Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

MWR Strong Again at “The Monster”

Over the two practice sessions this weekend in Dover, quite a few teams never showed up on the ten-lap average chart, which makes it very difficult for fantasy racers to “crunch the numbers.” ifantasyrace has you covered, though: this practice chart (click here) takes a driver’s speed from each individual lap and averages it out to get one final number. Essentially, average practice speeds are even more accurate than ten-lap averages (in my opinion). Denny Hamlin grabbed his first career pole at Dover on Saturday, and the full starting lineup for the AAA 400 can be found by clicking here.

Don’t forget that you can save 10% off of a subscription this week by using the promo code “gofantasyracing“.

My Probable Yahoo! Roster: Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Martin Truex, Jr., Sam Hornish, Jr.
My Probable Yahoo! Bench: Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Aric Almirola

Final Top Fifteen Ranking For The AAA 400:
*Chase drivers marked in red

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11. Ryan Newman – Starts 8th – Yahoo! B Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**

The Rocketman actually has the third-best average finish at Dover (11.7) out of all active drivers in the Sprint Cup series. Statistically, this is his second-best track on the circuit. In twenty-one career starts here, Newman has visited victory lane three times (most recently in 2004) and amassed 11 top 10 finishes. The #39 wasn’t blazing fast in the practice sessions on Friday, but Newman was decent on the overall average speed chart and was 13th in terms of ten-lap average during Happy Hour. The only thing of real concern with Newman this week is that he has only one top 10 in the last five Dover races. On the other hand, it’s hard to go against a driver who has finished 11th or better in seven of the last nine Sprint Cup races. The Rocketman started 3rd and finished 15th here back in June.

12. Matt Kenseth – Starts 12th – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: High Risk**

This team had to make an absolute overhaul changes between the practice sessions and qualifying because the #17 was in a whole another league on Friday (in a bad way, not a good way). Kenseth never cracked the top 35 in either practice session and was so bad on the overall average speed chart that…wait for it…DANICA PATRICK was faster than him. If your jaw didn’t drop when you saw that Kenseth qualified 12th on Saturday, then I’m not sure anything could really surprise you. There are only a few teams that can turn around a weekend like that here in Dover, however, and the #17 is one of them. This is Kenseth’s fifth-best track on the circuit and he owns the fifth-best average finish (11.8) here out of all active drivers. In the last nine races at The Monster Mile, Kenseth has failed to finish inside the top 5 just once. He’s high risk for obvious reasons, so pick him if you want to.

13. Joey Logano – Starts 14th – Yahoo! B Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**

Sliced Bread caught my eye in first practice and just kind of kept getting a little better as the weekend went on. The Gibbs cars have all been rocketships for the past two or three weekends, and that hasn’t changed in Dover. Joey ranked near the top of the overall average speed chart this week and ran 8th here back in June after starting 11th. I’m not saying that Logano will give you another top 10 on Sunday, but it’s not out of the question. With this team’s 8th-place effort in Loudon last Sunday, they now have two straight top 10s in Sprint Cup action, something that has only happened three times this year (so far). If it makes any difference to you, Logano is pretty much dominating the Nationwide race as I type this.

14. Sam Hornish, Jr. – Starts 4th – Yahoo! C Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**

Hornish has been in the back of my mind for the AAA 400 since Monday. Remember, Kurt Busch drove this car to a win in this race last season after starting 2nd and leading 90 laps. Sam hasn’t qualified this well all season and I honestly believe that this could be the weekend where we hear his name mentioned early and often as he keeps up with “the big boys”. It will all come down to whether this team can finish the race, though, as well as not making any mistakes along the way. Hornish was average in terms of overall average speed on Friday but ranked 8th in terms of ten-lap average during Happy Hour. His best finish in the Sprint Cup series at Dover has been 13th, which came back in 2009 with Penske. He’s running 6th in the Nationwide race as I type this if that means anything to you.

15. Mark Martin – Starts 26th – Yahoo! B Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**

I’m not exactly sure what happened with the #55 during qualifying, but don’t let that 26th-place effort make you think that Mark Martin has a terrible car this weekend. On Friday, Martin was one of the fastest on the overall average speed chart and only Kyle Busch had a better ten-lap average than him during Happy Hour. Going off of those speeds, it would seem like the #55 could get a top 5 finish on Sunday, but don’t jump the guns. Keep in mind that when the old man is behind the wheel in this car, it’s not very likely that he finishes better than 9th or so no matter how strong the engine is (for whatever reason). Martin won the pole here back in June and finished 14th in that race. He’ll have to do the passing on Sunday as opposed to getting passed, but I think you can count on Martin to get you a solid top 15.

Those To Avoid For The AAA 400:

Tony Stewart – Let me refresh your memory of what I said about Tony Stewart earlier this week: … “With his 25th-place effort here back in June, Stewart now has four finishes outside of the top 20 at this track and has recorded only four top 10s in his last FIFTEEN starts. Don’t let his somewhat attractive average finish of 13.4 here fool you: Tony Stewart won’t be a good pick this weekend, and you should avoid him at all costs.” … Not much has changed between then and now. Drivers faster than Smoke in Happy Hour include the likes of Mike Bliss, J.J. Yeley, Jason Leffler, and DANICA PATRICK. Yeah, that last one really did me in. You couldn’t pay me to pick the #14 this weekend.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – This team seriously looks to be on the *cue Nick Swardson* spiral (if you click that video link, please be aware that there is some language). It’s a very noticeable step back, and I think Junior’s championship hopes will go up in smoke (not literally) on Sunday. He finished 4th here back in June, but that was with a better car and a somewhat better qualifying effort. The #88 will roll off the grid in 25th on Sunday, and while I do think he could run top 15 by the end of the AAA 400, that’s not the kind of finish you want out of a fantasy stud like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. I’d pass on NASCAR’s favorite driver for another week if I were you.