Dan Beaver

Fantasy Power Rankings

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Power Ranking After: Charlotte

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


The Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval created a virtual four-way tie at the top of the rankings. A driver with the best average running position and one who scored the pole and the third-best Driver Ranking moved up the grid, while top-10 finishes were not enough to keep Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott among the leaders.

It took much of the race, but a track-blocking incident on Lap 104 eliminated many top contenders – mostly from among those on the outside row. With the exception of the leader Brad Keselowski – who was the first driver into the Turn 1 tire barrier – most of the inside row survived.

That single accident dropped five drivers from the top 10 and turned the results inside out. It is also a good example of why we use a Fantasy Power Rankings formula that rewards strength throughout an event and doesn’t simply look at finishing results. The driver with the best average running position was Kyle Larson, but he barely finished on the lead lap after sustaining damage.

1. Kurt Busch (Last week: 4)
Weeks in the top 10: 30
FPR #: 6.61
Kurt Busch won the inaugural pole for the Bank of America Roval 400 last week and led the first six laps. Larson had a much better car in race trim and drove away from Busch once he got around him, but Busch stayed among the top 10 for most of the race. Equally important, he escaped the carnage at the end and finished respectably in fifth to earn his 13th consecutive top-12 on a road course.

2. Kyle Larson (Last week: 5)
Weeks in the top 10: 27
FPR #: 6.63
In one fell swoop, Kyle Larson went from challenging for the Roval 400 victory to fighting to stay on the lead lap and in playoff contention. On the final lap, he was on the outside looking in until Daniel Hemric spun Jeffrey Earnhardt in Turn 17 – the final turn. “Gas it,” his crew told Larson. He did and hit the wall twice on the way to the checkered flag. He passed Earnhardt just before the finish line, gained one point, and advance to Round 2 on a tie-breaker.

3. Chase Elliott (Last week: 2)
Weeks in the top 10: 14
FPR #: 6.69
Chase Elliott did what he had to do. He scored stage points in both opening segments and finished sixth in the race. That gave him plenty of points to advance to Round 2 and now everything resets to start the next three events. Dover International Speedway is his best track in terms of average finishes with a 5.0 in five attempts. He finished runner-up in this race last year and would automatically advance to Round 3 if he can improve by one position this week.

4. Kevin Harvick (Last week: 1)
Weeks in the top 10: 29
FPR #: 6.78
Kevin Harvick obviously had a plan entering the Charlotte Roval. He never showed much raw power during the weekend, but he never put his car at risk. He bolted on fresh tires with seven laps remaining and salvaged a top-10 finish (9th) and now he is seeded second in the playoff standings for Round 2. The difference between first-place Busch this week and fourth-place Harvick is less than .2 points in our formula.

5. Kyle Busch (Last week: 3)
Weeks in the top 10: 28
FPR #: 7.68
He was one of our favorites to win last week, but Kyle Busch was involved in the 14-car crash on lap 104. With a Richmond victory to his credit, Busch had nothing to lose by going for the win. Entering Dover, he is likely to feel the same way because his 55 bonus points represents a cushion of 47 over ninth-place in the standings.

6. Brad Keselowski (Last week: 6)
Weeks in the top 10: 25
FPR#: 7.88
When Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spun out on Lap 101, Brad Keselowski had a decision to make. He could pit along with Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, and several others – or he could stay out on old tires and try to hold off the majority of the field. He stayed out. Unfortunately, there is no “book” on what the tires would do in this situation and he crashed hard into the Turn 1 tire barrier. Still, right up until that point, he continued with his reputation as being the strongest driver in the past month. 

7. Ryan Blaney (Last week: 7)
Weeks in the top 10: 23
FPR#: 8.33
Ryan Blaney was in the right place at the right time, but he ran a smart race up until the time Truex and Johnson spun. He was lucky to be in the inside lane when the outside crashed. Both factors - luck and skill - are important winning a Cup race. Blaney advanced to Round 3 of the playoffs, but more importantly, he takes five bonus points along with him and last week was a firm reminder that every point counts.

8. Martin Truex Jr. (Last week: 8)
Weeks in the top 10: 24
FPR#: 9.24
Johnson did not aim for Martin Truex Jr.’s back bumper, but the No. 78 was not able to get through that tight chicane quickly enough to avoid contact. Truex was probably more concerned with the five bonus points he lost than the victory because Talladega Superspeedway is in Round 2 and all bets are off the table in that race.

9. Clint Bowyer (Last week: 9)
Weeks in the top 10: 27
FPR#: 9.46
Clint Bowyer was the only driver who entered the Bank of America Roval 400 outside of the Top 12 who managed to advance to Round 2. He did that by finishing third in Stage 1, fifth in Stage 2, and third overall. Earning points in all three segments of the race gave him a seven-point cushion over the transfer line and gave him a lot of Fantasy Power Rankings credibility as well.

