Hey everyone, KWise and Randy were unable to do the breakdown this week, so once again, you’re stuck with me. Practice saw a bunch of cars spin out and earn their Darlington stripes early. Dale Jr. hit the wall on the 2nd lap of practice and then hit it again once he got into his backup, which sadly doesn’t surprise me. Biffle and Bowyer are also going to backups.
For the record, I posted this breakdown immediately after today’s practices were over, so these rankings don’t reflect anything that happened in qualifying.
I’m hitting the road for Darlington at 4 pm today, so I may not be able to post my active roster in the forum for this weekend’s race. I will have my cell phone and can access email, so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments. Now onto practice.
A List Rankings: 11, 18, 24, 48, 2, 5, 42
- Denny Hamlin is in his own league right now. He’s fast in qualifying trim, fast in race trim and his car doesn’t fall off too much on long runs.
- Kyle Busch is very close to Hamlin and has been fast since unloading. He did hit the wall in 2nd practice, but it looked like the crew was able to fix it.
- Gordon does not seem to be able to run the very fast lap that Denny and Kyle can, but that car looks good on long runs and he has been in the Top 5 of 5 lap averages in race trim.
- Johnson’s car looks very similar to Gordon’s. He couldn’t lay down that fast lap in race trim, but was good on long runs and good in qualifying trim.
- I have Montoya, Ku. Busch and Mark Martin about even. Put those three in a hat and pull out a name.
B List Rankings: 31, 29, 9, 56, 39, 1, 12
- The RCR guys all look awesome. Bowyer was fast in his primary car, but did not make my rankings since he is in a backup. With Bowyer being a 9 start guy this season, I’d bench him. As I mentioned earlier, Dale Jr is in a backup, McMurray and Logano both earned stripes.
- McMurray looked awesome in qualifying trim, but I don’t have confidence in that car for the race.
- Noticeably absent from the B List rankings is Matt Kenseth. He has been slow since he unloaded and is too valuable to risk here.
C List Rankings: 43, 98, 77, 78
- Allmendinger looks to be the class of the C Listers. Unfortunately for all of us who have him on our teams, he drew first in qualifying order, so don’t be surprised to see him qualify towards the back. But we do know he has a fast car in race trim, so be sure to factor that in if a subpar qualiyfing effort is trying to scare you off him.
- After the Dinger, the 98 and 77 looked to be pretty even, but the 98 got the #2 ranking because Hornish scares the hell out of me on easier racktracks. At Darlington, I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole, especially after watching better drivers hit the wall in practice.
My pick to win: Denny Hamlin
Sleeper: Martin Truex Jr.
Avoid: All Roush drivers. Biffle looked pretty fast in his primary, but hasn’t shown much in his backup. Edwards is simply terrible right now.
In the words of our Practice Breakdown guru, KWiseman, “Good Luck FNP’ers”.