Some drivers love the strategy involved in drafting – picking and choosing partners and lines while using airflow to their absolute advantage. Other drivers just don’t get it, and lament the loss of control over their own destiny that comes with having to rely on someone else to make moves ahead of them. And this time around, there’s an even bigger unknown; in particular, how the CoT will make its restrictor plate debut. All of this makes for a particularly tricky race when considering your fantasy picks, and even then, this is one where simply surviving will win out over skill. So, who will figure it out and get lucky? Because, in all honesty, it will probably take a little bit of both. Keep reading on to see who is worth the gamble and who needs to sit this one out in this week’s Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans…
12. Denny Hamlin – Gets rubbed by a pit lizard.
After a wild and wacky weekend at Kansas, people are still trying to figure out who won the race, let alone what the ramifications were on top of the Chase standings. However, as the dust settles and reality sets in that Greg Biffle snagged the win – fair or unfair – the focus should switch to just how clearly the title Chase unfolded after a rain-shortened, crash-filled frenzy in the Midwest. After six drivers were within 28 points heading into the event, now just two are within 114 of new Chase leader Jimmie Johnson – superstar Jeff Gordon and surprise Clint Bowyer. Everyone else got swept up by a Kansas tornado; in fact, half the title contenders finished 35th or worse, putting their Chase hopes in serious doubt heading to Talladega and beyond.
Clint Bowyer was trying to reel in Greg Biffle when Juan Pablo Montoya slapped the wall and blew a tire, forcing the race to end under caution.
Jeff Gordon – Gordon won the first two Cup races at Kansas and finished fifth in his third start at the track. He hasn’t had a top five here since then, though, and last year suffered a mechanical DNF.
Week three of the Chase finds the traveling road show in the Heartland of America at Kansas Speedway, the newest of the “cookie-cutter” tracks that have come to dominate the schedule in recent years. When it comes to intermediates, there’s one other thing to be aware of; they’re usually the type of racetrack where history repeats itself. Because of that, we’ve gone back through the history books, ready to drop some knowledge from the past to help your future for this week’s edition of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.
Each week, we’ll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover Downs.
When looking at the schedule of the 10 races in the Chase, most people would have pointed to Talladega as the track where both wrecks and bad luck could turn the tide in the championship. But in Dover on Sunday, it was the Monster Mile played tough as the new Talladega asphalt, taking a swing at some of the biggest names in the sport – and making contact. By the end of the day, 13 caution flags had waved, and four Chasers found themselves finishing 20th or lower. As is always the case when some people find misfortune, others reap the benefits.
Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team elected to stay out on worn tires during the penultimate caution period, and he was able to hold off his teammate Greg Biffle on four fresh tires.
Jimmie Johnson – Johnson won both Cup races at Dover in 2002, as well as this event in 2005. He has top-10 finishes in seven of 11 Cup starts here – but has missed the mark the last two times out.
With the playoffs moving full steam ahead towards round 2 this weekend, the strategy for your team shouldn’t change all that much. While the Monster Mile has been known to cause damage to its fair share of racecars, it usually doesn’t take too much of a toll on Chase contenders. One or two will most likely take a hit, but the majority will be near the front and finish in the top 15 or better. Which ones have that extra leg up on the rest of their playoff competition, though? Find out in this week’s edition of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.
One race down… nine races to go. After his dominating performance on Sunday, Clint Bowyer has to be asking himself what the big deal is about all this Chase pressure everyone kept talking to him about. The only winless driver in the playoffs, he threw that status right out the window Sunday, coming out of the gates strong to score the first victory of his Cup career and climbing to fourth in points in the process. But Bowyer didn’t stand alone in his success. In fact, the top seven finishing positions on Sunday went to drivers within the Chase field; only three ended the day outside the top 15, leaving the 12-car lineup more tightly bunched at this juncture than ever before.