Driver Handicaps: Michigan

Carl Edwards

Carl Edwards leads all drivers with a 6.2 average finish. (Photo: Getty Images)

Driver Averages | Loop Data eBook | Driver Ratings | Past Winners

To help you make your fantasy racing picks for the Pure Michigan 400, Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 200-lap event.

Who's HOT at Michigan
• Denny Hamlin has posted two wins and an average finish of 1.3 in the last three races. 
• Two-time winner Carl Edwards leads all drivers with a 6.2 average finish.
• Two-time winner Matt Kenseth has only finished outside of the top 15 three times in 24 starts. 
• Two-time winner Greg Biffle has posted an average finish of 9.5 in his last six starts.
• Brian Vickers has finished in the top 10 in his last six starts, including a win in 2009.
• Tony Stewart has finished seventh or better in four of his last five starts.
• Kevin Harvick is the defending race winner.
• Mark Martin, who finished ninth in June, leads all drivers with 30 top 10s.

Keep an Eye on at Michigan  
• Jimmie Johnson has led the most laps (370) with the COT at Michigan.
• Kyle Busch is coming off his second top five with Joe Gibbs Racing at Michigan.
• Jeff Gordon has finished in the top five in three of his last five Michigan starts. 
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has posted an average finish of 12.6 in the seven races with the COT
at Michigan.
• Brad Keselowski has posted a 4.0 average finish in the last three races of the season.
• Joey Logano has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts at Michigan.
• Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer have respective average finishes of 5.5 and 7.5 in the two
races on 2-mile speedways this season.
• Paul Menard will return in the same car that he finished fourth with at Michigan in June.
• Kurt Busch is coming off an 11th-place finish and second pole with Penske Racing at
Michigan.

Michigan Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Jeff Gordon - 5
1. Jimmie Johnson - 8.5
Pole - 16 times
2. Bobby Labonte - 4 
2. Brian Vickers - 9.8
Top Five - 52 times
3. Brian Vickers - 3
3. Jeff Gordon - 10.7
Top 10 - 66 times
4. Four drivers with two 
4. Kurt Busch - 11.5
Top 15 - 72 times
5. Kasey Kahne - 11.9
Worst - 32nd, One Time

* - Must be entered in the Pure Michigan 400.

*Best Average Finish at Michigan 

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Denny Hamlin   
1.5
Four Races
Denny Hamlin
3.5 
Six Races
Carl Edwards
4.8 
Eight Races
Carl Edwards
5.4 
10 Races
Carl Edwards
6.6 

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

Michigan Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2011)  

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Carl Edwards
1. Carl Edwards - 7.9
2. Carl Edwards
2. Greg Biffle
2. Greg Biffle - 8.7
3. Greg Biffle
3. Brian Vickers
3. Jimmie Johnson - 10.1
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Denny Hamlin - 10.9
5. Kurt Busch
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Matt Kenseth - 11.2
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Carl Edwards - 2276
1. Carl Edwards - 691
1. Carl Edwards - 110.8
2. Greg Biffle - 2119
2. Greg Biffle - 623 
2. Greg Biffle - 106.1
3. Matt Kenseth - 1983
3. Matt Kenseth - 597
3. Jimmie Johnson - 105.3
4. Jimmie Johnson - 1979
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 546
4. Matt Kenseth - 103.5
5. Tony Stewart - 1884
5. Tony Stewart - 520
5. Denny Hamlin - 99.1

*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.


For a look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Michigan view the Pure Michigan 400 pre-race ebook.

Season Loop Data Leaders  

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Kyle Busch
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Kyle Busch - 9.8
2. Carl Edwards
2. Kyle Busch 
2. Carl Edwards - 12.4
3. Kurt Busch 
3. Carl Edwards
3. Kurt Busch - 12.4
4. Jimmie Johnson 
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Jimmie Johnson - 12.7
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Ryan Newman - 13.6
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Kyle Busch - 4893
1. Paul Menard - 1468
1. Kyle Busch - 109.6
2. Carl Edwards - 4541
2. Kyle Busch - 1454
2. Carl Edwards - 99.4 
3. Jimmie Johnson - 4183
3. Kurt Busch - 1401
3. Jimmie Johnson - 97.7
4. Kevin Harvick - 3900
4. Clint Bowyer - 1344
4. Kurt Busch - 97.4
5. Denny Hamlin - 3851 
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1277
5. Jeff Gordon - 93.7

*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: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Carl Edwards
Craig Moore: Matt Kenseth
Steve Blevins: AJ Allmendinger
John Singler: Brian Vickers
Ricky Hamber: Carl Edwards

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

1. Kyle Busch: Coming off second top five (third) in 13 starts; 13.1 average finish in seven starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; 3.0 average finish and 210 laps led in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 315) that he finished 10th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month.

