Regan Smith is super-sub
Regan Smith | 707
(April 1, 2015 10:38 AM EDT)
Regan Smith has been a super substitute in the early part of the 2015 season. Driving in relief for Kurt Busch he finished 16th at Daytona, 17th at Atlanta, and 16th at Vegas. Last week, he was pressed into service again for Kyle Larson and finished 16th at Martinsville.
The 2015 season is being marked by the need for substitute drivers with Kurt Busch’s suspension, Kyle Busch’s injury, and Brian Vickers’ medical condition. One does not know when Smith might return to the cockpit, but if he does it will be extremely valuable for fantasy owners to be aware of his record.
Three 30-somethings for Mike Bliss
Mike Bliss | 719
(April 1, 2015 10:37 AM EDT)
Mike Bliss is another driver who has been an occasionally strong contender this year. He failed to qualify at Vegas, but finished in the low- to mid-30s in three of the four races he made.
With his DNQ and one 40th-place finish at Vegas and Auto Club, his record appears to be a little more erratic than fantasy owners would prefer. The good news is that his other three races ended in a narrow band of results from 31st through 34th. He should be watched closely in the next few races to determine if a trend will develop that could make him predictable.
Brendan Gaughan needs better qualifications
Brendan Gaughan | 762
(April 1, 2015 10:35 AM EDT)
Brendan Gaughan has qualified on time only once in his first five attempts this season. He clocked in 31st fastest at Atlanta, but was forced to take provisionals at Vegas, Phoenix, and Auto Club. He failed to make the show at Martinsville.
Gaughan’s best finish also came at Atlanta when he crossed under the checkers 28th. A good start is critical for this team, but as long as they are attempting to qualify every week, it may be difficult to allocate their resources in a manner that gets them that single fast lap.
Michael McDowell in top 2/3rds
Michael McDowell | 95
(April 1, 2015 10:28 AM EDT)
Michael McDowell has made only three attempts in the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford, but he has been a surprisingly good value most weeks. His average finish of 29th puts him ahead of one third of the teams competing.
McDowell’s best finish was a 27th at Atlanta and his worst was a 31st at Daytona. That narrow range of results makes him predictable, which is one of the best traits a driver can have in fantasy games.
Matt DiBenedetto: best came in latest
Matt DiBenedetto | 83
(April 1, 2015 10:26 AM EDT)
Matt DiBenedetto failed to qualify for his first two starts, made the Phoenix race on time and started Auto Club and Martinsville with provisionals. His best finish came in his latest start, however, when he climbed from 43rd to 31st in the STP 500 at Martinsville.
With time this team and driver will slowly improve and they could become fantasy relevant. Use them sparingly, however, and only when they fit the final niche on a roster.
Heavy penalty for No. 31 Sprint Cup team
Ryan Newman | 31
(March 31, 2015 6:23 PM EDT)
The No. 31 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) has been penalized for rules infractions discovered as a result of NASCAR’s post-event tire audit conducted following the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway.
Crew chief Luke Lambert has been fined a total of $125,000, suspended from the next six NSCS Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, and been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. James Bender, team tire technician, and Philip Surgen, team engineer, have been suspended from the next six NSCS Championship races. Driver Ryan Newman and car owner Richard Childress each have been penalized with the loss of 75 (50 plus 25) championship driver and championship car owner points.
Kyle Larson released from hospital
Kyle Larson | 42
(March 31, 2015 4:06 PM EDT)
Kyle Larson was released from the hospital Monday night and is awaiting the results of his tests before receiving medical clearance to return to the seat of his No. 42 Chevrolet, according to NBC’s Nate Ryan.
All reports from the hospital indicated that Larson was feeling fine and nothing was being found. Medical mysteries can be difficult to process and without the identification of a cause, NASCAR could be reluctant to allow him to compete. Stay tuned to see how this impacts the fantasy game.
Brian Scott was provisionally strong early
Brian Scott | 702
(March 31, 2015 3:15 PM EDT)
Brian Scott has made two starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series and he has been strong in both races. He finished on the lead lap in 13th at Vegas and was 27th at Auto Club.
It is unknown precisely how many more starts Scott will make in 2015, but he should be viewed as a good value when he is in the Richard Childress Racing supported No. 33 on unrestricted, intermediate speedways.
Chris Buescher’s remarkable start to 2015
Chris Buescher | 760
(March 31, 2015 2:58 PM EDT)
Chris Buescher has had a remarkable start to the 2015 season driving in relief of David Ragan in Front Row Motorsports’ No. 34 car. He finished 20th at Auto Club and was 24th at Martinsville in back-to-back weekends.
In many ways, Buescher has been much more valuable to fantasy players than Ragan was in the first five weeks of the season. His low salary cap and part time status make him attractive to fantasy owners and will encourage several more starts if he continues to get the call in this ride.
Ryan Blaney was great value at Vegas
Ryan Blaney | 722
(March 31, 2015 2:56 PM EDT)
The Wood Bros. make only selected starts with their No. 21 Ford. Ryan Blaney was not a particularly good value at Daytona in February, but he finished 19th and only one lap off the pace at Las Vegas, which allowed fantasy owners to stretch their salary caps.
More than half of the Wood Bros.’ attempts come on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks and Blaney is showing signs of being as good as or better than Trevor Bayne was in this ride in the past several years. Keep him on the radar screen.