Back to normal racing guys. Top 10 cars from practices were 14, 48, 99, 88, 2, 5, 18, 42, 11, 24. 24 looked subpar again in practice though. Top 15 cars are 1, 00, 9, 16, 12. 17 just missed top 15.
Jeff Gordon struggled once again in practice as usual but usually seems to magically find the setup for raceday. With the 5 not looking like a world beater and only having 1 start left with Mark, i’m probably going to start the polesitter.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 2nd in 10 lap averages and looks as strong as anybody. I think he and Lance McGrew have to end the year on a high note so expect the 88 to be in my lineup. Earnhardt ran a lot of laps and should be very good on the long runs, which i expect there to be on sunday. The top groove should be brought in by the Nationwide cars and that’s where i expect Jr. to be on sunday. With lap times alone Dale is a top 5 car.
Tony Stewart was very comfortable in his ride and good on long runs. Tony’s my pick to win on sunday. His teammate Ryan Newman was not as happy with the car but seems decent and i look for the 39 to be in the top 20.
Kurt Busch was very strong in the 1st practice saturday. I expect him to be up front all day and to get a top 10 finish as long as he doesn’t run into any bad luck. If you have allocations for Kurt left you almost have to unload him here.
Denny Hamlin starts deep in the pack but should challenge for a top 1o. With only one allocation left i’m saving him for Phoenix. He tends to practice really well and not race as well on the intermediate tracks for whatever reason.
Juan Pablo Montoya wasn’t as happy as he has been in recent weeks. JPM fought a loose race car most of Happy Hour. Still yet his lap times look top 10 and if anyone knows how to drive a loose race car Juan is your man.
David Reutimann was the fastest car in the morning session on saturday. He too worked on long runs on saturday is a top 15 car heading into the race. Reuty likes this place and is my 2nd B list driver as of right now.
Kasey Kahne seemed to be a top 15 to top 20 car, which means Kenny Francis will say they are junk. No word on what engine package they are running but i’m guessing R5 as they just seem to be down on power a little.
Brad Keselowski didn’t get the qualifying effort he wanted but has a very solid race car. I see Brad challenging for a top 15 finish as long as he takes his time coming through traffic. He ran a lot of laps and should excel on the long runs.
Alright so i’m picking Tony Stewart to win. B list sleepers are David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr. Look for Brad Keselowski to finish top 15 in his first race with Penske and A.J. Allmendinger could suprise with a top 20 finish.
Good luck FNPers!!!