Jeff Byrd 500
March 20, 2011 by staff
Jeff Byrd 500, Cup Series teams are not the only experiment during practice at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday. Goodyear has a new tire compound for test teams. The drivers were on normal tires for the first session of the afternoon, but each team received a set of new tires during Happy Hour.
In the opening session, the Red Hot Tony Stewart set the pace with a lap of 124,889 mph. David Reutimann, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch followed it. Looking at the top-five fantasy owners will find many service options.
Both Stewart and Reutimann finished second at Bristol last season, and Stewart knows his best start of his career decorated. Busch is a strong option as well. He won five times on the track, and he led the most laps in the race in March a year ago. Even McMurray has shown promise in recent starts. His last three finishes at Bristol have been 11, eighth and third.
Martin topped the charts in terms of average speed of 10 laps, and was followed by McMurray. Neither driver has the biggest record on the track, but at the first session, they were two strongest cars. Ryan Newman, David Ragan and Joey Logano completed the top five.
Newman is the pilot who must leave the most attention of the group. He has four finishes of seventh or better in his last five starts Bristol, and he entered the race this weekend with races back-to-back. Logano is the biggest red flag in the group. He has not finished in the top-15 in four starts at the track.
Martin continued to emerge as a favorite in Happy Hour, topping the charts with a lap of 124,018 mph. Brian Vickers, Denny Hamlin, Logano and Stewart followed it.
Despite both practical solid, Vickers joined Logano potentially risky as a game. Best of Both drivers are far from encouraging. If fantasy owners want to take a chance on them, picking one of two this weekend is probably the best option. Their numbers are simply not strong enough to trust your programming on two spots for them.
Hamlin posted the best average speed of 10 laps in the closing session, and teammate Logano finished second. Paul Menard, Juan Pablo Montoya and Stewart completed the top five.
Menard and Montoya should be examined in view of the hot start of the year for both drivers. Based on past results, Montoya is the best option for both. Hamlin could be a surprise and threat. After one year miserable in Bristol in 2010, it seems to have an idea for a new runway. From to 2009, he staggered four finishes sixth or better right if on the track.
The biggest surprise of the afternoon was the poor performance of Kyle Busch. He won three of the last four races on the track and has the best odds of driver on the track among active drivers. However, he was unable to crack the top-20 in two sessions. He showed in the past that he can get top-10 finishes on the track with almost any car, but the owners probably do not want to use in any fantasy league that limits the number of times you can use a driver.
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