Mid-pack Attack: Nemechek's week gets better

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New Hampshire International Speedway is a 1.058-mile asphalt oval with 12-degree banking in the turns. The 1,500-foot frontstretch and backstretch are banked two degrees. Because the speeds are high in the straightaways, the cars use a higher gear ratio. That means drivers must get on the brakes really hard to get the cars slowed entering the corners. Brakes as well as downforce in the long straights are critical. The 1993 inaugural race winner was Rusty Wallace driving the No. 2 Pontiac at an average race speed of 105.947 mph. As fantasy players, we know that you must pick more than just the top-tier drivers so MID-PACK ATTACK is here to help. A mid-packer may not win the race but has as good a shot at a top-10 finish as some of the track favorites. There are 46 cars on the initial entry list for this weekend's Cup race. The 43 drivers who qualify will be competing in front of 101,000 fans in the grandstand for a total purse of $5,074,134. Here are some mid-pack sleeper picks for Sunday's Siemens 300 at Loudon, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire International Speedway
Driver Races Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles
Joe Nemechek 3 1 3 4 0
COMMENT: Joe Nemechek just had his contract extended to the end of 2005 in the No. 01 Chevrolet. He has had top 10 starts in the last three Cup races and top 10 finishes in the last two. Nemechek picked up his first career Cup win at NHIS in 1999 and has a Busch Series win and a pole there as well. His 22.2 average Cup finish this season is not up there, but he's a good fantasy mid-pack pick who can run up front at Loudon.
Robby Gordon 8 1 2 3 0
COMMENT: If Robby Gordon improves on NHIS qualifying where he's averaged a 28th start in eight races, look for him to better his average finish of 17th. Gordon scored a victory at Loudon in the fall race in 2001 working his way up from a 31st-place start. He has three top 10s in those eight Loudon starts.
Casey Mears 2 0 0 0 0
COMMENT: In his two career NHIS Cup starts, Casey Mears finished 16th and 17th. Those were good finishes since they were both in 2003 when he was having a tough season. This year, Mears has seven top 10s in 18 Cup starts and has consistently improved over last year at most tracks.
Michael Waltrip 18 0 0 2 0
COMMENT: Michael Waltrip has an average finish of 25.6 and only two top 10s in 18 starts at Loudon. We're picking him this week because he's on a mission. In the last nine Cup races this season, Waltrip scored seven top-10 finishes. In fact, if you throw out the 33rd-place finish for his Pocono 500 wreck, his average finish for the other eight races is seventh place.

Anthony Ballantoni has followed NASCAR for at least ten years before it became a popular national sport. He keeps up-to-date on driver performance and changes to teams, tracks and anything NASCAR related.

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