Commentary

Good, Bad and Ugly: Bank of America 500

Updated: October 10, 2008, 12:22 PM ET
By Mark Garrow | Jayski.com

Mark Garrow provides drivers' trends for Sunday's Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

* Driver needs to qualify for the race based on time.
# Driver is eligible for the champion's provisional.

• He's going to try to get the 00 in the show. In Cup starts here, Allmendinger has an average finish of 22.0. He finished 15th in this race last year and 20th here in the spring.
• If Allmendinger were in the 84, he would be a great potential low-budget pick, but with MWR he's an unknown value and you'll have to wait until after qualifying and practice to see if he's worth some serious thought this week.

• Biffle has 11 starts here with four top-10s, two top-5s and finished second here in the spring. He's driving the same car he drove to a fourth earlier this season at Michigan.
• I think Biffle is going to be one of the guys to beat and I have him ranked second. With his value getting so high, it's getting to a point where you might have to decide between Biffle and Edwards for the rest of the season. Most people would take Edwards, but I'm in the Biffle camp because of his mental toughness.

• Blaney has made 17 Cup starts here and has finished as high as sixth, which he did a year ago. Blaney has scored four top-15s at LMS in his career.
• With a Stock Car Challenge (SCC) value of 14.9 and the fact he's not finished worse than 18th in his past three Charlotte starts, you'll have to give Blaney some serious consideration. He started 34th when he finished sixth last fall.

• Despite finishing second here last fall, Bowyer has four finishes of 19th or worse at Charlotte. He has a 19.6 finishing average and is driving the same car he finished 10th with at Fontana on Labor Day weekend.
• Bowyer has been solid but not spectacular lately. In his past seven races his worst finish is 12th, which he's done three times in that span with average finish of 9.4. He's basically been a top-10 car and I think you can expect him to finish somewhere from ninth to 14th, which is why I have him ranked 12th.

• In 29 starts at Lowe's, Burton has two wins, five top-5s and 14 top-10s. Both of the victories came in the Coca-Cola 600 (1999, 2001).
• I like Burton a lot this weekend because he has definitely turned it up a notch since the Chase started. He's averaged a sixth-place finish over the past five races and was sixth here earlier this year. His SCC value of 22.4 is a little high to pick up now, but he's top-10 material, at least, at every track for the rest of the season.

• In the five races Busch has driven here for Penske Racing, he has led laps in three of those five races and led a total of 184 laps. He led the most laps (107) in the 2007 Coca-Cola 600 before a late-race crash relegated him to 32nd. Busch has a 12.0 average start and 29.0 average finish in that five-race span. He's racing the same car he drove to a top-10 at Pocono in June.
• He snuck in a last-minute test at Kentucky earlier this week to get ready for this race, which should help. However, his past two races on 1.5-mile tracks scare me. Busch was 28th at Chicagoland and 30th at Kansas. He's a "tweener" value at 17.6 in the SCC and is more than a little risky.

• Busch has three Nationwide and two Truck wins at LMS, but had six Sprint Cup finishes of 25th or worse here prior to last year's race. In addition to the recent back-to-back third-place finishes, Busch captured his first career Sprint Cup pole for May's Coca-Cola 600.
• We all know the wheels have come off in the four Chase races, but he did scramble back to finish 15th at Talladega and that should give him a little more confidence here in Charlotte, where he finished third earlier this year. Because of his recent woes, I have him ranked 13th, but his SCC value has dropped to 21.8 and that makes him more attractive because you've got to figure he and his team break out of their slump sooner or later and that could be Saturday night.

• In 18 Sprint Cup starts at Lowe's, Earnhardt has scored five top-5s and nine top-10s. He has led 312 laps and started on the pole once. This is the same car that was tested at LMS recently.
• I have Junior ranked 10th, even though he was fifth earlier this year in the Coke 600. I'm a little concerned about the way he ran at Chicagoland and Kansas, finishing 16th and 13th. He should be fairly solid, but there are several drivers valued below him in SCC who should have better runs.

• In his previous seven starts, Edwards has three top-5s and six top-10s. Edwards' average start at LMS is 22.4, his average finish is 7.6. He's driving the same car he drove to a sixth at Fontana in August.
• Edwards has a chance to win this race, which is why I have him ranked third coming in. In SCC, his value dipped a little bit after Talladega. It might be a good time to buy him and ride the rest of the season if you don't already have him.

• Elliott has 57 starts here and two career wins in 1984 and 1987. He also holds four pole awards, 11 top-5s and 22 top-10s at the track.

