By admin | April 4, 2013
By Richard Allen
Iâ€™m introducing a new feature this season. The RacingWithRich.com Sprint Cup Power Rankings and Fantasy Picks will serve as my own personal system for rating drivers throughout the season and will also reveal my weekly fantasy picks for the upcoming race.
The Power Rankings will not necessarily mirror the Sprint Cup standings. A number of factors will be weighed in determining who gets ranked where. Certainly, the standings will be taken into consideration. But also, race wins will be considered and weighted more heavily than the current points system used by NASCAR may allow. Further, winning particular races may serve to boost a driverâ€™s position in the rankings. For example, winning a big race such as the Daytona 500 or the Southern 500 will be viewed more favorably than winning at Phoenix or Dover.
Aside from race wins and the standings, a driver who has had strong runs but suffered from bad luck may be ranked higher than the standings will allow. For example, a driver may lead half the laps of a particular race butÂ then lose out in the end due to fuel mileage or may be caught up in a late race crash. That driverâ€™s strength throughout the day will be taken into consideration.
But ultimately, this writerâ€™s opinion of the driverâ€™s performance throughout the season will be the deciding factor.
In terms of my fantasy selections, I play the â€˜ESPN Stock Car Challengeâ€™ game on ESPN.com. That game allows each player a budget of $100 with each driver having a value based on his performance andÂ the overall market demand. Players are allowed to make trades each week as long as they stay within their budget. A playerâ€™s budget may fluctuate weekly as the value of drivers rises and falls.
AllÂ content below is for discussion purposes only and not meant for the purpose of gambling. Your picks are your own.
RacingWithRich.com Power Rankings for the weekend of April 7, 2013- STP Gas Booster 500 at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA:
Â 1. Jimmie Johnson- He certainly didn’t have the race many expected from him on his home track in Fontana, Calif. A 12th might be considered a good run for some but not this driver and team on that track. Still, his 3rd place ranking in the Sprint Cup standings and his win in the biggest race on the Sprint Cup schedule keep him in the top spot. (Last Week- 1st)
2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - As it says in the introduction to this piece, race wins are highly rewarded. However, those race winners have to exhibit at least some consistency. Junior scored what must have been the quietest 2nd place of his career in California and has just as quietly assumed the points lead on the strength of five top-10s in five starts. (Last Week- 6th)
3. Carl Edwards- His 4th place in Fontana teamed with a win in Phoenix and a 5th place in the Sprint Cup standings moved this driver up the rankings going into Martinsville. (Last Week- 5th)
4. Kyle Busch- Fontana produced his first victory of the 2013 season and moved him to the 6th spot in the Sprint Cup standings. Those two factors allowed him to move up in the power rankings for this week. (Last Week- 7th)
5. Brad Keselowski- A very disappointing 23rd in Fontana ended his streak of four consecutive top-4 finishes. However, the defending champion still sits 2nd in the Sprint Cup standings. (Last Week- 2nd)
6. Matt Kenseth- Fontana was the first race of the 2013 season in which Kenseth did not look like a favorite to win at least some point during the event. That said, he did lead laps and finish 7th. His race win in Las Vegas combined with an 11th in the Sprint Cup standings keeps him near the top of the rankings. (Last Week- 3rd)
7. Kasey Kahne- Hard to imagine that this driver fell back after posting a solid 9th place in California. But the big upward moves by Earnhardt and Edwards caused others to fall back. Still, Kahne holds a good spot on the strength of a Bristol win and a 7th in the overall standings. (Last Week- 4th)
8. Greg Biffle - This driver has not necessarily been spectacular, but he has been steady. A 6th in Fontana moved him to 4th in the standings. (Last Week- 10th)
9. Joey Logano -This driver has been newsworthy lately for reasons other than his performance on the track. But the fact is, he has been in contention to win for two weeks in a row. There aren’t many times throughout his career in which that could have been said. His 3rd place finish in Fontana moved him to 9th in the Sprint Cup standings. (Last Week- NR)
10. Kurt Busch -This driver is proving he can still drive a race car, even one that is not as high profile as the mega-teams in the sport. Consecutive top-5s in Bristol and Fontana were just what he needed to grab a spot in the power rankings. (Last Week- NR)
11. Paul Menard- A third top-10 of the season and an 8th in the overall standings put him in the Power Rankings. Although he hasn’t seriously contended for a race win, he has been solid. (Last Week- NR)
12. Clint Bowyer- A blown engine in California relegated this driver to a 35th place finish and dropped him to 13th in the Sprint Cup standings. Still, he has shown signs of strength at times. (Last Week- 8th)
Outside looking in: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman.
My Fantasy Picks for the STP Gas Booster 500:
Jimmie Johnson- If you can afford him on your team, you’ve got to have him at Martinsville. Seven wins, 15 top-5s and 19 top-10s on the half-mile add up to an average finishing position of an astounding 5th. At $23, he comes with a hefty price tag so some maneuvering may be necessary if you don’t already have him locked in.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.- He’s been rock solid all season long and he’s headed to one of his better tracks in terms of average finish. Ten top-5s and 14 top-10s here have combined to give him a career average finish of 13th. All that taken into consideration, he’s worth his $21.4 price tag.
Jeff Gordon- He almost had a win here last year until the late race tangle with Clint Bowyer. Still, seven wins, 25 top-5s and 32 top-10s make this driver a must-have at Martinsville, especially at the relatively low price ofÂ $20.9.
Kevin Harvick- After a great week in Fontana for my fantasy drivers, this is the only holdover to survive a complete house cleaning. At $19.4, he’s relatively easy on the budget and he has compiled a win along with ten top-10s throughout his career on the ‘paper clip’.
Mark Martin- Getting him for the price of $17.2 while driving the No. 11 car in place of Denny Hamlin made this choice a no-brainer. Martin has two wins, 12 top-5s and 25 top-10s here and he’ll be driving a car that has four wins, nine top-5s and 12 top-10s in just 15 starts.
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