Post Qualifying Notes: Darlington

I am sure there are several Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing Team Owners cursing themselves for missing the roster deadline for this week’s race at Darlington.  NASCAR might have fooled you too when they scheduled both practice sessions and qualifying on Friday.  Saturday night races can sneak up on fantasy owners.  Hopefully you weren’t one of the many teams afflicted by roster carry over.

Roster carry over occurs when fantasy NASCAR owners fall asleep behind the wheel and by default have the exactly same team in back to back weeks.  This usually results in an owner having one or more non-active drivers on their team.  Fantasy players must be especially careful to avoid roster carry over after using road course specialists and drivers making guest appearances at superspeedways.  Undoubtably there are teams out there that still have drivers like Michael Waltrip and Trevor Bayne in their lineups this week.  One week without a C Driver and your championship dreams may soon disappear.  Invest the time, plan ahead, and give yourself as many outs as possible.

Preparation goes a long way in this game.  The Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing Rules allow you to organize your entire 36 race season.  If you know the 9 races you are using Carl Edwards at, spend a few minutes online and get him dialed in.  Some owners might actually be better off setting up all 36 races based on the numbers before the season starts and letting it ride.  Kind of boring, but at least you aren’t beating yourself.   Set your lineups early to avoid roster carry over. I suggest you start working on your setup two or three weeks in advance of each race and then make small adjustments based on practice and qualifying along the way.

Speaking of adjustments, I didn’t make any changes to my Yahoo! team prior to Friday’s deadline.  After looking at the starting lineup for this week I am rolling with the 11, 16, 39, and the 47.

I currently have 2,603 points and rank in the 69th percentile.

My ESPN Stock Car Challenge roster for Darlington is:

#2 Brad Keselowski ($21.8) – I couldn’t afford Jimmie Johnson or Denny Hamlin so I am replacing Dale Jr. with @keselowski this week.  Brad has an average finish of 7.3 in 3 career Sprint Cup races at Darlington.  His average starting position was 16.7 so there is no cause for concern with his 15th place qualifying effort.

#16 Greg Biffle ($22.7) – I was pleased with my decision last week to replace Denny Hamlin with The Biff (Finished 5th vs. 23rd).  Very pleased now that Biffle is starting on the pole.  It’s a no brainer rolling with the two time Darlington winner and current points leader again this week.

#39 Ryan Newan ($21.0) – Newman reassumes the position on my roster that Jeff Gordon took over going into Talladega.  I wanted things to pan out for the 24 team but last week was another disaster.  I don’t trust him enough to pass on Newman or Kasey Kahne.  For me its nearly a coin flip between these two.  Ryan Newman has 7 Top 5’s in 13 Darlington races.  I will take those odds.

#55 Mark Martin ($17.8) – Mark is a two time winner here.  Even if you ignore his track history, Martin posted the 5th highest – ten consecutive lap average in Friday’s first practice where the majority of the teams ran 35 to 55 laps.  He starts 18th.

#78 Regan Smith ($16.1) – Sticking with Smith despite the blown engine of Lap 4 last week at Talladega.  Last year’s winner starts 9th.

Total cost of Ownership $99.4

Despite being $0.6 below the cap I am confident with my team heading into the final week of Segment 1.  Dropping Marcos Ambrose, who I have owned since Week 1, would have been a much more difficult decision if we weren’t heading into a new segment.  This week is all about getting as many points as possible because we all start from scratch again May 27th at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

I currently have an even 1,500 points and after a disappointing week at Talladega I head into the final week of Segment 1 in the  86.7 percentile.

Darlington Race Stats

Note: NASCAR did us all a favor by having the race on Saturday night.  Make sure you share your Sunday with your Mom or another mother that brings joy to your life.  Worst case, pick up the phone and let your Mom know you are alive and well.

I love you Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day!

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