• Gilliland has an average finish of 33.2 and has completed only 1,104 of 1,471 career laps at Charlotte. He's driving a car he tested with here recently.
• Given the Jack Roush connection, I'm a little surprised he did so poorly at Charlotte earlier this year and in the past two 1.5-mile races at Chicagoland and Kansas. If he qualifies well, though, that usually means he'll run fairly close to the front and with a 15.1 SCC value that's something to consider.

• In 31 starts at LMS, Gordon has five wins, seven poles, 15 top-5s and 17 top-10s.
• I have Gordon ranked fifth and feel his team has begun to turn the corner on this type of track and his SCC value is an attractive 20.5, which could be very cap friendly. His fourth-place run at Kansas should bode well for this weekend.

• Gordon has 16 starts here with an average finish of 29.2 and seven DNFs. He finished 43rd here in the spring and 38th in this event last year.

• Hamlin has six starts here with three top-10s and an average finish of 14.2. His most recent top-10 in this event was in 2005.
• Hamlin's record here has been spotty and he's feeling really beat-up from that hard Talladega crash. Not to mention, he's had nothing but bad luck in the Chase, so I have him ranked 14th. I don't expect much more than him just trying to finish the race.

• Though he won the 2007 All-Star race, Harvick has scored only one top-5 in a points-paying race at LMS. He has an unexpected 20.7 finishing average.
• Talladega broke a string of nine straight top-10s for Harvick. He was 14th at Charlotte in May, but is running better so he should finish in the top 10 and has a cap-friendly SCC value of 21.1. I don't really see a weak track for him the rest of the season, so he should be steady in and around the top 10 the rest of the way.

• Hornish will make his second Cup start at Charlotte. He finished 13th here earlier this season.

• Do I see that happening again? No way. It's practically the lone bright spot he's had all season. He qualified 20th in the race, however, so if he's anywhere near the front again after the time trials, you should probably give him a little thought because of his SCC value of 13.5.

• Johnson has made 14 Cup starts at Lowe's, collecting five wins, eight top-5s and 11 top-10s. Johnson has an average finish of 9.1. He's driving the same car he drove to wins from the pole at Indy, Fontana and Kansas.
• This is a "killer car" for him and his team believes it can win every time it takes the green flag. He's my top driver because he'll challenge for the win and is no worse than top five when it's over. He's relaxed and will be tougher than a two dollar steak the rest of the year. If you have him in the SCC game, don't let him go, and if you don't it might be too late to add him but you may want to try.

• In nine starts at LMS, Kahne has three wins and four top-10s. He has scored three outside poles and led 616 laps at the 1.5-mile speedway. He has an average start of 11th and an average finish of 14th at LMS.
• Kahne lit this place up in May but shortly thereafter reverted back to the average runner he had been before that. He's gone nine races now without a top-10 and was basically a top-15 car at Chicagoland and Kansas. So even though he swept in May I've got him ranked 15th. One thing to keep an eye on: He qualified second when he won in May. If he qualifies poorly then he might have lost his Lowe's magic for 2008. If he's running well, his 19.2 SCC value could be helpful.

• In 18 starts, Kenseth has achieved one win, five top-5s and eight top-10s. Kenseth has scored four total victories at Lowe's: the 2000 Coca-Cola 600, 2004 All-Star race and two Nationwide Series wins. The car he's driving this weekend has five 2008 starts with two top-5s and five top-10s.
• This is one of Kenseth's favorite cars and I have him ranked fourth going into the Bank of America 500. I think we'll see a performance much like his fifth-place run at Kansas.

• Kvapil has an average finish of 23.4 at Charlotte. He has completed 1,840 of 1,870 career laps and has led for 25 laps. He's driving the same car he tested with here recently.
• He's really done nothing on 1.5-mile tracks this year and I don't expect a Charlotte miracle.

• In 31 starts here, Labonte has 17 top-10s, 12 top-5s, two wins and an average finish of 12.7. He finished 11th here this spring and 12th in this event last year.
• He had a decent run here in the spring but either he and his team have fallen back or other teams have begun to pass them because his finishes on the intermediate superspeedways in the second half of the season have not been good. Still, he's considered one of the best getting around this place and his SCC value has dropped to 18.1. He might end up being worth a thought or two.

• Martin has four wins here and has led 1,168 laps at LMS, the third most ever. He has an average finish of 16.1. In addition, his 21 top-10s and 17 top-5s are tops among active drivers and the veteran has scored the sixth-most points in the past six races.
• I was really disappointed with how he gave a good finish away at Kansas, but he's got a shot to run top-10 this weekend. Problem with Martin, his SCC value is getting up there at 19.4 and he's not running all of the remaining races.

• McCumbee has no Cup Series starts here, but has raced at Charlotte three times in the Truck Series, finishing second at the spring event this year.

