Fantasy NASCAR with Mark Garrow
Garrow began reporting on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1984 and has been doing a daily nationally-syndicated NASCAR news radio show currently called PRN's Garage Pass since 1987. Garrow is currently the co-anchor for the Performance Racing Network (PRN) national radio broadcasts of Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races. The Vermont native was voted the National Motorsports Press Association's Barney Hall award winner in 2002, the Radio Broadcaster of the Year in 2006 and has collected over 30 NMPA awards. While the bulk of his work has been on radio, Garrow has been on television for ESPN, TNT, TNN and Fox.
Send in your questions now and check back at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to chat with Mark!
Mark Garrow (4:03 PM)
Good afternoon everyone..let the fun begin.
nathan madison west virginia
Mark, what did you think about Dale Jr do you think he going to be back to old self and win a lot of races this year.
Mark Garrow (4:04 PM)
I think he's going to win three to five races this year. This week will be a real good measuring stick. It's unrestricted intermediate speedway..they dominate the schedule..a good run this weekend bodes well for the rest of the year or at least the first half.
Is Newman worth trading for? Do you think he's off the schnide now that he finally has a win?
Mark Garrow (4:06 PM)
I think Newman's going to come up big again this weekend. Daytona test speeds don't mean anything..but the test speeds from a track like California are a decent predictor and Newman was second fastest overall in the test last month..Forgetting about the Daytona 500, this is a team that was coming on strong at the end of last season so they seem to have been able to keep the momentum..I'd trade for him.
from a fantasy perspective, what was the biggest surprise from Sunday?
Mark Garrow (4:07 PM)
I think the biggest surprise from the 500 is that so many Dodge drivers finished up front. Newman was a surprise winner..Sorenson was rock solid the entire Speedweeks and finished it with a fifth in the 500..watch out for him ..he's in the final year of his contract with Ganassi and will be "auditioning" in the first half of the year.
despite poor performances from Gordon and Jimmie, we should lose faith in them for our team, should we?
Mark Garrow (4:08 PM)
Not at all..they are money...No two drivers can bring a minimum top-10, top-5 finish or a win every race..Problems at Daytona should not filter over to California. Johnson won there last year and was top-five in both races. Gordon's record there spotty..does have three wins has struggled just as much it seems.
Is there anyone I should be looking at that might be available to pick up for California? Someone that does well out there?
Mark Garrow (4:10 PM)
I think the Roush Fenway trio of Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle are going to have solid efforts at California. Roush has won there what I think seven times with Martin, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle,and Kensethy. I like Newman a lot this weekend and Sorenson nearly won a race in Fontana but ran out of a gas with a lap or two to go.
Kerry (Portland, ME)
Is it too late to start up a fantasy racing league?
Mark Garrow (4:11 PM)
No, I don't think so..Please feel free to get going right now..only one race has gone by.
Can Newman make it two in a row this week?
Mark Garrow (4:12 PM)
I think he can. Not because he won the Daytona 500..but the way he ended last season and the strong test he had at Fontana last month are the two main reasons..then add how pumped up he is after last week..could be lethal combination...tough to do though..I think it's only been done four times before where someone sweeps the first two races.
Matk: who ia your top five for the upcoming weekend race?
Mark Garrow (4:14 PM)
1 Kyle Busch 2 Ryan Newman 3Tony Stewart 4 Jimmie Johnson 5 Matt Kenseth I think the Toyota's have a horsepower advantage they are going to use big time..but I also think Newman is going to have a strong run..Kenseth has won four times I believe at Fontana..and Johnson won there the last time we visited California last fall and I think he rebounds from the Daytona disaster.
Mike (Colonie, NY)
Mark - Let's face it was Jr's Daytona hype overrated?
Mark Garrow (4:17 PM)
I don't think it was over-hyped..but I will say this I think a lot of us missed how strong the Dodges were going to race. They didn't qualify all that well, but boy did they get it done when they dropped the rag. One thing in Dodges favor this week is that their engine package really works well on the 1.5-2 mile tracks. Ernie Elliott who builds motors for Ganassi now told the Dodge power band really matches up well with these type of racetracks...Junior by the way had a strong Speedweeks..two wins and a ninth..it's hype if you don't do anything..but he backed it up.
