Driver Handicaps: Texas

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This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday's Samsung 500. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 334-lap event.

Who's HOT at Texas
• Carl Edwards and Jeff Burton are the only multiple winners.
• Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a 9.1 average finish.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with six top-five finishes.
• Kyle Busch has posted an average finish of 4.3 in his last three starts.
• Tony Stewart is second in laps led (453) and has one win and eight top 10s.
• Matt Kenseth has finished ninth or better in six of his last seven starts.

Keep an Eye on at Texas
• Mark Martin has one win and eight top 10s in 16 starts at Texas.
• Denny Hamlin has posted an average finish of 6.0 in the past three spring races at Texas.
• Kurt Busch dominated at Atlanta last month, but won't return in that same race car. This weekend he will drive a new car when he goes after his eighth top 10 at Texas.
• Clint Bowyer has finished in the top 10 in his last two starts at Texas.
• Texas Motor Speedway is Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s second-best 1.5-mile track on the circuit based on his 13.4 finishing average.
• Brian Vickers has posted a 6.5 average finish on the two 1.5-mile tracks so far this season.

Track Performers
Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon lead all drivers with a 4.0 average finish on the 1.5-mile tracks in 2009. Brian Vickers, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards are the other drivers that have posted an average finish of 10.0 or better. Kurt Busch, who has an average finish of 12.0, has led the most laps, with 235, after dominating the Atlanta race en route to a victory. Jimmie Johnson is the only other driver that has led more than 100 laps (103). Based off 1.5-mile tracks: Las Vegas, Atlanta (1.54-mile).



Top 10 COT Performers at Texas (Based Off Average Finish)
Driver
Avg. Finish
Avg. Start
Win
Top Fives
Top 10s
Laps Led
Carl Edwards
1.0
9.0
2
2
2
335
Kyle Busch
4.5
16.0
0
1
2
52
Clint Bowyer
7.0
14.0
0
1
2
36
Jamie McMurray
8.5
18.0
0
1
1
56
Jimmie Johnson
8.5
6.0
0
1
1
65
Matt Kenseth
9.0
7.0
0
0
2
68
Kevin Harvick
9.0
22.0
0
0
1
0
Jeff Burton
9.5
36.5
0
0
1
0
Mark Martin
10.0
25.5
0
0
1
0
Denny Hamlin
11.0
15.5
0
1
1
0


Best Average Finish at Texas
Last # of Races Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races Carl Edwards
1.0
Four Races Matt Kenseth
5.5
Six Races Matt Kenseth
6.0
Eight Races Matt Kenseth
7.1
10 Races Jimmie Johnson
9.1

Texas Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2008)
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Martin Truex Jr.
1. Tony Stewart - 9.5
2. Tony Stewart
2. Tony Stewart
2. Matt Kenseth - 9.6
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Carl Edwards
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 10.2
4. Carl Edwards
4. Denny Hamlin
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 10.3
5. Kyle Busch
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Jimmie Johnson - 10.5
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 2223
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 308
1. Jimmie Johnson - 104.7
2. Matt Kenseth - 2115
2. Carl Edwards - 262
2. Matt Kenseth - 104.2
3. Tony Stewart - 2111
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 259
3. Tony Stewart - 103.1
4. Carl Edwards - 1983
4. Kyle Busch - 258
4. Carl Edwards - 102.3
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 1945
5. Kurt Busch - 257
5. Denny Hamlin - 97.4

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


For a complete look at all the loop data statistics for Texas Motor Speedway Click Here to view RacingOne's Samsung 500 pre-race eBook.

Season Loop Data Leaders
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Carl Edwards
1. Jeff Gordon - 5.4
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson - 7.4
2. Mark Martin
2. Mark Martin
3. Denny Hamlin - 8.9
4. Carl Edwards
4. Denny Hamlin
4. Kurt Busch - 10.2
5. Kurt Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Carl Edwards - 11.1
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 1963
1. Carl Edwards - 328
1. Jeff Gordon - 119.6
2. Jimmie Johnson - 1819
2. Kurt Busch - 287
2. Jimmie Johnson - 110.3
3. Denny Hamlin - 1743
3. Jimmie Johnson - 256
3. Kyle Busch - 107.0
4. Carl Edwards - 1633
4. Jeff Burton - 251
4. Denny Hamlin - 103.4
5. Mark Martin - 1528
4. Jeff Gordon - 251
5. Kurt Busch - 101.1
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


RacingOne Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Jeff Gordon
Pete Pistone: Matt Kenseth
Rachael West: Greg Biffle
Kym Opalenik: Tony Stewart

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

1. Jeff Gordon: Texas Motor Speedway is one of two tracks on the schedule where Gordon has yet to visit victory lane. Last fall, Gordon recorded his second runner-up finish at TMS after starting from the pole. Another one of Gordon's closest attempts at a victory at TMS came in 2004 when he led 46 laps en route to a third-place finish. In that event, Gordon lost the lead after he was forced to switch to a back-up battery with 26 laps to go. Last year in this event, Gordon crashed out of the race on lap 124 for his third DNF in 16 starts.

2. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has competed in six Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway with his best finish, of fourth, coming last fall. Last year in this event, Bowyer finished 10th for his third top 10. Bowyer, who has an average finish of 12.2, will be racing the same car (chassis No. 267) that finished 19th in February at Auto Club Speedway.

3. Kurt Busch: Texas Motor Speedway is Busch's best 1.5-mile track on the circuit based on his 15.3 finishing average. In the 2007 fall race, Busch scored his seventh top 10 at TMS after finishing eighth. The 2006 spring race marked his first race at Texas with Penske. He finished 34th in that event, one day after winning his first Nationwide race with the team. This weekend Busch will debut chassis No. 605 in the Samsung 500.

4. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson captured his first win at Texas Motor Speedway after leading nine laps in the 2007 fall race. He followed that up by leading 65 laps en route to his second runner-up finish in this event last year. In the 2007 spring race, Johnson's Texas finishing average took a hit, dropping to 9.1, after a crash took him out of contention. His 38th-place finish was his only DNF and only finish outside the top 15 in 11 starts at TMS. This weekend Johnson will pilot a new car (chassis No. 534) in the Samsung 500.

5. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin's finishing average (11.6) at Texas Motor Speedway took a hit in the 2007 fall race when he came home 29th. The finish was his first of two outside the top 10 in seven starts. In that race Hamlin led 45 laps and battled for the lead before making contact with the outside wall. Last year in this event, Hamlin scored his second top five at TMS after finishing fifth. This weekend Denny Hamlin will drive a new chassis (No. 232) in the Samsung 500.

6. Kyle Busch: Busch has posted an average finish of 4.3 in his last three starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Last year he finished third and sixth, respectively, in his first two starts at TMS with Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch's first six starts at Texas came with Hendrick Motorsports. This weekend Busch will pilot a new car (chassis No. 236) in the Samsung 500.

7. Tony Stewart: Stewart collected his first win at Texas Motor Speedway in the 2006 fall race. The win was his seventh of eight career top 10s at the track. Stewart's last came in this event in 2008 when he finished seventh. Besides an 11th and 16th-place finish in the last two fall events, Stewart's remaining four finishes have been 23rd or worse. This weekend Stewart will pilot the same car (chassis No. 509) that Jason Leffler finished 27th with at Chicago in 2008. Since then, a new nose and bumper have been put on the car.

8. Carl Edwards: Edwards is coming off a sweep of Texas Motor Speedway in 2008 after combining to lead 335 laps en route to two wins. The win last fall was his third at the track. His other win came in the 2005 fall event. In that race, he took on fresh tires during a pit stop with 15 to go and charged through the field after restarting sixth. In the 2006 spring race, Edwards looked strong again, leading 50 laps, until an accident charged him with his first, and only, DNF at the track. Edwards, who has an average finish of 13.9 in eight starts at TMS, will be racing a new chassis (No. 639) in the Samsung 500.

9. Kasey Kahne: Kahne won the 2006 spring race at Texas Motor Speedway after leading 63 laps from the pole. Kahne has started in the top 10 in five out of the nine races he has competed in. Outside of the win and a second-place finish, Kahne's other performances at TMS have resulted in finishes of 18th or worse.

10. Kevin Harvick: Harvick broke a streak of five consecutive finishes outside the top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway by finishing fifth and third, respectively, in 2006. In this event in 2007, Harvick posted his worst finish in 12 starts at TMS after finishing 29th. Since then Harvick has recorded an average finish of 9.3 in three starts, which includes a seventh-place run last fall. This weekend Harvick will be back behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 272) that finished fourth last month at Atlanta.

11. David Reutimann: Reutimann is coming off his first top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway after finishing 10th last fall. He also led his first laps in that race with a total of five. In the two 1.5-mile races in 2009, Reutimann has posted an average finish of 18.0.

12. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has recorded an average finish of 5.6 in his last seven starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Four of the finishes marked his first top fives at the track since winning the 2002 event. In 2005, Kenseth dominated the 334-lap fall race by leading 149 laps from his best Texas qualifying effort of third.

13. Jeff Burton: Burton has posted an average finish of 6.5 in his last four starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Burton won his second race at TMS, first with Richard Childress Racing, in the 2007 spring race. He led one lap in that race to mark his first lap led at TMS since 2000. Burton's first eight starts at TMS came with Roush Racing. In that span he captured one win (the inaugural race in 1997) and three top 10s. This weekend Burton will pilot a new chassis (No. 274) in the Samsung 500.

14. Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya will be making his fifth Cup start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. His best start of third was in Fall 2007 and best finish of eighth came in Spring of 2007. This weekend he will be driving the same car (chassis No. 903) that finished 11th at Auto Club Speedway in February.

15. AJ Allmendinger: Texas Motor Speedway is Allmendinger's worst 1.5-mile track on the schedule where he has made multiple starts at, based on his 32.5 average finish. His best finish came last fall in 26th.

16. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Texas Motor Speedway is the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s first Sprint Cup Series victory. The triumph was one of seven top 10s at the track. In his first two starts he combined to lead 213 of his 394 laps led at the track. Junior's last top 10 at TMS came in the 2006 fall event when he finished sixth. Last year in this event, Earnhardt Jr. won the pole and finished 12th in his Texas debut with Hendrick Motorsports. This weekend Earnhardt Jr. will pilot the same car (chassis No. 499) that finished 39th at Auto Club Speedway due to engine problems, after climbing 27 positions through the field.

17. Michael Waltrip: Waltrip has recorded an average finish of 24.2 in 14 starts at Texas Motor Speedway. His best finish in the two COT races at the track came last fall in 27th.

18. Ryan Newman: Outside of a win in the 2003 event and two consecutive top-five finishes, Texas Motor Speedway has not been kind to Newman. His lone victory boosted his finishing average to 24.0. He earned his first pole at TMS in the 2005 spring event and led one of his 84 laps at the 1.5-mile speedway, but finished 16th. He went on to win the pole for the fall event but went to a back-up car after crashing on his second qualifying lap. This weekend Newman will make his Texas debut in a Chevrolet.

19. Bobby Labonte: Texas native Labonte won the poles at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003 and 2004. His best finish at Texas is third, marking all three of his top fives achieved at the track. Labonte's 10th-place finish in the 2006 spring event was his last of five top 10s. Since then he has gone on to post a 23.8 average finish. This weekend Labonte will return in the same car (chassis No. 601) that finished fifth at Las Vegas.

20. Brian Vickers: Vickers has yet to finish in the top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway in nine starts. In Vickers' four starts with Team Red Bull at TMS he has posted an average finish of 17.8. In the 2006 fall race Vickers won the pole while driving for Hendrick Motorsports.

Notable Drivers Outside the Top 20

22. Jamie McMurray: McMurray has posted six top 10s and three top-five finishes in 10 starts at Texas Motor Speedway. McMurray's best finish, of second, came with Chip Ganassi Racing in April 2005. This weekend will mark his seventh start with Roush-Fenway Racing at Texas. His best finish with the team came last fall after he took the checkered flag in third. This weekend McMurray will return in that same car (chassis No. 603) in the Samsung 500.

23. Greg Biffle: Biffle won the 2005 spring event at Texas Motor Speedway after leading 219 laps. The win was his first of three top 10s in 10 starts at TMS. His last came in the 2008 fall race when he started 19th and finished fifth. In the 2006 spring race, Biffle had another contending car until his No. 16 Ford got hit from behind by Kurt Busch's No. 2 Dodge on the backstretch. Biffle was faced with more bad luck in the 2005 fall race after he was forced to pit on lap 49 when he felt a vibration in his car. After a green flag pit stop, he dropped back one lap behind the leader. Biffle was not the same after the stop, suffering a spin later in the race and coming home with a 20th-place finish. In 2004, he ran in the top-five before the engine expired in the No. 16 Ford.

24. Elliott Sadler: Sadler has made 14 starts at Texas Motor Speedway. His best success came with the Yates Racing Team where he scored one win (2004) and a ninth-place finish. His last five starts have come with Gillett-Evernham (Richard Petty Motorsports) where he has posted an average finish of 25.4. This weekend Sadler will pilot the same car (chassis No. 269) that finished 25th in February at Auto Club Speedway.

27. Mark Martin: In 16 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Martin has earned one victory, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He has led a total of 169 laps at TMS. Last year, Martin finished eighth and 12th, respectively, at TMS driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. This weekend Martin will make his Texas debut in the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports. The chassis (No. 523) Martin will be driving is the same one that won the pole at Atlanta.

28. Martin Truex Jr: Truex Jr. has posted four top 10s at Texas Motor Speedway, which is the most among his starts on 1.5-mile tracks. His finishing average (13.0) is hindered by a 36th-place finish in this event last year when the engine failed in his Chevrolet. This weekend Truex will be back in the same car (chassis No. 70) that finished 10th last month at Atlanta.

29. David Ragan: Ragan lowered his average finish at Texas Motor Speedway from 38.0 to 25.0 last year with respective finishes of 13th and 11th. This weekend Ragan will shoot for his first Cup Series top 10 at Texas by driving the same car (chassis No. 633) that he finished 17th with in February at Auto Club Speedway.

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