This is a new feature discussing the best drivers put on your fantasy team for this weekend’s race. Drivers are broken down by A, B, and C List categories and based off of Yahoo’s listings.
Don’t blame me if you pick these drivers and have a bad week. Chances are I took the same drivers as well and I’m in the same boat you’re in.
For each category I’m going to give the drivers you should put on your team, plus a “wild-card” driver as a maybe, and a driver or two to avoid for this week’s race.
This week the Sprint Cup Series takes on the Magic Mile, New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the second race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s a one-mile flat oval.
A-List Drivers to have:
Tony Stewart: Smoke has three wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and an average finish of 11.6. He’s pretty good there. Though he finished 12th here back in July, he won here back in September. Stewart also boasts 14 top-fives and 16 top-10s at NHMS.
Denny Hamlin: Hamlin may only have one win here, but he has an average finish of 8.6, six top-fives and nine top-10s. Hamlin dominated here in July, leading 150 laps to a second-place finish. He’s fantastic at flat tracks as well. He has seven wins total in the Sprint Cup Series on flat tracks.
A-List “Wild-Card” Drivers:
Jimmie Johnson: I know, I know. You’re saying to yourself, “In what world is Johnson ever a wild-card driver?” And you’re right. He’s not. However, I personally feel that Hamlin and Stewart are better choices than Johnson at NHMS. But barely. Johnson has three wins here; an average finish of 9.9. He has seven top-fives and 14 top-10s. Like I said, he’s not a wild-card by definition.
Kevin Harvick: Harvick is a feast-or-famine driver at NHMS. He has one win here and that came in the fall of 2006. He has an average finish of 13.8 which isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. He finished fifth in both NHMS races in 2010, but his best finish since was an eighth-place finish this past July. Harvick is also still a wild-card for basically every race until the end of the season because of his performance this season. Some races they run well, others they don’t. Harvick is known for consistency, but hasn’t shown much of that in 2012.
A-List Drivers to Avoid:
Carl Edwards: Edwards is in the midst of a terrible season following right on the heels of one of his best ever. He tied for the Championship last year, and only lost to Stewart because Smoke had more wins. This year Edwards has just been plain bad. He only has two top-fives on the whole season. If anything bad can happen to the number 99 team, it will happen. That probably won’t change at NHMS, a track where he only has two top-fives throughout his career.
B-List Drivers to Have:
Clint Bowyer: NHMS is Bowyer’s best race track besides Talladega. Two of Bowyer’s seven career wins have come at NHMS. Four of those seven wins have come on flat race tracks (Richmond, twice). The remaining three wins were at Talladega (twice) and Sonoma. Bowyer finished third here in July, and won at Richmond two weeks ago.
Kasey Kahne: Kahne got his first career win at NHMS this past July. He boasts a decent average finish of 16.8 with two top-fives and seven top-10s. For a B-List driver, these are pretty good drivers. Especially when you take into account that 2012 is basically the first year that Kahne has been in top-flight equipment.
Martin Truex Jr.: Though Truex doesn’t have a win in the Cup Series at NHMS, he’s always run well there. He has an average finish of 14.8, three top-fives, and five top-10s. Truex is in the midst of his best season since 2007 as well so now is a good time to use him.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt, just like Truex doesn’t have a win at NHMS. By Earnhardt’s standards, NHMS hasn’t been a great track. But for B-List standards, Earnhardt’s stats are pretty good. He has seven top-fives and 11 top-10s with an average finish of 16.2. He also finished fourth here in July.
B-List “Wild-Card” Driver:
Greg Biffle: “The Biff” has decent stats at the Magic Mile. He has a win, five top-fives and eight top-10s, but has an average finish of 16.2. He finished ninth here in July.
B-List Driver to Avoid:
Juan Pablo Montoya: The whole Earnhardt-Ganassi Organization has been terrible since the 2010 season ended. Montoya has been horrible since he made the Chase in 2009. He only has two top-10s on the whole season. He has one top-five, and two top-10s at NHMS and average finish of 20th. Stay away from Montoya this weekend.
As I always say, the C-List is mostly a toss-up. However, this week it really isn’t. There’s two drivers you should definitely have on your team this week.
Brian Vickers: After Red Bull Racing closed its doors at the end of last season, Vickers was left without a ride. But he kept busy. He did some sports car racing in Europe. And then Michael Waltrip Racing called. Mark Martin is running a partial schedule. They needed someone to race the races that Martin was sitting out. Vickers jumped at the opportunity and has looked like a star in the races he’s run this season. He’s only had one bad race (Watkins Glen) and that was because his engine failed before he even completed one lap. Use him. Save some starts for some of your other C-List drivers.
Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish has been nothing short of spectacular in the races he’s run this season. Sure he only finished 22nd here back in July. But that’s pretty good for a C-List driver.