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Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Bristol

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for the Bristol Night Race
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Saturday's Bristol Night Race NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Bristol Motor Speedway.</p>
2012

The Race for the Chase is heating up and after two weeks of late-race drama the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Thunder Valley for the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

When the series hits the high-banks, it will be on a much different racing surface than the drivers have been accustomed to over the past few seasons. After the 2007 reconfiguration of the track, progressive banking was added in the corners, allowing for multiple grooves and two- and three-wide racing.

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Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Michigan

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for the Pure Michigan 400
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.</p>
2012

After a wild late-race battle for the win at Watkins Glen, the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit heads to the Irish Hills of Michigan for this weekend's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Returning to MIS for the second time this season, the Chase is fast approaching and the action is heating up. In June, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended his 143-race winless streak and made the NASCAR Nation happier than a kid chowing down on some Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia.

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Watkins Glen

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for the Finger Lakes 355
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell gives his weekly fantasy NASCAR tips for Sunday's running of the Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International.</p>
2012

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the Northeast this weekend as it hits Watkins Glen International for the Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen. The second of two road course races this season, teams will have to adjust to turning both left and right, carrying high speeds and preparing for heavy braking with multiple elevation changes and opposite-side pit stops.

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Jimmie Johnson leads the pack (but don't tell Chad Norris)
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<p> Jimmie Johnson leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes a weekend off.</p>
2012

1. Jimmie Johnson  A Daytona crash is the only blemish on Johnson’s stat sheet since mid-May. Indianapolis is typically the event that Johnson, Chad Knaus & crew use as a jumping off point for the Chase.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  According to Junior's buddy Mike Davis, Earnhardt has completed the first 5,488 laps this season, a record in NASCAR’s Modern Era. He also has 20 consecutive lead lap finishes, dating back to 2011.

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Smoke rising through the carnage of Daytona
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<p> Matt Kenseth leads Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads north to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.</p>
2012

1. Matt Kenseth   Kenseth was the man to beat at Daytona for a second straight trip, although the fortunes of plate racing found him third by night’s end. Still, RFR is the team to beat on the plate tracks.

2. Jimmie Johnson   Johnson’s 2012 plate racing results: 42nd, 35th and 36th. In fact, his plate stats over the last few years — outside of a Talladega win — aren’t that impressive. Speaks more to the style of racing than the driver.

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at New Hampshire

Favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkorses for your Fantasy NASCAR team as the series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway.</p>
2012

The race may have ended Saturday night, but the smoke has yet to settle following the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway — both literally and figuratively.

Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends at Daytona

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Saturday's Coke Zero 400
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<p> Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkorses for your Fantasy NASCAR team as the series heads to Dayttona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400.</p>
2012

Here's hoping all the NASCAR fantasy players out there had a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday. After a week of firework displays around this great nation, the grand finale will come Saturday night under the lights at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 — let's just keep Juan Pablo Montoya away from any jet dryers, OK?

10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Contenders and Pretenders

Drivers and teams to watch as the circuit hits its mid-summer classic in Daytona
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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Vito Pugliese runs through the contenders and the pretenders for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.</p>
2012

Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway (please don’t call it the Pepsi 400 — Firecracker 400, however, will be accepted) marks the halfway point in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

From the Bluegrass to the Beach
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<p> Jimmie Johnson leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Athlon Sports' weekly Horsepower Rankings as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Daytona.</p>
2012

1. Jimmie Johnson  Lost a shot at the win during the final restart in Kentucky when he picked up trash on his tires. Managed to rebound to sixth after a quick backslide, his 13th top 10 of the season.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Was never a factor for the win at Kentucky, but ran consistently in the top 10 most of the evening before climbing to fourth at race’s end.

NASCAR Horsepower Rankings

Filling in the gaps left by TNT
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<p> Jimmie Johnson finds his way back atop Athlon Sports' weekly NASCAR Horsepower Rankings, besting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth.</p>
2012

1. Jimmie Johnson  It’s a toss up at the top, but J.J. has more wins and, as evidenced by his top-5 run at Sonoma, is a more well-rounded driver than Earnhardt or Kenseth.

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.   That said, championships are not won on road courses, so Junior’s 23rd-place showing — to be fair, he ran around 15th most of the day — will not hurt his title quest.

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