Driver Handicaps: Pocono

Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch

Jeff Gordon has posted one win and two sixth-place finishes in his last three starts. Kyle Busch has finished third or better in three of his last four starts. (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 Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR at Pocono Raceway.

Who's HOT at Pocono
• Jeff Gordon, who leads all drivers with 957 laps led, scored his fifth win in this event last year.
• Four-time winner Denny Hamlin is second in laps led with 639.
• Mark Martin leads all drivers with 33 top-10 finishes. 
• Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch each have finished in the top five in three of their last four starts.
• Two-time winner Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a 9.0 average finish.
• Tony Stewart has finished in the top 10 in seven of his last 10 starts, including a win in this event in 2009.

Keep an Eye On at Pocono 
• Kasey Kahne (1st), Jamie McMurray (2nd), Paul Menard (5th), Ryan Newman (6th), AJ Allmendinger (7th), Jeff Burton (9th) were among the top 10 in fastest speeds posted in the two-day test session at Pocono.
• Series points leader Greg Biffle has a win and an eighth-place finish in two of his last three Pocono starts.
• Brad Keselowski is coming off his first win at Pocono.
• Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Kahne, Joey Logano and McMurray participated in the Pocono Goodyear Tire Test in April.
• Carl Edwards has posted five top 10s in his last eight Pocono starts, including a win in 2008.
• Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer have posted respective average finishes of 6.6 and 8.4 in the last five races of the season.
• Martin Truex Jr., who was 11th fastest in testing, has posted a 10.3 average finish in his last three Pocono starts.

Pocono Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Mark Martin - 3
1. Denny Hamlin - 5.9
Pole - 13 times
2. 6 tied - 2
2. Jimmie Johnson - 8.6
Top Five - 42 times
(J. Johnson, K. Kahne,
3. Kasey Kahne - 8.9
Top 10 - 48 times
R. Newman, D. Hamlin, 4. Mark Martin - 9.2
Top 15  - 61 times
T. Stewart, J. Gordon) 5. Ryan Newman - 9.4
Worst - 29th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Pocono 400.

*Best Average Finish at Pocono

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kyle Busch
2.5
Four Races
Jimmie Johnson
5.8
Six Races
Jimmie Johnson
7.2
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.5
10 Races
Jeff Gordon
8.6

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

Pocono Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2011)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin - 8.3
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9.8
3. Kurt Busch (Not Racing)
3. Kurt Busch (Not Racing)
3. Jeff Gordon - 10.1
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Mark Martin
4. Kurt Busch - 10.6 (Not Racing)
5. Mark Martin
5. Carl Edwards
5. Ryan Newman - 11.3
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 2194
1. Ryan Newman - 657
1. Denny Hamlin - 118.6
2. Jeff Gordon - 2063
2. Jimmie Johnson - 642
2. Jimmie Johnson - 107.0
3. Ryan Newman - 2046
3. Tony Stewart - 617
3. Kurt Busch - 105.8
4. Kurt Busch - 2029
4. Jeff Gordon - 610
4. Jeff Gordon - 100.8
5. Tony Stewart - 1977
5. Kevin Harvick - 599
5. Tony Stewart - 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.


For a look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Pocono Raceway view the Pocono 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. Kasey Kahne
1. Greg Biffle - 8.2
2. Kyle Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth - 8.5
3. Greg Biffle
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Denny Hamlin - 9.8
4. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 10.0
5. Mark Martin
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Jimmie Johnson - 10.2
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 3723
1. Brad Keselowski - 1037
1. Jimmie Johnson - 109.0
2. Jimmie Johnson - 3665
2. Kyle Busch - 916
2. Greg Biffle - 107.1
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3573
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 862
3. Matt Kenseth - 104.2
4. Martin Truex Jr. - 3527
4. Greg Biffle - 801
4. Denny Hamlin - 101.2
5. Greg Biffle - 3517
5. Tony Stewart - 755
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 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.


MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kasey Kahne
Pete Pistone: Denny Hamlin
Ricky Hamber: Ryan Newman
John Singler: Jeff Gordon

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

Greg Biffle: Winner of the 2010 August race; Coming off fourth top 10 in 18 starts with an eighth-place finish.

Matt Kenseth: Eighth-place finish last year in this event is only top 10 in last seven races; 14.2 average finish and 39 laps led in 24 starts; Tied for the ninth-best average finish (12.7) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 810) that he finished fifth with at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Finished in the top 10 in both events last season; Only other top 10 in eight starts with Hendrick Motorsports came in this event in 2008 in fourth; One lap led with Hendrick; Posted two runner-up finishes with Dale Earnhardt Inc; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 726) in the Pocono 400.

Denny Hamlin: Last of four wins came in this event in 2010; 9.7 average finish and 639 laps led in 12 starts; Sixth-best average finish (11.4) in the last 10 races; Eighth fastest in the two days of testing.

Jimmie Johnson: Swept both races in 2004; Has finished in the top 10 in last four starts; Third-best average finish (9.9) in the last 10 races; 9.0 average finish and 518 laps led in 20 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 681) that he won with at Darlington Raceway last month.

Martin Truex Jr: 14.0 average finish in four starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Last of four top 10s came in this event last year in 10th.

Kevin Harvick: Fifth-place finish in this event last year was the last in a streak of three consecutive top fives; Fifth-best average finish (10.8) in the last 10 races; Has only led five laps in 22 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 374) that he most recently finished 16th with at Darlington Raceway; 10th fastest in the two days of testing.

Tony Stewart: Last of two wins came in this event in 2009; 8.0 average finish in six starts with Stewart Haas Racing; Second-best average finish (9.6) in the last 10 races; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 722) in the Pocono 400.

Kyle Busch: 2.5 average finish in his last two starts; Three finishes of third or better in eight starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Has combined to lead 61 laps in his last four starts.

Clint Bowyer: Last of five top 10s came in this event in 2010 in ninth after leading 59 laps; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing driving a new car (chassis No. 733) in the Pocono 400.

Brad Keselowski: Coming off first win for his first finish inside the top 20 in four starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 818) that he finished ninth with at Martinsville Speedway in April.

Carl Edwards: Last of two wins came in the 2008 August race; Coming off seventh top 10 in 14 starts; Seventh-best average finish (12.4) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 815) that he finished seventh with at Darlington Raceway.

Ryan Newman: Finished in the top 10 in both races last season; 9.8 average finish in six starts with Stewart Haas Racing; Won the 2003 July race with Penske Racing; Fourth-best average finish (10.0) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 686) that he most recently finished 10th with in the All-Star Race; Sixth fastest in the two days of testing.

Kasey Kahne: Won this event in 2008 with Gillett Evernham Motorsports; 17.0 average finish in 16 starts; Will make first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in a new car (chassis No. 729); Posted the fastest speed in the two days of testing.

Paul Menard: Coming off first top 10 in 10 starts; 12.0 average finish in two starts with Richard Childress Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 384) that he finished 19th with at Auto Club Speedway; Fifth fastest in the two days of testing.

Joey Logano: 11th-place finish in this event last year is best in six starts; 20.8 average finish; Won the pole and led 44 laps last August.

Aric Almirola: Will make first Sprint Cup track start driving the same car (chassis No. 742) that he finished 19th with at Darlington Raceway.

Jeff Burton: Finished in the top 10 in both events in 2010; 10th-best average finish (13.2) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 385) that he most recently finished 29th with at Texas Motor Speedway; Ninth fastest in the two days of testing.

Marcos Ambrose: 27.2 average finish in six starts; Only top 10 came in this event in 2009 in sixth; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 805) that he most recently finished 22nd with at Richmond International Raceway.

Juan Pablo Montoya: Has finished eighth or better in four of his last six starts; Led 38 laps and finished seventh last year in this event; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1108) that he raced in both events at Michigan International Speedway last season.

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