ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 25 FOR KENTUCKY
1. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski led seven early laps at Sonoma, but finished a disappointing 21st. In two starts at Kentucky Speedway, Keselowski has one win (2012) and two Tops 5s with an Average Finish of 4.0. He’s led at least 68 laps in each of his two starts. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Keselowski ranks second in Driver Rating (128.2), Average Running Position (3.9), Laps Led (147), Fastest Laps Run (72) and Average Green Flag Speed (171.762 mph) at the site. He leads all drivers in Laps in the Top 15 (526). Keselowski is ninth in the standings and winless, meaning his Chase spot in anything but secured. That will change this weekend as this is the longest a defending champion has gone winless into the next season. He will come at a solid value across all formats.
2. Kyle Busch: Busch finished 35th at Sonoma, but he had some bad luck. In two starts at Kentucky, Busch has one win (2011) and two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 5.5. He’s led at least 118 laps in each of his two starts. Busch leads all competitors in DR (133.0), ARP (3.6), Laps Led (243) and Fastest Laps Run (92). He’s been dominant at Kentucky, and prior to last week he had two Top 5s and three Top 10s in his previous three Cup starts. He’s a must-play in Tiered/Grouping formats.
3. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson finished a quiet ninth at Infineon Raceway, posting a solid 102.9 DR. In two KS starts, Johnson has one Top 5, two Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 4.5. He led 21 laps in the 2012 event. Johnson ranks third in DR (119.5) and in ARP (4.7). He leads all drivers in Average Green Flag Speed (171.807 mph). He’s never finished worse than sixth at KS and the way he’s been running lately puts him in must-start territory, as usual.
4. Jeff Gordon: Gordon logged his best finish of 2013 last weekend in Sonoma, posting a second-place finish with four laps led. In two starts at KS, Gordon has one Top 5 and two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 7.5. His best starting position is ninth (2012). Gordon ranks ninth in DR (89.8) and 12th in ARP (13.9). He now has two Top 5s in his last four Cup starts and is a safe play for this weekend. He will come at a quality value in all formats.
5. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. won his first race in six years (218 races) at Sonoma, leading 51 laps in the process. In two Kentucky starts, Truex Jr. has one Top 10 with an Average Finish of 13.0. He led one lap in the 2011 race. Truex Jr. ranks 10th in DR (88.8) and ninth in ARP (12.8). He’s been hot, finishing third at Michigan a couple of weeks ago. He should be in all provisional Tiered/Grouping format lineups.
6. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished 23rd at Infineon in a total lackluster performance. In two starts at KS, Hamlin has one Top 5 with an Average Finish of 7.0. He’s led at least five laps in each of his two starts. Hamlin ranks fourth in DR (105.0) and in ARP (8.7) at the site. Hamlin’s season is on the line this week, as his already slim shot at making the Chase will disappear with anything short of a Top 5. He looked great in this race a season ago and will need to replicate that performance to have any playoff hopes. He’s in desperation mode, making him a high-risk-high-reward option in all formats.
7. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished 19th at Infineon, running at a better-than-usual 13.6 ARP. In two starts at Kentucky, Kenseth has two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 6.5. He has an Average Starting Position of 16.5. Kenseth ranks fifth in DR (98.2) and sixth in ARP (10.0). He remains high-risk-high-reward, as he has just one Top 10 in his last five Cup starts. He also hasn’t led a lap in his last three starts. That said, he’s consistently been among the fastest cars every week. Fantasy owners should proceed with caution.
8. Carl Edwards: Edwards finished third at Sonoma and posted a DR of 100.0 or higher for the third-consecutive race. In two Kentucky starts, Edwards has one Top 5 with an Average Finish of 12.5. He finished 20th in the 2012 event. Edwards ranks seventh in DR (94.3) and fifth in ARP (9.7). He hasn’t finished worse than 18th since Daytona and has been among the most consistent weekly performers. He can be trusted in all formats.
9. Kurt Busch: Busch’s fourth-place performance is even more impressive considering he took two speeding penalties and was a lap down at one point. In two KS starts, Busch has one Top 10 with an Average Finish of 14.0. He led 41 laps in the 2011 race. Busch ranks eighth in DR (92.6) and seventh in ARP (12.1). The No. 78 team has been its own worst enemy and the main reason for not posting a win yet this season. Eventually that will change, but at this point, Busch remains a solid play in all formats.
10. Kasey Kahne: After three finishes with an Average Finish of 32.3, Kahne bounced back at Sonoma with a sixth-place performance. In two starts at Kentucky, Kahne has one Top 5 with an Average Finish of 7.5. He led one lap in the 2011 event. Kahne ranks sixth in DR (96.7) and 13th in ARP (15.1). He’s been one of the fastest cars on a weekly basis, and his mini-slump is over.
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: One Top 5 with an Average Finish of 17.0 in two Kentucky starts. 88.3 DR.
12. Kevin Harvick: Average Finish of 13.5 in two starts at KS. 88.2 DR.
13. Tony Stewart: Average Finish of 22.0 in two starts at Kentucky. 74.0 DR.
14. Greg Biffle: Average Finish of 21.0 in two starts at the site. 84.9 DR.
15. Clint Bowyer: Average Finish of 25.5 in two starts at KS. 70.5 DR.
16. Joey Logano: 74.2 DR.
17. Paul Menard: 80.2.
18. Brian Vickers: 56.2.
19. Jamie McMurray: 66.2.
20. Ryan Newman: 79.5.
21. Aric Almirola
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Marcos Ambrose
24. Juan Pablo Montoya
25. Jeff Burton
Austin Dillon: Finished 11th (Michigan) in his last Cup starts. Won both 2012 Nationwide Series races at Kentucky, leading 192 (June) and 65 laps (September).
A.J. Allmendinger: Finished ninth in this event last season.
Casey Mears: Finished 16th at Sonoma last weekend, his best finish since April. Led one lap in this event last year.
2013 NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Lineup for Kentucky (Salary Cap)
Jimmie Johnson $27.75
Brad Keselowski $26.00
Kurt Busch $19.75
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $13.25
A.J. Allmendinger $ 9.50