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Author Archives: Jeff Wolfe

Jeff Wolfe
Jeff starts his second year as Fantasy Expert with the Frontstretch, balancing duties with his job at a local Pennsylvania newspaper, the Delaware County Times. A longtime reporter, Jeff works the news beat while combining his love of sports with freelance publications that include a blog on his beloved Indiana Pacers, NASCAR coverage and the local short tracks of southern New Jersey.
Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks

Fantasy Insider: Team Revelations For NASCAR’s Short Tracks

Down on your luck in fantasy this season? Never fear. With a weekend off and a chance to relax with family or friends, some time to (hopefully) sneak a look at your team when no one else is looking, Richmond may be a chance to get back into the game, so to speak. If you’ve gotten off to a slow start (like me) and you’ve been a little down, don’t get too down. There are still 28 of these things ... Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Plan Of Attack For The Lady In Black

Fantasy Insider: Plan Of Attack For The Lady In Black

The NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit heads to Darlington Speedway for what unfortunately will be the series’ lone trip there this season. Darlington is unique in that it is a 1.366 mile egg-shaped oval; can feel pretty good going down the frontstretch or backstretch, but maybe not good when trying to negotiate one of the tight corners at each end of the track. It’s the kind of place where you think you can go fast, but one little mistake going into a corner ... Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Get The Lowdown On The Lone Star Showdown

Fantasy Insider: Get The Lowdown On The Lone Star Showdown

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series goes from a short track to a fast track when as it heads to Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 3 PM race on FOX. Now now that we are six weeks into the season with six different winners, if you are off to a slow start, your fantasy team may need to get on the fast track too. If you are on pick limits like in the Yahoo! leagues where you get a driver just nine times during ... Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Hotdog Heartburn? Martinsville Madness To Upset Fantasy Standings

Fantasy Insider: Hotdog Heartburn? Martinsville Madness To Upset Fantasy Standings

OK, by a raise of hands, how many of you were screaming and cursing at the TV as one of your top fantasy picks fell by the wayside, late in Sunday’s race due to a blown tire? First, there was Jimmie Johnson, then Brad Keselowski, followed by Clint Bowyer. That final blowout/spin, in a cruel twist of fate, cost Jeff Gordon a win, along with a “locked up” Chase position this early in the season. Those kinds of things are ... Read More »

NASCAR Fantasy Insider: Which Favorites Will Figure Out Fontana

NASCAR Fantasy Insider: Which Favorites Will Figure Out Fontana

The Sprint Cup Series moves on to California Sunday with a 3:00pm start time onFOX. The Sprint Cup circuit visits this two-mile oval just once a year, with the 2013 event being a most memorable one. Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin got into on the final lap, with Logano eventually winning out in the personal battle and sending Hamlin and his car into the inside wall. Hamlin took a hard head-on hit and suffered a back injury that caused him ... Read More »

Fantasy Insider: The Second Race Starts NASCAR’s “Real” Seaso

Fantasy Insider: The Second Race Starts NASCAR’s “Real” Seaso

Most motorsports fans enjoy watching the Daytona 500, and maybe or maybe not you considered it a bonus when the rain moved it to a primetime event last Sunday. But whether the race runs day or night, one thing did not change when it comes to pulling for your fantasy picks at a restrictor plate track: you just never know what’s going to happen. For some of you, that was good news, and others (that’s me raising a hand here) ... Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Doubling Down On Daytona Fantasy Picks

Fantasy Insider: Doubling Down On Daytona Fantasy Picks

JOIN OUR FANTASY RACING LEAGUE!! The Frontstretch has a big league on Yahoo!, once again and we’d like you to be a part of it. Come compete with your favorite racing experts by clicking here and signing up. Our Group ID is 10532 and the password is stenica… so don’t miss out! The time has come and that time is now. Another NASCAR Sprint Cup season is upon us, which means more fun and frustration in equal amounts. Yes, that’s ... Read More »

