ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 25 FOR RICHMOND
1. Kyle Busch: Busch couldn’t get anything going at Kansas, spinning out twice and posting a 38th-place DNF. In 16 starts a Richmond International Raceway, Busch has four wins (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), 12 Top 5s, 16 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 5.4. He’s led at least 32 laps in five of his last nine starts. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Busch ranks second in Driver Rating (113.9) and third in Average Running Position (7.6). Prior to last week, Busch had logged five-straight Top 5s. Kansas can be viewed as a minor setback and nothing more, as Busch will get back in the business of Top 5s at Richmond.
2. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson started 21st on the grid and carved his way through the field to an impressive third-place finish. In 22 starts at RIR, Johnson has three wins (2007 sweep, 2008), five Top 5s, eight Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 16.5. He’s led at least one lap in four of his last five starts. He’s qualified fourth-or-better eight times. Johnson ranks ninth in DR (90.4) and 11th in ARP (15.3). He now has an Average Finish of 6.6 on the season and is running as well as he ever has. If you can spare the starts in Tiered/Grouping formats, enjoy the spoils.
3. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished fifth at Kansas giving him two Top 5 finishes in his last three Cup starts. In 14 Richmond starts, Bowyer has two wins (2008, 2012) and eight Top 10s with an Average Finish of 9.6. He’s led at least 18 laps in three of his last five starts. Bowyer ranks fourth in DR (98.5) and in ARP (10.2). He’s led just one lap all season (Daytona) but has consistently posted quality finishes. He also won the September 2012 race at RIR. Fantasy owners looking for value in Tiered/Grouping formats need to lock Bowyer into their lineups.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior finished 16th at Kansas and led a lap (one) for the second time this season. In 27 RIR starts, Earnhardt Jr. has three wins (2000, 2004, 2006), nine Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 13.9. He led 67 laps in the September 2012 race, which he started from the pole. Earnhardt Jr. ranks 13th in DR (85.8) and ninth in ARP (15.2). It may appear that he’s gone cold but that’s not the case. He’s run quality races over the last three weeks with an Average Finish of 23.0 but an ARP of 14.1. The poor finishes won’t continue much longer.
5. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won his second race of 2013 with a dominating performance, leading 163 laps from the pole. In 26 Richmond starts, Kenseth has one win (2002), four Top 5s and 10 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 16.5. He’s led at least 15 laps in two of his last four starts. Kenseth ranks 17th in DR (80.5) and 18th in ARP (17.7). Aside from bad luck in a few races, Kenseth has been nothing short of incredible in his first year at JGR, highlighted by his sparking 7.3 ARP on the season. While never a sexy pick, Kenseth is as solid an option as there is and will remain one through the suspension of his crew chief.
6. Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished second at Kansas, giving him three Top Two finishes this season. In 18 starts at Richmond, Kahne has one win (2005), four Top 5s, seven Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 18.0. He’s led at least three laps in two of his last four starts. Kahne ranks 12th in DR (87.8) and 14th in ARP (16.5). He hasn’t finished worse than 11th in his last six races and his running as well as he ever has. Consider Kahne another value play in Tiered/Grouping formats.
7. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski overcame an ARP of 21.6 to finish sixth at Kansas. In seven starts at RIR, Keselowski has two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 76.8. Both Top 10s came in 2012. Keselowski ranks 19th in DR (76.8) and in ARP (17.8). The Blue Deuce is never out of it. Keselowski fell to dead last at one point last weekend and fought through major adversity to a quality finish. He’s a versatile driver, who can and will succeed at any track regardless of history. Tiered/Grouping format owners would be wise to get one more start out of him before the appeals hearing for his crew chief on May 1. Just in case.
8. Mark Martin: Martin finished ninth at Kansas, giving him two Top 10s in his last three Cup starts. In 54 RIR starts, Martin has one win, 18 Top 5s, 30 Top 10s and five poles with an Average Finish of 11.9. He led 29 laps in the April 2012 race. Martin ranks seventh in DR (92.6) and in ARP (13.1). The fact that he’s on a mini-Top 10 streak combined with the fact he’s logged three straight Top 10s at Richmond, makes Martin a very solid and low risk option in all formats.
9. Carl Edwards: Edwards started second on the grid and led 19 laps at Kansas but ultimately finished in a middling 17th place. In 17 appearances at RIR, Edwards has three Top 5s, eight Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 14.9. He’s led at least two laps in five of his last six starts. Edwards ranks 11th in DR (88.4) and 10th in ARP (15.3). He’s posted five Top 10s in his last six starts at Richmond. Edwards has a lot of upside and should be in all provisional Tiered/Grouping format lineups.
10. Kevin Harvick: Harvick’s streak of mediocrity continued at Kansas with a 12th-place finish and zero laps led. In 24 Richmond starts, Harvick has two wins (2006), six Top 5s, 15 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 11.7. He led 202 laps in his September 2011 victory. Harvick ranks third in DR (111.1) and second in ARP (7.5). He leads all drivers in Laps in the Top 15 (5,910) and Quality Passes (528). To be fair, he looked really good at times at Kansas and still has upside. He’s a low-end Tiered/Grouping format option.
11. Jeff Gordon: Two wins (1996, 2000), 16 Top 5s, 25 Top 10s and five poles with an Average Finish of 14.4 in 40 RIR appearances. 96.6 DR.
12. Ryan Newman: One win (2003), five Top 5s, 13 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 11.6 in 22 starts at Richmond. 92.0 DR.
13. Aric Almirola: Average Finish of 26.0 in two RIR starts. 63.7 DR.
14. Martin Truex Jr.: One Top 5 and two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 24.1 in 14 Richmond starts. 79.3 DR.
15. Tony Stewart: Three wins (1999, 2001, 2002), 11 Top 5s and 19 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 10.4 in 28 starts at RIR. 97.9 DR.
16. Jamie McMurray: 70.9 DR.
17. Kurt Busch: 88.6.
18. Marcos Ambrose: 72.5.
19. Paul Menard: 54.6.
20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: DR N/A.
21. Brian Vickers
22. Joey Logano
23. Greg Biffle
24. Jeff Burton
25. A.J. Allmendinger
1. Aric Almirola: Has logged back-to-back Top 10s in his last two Cup starts with a combined DR of 99.3 in that span.
2. A.J. Allmendinger: Average Finish of 13.3 with no finish worse than 16th in three starts this season.
3. Jamie McMurray: Three Top 10s in his last five Cup starts with a DR of 80.0 or higher in each of those five races.
2013 NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Lineup for Texas (Salary Cap)
Jimmie Johnson $27.75
Clint Bowyer $26.25
Carl Edwards $23.50
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $13.25
A.J. Allmendinger $ 8.75