Driver Handicaps: Las Vegas

Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson

Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson are the only multiple winners on the current Las Vegas track configuration. (Photo: Getty Images)

Driver Averages Loop Data eBookDriver RatingsPast Winners

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, MotorRacingNetwork.com brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 267-lap event.

Who's HOT at Las Vegas
• Jimmie Johnson (two), Carl Edwards (two) and Kyle Busch are the three winners in the five races on the current track configuration.
• Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne have respective average finishes of 8.8 and 10.0 in the four races with the new (COT) car.
• Tony Stewart led 163 laps en route to a second-place finish last season. 
• Dale Earnhardt Jr:, Jeff Burton and Denny Hamlin each rank in the top five in average finish in the five races on the current track configuration.
• Jeff Gordon has posted a 3.7 average finish in the three races when he's running at the finish on the current track configuration.

Keep an Eye On at Las Vegas 
• Greg Biffle (fourth), Matt Kenseth (seventh) and Mark Martin (ninth) each rank in the top 10 in driver ratings at Las Vegas.
• Las Vegas is Joey Logano's third-best track on the circuit based on average finish (14.0) .
• Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Ryan Newman each finished in the top five at Las Vegas last season.
• AJ Allmendinger (was at RPM, but Sam Hornish Jr. tested the No. 22) and Paul Menard were among the drivers that participated in the Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
#Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Kyle Busch - 2
1. Kyle Busch - 4.8
Pole - One times
Kasey Kahne - 2
2. Mark Martin - 8.6
Top Five - Four times
Bobby Labonte - 2
3. Kurt Busch - 8.8
Top 10 - Six times
2. Four drivers with one
4. Carl Edwards - 9.2
Top 15 - Seven times
5. Greg Biffle - 11.8
Worst - 25th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Kobalt Tools 400.
# - Best avearge start among drivers that have raced in all five races on the new track configuration.

*Best Average Finish at Las Vegas 

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Tony Stewart
4.5
Four Races
Carl Edwards
7.8
Six Races
Jeff Burton
10.3
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson
11.1
10 Races
Jimmie Johnson
10.6

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

Las Vegas Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2011)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon - 7.9
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Carl Edwards
2. Kyle Busch - 10.2
3. Kyle Busch
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Greg Biffle - 10.5
4. Greg Biffle
4. Greg Biffle
4. Jimmie Johnson - 10.8
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Jeff Burton - 11.7
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 1708
1. Jeff Gordon - 278
1. Jeff Gordon - 112.1
2. Kyle Busch - 1536
2. Kurt Busch - 273
2. Jimmie Johnson - 110.3
3. Greg Biffle - 1424
3. Carl Edwards - 265
3. Kyle Busch - 104.7
4. Tony Stewart - 1399
4. Tony Stewart - 263
4. Greg Biffle - 104.0
5. Jimmie Johnson - 1338
5. Jimmie Johnson - 258
5. Tony Stewart - 101.3

*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 Las Vegas Motor Speedway view the Kobalt Tools 400 pre-race ebook.

Season Loop Data Leaders  

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jeff Burton
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Denny Hamlin - 5.9
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kevin Harvick 
2. Greg Biffle - 7.6
3. Kyle Busch
3. Landon Cassill
3. Jeff Burton - 9.3
4. Kevin Harvick
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Joey Logano - 9.9
5. Tony Stewart
5. Paul Menard
5. Brad Keselowski - 10.0
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Joey Logano - 485
1. Brad Keselowski - 352
1. Denny Hamlin - 127.4
2. Denny Hamlin - 484
2. Tony Stewart - 315
2. Greg Biffle - 111.3
3. Jeff Burton - 453
3. Mark Martin - 304
3. Kevin Harvick - 108.9
4. Mark Martin - 451
4. Joey Logano - 284
4. Joey Logano - 100.0
5. Brad Keselowski - 445
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 272
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 99.5

*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: Joey Logano  
Pete Pistone: Marcos Ambrose
Ricky Hamber: Carl Edwards
Craig Moore:  Jeff Burton
John Singler: Jimmie Johnson

Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Las Vegas unless noted)

Denny Hamlin: Finished seventh last year for fourth top 10; Fourth-best average finish (9.4) in the five races on the current track configuration; Has yet to lead a lap in six starts.