Denny’s Dilemma, Danger, and Drama at Darlington

Denny’s Dilemma, Danger, and Drama at Darlington

It’s called the Lady in Black because more often than not, Darlington Raceway is not kind to the drivers who try to conquer it. One driver who seems, though, to have a good idea on how to handle this so-called lady, is *Denny Hamlin.* And if he ever needed to do it again, that would be now. Saturday night’s race will be Hamlin’s first full effort since his return from back injury suffered five weeks ago in a crash with Joey Logano. Hamlin now faces the daunting task of trying to make the Chase. Since he sits 31st in points, it’s probably next to impossible for him to reach the 10th spot with 16 races left in NASCAR’s regular season. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Serving Up A Hot Plate At Talladega

Fantasy Insider: Serving Up A Hot Plate At Talladega

Good luck. When it comes to making fantasy picks for restrictor plate tracks, you might think those two simple words of advice are all that you need. And for sure, there is some luck involved, but also for sure, there are some guys who seem to have a knack for restrictor plate racing. That doesn’t mean they like it, as most drivers pretty much aren’t comfortable running about 200mph, while being surrounded by other cars, just foot, or less, away. Or being pushed by somebody when you’re already going that fast and trusting they’ll know when not to push. Read More »

Fantasy Insider: Fighting Through The Perils Of Bristol's Thunder Valley

NASCAR heads to one of its marquee tracks this Sunday, the half-mile oval at Bristol Motor Speedway for race number four of 36. Much like Daytona’s restrictor plate circus, just what happens in the bullring can be unpredictable. While that’s great for pure, entertainment purposes it’s a downright panic attack when you’re trying to project your fantasy lineup. How many times has a driver seemed destined for a top 10, or even a top 5 result, in Thunder Valley only to get bumped into the wall during the final few laps and relegated to a 20 or 30-something finish? One fact that is different: at places like Bristol compared to the plate tracks, qualifying really does matter. If you start at the back of the pack there, you’re already about a half lap behind. And since the jury is definitely still out on how well the new Gen 6 cars can pass in traffic, climbing out of a deep hole early could be difficult for even the sport’s short track aces. So drivers that qualify well, in 2013 and those that tend to miss the wrecks will leave you off to a solid start. But even then, know that nothing is fool-proof; last March, an early crash erased good days for Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, and several other top stars. Still, here we go, trying to predict the unpredictable… *LOOKING FOR SOME ACES* Of the best drivers out there this week, the first place to look is towards the ones who finished atop the standings last year. *Brad Keselowski* has been steady in these first three races, landing second in points behind *Jimmie Johnson.* But despite scoring top-5 finishes in each, the only driver to have done so Keselowski has expressed his frustration at not scoring a victory. The good news is Bristol’s coming at the right time; he has won two of the last four races there. Roger Penske’s No. 2 car, in particular has dominated this track, transitioning seamlessly from Rusty Wallace, to Kurt Busch, to Keselowski in Victory Lane. Finally, the reigning champ’s average starting spot is 9.5, during the last four races at Thunder Valley and that’s why he’s my pick this week: those who start up front should stay there. <div style=\"float:right; width:275px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15238.jpg\" width=\"275\" height=\"183\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Even Brad Keselowski is telling the world who to pick this weekend at Bristol; the Blue Deuce will be as hard to handle as ever this Sunday in Thunder Valley.</p></div> Another guy on the “A†list to look at is *Denny Hamlin.* Sure, he’s not happy with the Gen-6 car yet, but he’s also got a recent win at Bristol. And with last week’s criticism, putting him in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons wouldn’t Victory Lane make everything better at the No. 11 car? <div style=\"float:right; width:240px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/15541.jpg\" width=\"240\" height=\"300\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Will Denny Hamlin be forced to swallow his pride and pay the fine - or will he prove a point with a win this weekend at Bristol?</p></div> One other top driver you can’t forget about at Bristol is *Tony Stewart.