KESELOWSKI PRIMED FOR FIRST CUP TITLE
ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 30 FOR HOMESTEAD
1. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski managed to avoid several late-race wrecks to finish sixth, giving him a 20-point lead in the Chase with just one race remaining. In four starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Keselowski has an Average Finish of 20.3. He led 11 laps in his 20th place finish at the 2011 race. His best start on the grid is fifth. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Keselowski ranks 23rd in Driver Rating (68.9) and 21st in Average Running Position (21.3). Keselowski’s scenario is simple: finish 15th-or-better, finish 16th-or-better and lead one lap or finish 17th-or-better and lead the most laps. Barring disaster, the No. 2 car will bring him the first Sprint Cup title for Penske Racing. Keselowski should be the top start in all formats.
2. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson blew a tire and crashed out at Phoenix giving him a 32nd-place finish. In 11 starts at Homestead, Johnson has four Top 5s, seven Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 13.5. He posted a 32nd-place finish last November. He’s led at least one lap in each of his last six starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid twice. Johnson ranks fifth in DR (95.2) and 11th in ARP (14.2). He failed to lead a lap for the first time in nine races. The upside for Fantasy owners is that Johnson is the only other driver that has a chance to catch Keselowski, and at 20-points back he has nothing to lose by being extra aggressive. He presents more risk than usual because of the situation but remains an excellent play in all formats.
3. Kyle Busch: Busch finished third at Phoenix, leading a race-high 237 laps. In seven starts at HMS, Busch has one Top 10 with an Average Finish of 25.9. He’s led at least one lap in four of his starts. He’s qualified fourth-or-better twice. Busch ranks 15th in DR (84.2) and 16th in ARP (17.7). He now has four consecutive starts inside the Top Four and five Top 5s in his last six starts. Busch may not be in contention for the Cup title, but neither is anyone else aside from Keselowski and Johnson. He’s one of the hottest drivers on the circuit and an excellent Fantasy option in all formats.
4. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished second at PIR and led 46 laps. In seven HMS starts, Hamlin has one win (2009), three Top 5s and four Top 10s with an Average Finish of 10.9. He finished ninth in last season’s finale. He’s led at least one lap in three of his starts. He’s never started higher than 10th on the grid. Hamlin ranks eighth in DR (92.5) and 12th in ARP (12.3). He’s had fantastic bounce back season and will end 2012 on a high-note. Fantasy owners can count on the No. 11 in all formats.
5. Greg Biffle: Biffle recorded his third consecutive Top 10 finish, with a seventh-place showing at Phoenix. In 10 starts at HMS, Biffle has three wins (2004-06) and four Top 10s with an Average Finish of 15.3. Biffle ranks ninth in DR (92.2) and 13th in ARP (14.5). Though he finished 35th last season at Homestead, he’s shown plenty of success there for Fantasy owners to look past it. Biffle’s been a consistent Fantasy performer all season long and has one more quality race left in him.
6. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished 14th at PIR. In 12 starts at Homestead, Kenseth has one win (2007), three Top 5s and five Top 10s with an Average Finish of 17.6. He finished fourth and led 15 laps in this race last season. He’s led at least one lap in four of his last five starts. He’s started inside the Top Four on the grid twice. Kenseth ranks third in DR (107.0) and in ARP (9.6). Prior to last week, he led laps in three straight races. He’s logged six straight Top 15s and is a quality Tiered/Grouping format option in the season finale.
7. Tony Stewart: Stewart finished 19th last weekend at Phoenix. In 13 HMS starts, Stewart has three wins (1999, 2000, 2011), four Top 5s and seven Top 10s with an Average Finish of 11.5. Smoke led 65 laps in his 2011 championship clinching win. He’s led at least one lap in each of his last three starts. His best start on the grid is fifth. Stewart ranks sixth in DR (93.1) and seventh in ARP (13.7). He does have two Top 5s in his last four starts and was dominant in his Cup clinching win last season. Fantasy owners should consider Stewart a risk-reward type play.
8. Kevin Harvick: Harvick snapped his 44-race losing streak, leading 15 laps at Phoenix and taking the Checkered Flag. In 11 Homestead starts, Harvick has five Top 5s and nine Top 10s with an Average Finish of 7.9. He finished a solid eighth and led 12 laps last season. He’s led at least one lap in three of his last four starts. His best start on the grid is fifth. Harvick ranks fourth in DR (102.5) and in ARP (9.7).Outside of last weekend’s win, he’s been way off the Fantasy radar and will provide great value in Tiered/Grouping formats.
9. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer’s streak of four consecutive finishes of sixth-or-better was snapped at PIR as he was wrecked by the No. 24 late in the race. In six starts at HMS, Bowyer has one Top 5 and three Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.8. Bowyer ranks 11th in DR (87.8) and sixth in ARP (13.1). Fresh off a fight and having his season ruined, Bowyer will look to go out on a high note and is a fantastic Tiered/Grouping format options.
10. Kasey Kahne: Kahne finished fourth a week ago at PIR. In eight Homestead starts, Kahne has one Top 5, four Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 14.8. He led 10 laps in the 2010 race. He’s qualified fourth-or-better six times. Kahne ranks 10th in DR (90.1) and fifth in ARP (12.9). He has three Top 5s in his last four Cup starts and should be locked into Tiered/Grouping format lineups.
11. Martin Truex Jr.: Two Top 5s and five Top 10s with an Average Finish of 10.4 in seven starts at Homestead. 109.7 DR.
12. Mark Martin: Four Top 5s and five Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.3 in 12 HMS starts. 86.1 DR.
13. Carl Edwards: Two wins (2008, 2010), five Top 5s, seven Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 5.3 in eight starts at the site. 120.9 DR.
14. Jeff Gordon: Six Top 5s and 10 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 11.3 in 13 starts at HMS. 92.9 DR.
15. Ryan Newman: Three Top 10s with an Average Finish of 18.4 in 10 starts at Homestead. 83.9 DR.
16. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Average Finish of 16.3 in last three Cup starts since returning from a concussion. 69.6 DR.
17. Kurt Busch: Won the 2002 event at HMS. 68.7 DR.
18. Jeff Burton: Four Top 5s in 13 starts at HMS. 86.5 DR.
19. Aric Almirola: Average Finish of 11.7 in last three Cup starts. 72.1 DR.
20. Joey Logano: Final race for Joe Gibbs Racing. 60.1 DR.
21. Jamie McMurray: 79.1 DR.
22. Juan Pablo Montoya: 68.2.
23. Sam Hornish Jr.: 51.4.
24. Trevor Bayne: 62.5.
25. Marcos Ambrose: 46.0.
26. Regan Smith
27. David Reutimann
28. Bobby Labonte
29. Paul Menard
30. Casey Mears
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