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Jordan's Top Ten for the Ford 400:
Driver - Fantasy Price - Car - Starting Position
1. Carl Edwards - $20.70 - #99 Aflac Ford - Starts 2nd
I had Cousin Carl as my number one in my preview article, and my mind hasn't changed. He has the momentum from his win last week and starts on the front row. In addition to that, he was third in average speed. Carl has never finished worse than 14th at Homestead and his average career finish here is 6.5.
2. Kevin Harvick - $27.00 - #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet - Starts 28th
"Happy" looked pretty happy in practice, and so did his car: he ended up 5th on the average speed chart. Expect Harvick to get to the front and stay there and, with a little luck, maybe take home a championship as well as the race trophy. He finished 3rd here in 2009.
3. Jeff Gordon - $22.90 - #24 DuPont Chevrolet - Starts 11th
Gordon has never won at Homestead, but he's riding a three-race streak of top tens here, and I don't see that changing this week. He was 8th on the average speed chart and will roll off the grid in 11th. His average career finish here is 9.5.
4. Jimmie Johnson - $24.00 - #48 Lowe's Chevrolet - Starts 6th
Jimmie's "drive for five" will finally reach its conclusion this week and he got off to a fast start in qualifying, putting his Chevy at 6th. He got a good pit stall because of it and has an opening in front of him, so he won't get blocked in. Don't worry about his low average speed; Johnson is rarely high on the average speed chart. He's been sand bagging this race for four years and he ended up 5th last year. I wonder how good he will be able to do now that he has something to drive for.
5. Denny Hamlin - $23.90 - #11 FedEx Express Toyota - Starts 37th
Denny starts in the back but he started in 38th last year and won the race, so I'm not too worried. He was average in practice (13th in average speed) but I think he has a lot better car than he showed on Saturday. Hamlin is my pick to win the championship and I still see that happening.
6. Kasey Kahne - $14.30 - #83 Red Bull Toyota - Starts 1st
I exercise caution with Kahne for the simple fact he still isn't used to this team, but he seems to be pretty fast. He won the pole on Friday and ended up 6th in average speed on Saturday. Kahne has two finishes in the top ten at Homestead, but his other four races have been 16th or worse.
7. Jeff Burton - $22.20 - #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet - Starts 14th
Burton ended up in the top ten in both ten-lap average charts and was a surprising 16th in overall average speed (he is usually around 25th). Jeff finished 2nd here last year but, like Kahne, he is very inconsistent: he has three top fifteens at Homestead but three finishes of 25th or worse.
8. Mark Martin - $20.10 - #5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet - Starts 8th
Martin is riding a eight-race streak of top fifteens and I think he will continue that this week. He starts in 8th and while he didn't look phenomenal in practice, he usually doesn't (28th in average speed). He won't challenge for the win, but a top ten is definitely within Mark's grasps.
9. Clint Bowyer - $17.50 - #33 Cheerios Chevrolet - Starts 17th
Clint was 12th in Happy Hour average speed (18th overall) but I see him doing a little better than that on Sunday. Clint has four career starts here and has finished inside the top eleven in three of the four races. Over the past two years, his average finish is 8th at Homestead and I see him ending up around there this weekend.
10. Martin Truex, Jr. - $19.30 - #56 NAPA Auto Parts - Starts 25th
Truex is very surprising to some people, but he has always been good at Homestead. In five career starts, he has four top tens and an average finish of 11.8. Truex was low on the average speed chart but was in the top ten in both ten-lap averages.
On The Outside Looking In:
Bill Elliott - He was my sleeper early in the week and backed up my predictions on Friday (he qualified 4th) as well as Saturday (1st in average speed). A top ten may be a reach, but a top fifteen has a great possibility. Excellent low-dollar option this week.
Aric Almirola - Almirola has been impressive since taking over the 9 car and he usually nets right around 100 points per race--which is very good considering his very low price. He was 10th in average speed and starts 24th.
David Ragan - Ragan qualified 9th (kind of surprising) and was 10th in ten-lap averages in Happy Hour. He was low on the average speed chart--as usual--but I expect a solid top twenty from him.