Brian Brown

NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

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The Geico 400

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Chicagoland Speedway for the 27th race of the 2011 season, the Geico 400. NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet’s Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke to team contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.

When: Sunday, September 18, 2011; 2:16 p.m./et.

Weather: A few showers with a high around 74; wind out of the SSE at 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 precent.

The Track: Chicagoland Speedway Chicagoland is a 1.5-mile tri-oval. It has 18 degree banking on the corners with 11 degree banking on the front straightaway and five degree banking on the back straightaway. Roush Fenway is tough to beat on most 1.5 mile tracks, but the team has yet to win a race at Chicagoland. Look for Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, and the Hendrick Boys to be very strong on Sunday.

Key to Race: QUICK OUT OF THE PITS As is the key with most 1.5 mile tracks tire-wear and pit stops will be a key to Sunday's race. Look for the drivers with the best location of their pit stall to have a big advantage in the race.

Qualifying Procedures: 48 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2011 owner point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying runs on Saturday, September 17 at 1:40 pm/et.

Fantasy Cheat Sheet

Top 5

No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has been awesome at Chicagoland. In eight races at the track he has finished outside the top six just three times. He is a strong candidate to find victory lane on Sunday.

No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has finished worse than 17th just once in six career starts (including a 2008 win) at Chicagoland. He will have no problem finishing inside the top five this weekend.

No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has six top five finishes in 10 career starts at Chicagoland. He is a great option.

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards finished second during last year’s trip to Chicagoland. Look for the Midwesterner to be fast again on Sunday.

No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Chicagoland is one of Harvick’s top tracks. He has two career wins and could easily make it three this weekend.

6 to 10

No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has led 296 laps in the past six races at Chicagoland. He has as good of a chance to win as anybody.

No. 22 Kurt Busch: Busch has five top 10 finishes in 10 career starts at Chicagoland. He will be fast this trip to the “Windy City”.

No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann crushed it at Chicagoland last July. He lead 52 laps on his way to a victory. We know he won’t be as strong this trip, but you could do much worse than having “Rudy” on your team.

No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart has finished no worse than ninth in eight of the last nine Chicagoland races.

No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin is usually a good shoe on intermediate tracks and this weekend should be no different.

11 to 20

No.2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski finished 18th last year. Is there any doubt he will perform better this weekend?

No. 33 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in four of his five career starts at Chicagoland. He is a great second car on most fantasy teams.

No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has finished in the top 11 in four of the past six starts at Chicagoland. He is a top 10 option again.

No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won the 2005 race at Chicagoland. He should crack the top 15 again.

No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has three top six finishes, including a win, in nine career starts in Joliet. He will have a strong car again, but will finish just outside the top 10.

No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton has been excellent in three of the past five Chicagoland races. He is a fine choice to make the top 15.

No. 4 Kasey Kahne: Kahne's has cracked the top six the past two races at Chicagoland. This is a good weekend to use Mr. Redbull.

No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: A.J. finished 14th or better in all three career starts at Chicagoland. He is worth sneaking on all rosters this weekend.

No. 5 Mark Martin: Martin won the 2009 race at Chicagoland, but the veteran driver is struggling a bit this season. We wouldn’t anchor our team with him this trip to Joliet.

No. 20 Joey Logano: Look for Logano to improve on the 19th place finish he had at Chicagoland last season.

21 to 30

No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray was awesome last trip to Joliet, but was terrible the four previous. He is the definition of a “use-at-your-own-risk” driver.

No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has finished in the top 20 in all four of his starts at Chicagoland. He is an option in every league.

No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers has been one of the top drivers the past four years at Chicagoland. My advice to you is to use him as your fourth driver.

No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has averaged a 19th place finish at Chicagoland. He should finish right around his average on Sunday.

No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex has been fast in all five of his career starts at Chicagoland. He is a decent pick.

No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard is averaging just a 28th place finish at Chicagoland. He should improve on that, but a top 20 finish isn’t likely.

No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has been wildly inconsistent throughout this year and his career. He isn’t a fantasy recommendation this weekend unless you are desperate.

No. 13 Casey Mears: Mr. Geico will finish right around his career average.

No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has finished in the top 21 in six of his 10 career starts at Chicagoland. He isn't a bad fifth driver in most fantasy leagues.

No. 78 Regan Smith: Smith is always fan-favorite. Use him anytime you need a fifth driver.

Field Fillers

No. 34 David Gilliland
No. 71 Andy Lally
No 32 Mike Bliss
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 21 Trevor Bayne
No. 51 Landon Cassill
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 7 Robby Gordon
No. 38 J.J. Yeley
No. 46 Scott Speed
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 55 Travis Kvapil
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 95 David Starr
No. 50 T.J. Bell
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 37 Josh Wise
No. 35 Stephen Leicht

Brownie's Picks Top Four: 1. Jimmie Johnson 2. Kyle Busch 3. Jeff Gordon 4. Carl Edwards

Sleepers: 1. A.J. Allmendinger 2. David Reutimann

Email :Brian Brown

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