NASCAR Picks for Infineon
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Kahne could be the ultimate boom or bust option this weekend. He began his career at Sonoma with five straight finishes outside the top 20, but he has actually cracked the top 20 in his last four starts, including a win in 2009. That being said, his victory seems like the outlier at this point, and his overall numbers at Sonoma suggest that he is more of a top-15 option than a threat to win.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Despite a 17.0 average finish in four starts at Sonoma, Logano has been trending in the right direction. He has logged back-to-back top-10s at the road course, including a sixth-place run in 2011. The sample size isn't huge, but there is a good chance Logano will be a useful fantasy option this weekend.
Carl Edwards, #99 Fastenal/Aflac/UPS/Subway, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Edwards certainly hasn't been terrible at Sonoma, but the road course isn't his best track by any means either. He has a 17.1 average finish in eight starts, logging three top-10s and just one top-five finish. Edwards has been able to salvage decent finishes a majority of the time, but fantasy owners probably don't want to waste roster space on a big name that will likely be playing damage control.
Ryan Newman, #39 Quicken Loans/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Early in his career, Newman flashed a ton of potential at the road courses, and a victory seemed inevitable. However, he has tailed off recently, especially at Sonoma. He has finished outside the top 15 in his last four starts at the track, and fantasy owners shouldn't expect much more than a top-20 from Newman Sunday.
Matt Kenseth, #20 Husky/Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
The former champ excels at almost everything, but road racing isn't on his list of strong suits. He has a 20.8 average finish in 13 starts at Sonoma and has finished in the top 10 only once. Needless to say, fantasy owners will want to save Kenseth for another week in most formats.
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
When his car is in one piece, Hamlin is usually turning excellent lap times at Sonoma. The problem is that his luck has been horrible, and he has finished outside the top 25 in four of his last five starts at the track. In fact, Hamlin has finished outside the top 30 in his last three starts at Sonoma. Obviously, he is a better driver than those numbers indicate, but it is tough to trust him.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although McMurray hasn't been a star at Sonoma, he has certainly been consistent. In 10 starts at the road course, he has nine top-20 finishes, including five straight. Granted, he has just one top-10 finish at Sonoma in his career, but history says McMurray is basically a lock to deliver a top-20 finish this weekend.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Road racing and Junior have never really gotten along. In 13 starts at Sonoma, he has compiled a 22.2 average finish, and he is still looking for a top-10 finish. At best, fantasy owners are going to get a top-15 finish out of Junior, and the more likely scenario is a lackluster top-20.
Martin Truex, Jr., #56 NAPA Auto Parts, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Truex actually has three top-10s in his last four road course races, but his overall resume at Sonoma is sketchy. In seven starts at the track, an eighth-place run in 2011 is his only top-10. More concerning is the fact that he has finished outside the top 20 in three of his last four starts at Sonoma.
Jacques Villeneuve, #51 Phoenix Construction, Phoenix Racing
The CART and Formula One champ will be making just his fourth career Cup start this weekend, but he could make a solid sleeper pick. After all, he has six top-10s, including four top-five finishes, in nine road course starts in the Nationwide Series. Villeneuve will also be driving the No. 51 car that Kurt Busch drove to a third-place finish at Sonoma last year.
Ron Fellows, #33 Little Joe's Autos, Circle Sport
His last Cup Series start came in 2011, but the road course ringer is back this weekend in the No. 33 car. Fellows is known for his smooth style and ability to take care of brakes, and in addition to five top-10s at the Cup level, he has four road course wins at the Nationwide level. If his car holds up, Fellows could be a sneaky top-15 option.
Jeff Burton, #31 Caterpillar/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He has actually been running well in recent weeks, but road racing was never Burton's forte. He has a 19.8 average finish in 19 starts at Sonoma, and he has only managed a single top-five finish. Worse yet, Burton has gone five starts at the track without a top-10, and he has finished outside the top 20 three times during the stretch.
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