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FANTASY: The Concrete Truth

Friday, September 28, 2012
It's hard to forget Jimmie Johnson in Dover's Victory Lane this past June with the crazy Madagascar wig. Photo: Getty Images

AAA 400 Fantasy Preview

"You want answers?"

"I think I'm entitled."

"You want answers!?"

"I WANT THE TRUTH!"

NASCAR fans, "you can't handle the truth!"

The truth is that just like in the 1992 hit movie "A Few Good Men," there's a dangerous power at work and it's in the form of the No. 48 car.

The truth is that Jimmie Johnson is the points leader and the top title contender for this year's Cup.

I do still think that both Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski have raced very well recently, but Johnson has two second-place finishes in the first two Chase races and is headed to arguably his best track, Dover International Speedway.

Johnson won five consecutive championships before finally taking a backseat to the entertaining battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards last year.  It's beginning to look like last year was a hiccup and not a trend.

He admitted after finishing second on Sunday at NHMS that he's confident everywhere except Talladega, but joked that the odds were with him that he'd finish at least one restrictor plate race this year.  He's right.  These Chase tracks have always been his bread-and-butter, and he's been very successful this time of the season.

In Fantasy NASCAR, he's going to be a great choice in many weeks, but this week especially stands out.

Strategy: The one-mile oval of "The Monster Mile" is similar in distance only to "The Magic Mile" here in NH.  Dover is made of concrete and highly banked, whereas NHMS is a paved, flat track.  However, they're also similar in that either you're good here or you aren't and there's not too much variation in terms of finish from race to race.

A-List

Start

#17 Matt Kenseth - He has nine top-fives in his last 11 starts at Dover.  That's consistency, folks!

#48 Jimmie Johnson - The No. 48 driver wins one of every three starts he makes at "The Monster Mile," as he's won seven times in 21 starts.  That's ridiculous, folks!

#99 Carl Edwards - The non-Chaser has earned the nickname "Concrete Carl," which is a little odd since he's won just once in 16 starts at Dover, but he does have an average finish of 8.5 at this track and a 104.8 driver rating.  That's respectable, folks!

...Ok, this isn't Looney Tunes.  It's about time to say "that's all, folks" to this way of concluding with each driver.  I'm sure you agree!

Park

#11 Denny Hamlin - With an average finish of 20.5 at Dover, it's unlikely that Hamlin makes it back-to-back regardless of how well he's been racing.

B-List

Start

#16 Greg Biffle - If the No. 16 team wants to remain relevant in the Chase, it needs to make a move this week.  Biffle has two wins at Dover and a 104.2 driver rating, so this is an opportunity for him.

#39 Ryan Newman - The No. 39 hasn't seemed relevant in several weeks, but Newman has three wins at Dover, so perhaps this is a week to roll the dice that he puts it all together.

#55 Mark Martin - Martin has an impressive 23 top-fives in 52 starts at Dover, which means he definitely has the ability to run upfront.

#56 Martin Truex Jr. - His only career Cup win came at this track, so don't hesitate to use him if you're looking for a reliable driver with upside.

Park

#5 Kasey Kahne - His 21.8 average finish at Dover leaves much to be desired.  He'll need to race well above the norm to climb in the Chase standings this weekend.

#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. - It seems like Junior has a single win at a lot of tracks, and that's the case at Dover.  However, with just eight top-10s in 25 starts, he's not a model of consistency at this track.

C-List

Start

#6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - There's not a lot to go on here other than that the soon-to-be full-time Cup driver is in some good equipment with Roush Fenway Racing.  He finished 20th in his only Cup start this season, which isn't terrible for the C-List.

#43 Aric Almirola - It's very little statistical evidence to go on, but he did finish a season-best sixth earlier this year at Dover.  It's the only time he's started there, but it's a positive!

Park

#22 Sam Hornish Jr. - It seems like Hornish has cooled off a little and a 28.2 average finish at Dover in six starts isn't very encouraging.