Driver Handicaps: Michigan

Michigan International Speedway

Joe Gibbs Raciing and Roush Fenway Racing have combined to win six of the last 11 races at Michigan. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Who's HOT at Michigan
• Denny Hamlin has won the last two June races.
• Two-time winner Carl Edwards leads all drivers with an 8.2 average finish.
• Two-time winner Matt Kenseth has only finished outside of the top 15 three times in 25 starts. 
• Tony Stewart has finished ninth or better in five of his last six starts.
• Five-time winner Mark Martin leads all drivers with 31 top 10s.
• Kyle Busch finished third and first, respectively, in both races last season.
• Two-time winner Michigan winner Greg Biffle has the best driver rating.

Keep an Eye On at Michigan 
• Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard were among the drivers that posted laps over 200 mph in Thursday's Michigan test session.
• Last week's Pocono winner Joey Logano posted the second-best 10 consecutive lap average in the test session.
• Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman each finished in the top 10 in both Michigan races last season.
• Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the last five races at 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Michigan Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Jeff Gordon  5
1. Jimmie Johnson - 9.0
Pole - 16 times
2. Bobby Labonte - 4
2. Jeff Gordon - 10.7
Top Five - 52 times
3. Five drivers with 2
3. Ryan Newman - 11.6
Top 10 - 66 times
4. Four drivers with 1 4. Kurt Busch - 11.6
Top 15  - 73 times
5. Mark Martin - 11.8
Worst - 32nd, one time

* - Must be entered in the Quicken Loans 400.

*Best Average Finish at Michigan

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kyle Busch
2.0
Four Races
Tony Stewart
6.8
Six Races
Tony Stewart
8.5
Eight Races
Tony Stewart
8.5
10 Races
Carl Edwards
8.0

* - 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. Greg Biffle - 8.6
2. Greg Biffle
2. Greg Biffle
2. Carl Edwards - 9.9
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jimmie Johnson - 10.0
4. Carl Edwards
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Matt Kenseth - 10.7
5. Kurt Busch
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Denny Hamlin - 11.8
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Greg Biffle - 2306
1. Carl Edwards - 691
1. Greg Biffle - 106.5
2. Carl Edwards - 2277
2. Greg Biffle - 666
2. Carl Edwards - 106.5
3. Matt Kenseth - 2183
3. Denny Hamlin - 547
3. Jimmie Johnson - 105.6
4. Jimmie Johnson - 2122
4. Matt Kenseth - 621
4. Matt Kenseth - 104.7
5. Tony Stewart - 2032
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 610
5. Denny Hamlin - 97.1

*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 International Speedway view the Quicken Loans 400 Pre-Race eBook

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Matt Kenseth - 8.3
2. Kyle Busch
2. Kasey Kahne
2. Greg Biffle - 8.4
3. Mark Martin
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 9.6
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Denny Hamlin - 10.0
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Jimmie Johnson - 10.5
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 3874
1. Brad Keselowski - 1038
1. Jimmie Johnson - 108.4
2. Jimmie Johnson - 3749
2. Kyle Busch - 938
2. Greg Biffle - 105.4
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3730
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 906
3. Matt Kenseth - 105.1
4. Greg Biffle - 3630
4. Greg Biffle - 836
4. Denny Hamlin - 101.5
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 3541
5. Matt Kenseth - 802
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 100.7

*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: Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
Pete Pistone: Carl Edwards
Ricky Hamber: Matt Kenseth
John Singler: Denny Hamlin

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

Matt Kenseth: Last of two wins came in the 2006 August race; Has finished in the top 10 in the last three races; Participated in the Goodyear tire test in April; 12.4 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will debut a new car (chassis No. 808) in the Quicken Loans 400.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Won this event in 2008 with Hendrick Motorsports; 12.8 average finish in eight starts with Hendrick; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 716) that he finished seventh with at Kansas Speedway.

Greg Biffle: Has combined to lead 220 laps in last three starts; Last of two wins came in this event in 2005; 12.8 average finish in 18 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 809) that he finished fourth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin: Winner of the last two June races; Led 123 laps en route to the win in this event in 2010; 12.1 average finish in 12 starts.

Jimmie Johnson: Coming off best finish in 20 starts in second; 15.2 average finish; Tied for fourth among all drivers with a 8.8 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 720) that he won the All-Star Race with.

Kevin Harvick: Winner of the 2010 August race; 15.0 average finish in 22 starts; Fifth among all drivers with a 9.6 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 378) that he raced to a sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr: 17.5 average finish in four starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Eighth-place finish in the 2010 August race is only top 10 with MWR; Scored two runner-up finishes with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007.

Tony Stewart: Has finished in the top 10 in the last four races; 8.5 average finish in six starts with Stewart Haas Racing; Won this event in 2000 with Joe Gibbs Racing; Second among all drivers with a 6.2 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 706) that he won the rain-shortened race at Auto Club Speedway with.

Clint Bowyer: Finished eighth in both races last season; 18.3 average finish in 12 starts; Third among all drivers with a 7.6 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing in the same car (chassis No. 727) that he most recently finished 11th with at Darlington Raceway.

Brad Keselowski: Coming off first top 10 in five starts in third; 22.6 average finish; Participated in the Goodyear tire test in April.

Carl Edwards: Two-time winner; Leads all drivers with 8.2 average finish; Has finished in the top five in five of his last seven starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 782) that he finished fifth with at Auto Club Speedway.

Kyle Busch: Coming off first win in 14 starts; Combined to lead 81 laps in both races last season; Participated in the Goodyear tire test in April; Tied for fourth among all drivers with a 8.8 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Paul Menard: Fourth-place finish in this event last year is only top 10 in 11 starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 397) in the Quicken Loans 400.

Ryan Newman: Posted a 5.5 average finish in both races last season; 17.3 average finish in six starts with Stewart Haas Racing; Posted two wins in previous 15 starts with Penske Racing; Leads all drivers with a 5.8 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 727) that he finished 14th with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano: Three top 10s and a 15.2 average finish in six starts; Has yet to lead a lap.

Kasey Kahne: Coming off seventh top 10 in 16 starts; Won this event in 2006 race with Evernham Motorsports; 12.4 average finish in the last five races on 2-mile speedways (Auto Club and Michigan).

Marcos Ambrose: 27.0 average finish in seven starts; Posted best finish (15th) in both races in 20102; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 784) that he most recently finished 16th with at Kansas Speedway.

Jeff Burton: Last of nine top 10s (eighth-place finish) came in this event in 2010; 16.4 average finish in 36 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 393) that he most recently finished 18th with at Darlington Raceway.

Jamie McMurray: 21.5 average finish in four starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; 19.5 average finish in 18 overall starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1208) that he most recently finished 21st with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Aric Almirola: Making first Sprint Cup track start; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 752) that he most recently finished 23rd with (in a points-paying race) at Kansas Speedway.

Photos

  • Jeff Gordon Through the Years
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