* Sure, he has only one win there, but he’s led 1,355 laps at the track and needs to improve after stumbling out of the blocks in 2013. Speaking of veterans, facing slumping starts there may be no better place for *Jeff Gordon* to break out than Bristol. Gordon has five career wins there and has led 2,637 laps, easily the most among active drivers. Finally, if you’re into streaks, there’s always last week’s winner in *Matt Kenseth.* He’s led 922 laps at Bristol with two wins and an average finish of 12.08 in 26 races. *MIDDLE OF THE ROADERS* This second group is filled with a Busch-ell of possibilities. Easily at the top of this list is *Kyle Busch* especially if you are in a race limit league. He has five wins in 16 career races at Bristol and has 1,374 laps led. What’s most impressive about those statistics is he has done so with an average start of 19.3. Armed with the right balance of patience and aggressiveness, he’s young enough where endurance is not an issue and may be one of the few that can work through traffic after starting mid-pack or worse. Then, there’s Kyle’s brother *Kurt Busch,* no slouch at the bullrings himself. Owning five wins at Bristol, while he’s not in a top-tier ride anymore, driving the No. 78 for Furniture Row he’s had enough success to be considered. He’s led 840 laps in his 24 races there. If you’re looking for a sleeper from this group, plus someone who’s not available to select every week, then you have to look at *Brian Vickers.* He seemed to find his niche there last year and will be in the No. 55 on Sunday. Mark Martin drove this car in the first three events and the No. 55 is a strong sixth in owner points. One last look from the middle-tier candidates also presents us with *Martin Truex, Jr.* In the last four races at Bristol, he’s had two top-5 results and has an average finish of 8.75. Truex has also led 112 laps in those events. *DARK HORSES* As usual, this group is full of intriguing, seemingly low-priority options that can shine. When it comes to these short track races, one of the priorities is to try and find a driver who can stay on the lead lap for a big chunk of the event, dodging bullets while earning a good finish through attrition. The full-season choices here, leading this category at the moment are *Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.* and *Danica Patrick.* They are each competing for Rookie of the Year honors as well as Bristol bragging rights. Only one of them, though will be a solid pick for Sunday. After the restrictor plate race at Daytona, Patrick hasn’t shown the ability, the car, or whatever you want to call it to compete inside the top 10 on a weekly basis. That makes her a tough pick at Bristol. In her lone start there last year, she finished 29th, albeit after contact with Regan Smith ended a fairly decent run. On the contrary, this race might be a good place to use Stenhouse, Jr. He ran in the top 10 at times at Las Vegas despite bouncing off the Turn Two wall, and he seems to be learning the more powerful Cup cars quickly. One possible pick, comes from a driver who won’t be a regular on the circuit but will be driving the No. 51 at Bristol in *A.J. Allmendinger.* In his last three races there, he has an average finish of 20th and has led 54 laps. Most would probably take a 20th-place finish out of their final spot at Bristol, and it’s possible the No. 51 can do better. After all, this single-car effort is sitting seventh in owner points this season. So even though James Finch has limited funding, his team has produced so far in 2013. <div style=\"float:right; width:275px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/14944.jpg\" width=\"275\" height=\"183\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Take a good look - and possibly one of your last. A.J. Allmendinger appears to be headed back to open wheel in the not too distant future. Pick him now and cash in if you are in a tiered league.</p></div> *THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR* The top performer of the week in Frontstretch’s two fantasy leagues was the team _JJs #14_ with 334 points. The selections of Keselowski in third, Kyle Busch in fourth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.in seventh and Stenhouse in 18th was two points better than the _NASCAR Forever_ team entry. The overall point leader for this segment is _Team Hurtubise_ with 657 points, ahead of the _6_99RFR entry,_ which has 647. Want to see which Frontstretch player’s ahead? \"Click here\":http://racing.fantasysports.yahoo.com/auto/group/11132 to find out and join in the fun of our growing fantasy league. *Connect with Jeff!* <a href=\"http://www.twitter.com/jeffwolfe206\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/6502.jpg\"></a><br> \"Contact Jeff Wolfe\":http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/37938/ Read More »