2. Carl Edwards: Leads all active drivers with a 6.2 average finish; Two-time winner; 12th-place finish in 2010 June race is only finish outside top 10 in last nine races; 5.5 average finish and 30 laps led in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 765) that he finished fifth with at Kentucky Speedway last month.

3. Jimmie Johnson: Coming off third finish outside the top 20 (27th) in the last five races; Last of seven top 10s in 19 starts came in the 2010 June race in sixth; Has combined to lead 441 laps in last nine starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 669) that he recently finished third with at Kentucky Speedway last month.

4. Kevin Harvick: Defending event winner; Win was third top five in 21 starts; Led 60 of his 149 laps led in that event; 14.7 average finish; 7.5 average finish in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 373) in the Pure Michigan 400.

5. Matt Kenseth: Coming off 11th top five (second) in 24 starts; Last of two wins came in this event in 2006; 9.5 average finish; 3.0 average finish in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 741) that he finished fifth with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month.

6. Kurt Busch: Coming off an 11th-place finish and second pole with Penske Racing; Won this event in 2007 with Penske; 20.9 average finish in 11 starts with Penske; Posted one win in previous 10 starts with Roush Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 744) that he last finished 10th with at Texas Motor Speedway in April.

7. Jeff Gordon: Respective finishes of 27th and 17th in last two races snapped streak of three consecutive top fives; Last of two wins came the 2001 June race; 11.6 average finish in 37 starts; Second among all drivers entered in this weekend's race with 900 laps led.

8. Ryan Newman: Coming off first top 10 in five starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; 19.8 average finish with SHR; Two wins in previous 15 starts with Penske Racing; 5.5 average finish in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011.

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Site of last win in 2008; 12.6 average finish in seven starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Posted five top 10s in previous 17 starts with Dale Earnhardt, Inc.

10. Tony Stewart: Has finished seventh or better in five of his last seven starts; 8.4 average finish in five starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; 10.0 average finish in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 564) that he last finished seventh with at Michigan in June.

11. Clint Bowyer: Coming off third top 10 (eighth) in 11 starts; 7.5 average finish in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 368) that he finished 13th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.

12. Denny Hamlin: Coming off second win in the last three races; Win was fifth consecutive top 10; Ranks third in average finish (10.0); Has combined to lead 146 laps in last five starts.

13. Greg Biffle: Has finished 15th or better in five of the last six races; Last of two wins came in the 2005 June race; 13.0 average finish and 68 laps led in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011.

14. Brad Keselowski: Has yet to finish in the top 20 in four starts; 27.5 average finish; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 753) that he won the pole and finished 19th with in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

15. Paul Menard: Coming off first top 10 in 10 starts; 23.0 average finish; 10.0 average finish in the two races on 2-mile speedways in 2011; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 326) that he finished fourth with at Michigan in June.

16. AJ Allmendinger: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in eight starts; Best finish came in the 2010 June race in 11th; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 742) that he last finished 28th with at Kentucky Speedway.

17. Joey Logano: 18th-place finish in June snapped streak of three consecutive top 10s; 14.0 average finish in four starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 319) that he won the pole with at Pocono Raceway earlier this month.

18. Mark Martin: 17.0 average finish, including one win, in five starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Previous four wins came in the 90s with Roush Racing; 13.5 average finish in 51 starts.

19. Kasey Kahne: Finished 28th in June in first track start with Team Red Bull; Last of six top fives in 15 starts came in the 2010 June race; Won the 2006 June race with Evernham Motorsports.

20. Juan Pablo Montoya: 30th-place finish in June raised finishing average to 23.0 in nine starts; Seventh-place finish in this event last year marked second top 10 in nine starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1108) that he raced at Michigan in June and was caught up in an on-track incident.

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