• In 12 starts here, McMurray has one win, two top-5s and five top-10s. Lowe's ranks as the track with the most laps led (139) for McMurray. It's his eighth-best track. He averages a 17.1 finishing position here.
• I think McMurray has a chance to finish 14th to 20th and that might be a decent payoff for a guy valued at 17.1 in SCC.

• In addition to winning at Lowe's in May 2007, Mears also has posted two top-10s in 11 starts. He's driving the same car he tested with here recently.
• Mears has finished in the top 15 in four of the past five races and has begun to find a nice little groove. An SCC value of 16.9 makes him very attractive for this race. As a new daddy (as of Wednesday), this boy is going to be pumped up.

• In three previous starts at the track, Menard's best starting position is 17th (October 2007) and his best finish is a 14th.
• Yes, he's coming off a great second at Talladega, but welcome back to the real world. He's top-25 at best.

• His average finish is 31st. In May, Montoya drove to a 30th-place finish. He's driving the same car he tested with here recently.
• This team has struggled on tracks like this but was 18th at Chicagoland and 20th at Kansas, which were steps in the right direction. A top-20 for an SCC value of 16.7 might not be a bad trade-off.

• Nemechek has 26 starts here with five top-10s, two top-5s and an average finish of 18.9. His most recent start here was the Coke 600 in 2007.

• Newman has seven poles, three top-5s and five top-10s at Lowe's in 15 starts. His best finish was a second in the fall of 2003. He is driving the same car he finished 13th with at Indy this year. It was also tested here recently.
• I've got Newman ranked 19th because you really don't know what you're going to get with him or the new Dodge motor. At 18.2 in SCC, that is too much risk.

• Ragan has visited Lowe's three times and his best finish was 12th in the 2008 Coca-Cola 600. He's driving the same car he finished third with at Michigan.

• I like Ragan a lot coming into this race and have him ranked 11th because I can see him finishing as high as eighth and only as low as 14th. His SCC value is starting to creep up there at 19.4 so it might be decision time on him for the rest of the season.

• Raines has seven starts here with a top-10 and an average finish of 28.1. He finished 31st here last year.

• Reutimann has three starts here with a top-10 and an average finish of 20.3. He finished 10th here in the spring.
• I think he has top-15 potential just about every time out now and love his SCC value of 16.4. He could be a guy to build a "floor" on for this race.

• Riggs has nine starts here with an average finish of 25.4 and three DNFs. He finished 28th here in the spring and 36th in this event last year.

• In 20 previous starts, Sadler has one top-5 and three top-10s.
• I really liked what I saw when Elliott finished 12th at Chicagoland and 10th at Kansas. This team is really making some progress and his SCC value is still relatively low at 17.3. He qualified ninth and ran 19th in May and the team is in better shape now than it was then.

• In 45 starts here, Schrader has 13 top-10s, six top-5s, a win and an average finish of 21.4. He finished 33rd here in the spring.

• Smith has one previous start here, finishing 19th.
• After a heartbreaker at Talladega, Smith will be over-the-top hungry for a good finish Saturday night. He's got a shot to run top-20 again and with an SCC value of 14.1, he would let you add another big gun.

• Sorenson has one top-5 and two top-10s in five starts. His best finish of fourth came in the spring 2007. His average finish is 20th.
• Sorenson's SCC value has dropped to 15.0, but he probably isn't worth the risk.

• Stewart has 19 starts here with 11 top-10s, six top-5s, a win and an average finish of 13.2. He finished seventh in this event last year.
• I have Stewart ranked eighth coming in and see him as a solid top-10 pick. I can see him finishing as high as fifth.

• Truex has six starts here with a top-10 and an average finish of 21.0. He finished 17th in this race last year.
• This team is struggling with only one top-10 in the past eight outings, but was in the top 10 at Chicagoland. His SCC value has dropped to 18.0 and might be a little attractive for this race.

• In nine starts here, Vickers has two top-10s, a top-5 and an average finish of 25.0. He finished fifth in this race last year.
• I have Vickers ranked ninth because I think he can get a top-10 Saturday night. And his SCC value is still an attractive 18.5.

• In 12 starts here, Wallace has an average finish of 25.6 and three DNFs, finishing 43rd in his most recent start here in 2005.
• Wallace is replacing the fired Patrick Carpentier. AJ Allmendinger will drive this car next week and maybe for the rest of the season.

• Waltrip will start in his 47th Cup race here and has four top-5s and 12 top-10s.
• All he can hope for is probably a top-30.

Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.

Mark Garrow

Fantasy Racing
Mark Garrow covers fantasy racing for ESPN.com.