10. Joey Logano (Last week: 12)
Weeks in the top 10: 20
FPR#: 10.30
Joey Logano scored his seventh consecutive top-15 at the Roval. Since leaving Watkins Glen this August, he has shown flashes of speed with a second at Darlington Raceway and fourth-place results at Bristol Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He’s going to have to earn more top-fives if he wants to advance to Round 3 of the playoffs, however.

Dropped from the Top 10

12. Erik Jones (Last week: 10)
Weeks in the top 10: 9
FPR#: 11.46
Last week was a miserable one for Erik Jones. He damaged his car in practice and qualification on Friday and destroyed it on Saturday. Forced to start in the back in a backup car, he never had a shot at scoring stage points or accumulating a decent average running position. Now that he’s fallen out of the playoffs and the Fantasy Power Rankings Top 10, he is unlikely to be exceptionally fantasy relevant.

Big Movers outside the Top 10

15. Jimmie Johnson (Last week: 5)
Weeks in the top 10: 17
FPR#: 13.53
Jimmie Johnson looked incredibly strong last week – right up until the time he spun in the final chicane. Dropping from second to eighth in the rundown cost him the chance to advance to Round 2 of the playoffs, but it was more important to him and the team to try and break his 51-week winless streak. Don’t lose focus on the fact that he has scored back-to-back top-10s for only the third time this year.

17. Ryan Newman (Last week: 15)
Weeks in the top 10: 2
FPR#: 14.59
Ryan Newman has dropped four positions in the Fantasy Power Rankings during the last two weeks. He has not spent as much time with the lead pack as one would like, but he has scored eight top-15s in the last 10 weeks and that might make him a solid value in some games.

 

This
Week

Driver

Avg
Finish

Last
Week

Difference

1

Kurt Busch

6.61

4

3

2

Kyle Larson

6.63

5

3

3

Chase Elliott

6.69

2

-1

4

Kevin Harvick

6.78

1

-3

5

Kyle Busch

7.68

3

-2

6

Brad Keselowski

7.88

6

0

7

Ryan Blaney

8.33

7

0

8

Martin Truex Jr./p>

9.24

8

0

9

Clint Bowyer

9.46

9

0

10

Joey Logano

10.30

12

2

 

11

Denny Hamlin

10.44

11

0

12

Erik Jones

11.46

10

-2

13

Aric Almirola

13.08

13

0

14

Alex Bowman

13.44

14

0

15

Jimmie Johnson

13.53

17

2

16

Jamie McMurray

14.20

18

2

17

Ryan Newman

14.59

15

-2

18

Daniel Suarez

16.21

16

-2

19

Austin Dillon

16.49

19

0

20

Daniel Hemric

17.40

 

NA

21

Paul Menard

19.00

23

2

22

Matt Kenseth

19.28

22

0

23

William Byron

20.59

21

-2

24

Trevor Bayne

20.63

20

-4

25

Ricky Stenhouse Jr./p>

20.69

24

-1

26

Chris Buescher

21.24

25

-1

27

Kasey Kahne

24.00

26

-1

28

AJ Allmendinger

24.48

32

4

29

Michael McDowell

24.67

28

-1

30

Cole Custer

24.75

27

-3

31

Parker Kligerman

25.50

30

-1

32

David Ragan

25.59

29

-3

33

Regan Smith

26.56

31

-2

34

Ty Dillon

28.06

33

-1

35

Matt DiBenedetto

30.34

34

-1

36

Bubba Wallace

31.75

35

-1

37

Ross Chastain

32.00

36

-1

38

Josh Bilicki

32.75

38

0

39

Cole Whitt

32.75

41

2

40

Corey LaJoie

33.00

40

0

41

Landon Cassill

33.22

39

-2

42

JJ Yeley

33.25

37

-5

43

Blake Jones

33.50

42

-1

44

Justin Marks

33.75

 

NA

45

Garrett Smithley

34.50

43

-2

46

Reed Sorenson

35.15

45

-1

47

Jeffrey Earnhardt

35.46

46

-1

48

Spencer Gallagher

36.00

47

-1

49

Kyle Weatherman

36.00

44

-5

50

BJ McLeod

36.12

48

-2

51

Jesse Little

36.75

49

-2

52

Timmy Hill

37.59

50

-2

53

Joey Gase

37.67

51

-2

54

Alon Day

38.75

52

-2

55

Gray Gaulding

39.25

53

-2

56

David Starr

39.75

54

-2

57

Stanton Barrett

40.00

 

NA

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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