Greg Biffle: Seventh-best average finish (12.8) in the five races on the current track configuration; Five top 10s in eight starts; Has combined to lead 55 laps in last three starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 777) that David Ragan piloted to a 12th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick: Fifth-best average finish (12.4) in the five races on the current track configuration; Finished second in 2010 for third top five in 11 starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 391) in the Kobalt Tools 400.

Matt Kenseth: Won the pole and finished 11th last year; Won the 2003 and 2004 races on the old track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 741) that he last finished fourth with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Second-best average finish (9.4) in the five races on the current track configuration; Coming off third top 10 in four starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 668) that he finished 11th with last season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr: Coming off first top 10 in six starts; Has finished in the top 10 in five of the last seven Cup races dating back to last season.

Mark Martin: Last of three top 10s (fourth) on current track configuration came in 2010; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Joey Logano: 14.0 average finish in the five races on the current track configuration; Best finish, and only top 10, came in 2010 in sixth.

Kyle Busch: Has one win and a 14.8 average finish in the five races on the current track configuration; Finished 38th last year after engine issues; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 335) in the Kobalt Tools 400.

Carl Edwards: Has two wins and the best average finish (7.4) in the five races on the current track configuration; Led 69 laps en route to the win last season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 739) that he last finished second with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Bobby Labonte: Finished 24th last season in first track start with JTG/Daugherty Racing; Best finish (fifth) on current track configuration came in 2009.

Brad Keselowski: 30.0 average finish in three starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 811) in the Kobalt Tools 400.

Jeff Burton: Third-best average finish (11.0) in the five races on the current track configuration; Won the 1999 and 2000 races with Roush racing on the old track configuration; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 385) in the Kobalt Tools 400.

Paul Menard: Coming off best finish in five starts in 12th; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 379) that he last finished 15th with at Texas Motor Speedway.

Tony Stewart: 4.5 average finish in last two starts; led 163 laps and finished second last season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 640) that he scored the win at Chicagoland Speedway with last season.

Dave Blaney: Finished 34th last season in first track start with Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Clint Bowyer: 8.3 average finish in last three starts; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing in the same car (chassis No. 716) that used in a Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway.

Ryan Newman: 14.0 average finish in the five races on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 686) that he last finished 16th with at Texas Motor Speedway.
Regan Smith: 28.2 average finish in four starts; Finished 39th last season due to engine issues.

Aric Almirola: 41.0 average finish in three starts; Making first track start with Richard Petty Motorsports; Will pilot an updated car (chassis No. 783) that the team raced at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway last fall.

Marcos Ambrose: 12.7 average finish in three starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 735) that he raced to a fourth-place finish last year.

Jeff Gordon: 3.7 average finish in the three races on the current track configuration when he's running at the finish; Crashes took him out of the 2008 and 2011 events; Has combined to lead 368 laps in the last five races; Led 219 laps and finished third in this event in 2010.

Juan Pablo Montoya: Finished third last year for first top 10 in five starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 1205) in the Kobalt Tools 400.

AJ Allmendinger: Coming off best finish (19th) in three starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 812) when he makes his track debut with Penske Racing.

Kurt Busch: Posted three top 10s in previous 11 combined starts with Penske Racing and Roush Racing; Will make first track start with Phoenix Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 665) that Landon Cassill drove to a 12th-place finish last season at Michigan International Speedway.

Kasey Kahne: 15.0 average finish in the five races on the current track configuration; Won second pole in 2007; Will make first track start with Hendrick Motorsports; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 685) that Mark Martin finished 17th with at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: 19.9 average start in nine starts; 30.5 average finish in two starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 1208) in the Kobalt Tools 500.

Jimmie Johnson: Two wins and a 14.2 average finish in the five races on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 659) that he most recently finished 32nd with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Photos

  • Jeff Gordon Through the Years
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