Thursday, November 15, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Crowning the Monster Cup Series Champion

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race and Track
All with 5 - Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick  
All with 4 - Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch   

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Homestead
Kyle Larson........... 109.3
Kevin Harvick.........106.8
Matt Kenseth...........106.8
Martin Truex Jr.........104.1
Kyle Busch................ 98.9
Chase Elliott.............. 97.0
Denny Hamlin........... 95.9
Jimmie Johnson.........95.2
Brad Keselowski........90.4
Joey Logano.............. 89.0
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2017 races (13 total) among active drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway. SOURCE: NASCAR Media

Recent Pole Winners:  
2017 Denny Hamlin
2016 Kevin Harvick
2015 Denny Hamlin

Last Year's Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

The Likely Suspects: It will be easy to get swept up in the sentimental "favorite driver" scenario when picking your fantasy team in this last race of the season, but don't go there. Stay focused and use the stats and maybe just a bit of your gut when picking this week. My Homestead go-tos: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Larson.  

My 2 Cents: Drama and championship excitement will be doled out in large volumes this weekend as we see one racer crowned as the champion, a race team folding up for good and drivers like Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, and Daniel Suarez finish the season with an unknown racing future.

If only I had Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch starts left they would be tied for my no-brainer pick. Instead, my no-brainer pick is the self-proclaimed "favorite" Joey Logano, followed by Martin Truex Jr. My next picks are Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, and Austin Dillon. If you have any Chase Elliott starts left, pull Matt Kenseth out and put Chase in. I will complete my team with Alex Bowman and William Byron.

My Final Four: Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, and Alex Bowman.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Matt Kenseth, who was also last week's second-look driver. Matt has one pole, one Top 5, five Top 10s and the third-best driver rating at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last week at ISM Raceway (Phoenix) Matt finished seventh after starting 17th.

Points to Ponder:
  • A total of 14 different drivers have won a Busch Pole Award at Homestead-Miami Speedway, led by active drivers Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson with two poles each.
  • Among active drivers, Denny Hamlin leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway with two.
  • Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Homestead-Miami with seven, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing with six.
  • Six of the 19 (31.5%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Homestead-Miami have been won from the front row: two from the pole and four from the second starting position. 
  • A total of 16 different Monster Energy Series drivers have finished runner-up at Homestead-Miami Speedway, led by Kevin Harvick with three second-place finishes; followed by Jimmie Johnson with two.  
  • A total of 36 different Monster Energy Series drivers have finished in the top five at Homestead-Miami, led by Kevin Harvick with nine top fives and Jimmie Johnson with five among active drivers.
  • A total of 53 different Monster Energy Series drivers have finished in the top 10 at Homestead-Miami, led by Kevin Harvick with 15 top 10s; and Jimmie Johnson with 11 among active drivers. 
  • Kevin Harvick leads the series in average finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway with 6.764.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EST on Friday, November 16th, and your final picks by 2:30 p.m. EST on race day Sunday, Nov. 18th.

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