Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Playoff Round Opener at Chicagoland




By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Both with 5- Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch
Both with 4 -  Matt Kenneth and Joey Logano
All with 3 - Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin  

By Track
All with 4 - Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch
All with 3 - Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano

Recent Pole Winners:
2016 Rained Out
2015 Rained Out
2014 Rained Out
2013 Joey Logano

Last Year's Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

The Likely Suspects:  Look for these drivers to perform well: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. OK, so after Joey Logano's second place run last week I am more likely to consider him this week -- maybe.

My 2 Cents: As we begin the playoffs, remember to stick to the pick strategy you've used in the regular season. Spoilers who run well at particular tracks aren't going to stop producing just because they aren't in the playoffs. Focus on the stats with a bit of emphasis on momentum, and you should do well.

My no-brainer pick is Mr. 1.5-Mile Martin Truex Jr. (But don't tell him I called him that!) My next picks are Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray.  I will complete my team with Ty Dillon and David Ragan.

My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson and Ty Dillon.

Points to Ponder:
  • No non-playoff driver has ever won the opening race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
  • Eleven MENCS drivers have posted Coors Light poles at Chicago, led by Jimmie Johnson with two. 
  • Three drivers have won the pole at Chicagoland Speedway as the opening race to the playoffs: Matt Kenseth (2011), Jimmie Johnson (2012) and Joey Logano (2013). For the last three seasons the qualifying sessions were cancelled due to weather; Kyle Busch started first in 2016 and 2014; Kevin Harvick started first in 2015. 
  • Five different active drivers have won the Chicago Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff races: Martin Truex Jr. (2016), Denny Hamlin (2015), Brad Keselowski (2014, 2012) and Matt Kenseth (2013). 
  • Three times the winner of the opening race of the postseason went on to win the title: 2012 (Brad Keselowski), 2011 (Tony Stewart) and 2004 (Kurt Busch).
  • Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski lead all active drivers in wins at Chicagoland with two each.
  • Kevin Harvick (2001, 2002) is the only driver to post consecutive series wins at Chicagoland Speedway.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads active drivers the series in runner-up finishes at Chicago with three, followed by Matt Kenseth with two.
  • Kevin Harvick leads active drivers in the series in top-five finishes at Chicago with eight, followed by Jimmie Johnson with seven. 
  • Jimmie Johnson leads active drivers in top-10 finishes at Chicago with 10, followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick with nine each.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position with a 9.467.
Remember, if you're playing Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, your pick deadline is Friday, September 15, at 5 a.m. EDT.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.

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