Driver Handicaps: Phoenix

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers in wins (4), laps led (744) and average finish (2.1) in the seven races with the new car at PIR. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Driver Averages | Driver Ratings | COT Stats | Pre-Race Loop Data eBook

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 312-lap event..

Who's HOT at Phoenix

• Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers in wins (4), laps led (744) and average finish (2.1) in the seven races with the COT.
• Mark Martin is second in average finish (6.7) and laps led (225) with the COT.
• Denny Hamlin has finished sixth or better in six of the last eight races.
• Jeff Gordon, the 2007 spring winner, has finished in the top 10 in 17 of his 23 starts.
• Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya (led 104 laps in April) are each coming off two consecutive top-10 finishes.
• Kurt Busch has posted three top 10s and led 192 laps in three of the last four races.

Keep an Eye on at Phoenix

• Ryan Newman won in the spring at Phoenix for his fourth top 10 in 16 starts.
• Jeff Burton finished second last year in this event and has posted four top 10s in the last six races at Phoenix. 
• Tony Stewart has posted a runner-up finish and an average finish of 16.7 in three Phoenix starts with Stewart-Haas.
• Carl Edwards (8.2) and Kyle Busch (11.0) each rank in the top five in average finish in the last five races at Phoenix.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has led 150 laps with the COT at Phoenix, will return in the same car that he posted his last top five with on the season at New Hampshire.
• Kevin Harvick will look to post his first top 10 at Phoenix since this event in 2008 driving the same car he led 97 laps with at Martinsville last month.

Chase for the Cup Driver Outlook at Phoenix

Rank
Driver
Races
Wins
Top 5s
Top 10s
Avg. Fin.
*Driver Rtg.
1.
Denny Hamlin
10
0
5
6
11.6
95.2
2.
Jimmie Johnson
14
4
9
12
4.9
123.7
3.
Kevin Harvick
15
2
3
6
15.0
94.6
4.
Carl Edwards
12
0
4
8
12.8
98.6
5.
Matt Kenseth
16
1
5
7
18.2
83.3
6.
Jeff Gordon
23
1
9
17
10.4
101.1
7.
Kyle Busch
11
1
1
7
13.9
94.8
8.
Tony Stewart
17
1
7
9
11.7
96.2
9.
Greg Biffle
13
0
3
4
15.4
96.2
10.
Clint Bowyer
10
0
2
4
14.9
84.7
11.
Kurt Busch
15
1
4
8
13.5
98.7
12.
Jeff Burton
22
2
6
12
11.4
86.2

*Driver Rating based on last 11 Phoenix International Raceway races.

Qualifying Tidbits

Active Pole Leaders Best Starting Avg. Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Ryan Newman - 4 poles 1. Jeff Gordon - 9.0 Pole - Three Times
2. Jeff Gordon - 3 poles 2. Jimmie Johnson - 11.0 Top Five - 10 Times
3. Three Drivers - 2 poles 3. Denny Hamlin - 11.4 Top 10 - 14 Times
4. Eight Drivers - 1 pole 3. Ryan Newman - 11.4 Top 15 - 23 Times
  5. Mark Martin - 11.7 Worst - 29th, One Time


*Best Average Finish at Phoenix

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Jimmie Johnson
2.0
Four Races
Jimmie Johnson
2.2
Six Races
Jimmie Johnson
1.8
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson
2.1
10 Races
Jimmie Johnson
3.1

* - The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

Phoenix Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2010)

*Fastest Early in a Run *Fastest Late in a Run Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson 1. Jimmie Johnson 1. Jimmie Johnson - 4.9
2. Kurt Busch 2. Carl Edwards 2. Jeff Gordon - 9.6
3. Jeff Gordon 3. Mark Martin 3. Kurt Busch - 10.6
4. Kevin Harvick 4. Tony Stewart 4. Tony Stewart - 11.0
5. Carl Edwards 5. Denny Hamlin 5. Mark Martin - 11.2
Laps in Top 15 *Quality Passes *Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3357 1. Kyle Busch - 324 1. Jimmie Johnson - 123.7
2. Jeff Gordon - 2984 2. Ryan Newman - 299 2. Mark Martin - 102.3
3. Kyle Busch - 2944 3. Jeff Burton - 286 3. Jeff Gordon - 101.1
4. Tony Stewart - 2571 4. Jimmie Johnson - 280 4. Kurt Busch - 98.7
5. Carl Edwards - 2465 5. Tony Stewart - 270 5. Carl Edwards - 98.6


*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.

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run *Fastest Late in a Run Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson 1. Jimmie Johnson 1. Jimmie Johnson - 9.7
2. Jeff Gordon 2. Jeff Gordon 2. Jeff Gordon - 10.2
3. Jeff Burton 3. Kevin Harvick 3. Jeff Burton - 11.7
4. Kyle Busch 4. Kyle Busch 4. Kyle Busch - 12.1
5. Kevin Harvick 5. Denny Hamlin 5. Kevin Harvick - 12.6
Laps in Top 15 *Quality Passes *Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 8234 1. Jeff Burton - 2331 1. Jimmie Johnson - 107.3
2. Jeff Gordon - 8089 2. Jimmie Johnson - 2096 2. Jeff Gordon - 100.2
3. Jeff Burton - 7624 3. Kyle Busch - 1967 3. Kyle Busch - 98.2
4. Kyle Busch - 7504 4. Jeff Gordon - 1942 4. Kevin Harvick - 97.5
5. Carl Edwards - 7092 5. Kurt Busch - 1903 5. Jeff Burton - 97.0

*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.

MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Denny Hamlin 
Pete Pistone: Kurt Busch 
Rachael West: Jimmie Johnson

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Phoenix International Raceway unless noted)

1. Denny Hamlin: Third-best driver average (9.4) in the seven races with the COT; Finished 30th in the spring 10 days after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee; Finish ended streak of four consecutive top 10s; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 276) that he led 251 laps with en route to the win at Richmond in September.

2. Jimmie Johnson: Winner of four of the last six races; 4.9 average finish leads all drivers; Finished third in April for 10th consecutive top 10; Leads all drivers with a 2.1 average finish and 744 laps led in the seven races with the COT; Will be back in the same car (chassis No. 540) that he finished fifth with at Martinsville last month.

3. Kevin Harvick: Won both Cup races in 2006; 15.6 average finish and 54 laps led in the seven races with the COT; Best finish since season sweep came in this event in 2007 in sixth; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 322) that he led 97 laps with en route to a third-place finish at Martinsville last month.

4. Carl Edwards: 13.4 average finish and 87 laps led in the seven races with the COT; Third-best average finish (10.9) in the last 10 races; Led 87 laps in the 2007 fall race from the pole before an engine failure; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 695) that he most recently finished sixth with at Kansas.

5. Matt Kenseth: Winner of the 2002 race; 16.0 average finish in the seven races with the COT; Finished sixth in April for seventh top 10 in 16 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 698) that he led 26 laps and finished seventh with at Kansas.

6. Jeff Gordon: Coming off 17th top 10 in 23 starts; Third-place finish in April was second consecutive top 10; Won the 2007 spring race from the pole; 14.4 average finish and 56 laps led in the seven races with the COT.

7. Kyle Busch: 11.0 average finish in five starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Led 113 laps en route to an eighth-place finish in the spring; Fourth-best average finish (10.0) in the seven races with the COT; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 286) that he led 217 laps and finished second with at Charlotte last month.

8. Tony Stewart: 16.7 average finish in three starts with Stewart-Haas; Best finish with the team came in the 2009 spring race in third; 23rd-place finish in the spring raised his average finish to 11.7 in 17 starts; Posted one win and six top fives in previous 14 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 535) that he finished second and 23rd with, respectively, in the last two spring races at Phoenix.

9. Greg Biffle: 11.4 average finish in the seven races with the COT; Last of four top 10s in 13 starts came in the 2009 spring race in fifth; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 706) that he took to victory lane at Kansas.

10. Clint Bowyer: Coming off fourth top 10 (ninth) in 10 starts; 12.7 average finish in the seven races with the COT; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 327) that he finished 37th with at Martinsville after being involved in an accident on lap 194.

11. Kurt Busch: 35th-place finish in April ended three consecutive top six top-six finishes; Fourth-best driver rating in the last 11 races; Third in laps led (192) in the seven races with the COT; 14.6 average finish in nine starts with Penske Racing; Won the 2005 spring race with Roush Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 715) that he led 129 laps with en route to the win at Atlanta in the spring.

12. Jeff Burton: 10.6 average finish in 12 starts with Richard Childress Racing; Finished 25th in April after a penalty on pit road; Finish was first outside the top 15 with RCR; Won the 2000 and 2001 events with Roush Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 319) that he finished 15th with at New Hampshire.

13. Mark Martin: 6.7 average finish in six races with the COT; Second in laps led (225) with the COT; Won the 2009 spring races from the pole in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports; Finished fourth in April for third consecutive top five; 8.7 average finish in 27 starts; Also won the 1993 race with Roush Racing.

14. Jamie McMurray: Only top 10 (third) in 14 starts came in the 2008 fall race; Finished 24th in first start start with Earnhardt-Ganassi in April; 17.1 average finish in the seven races with the COT; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1008) that he most recently finished third with at New Hampshire in September.

15. Ryan Newman: Won the spring race for fourth top 10 in 16 starts; Win was also first top 10 in three starts with Stewart-Haas; 22.4 average finish and 50 laps led in the seven races with the COT.

16. Joey Logano: Coming off first top 10 in third; 17.3 average finish in three starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 284) that he finished 11th with at Auto Club last month.

17. Juan Pablo Montoya: Led 104 laps in April en route to a fifth-place finish; Finish was second consecutive top 10; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 907) that he posted respective finishes of 34th and 16th at New Hampshire this season.

18. David Reutimann: Posted two top-10 finishes in 2009; 18.8 average finish in six starts; Started 39th and finished 20th in April.

19. Dale Earnhardt Jr: 18.2 average finish in five starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Has led a combined 150 laps with the team in 2008 and 2009 spring races; Won the events in 2003 and 2004 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc.; Will be back in the same car (chassis No. 589) that he finished fourth with at New Hampshire in September.

20. AJ Allmendinger: Won the pole and finished 15th in April; Finish was second consecutive top 15 driving a Ford; 19.8 average finish in four starts.

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