Gordon, Kurt, or Kenseth this week
Mark Garrow (4:18 PM)
I would really lean towards Matt Kenseth. He's dialed into Fontana. I see him as top-five potential going in and I look at Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch as top-10 potential...realizing of course things could change once they hit the track.
Kyle Bush, Truex, Martin, Mears, or Kahne pick 2 for this week
Mark Garrow (4:22 PM)
Kyle Busch is a no-brainer, but it gets a little tougher after that..the safe pick for a top-10 is Mark Martin...He was fifth in this race last year..new engine program with RCR-DEI is down a little horsepower and that concerns me..I'm going out on a limb and go with Kasey Kahne..okay it's not that far..but I was torn between him and Mears, who I think is going to rebound and really wants to do well in his homestate in front of all his friends and family..
Mike (Colonie, NY)
I'm in need of a rookie that is going to run my dirt cheap in my league. Suggestions on someone that can get me a top 25 fairly frequently?
Mark Garrow (4:24 PM)
Well I wasn't a big fan of Sam Hornish, Jr. going into the 500 last week but he drove a great race. He's got points so he will be guaranteed a start spot for at least the first five races..If he can give me a top-20 run at California this week then he deserves a few more props..who else do have in the rookie class Carpentier..lets see if he can make the race..Franchitti and Regan Smith had so-so Daytona performances so I'm taking a wait and see attitude on them.
Chuck (Little Rock)
What do you think of Menard this season
Mark Garrow (4:26 PM)
I think this week's race will tell us a lot as to where DEI is as an organization and let us in on whether or not Menard shows promise for developing to the next level as a driver. He finished 20th and 24th last year in Fontana...He needs to run top-15 this week to get me more comfortable he's ready to step it up..
Where would you rank Tony Stewart among the top 10 drivers?
Mark Garrow (4:29 PM)
On talent he's somewhere in the top-five..Johnson, Gordon, Stewart is the way a lot of people see it..As for this week at California ironically I have him ranked third behind Kyle Busch and Newman..No question Tony is a top talent and one of the few guys in the NASCAR garage that has already proven he can win in other types of racing like Indy and sprint cars.
Jeffy D (Feeding Hills MA)
How do you figure penalties in the mix for scoring ...a la Robby Gordon minus 100 points?
Mark Garrow (4:31 PM)
That's a good question Jeffy. I going to have to see if we can get the ESPN Fantasy "commissioner" and see how that works..That 100 point penalty really stinks for Robby. He got into trouble with the help of Dodge and it was a total accident because I can't believe anybody would try and cheat with a piece of the car, front nose, that sticks right into everyone's face..
You think we'll ever see more short tracks built?
Mark Garrow (4:33 PM)
You know I've got to believe the next group that builds a track it will be under a mile. This has really driven me crazy..NASCAR says its all about the fans..the track owners say its all about the fans..and the fans are screaming give me another short track..and then they go and build cookie cutter 1.5-mile tracks like Chicago and Kansas..I know Bruton Smith would if he gets the chance like to build a combination Bristol - Richmond or at least that's something he's talked about in the past.
How do owner points work, is Kurt now in or does he still have to qualify on time?
Mark Garrow (4:34 PM)
He has to qualify on time for the next four races..at that point if he's got the #2 car top-35 in the owner points he'll get a guaranteed starting position. Everything in the first five races are figured on the final owner point standings from 2007.
Reutimann, or Gilliland this week?
Mark Garrow (4:35 PM)
I'd go with Reutimann. This kid is a driver and I said last year he would put up better numbers than either Waltrip or Jarrett and he did..His cars are better, he has more steam under the hood than Gilliland and I think at the end of the day he outperforms Gilliland.
I drafted Martin, as my fourth driver. I currently have Menard on my bench, would you rather have Almirola
Mark Garrow (4:37 PM)
I'm in the same boat you are. I've got Martin with Blaney on the bench. Between Menard and Almirola I'd probably stick with Menard. Almirola hasn't really been through the grinder yet. He's going to be a good little driver, but lack of experience will bite him a time or two this year.
