One and Done: NASCAR Banking 500

Christopher Leone@ChristopherlionSenior Analyst IOctober 15, 2009

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 11:  Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on October 11, 2009 in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Half a dozen races remain in the Chase for the Sprint Cup as the teams head to Charlotte for the NASCAR Banking 500. This is the second race of the Chase to be held on a 1.5-mile tri-oval, following Kansas two weeks ago and preceding Texas on Nov. 8.

While Jimmie Johnson failed to seize an opportunity to take the points lead from Mark Martin at Kansas, Martin did not capitalize by extending his lead by any sizable margin. Last week at California, Johnson had no problem taking the lead from his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, but the 30-point swing only gave him a 12-point cushion.

This weekend will provide an exciting clash of the titans, as the two drivers have combined for nine wins, 25 top-fives, and 34 top-10s at Lowe's. Johnson won every points race at the track in 2004 and 2005, and won this weekend's race last year; Martin, however, has struggled at the track of late, not having won here since the 2002 Coca-Cola 600.

This week's fantasy pick is going to be a bit difficult. I'm sure that most One and Done players have already used their Johnson and Martin picks for the game, so I'm going to deliberately leave them off of this week's list. With that in mind, what other Chase drivers are left?

Juan Montoya (avg. fn. 27.4): Do me a favor and ignore that stat to the left, as it's more a reflection of poor equipment and luck in 2007 and 2008. Montoya finished eighth in the 600-miler earlier this year, and his worst Chase finish is fourth. Obviously, he has to seal the deal and win a race at some point, but when it comes to consistently good finishes in the Chase, the 42 team is an easy bet.

Greg Biffle (avg. fn. 18.4): Biffle's Charlotte record is all over the place, with as many DNFs as top-fives (two apiece). His Chase has also been a bit inconsistent, with consecutive finishes of ninth, 13th, third, and 20th.

That's not going to win a championship. The third, however, was at Kansas, a 1.5-mile track similar to Lowe's, and in that race Biffle led 113 of 267 laps.

Denny Hamlin (avg. fn. 15.6): Of active drivers with more than five starts at Charlotte, Hamlin has the seventh-best average finish. A word of caution, however: He doesn't have a single top 10 at the track, with his best finish an eighth in his track debut.

Hamlin gets the nod over former teammate Tony Stewart, however, just because Stewart's recent record at the track is so pathetic compared to the abundance of top-fives the 20 car scored in the early 2000s.

Kasey Kahne (avg. fn. 12.4): Since 2006, Kahne has won three of seven Lowe's races, with only one finish worse than eighth. He led laps in each of his first six Charlotte starts, and has won every race at the track since 2006 in which he has led laps.

He may be all but eliminated from the title hunt, but the Bank of America spokesman should do well at his sponsor's race.

Carl Edwards (avg. fn. 10.0): He's got the best Charlotte record of anybody not named "Johnson." I know the Roush Fenway cars have been crap this year, that he's never led more than 11 laps in a points race at Lowe's and certainly never won, but seven top-10s in nine starts has to mean something, right?

Want to play One and Done? Head over to OnPitRow.com! The game lasts through the end of the season.


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