhile, the rest of Hendrick and Roush Fenway look to establish their dominance and seal the manufacturers’ championship for their make, while the non-Chase crowd is still pushing to continue the trend of having at least one Chase race won by a non-Chase qualifier every year since its inception. Also, expect to see some aggressive moves by those drivers who are not employed for next year. Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers will score the most points and which ones will be visiting Checker Auto Parts after the race.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Which Drivers to Turn Loose in Texas

Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards are, for all intents and purposes, the last two standing in the fight for the title this year, and again, it really isn’t much of a fight at this point. Aside from the two of them, everyone else is racing just for pride and money, and that could lead to some additional risk taking this coming weekend. Don’t underestimate the lesser known teams who have run well on 1.5-milers this weekend. There has not been a non-Chase winner this year yet and there has been one every year since the Chase was put into place. Read this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans to see which drivers will most likely be wearing the goofy hat at the end of the weekend.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Will Jimmie Johnson’s Chase March Yield Your Team Atlanta Gold?

The intermediate track-heavy run to the finish is underway this week, and the heavy reliance on downforce and the resultant “aero push” that comes from being in traffic will be prominent this weekend. Now that the race for the title is pretty much a three-man battle – with Carl Edwards barely within shouting distance – the majority of playoff contenders are going to be pushing for wins the rest of the year. The top 10 drivers in average finish at Atlanta are loaded with Chasers, which means that the potential for a non-Chase race winner is once again rather limited. There are some diamonds in the rough that aren’t too far back, though, so making the right midpack choices for your fantasy roster can pay off handsomely for gamers this weekend.

Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Keeping Martinsville Mayhem Off Your Team

The new and modern way of determining a series champion heads to the race track that has been on the Cup schedule the longest as it travels to Southern Virginia for the second and final trip to Martinsville. Fantasy gamers are once again on edge because they face the daunting possibility that their driver can be caught up in someone else’s mess, causing a weekend of ruin through no fault of their own on this half-mile short track. At least most of your team won’t be distracted by the mounting pressure of the Chase. At this point, the championship is down to a three or four driver race; everyone else in the field is either gunning for a victory or testing things to get a head start on next year. The worry for fantasy players, of course, is that their driver will be testing and have a failure before the race is over. But for the top three left battling for the trophy, failure is no longer an option.

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