NASCAR Fantasy Flashback 2015: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
NASCAR fanatics worldwide are currently slavering with excitement, as the days tick by towards February 21st and the opening race of the Sprint Cup season at Daytona International Speedway.
At this stage, every team is (numerically) on equal terms, and the ever-changing rules of the sport often prove to be a huge contribution towards upsets, wrecking even the best laid plans for any fantasy NASCAR manager.
Last season, predictions were made by Motorsport24 (in collaboration with Nascarguy), some of which were inspirational... others not so. With this final look back at 2015, here are the best, and worst, fantasy picks ever to grace the internet...
April 11, 2015 – Duck Commander 500
These days it is far from easy to predict the winner of a race, with an interminably growing zeal for cautions often proving a severe hindrance to any driver that is apparently sauntering to victory lane. Back in April however, Motorsport24’s prediction for the Duck Commander 500 was almost podium-perfect.
It was always a toss-up between long term rivals Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick, but the nod for victory lane went to Johnson by virtue of his confidence on similar courses.
Joey Logano was identified as the driver to complete the Fort Worth podium, and it was only an inspired performance from Dale Earnhardt Jr (who surged from P25 to finish third) that prevented him from doing so.
May 24, 2015 – Coca Cola 600
The following month, a 1-2 of Harvick and Johnson was predicted for Charlotte. Embarrassingly, no notice taken of Joe Gibbs Racing’s mighty pace – indeed, it was that pace which would become the scourge of rival teams in the following months.
Brad Keselowski’s stolen win at Fontana was also dismissed as a fluke, going against the advice of other fantasy NASCAR tipsters, with Motorsport24 relegating him to the B-list.
Of the aforementioned trio, Keselowski was in fact the strongest with a finish of seventh, while Harvick finished a disappointing ninth. However, perennial fantasy NASCAR A-lister Jimmie Johnson experienced the weekend from hell, and was conspicuous in his absence from the chasing pack en-route to a lowly finish of 40th.
Powered by a Joe Gibbs car, Carl Edwards emerged the victor in a race which raised eyebrows across the world, igniting Joe Gibbs’ unforgettable ‘Summer of Love’.
November 1, 2015 – Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
Arguably the most divisive and contentious moment of the entire season came at the fall race of Martinsville. After sweeping the contender round, Joey Logano had emerged as a dark horse for the title, while Matt Kenseth was unexpectedly eliminated.
Many hoped that Logano’s natural skill would upset the odds and wrest the looming glory from hot favorite, and eventual champion, Kyle Busch.
Naturally, Logano was included on the A-list by virtue of form alone, with his winless record in the event completely ignored. However, the Connecticuter’s strong form continued with a rampant performance in qualifying en-route to pole position.
Sadly for his admirers, the rest is history. Logano’s hot streak was extinguished in style by a fateful block from Matt Kenseth, an action which saw the latter banned for two races, much to the scorn of most NASCAR fanatics.
Logano was never the same after an eventual finish of 37th in Martinsville, bowing out of Sprint Cup contention with a meaningless podium at Phoenix in the season’s penultimate race.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup season begins with the Daytona 500 on February 21st. For the latest standings and statistics, visit Motorsport24.com