Brandon Curtin (crystal lake IL)
how do u think carl edwards will do this year?
Mark Garrow (4:38 PM)
I think Carl is going to have a strong season. I think he wins 2-3 races maybe and makes the Chase. He should be a contender this week at California. He was fifth fastest in the test there last month and looked good on the long runs.
Jeffy D (Feeding Hills MA)
Kurt also has past champ provisional so he's pretty much locked in to 4 more races.
Mark Garrow (4:39 PM)
Yes, there's no way does not start the next four races..He just wants to qualify on speed though so Dale Jarrett can use the past Champion's provisional if he needs it.
Do you think Vickers makes it in this week
Mark Garrow (4:42 PM)
Yes I do..I think he's got the speed to get in and cars are better than last year. There's also a 70% chance for rain in Fontana Friday..If qualifying rains out Vickers will be one of the eight that makes the field..So, I think you're safe either way. If Vickers makes the race he should be top-20, maybe top-15 capable. He really likes that size of track. He finished 8th in the second race there last year.
Jeffy D (Feeding Hills MA)
Is JJ Yeley window dressing for Toyota, or can HOF Racing keep him in the mix for Top 10's this season>
Mark Garrow (4:43 PM)
I haven't seen anything yet that tells me Hall of Fame Racing can put Yeley in position each week for a top-10..Yeley also has something to prove..Kyle Busch jumped into the 18..same team..same crew chief and he's burning up the track..Yeley drove that car for what two years without much to show for it..He's got to dig in just as HOF has to..I don't expect much from this combination through the first part of the year.
Reutiman, Hornish, Kvapil, or Menard? How long before Stremme has a ride
Mark Garrow (4:45 PM)
I would probably go with Reutimann on this one. I think he can run at least top-15 this week at California..no worse than top-20. As for Stremme, four or five races into the season teams that are struggling will give him some thought..but they might not be opportunities that will allow him to showcase talents. I hated it for Stremme in the Ganassi deal because it just seemed he was coming into his own..had begun to figure out what he needed in the car and how to communicate that to the crew chief.
I felt that too many commercials distracted from an otherwise great race. Will we have to suffer through this all season or was it a 500 thing?
Mark Garrow (4:50 PM)
Frank I know the commercials get can aggravating but according to a website that keeps track of this stuff..I believe its called CawsnJaws.. Minutes of race broadcast: 166 Minutes of commercials: 52 So that doesn't appear to be too bad to me. Networks need to make money and if the ratio really was 75% race and 25% commercials that's not to bad..it could certainly be a whole lot worse.
Jennifer (St. Pete)
I've got Kenseth, Hamlin, Newman, and Martin. Will this be my highest scoring week of the season?
Mark Garrow (4:51 PM)
I can't answer that question specifically..but you should do really well this week..three of the four..Kenseth, Hamlin, and Newman could be top-five material and Martin could be top-10..This team should have you smiling Sunday.
Patrick (Agawam Mass)
Do you recommend avoiding Kvapil and Gilliland due to lack of sponsorship? That would have to start showing up on the track results soon if they have money problems...
Mark Garrow (4:52 PM)
Bobby I think you should avoid them for a lack of performance ..not a lack of sponsorship..this is a rebuilding effort and yes it does lack some cash..Jack Roush putting a lot of work in helping this team, which is why Kvapil is over there.
Bobby (Edison, NJ)
Should I be worried thatI have too many cars of one make. Three out of my four drivers are Dodges (which went great for Daytona). I am more focused on skilled drivers but I worry about other makes having a nose advantage on different tracks.
Mark Garrow (4:54 PM)
Bobby..it just depends on who those three drivers are..the cars are pretty close these days..you don't have the worries about the noses you once had..I look for Newman, Kurt Busch, and Sorenson to have strong runs at California like they did at Daytona.
Mark Garrow (4:59 PM)
I want to thank everyone for tuning into our Fantasy Chat this week..we'll do it again same time next Wednesday so tell all your friends...We also have raceday chats after we pull information from the garage by talking to a number of the crew chiefs, drivers, owners etc...take a look later this week for when we schedule it ..should take place around noon eastern...until then gotta run and have a great day!