ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 30 FOR MARTINSVILLE
1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson and the No. 48 team fought back from an early wreck to post an impressive ninth-place finish at Kansas. In 21 starts at Martinsville Speedway, Johnson has six wins (2004, 2006, 2007 sweep, 2008, 2009), 14 Top 5s, 18 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 5.8. He’s led at least 42 laps in 12 of his last 16 starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid four times. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Johnson leads all competitors in Driver Rating (121.4), Laps Led (1,617), Laps in the Top 15 (6,854), Average Green Flag Speed (91.456 mph) and Quality Passes (542). He ranks second in Average Running Position (6.4) and Fastest Laps Run (742). Johnson also led 44 laps a week ago, giving him at least two laps led in all six Chase races. The resiliency the No. 48 squad showed at Kansas combined with their overall consistency makes Johnson the top play in all formats once again.
2. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished 13th at Kansas, dropping him 20-points off the Chase pace. In 14 Martinsville starts, Hamlin has four wins (2008, 2009, 2010 sweep), nine Top 5s, 12 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 6.4. He’s led at least 40 laps in each of his last six starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid four times. Hamlin ranks third in DR (113.4), ARP (8.5), Laps Led (1,127), Laps in the Top 15 (5,844), Fastest Laps Run (495) and Average Green Flag Speed (91.289 mph). He failed to lead a lap for the second time in his last three starts. Regardless, Hamlin remains a premier Fantasy option in all formats in his home state of Virginia.
3. Brad Keselowski: After a costly fuel gaffe two races ago, Keselowski bounced back nicely by finishing eighth at Kansas. In five starts at MS, Keselowski has two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.4. He started third on the grid in the 2011 October race. Keselowski ranks 14th in DR (82.3) and 13thin ARP (15.2). With Johnson breathing right down his neck, Keselowski continues to log solid finishes. The No. 2 will come at a surprisingly good value with all the Fantasy attention being showered on Johnson and Hamlin this week.
4. Jeff Gordon: Gordon finished 10th and led two laps at KS. In 39 starts at Martinsville, Gordon has seven wins (1996, 1997, 1999, 2003 sweep, 2005 sweep), 25 Top 5s, 31 Top 10s and seven poles with an Average Finish of 7.1. He’s led at least six laps in 17 of his last 18 starts, including 113 in the October 2011 event. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid 18 times. Gordon ranks second in DR (120.8), Laps Led (1,569), Laps in the Top 15 (6,775), Average Green Flag Speed (91.447 mph) and Quality Passes (486). He leads all drivers in ARP (6.4) and Fastest Laps Run (826). Since the disaster that was Chicagoland, Gordon has led at least one lap in every Chase race. He will continue to be overlooked in Fantasy leagues because he’s not contending for the title, making him a fine value in all formats.
5. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won his second race of the 2012 Chase at Kansas, leading 78 laps in the process. In 25 starts at MS, Kenseth has three Top 5s and eight Top 10s with an Average Finish of 16.0. He’s led at least one lap in eight starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid twice. Kenseth ranks 17th in DR (79.1) and in ARP (17.5). Despite two wins in his last three starts, Kenseth is not a contender for the 2012 title. He is, however, getting hot at a time when he’s not being given much Fantasy consideration. He’s an optimal play for Fantasy owners looking to go against the grain.
6. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished sixth at Kansas and led five laps. In 13 MS starts, Bowyer has one Top 5 and seven Top 10s with an Average Finish of 14.7. He’s led at least two laps in two of his last three starts. He’s qualified fourth-or-better twice. Bowyer ranks 10th in DR (87.9) and seventh in ARP (14.0). He quietly sits 25-points off the Chase pace in fourth-place, and has been a Fantasy factor in all six Chase races. He’s a must-start in Tiered/Grouping formats.
7. Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished fourth with a single lap led last weekend at Kansas. In 17 Martinsville starts, Kahne has one Top 5, two Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 21.7. He led one lap in the April 2011 race. He’s qualified inside the Top Four twice. Kahne ranks 21st in DR (73.5) and 22nd in ARP (21.8). He’s 30-points off the pace, but remains in the championship conversation. Martinsville hasn’t been one of Kahne’s best tracks, but the way he’s been running puts him in must-start Tiered/Grouping format territory.
8. Tony Stewart: Stewart finished fifth at Kansas, his first Top 5 since early-September. In 27 starts at Martinsville, Stewart has three wins (2000, 2006, 2011), nine Top 5s, 15 Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 13.2. He’s led at least one lap in 12 starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid five times. Stewart ranks fourth in DR (101.5) and in ARP (10.3). He’s been streaky all year, but the silver-lining is that when he’s been good, he’s been great.
9. Kevin Harvick: Harvick finished 11th at Kansas, and has now finished between 10th and 16th in each of his last seven Cup starts. In 22 MS starts, Harvick has one win (2011), three Top 5s and 10 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 16.0. He’s led at least six laps in his last four starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid twice. Harvick ranks seventh in DR (93.9) and eighth in ARP (14.2). His run of mediocrity is becoming legendary. While Harvick isn’t an ideal Fantasy option, he does present a certain amount of consistency with upside sprinkled in.
10. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex. Jr. finished second at Kansas. In 13 starts at Martinsville, Truex Jr. has two Top 5s and four Top 10s with an Average Finish of 21.4. He led one lap in the April 2007 race. He’s qualified fourth-or-better twice. Truex Jr. ranks 24th in DR (68.4) and 25th in ARP (22.1). He hasn’t led a single lap since the Chase began, but he’s posting quality finishes (nothing below 17th). He can be trusted in Tiered/Grouping formats.
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Ten Top 5s and 14 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.4 in 25 starts at Martinsville. 100.1 DR.
12. Kyle Busch: Six Top 5s and seven Top 10s with an Average Finish of 14.6 in 15 starts at MS. 94.4 DR.
13. Ryan Newman: One win (2012), seven Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and three poles with an Average Finish of 13.7 in 21 Martinsville starts. 90.1 DR.
14. Jeff Burton: One win (1997), 10 Top 5s and 16 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 17.5 in 36 starts at MS. 88.9 DR.
15. Greg Biffle: Two Top 10s with an Average Finish of 19.7 in 19 MS starts. 67.6 DR.
16. Carl Edwards: 80.5 DR.
17. Brian Vickers: 75.5 DR.
18. Joey Logano: 77.0 DR.
19. A.J. Allmendinger: 69.6 DR.
20. Kurt Busch: 77.2 DR.
21. Marcos Ambrose: 64.5 DR.
22. Paul Menard: 57.7.
23. Regan Smith: 54.7.
24. Bobby Labonte: 65.8.
25. Aric Almirola: 57.5.
26. Juan Pablo Montoya
27. Jamie McMurray
28. Sam Hornish Jr.
29. David Reutimann
30. David Ragan