Related: NASCAR Fantasy Live game
Entering the Bristol night race, there were a plethora of good reasons to choose several different drivers for one's fantasy team, but apparently Matt Kenseth's name wasn't one that stood out. In fact, Kenseth dropped in price by $0.25 due to a lack of demand as fantasy owners instead clamored for the Busch brothers, who both increased by $0.50 in the time leading up to the race.
Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne also saw spikes in ownership with both enjoying historical success at Bristol -- Gordon as a five-time winner there and Kahne as the most recent winner before Saturday night's outcome.
But if for some "silly" reason you were one of the few, proud owners of Kenseth, kudos to you. The No. 20 provided a substantial gain over the rest of the field.
Kenseth's fantasy score of 190.5 points far exceeded the next-best driver on the list -- Kahne, who had 113 points. Kenseth piled up 74.5 points on laps led and 36 points on quality passes.
Not even a late pit-road speeding penalty could stop Kenseth, who led all drivers with 29 points on fastest laps. In addition, Kahne was the only driver who outscored Kenseth on quality passes.
Gordon finished a solid fourth in fantasy points, and Kyle Busch was 10th, racking up 32 points on place differential after he started from the back of the field.
Kurt Busch, meanwhile, was 27th in fantasy points after a broken wheel hub caused him to leave the race momentarily and wrecked his chance at good finishing points.
It was interesting that more people didn't choose Kenseth. He entered the race with the second-best average finish at the track in the past eight years. But for some reason the fantasy love for Kenseth wasn't there.
Too bad, because those who stuck with Kenseth certainly had a lot to love by late Saturday night. That's because Kenseth owners were likely the ones carrying three extra Chase points with them into this week's fantasy action.
Key Fantasy Moment: "Concrete" Carl Edwards looked like he had the car to beat until an engine failure doomed him to a 39th-place finish. Amazingly, Edwards still posted the 12th-best fantasy score thanks to 119 laps led. That accounted for 59.5 of his fantasy points on a night when he totaled 67.5. It was a solid effort overall, but it could have been so much better. Fantasy owners were no doubt expecting more when they saw how good the No. 99 looked through the middle part of the race.
Biggest bargain: Raise your hand if you had Paul Menard in your lineup for Bristol. OK, now put your hands down, because you're obviously lying. Menard's price dropped $0.25 due to a lack of demand leading up to the race, but like Kenseth he paid off for his faithful followers. Menard scored the third-most fantasy points on the night at 109, with 32 of them coming on laps led. After his top-10 finish, Menard's average finish at Bristol is second only to how well he does at Kansas. Keep that in mind for future reference.
Biggest Bust: It was another tough week for Jimmie Johnson owners as the No. 48 ran into a bit of bad luck -- as well as David Reutimann's spun-out car as it slid down the track. Johnson's car took significant front-end damage in the ensuing hit and had to be taken to the garage for repairs. Johnson returned but finished 36th. Johnson scored just four fantasy points, and at a league-high $29 certainly was the bust of the night.
Tip to take forward: According to NASCAR Statistical Service's Loop Data, the following drivers lead in the significant fantasy categories for the last eight years at Atlanta Motor Speedway: Laps led: Kurt Busch (11.3 percent); Quality passes: Brad Keselowski (40.8 average); Fastest Laps: Carl Edwards (8.9 percent); Average Finish: Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon (9.1).
Good luck this week.
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- Matt Kenseth