Driver Handicaps: Atlanta

Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart

Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart have posted respective average finishes of 2.5 and 2.0 in the last two races at Atlanta. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Driver Averages |  Loop Data eBook (pdf) Driver Ratings Past Winners

Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Atlanta
• Defending race winner Jeff Gordon has posted an average finish of 8.1 in the last 10 races.
• Tony Stewart has two wins and an 8.8 average finish in the last 10 races. 
• Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a 10.0 average finish.
• Matt Kenseth has the best average (6.9) in the last 10 races. 
• Carl Edwards has posted seven top 10 finishes in his last 10 starts, including a win in 2008.
• Kurt Busch, who will be making his first track start with Phoenix Racing, leads all drivers in wins (2) and laps led (385) in the races with the COT car.

Keep an Eye On at Atlanta 
• Greg Biffle (6.8), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (7.4), Kasey Kahne (7.4), Denny Hamlin (7.6), Kevin Harvick (9.0) and Martin Truex Jr. (9.0) each have posted average finishes of 10.0 or better in the five races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
• Juan Pablo Montoya has posted an average finish of 7.5 in his last four starts at Atlanta.
• Kyle Busch, who won the 2008 spring race at Atlanta, is fourth in laps led (173) in the five races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
• Marcos Ambrose, who finished 10th at Atlanta in 2010, is coming off three-straight top fives this month.
• Mark Martin has posted 23 top 10s in 51 starts at Atlanta.
• Brad Keselowski, who scored his first top 10 at Atlanta last year, has posted one win at a 1.5-mile track (Kentucky) this season.

Atlanta Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Ryan Newman - 7
1. Ryan Newman - 6.6
Pole - 14 times
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Jimmie Johnson - 8.6
Top Five - 60 times
Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne
3. Kasey Kahne - 9.1
Top 10 - 82 times
Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin - 2 4. Carl Edwards - 10.1
Top 15 - 91 times
5. Mark Martin - 10.5
Worst - 39th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Advocare 500.

*Best Average Finish at Atlanta

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Tony Stewart
2.0
Four Races
Tony Stewart
7.0
Six Races
Matt Kenseth
8.3
Eight Races
Matt Kenseth
7.8
10 Races
Matt Kenseth
6.9

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

Atlanta Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2011)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Martin Truex Jr.
1. Jimmie Johnson - 7.7
2. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
2. Jeff Gordon - 10.2
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Tony Stewart
3. Tony Stewart - 10.8
4. Carl Edwards
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Denny Hamlin - 11.8
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 12.3
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3775
1. Jeff Gordon - 501
1. Jimmie Johnson - 109.5
2. Jeff Gordon - 3439
2. Jimmie Johnson - 497
2. Jeff Gordon - 104.1
3. Carl Edwards - 3265
3. Greg Biffle - 474
3. Tony Stewart - 102.3
4. Tony Stewart - 3181
4. Tony Stewart - 474
4. Carl Edwards - 101.8
5. Greg Biffle - 3033
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 470
5. Denny Hamlin - 96.2

*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 Atlanta, view the Advocare 500 Pre-Race eBook (pdf).

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Greg Biffle - 8.5
2. Kyle Busch
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Matt Kenseth - 9.1
3. Mark Martin
3. Kasey Kahne
3. Jimmie Johnson - 9.5
4. Denny Hamlin
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 10.3
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 11.0
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 5476
1. Brad Keselowski - 1418
1. Jimmie Johnson - 108.8
2. Jimmie Johnson - 5463
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1414
2. Greg Biffle - 103.9
3. Greg Biffle - 5395
3. Kyle Busch - 1346
3. Matt Kenseth - 102.8
4. Martin Truex Jr. - 5327
4. Greg Biffle - 1224
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 99.9
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 5283
5. Kasey Kahne - 1222
5. Denny Hamlin - 99.2

*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: Jimmie Johnson
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Ricky Hamber: Kyle Busch
John Singler: Carl Edwards

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

Greg Biffle: Last of nine top 10s came in 2010 spring race; 16.1 average finish in 17 starts; Second in average finish (6.8) and first in laps led (296) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 786) that he finished 35th with at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season.

Jimmie Johnson: Three-time winner; Finished second last year for second consecutive top-three finish; 10.0 average finish in 20 starts; Tied for the second-best average finish (8.1) in the last 10 races; First in average finish (4.8) and third in laps led (214) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 714) that he led 156 laps and finished second with at Texas Motor Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: 14.0 average finish in seven starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Sixth-best average finish (14.0) in the last 10 races; Tied for third in average finish (7.4) and ninth in laps led (70) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 668) that he won the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway with.

Matt Kenseth: Finished ninth last year for 13th top 10 in 23 starts; Leads all drivers with a 6.9 average finish in the last 10 races; Sixth in average finish (9.6) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 808) that he finished 35th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after getting caught up in an accident.

Martin Truex Jr: 17.7 average finish in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Last of two top 10s in 13 starts came with Earnhardt Ganassi in 2009; Tied for fifth in average finish (9.0) and second in laps led (242) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Clint Bowyer: 17.4 average finish in 11 starts; Last of five top 10s (seventh) came in this event in 2010; Will make track debut with Michael Waltrip Racing driving a new car (chassis No. 738) in the Advocare 500.

Brad Keselowski: Finished sixth in this event last year for first top 10 in three starts; Eighth in laps led (72) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 818) that he finished 18th with at Pocono Raceway in June.

Denny Hamlin: Finished eighth last year for fourth top 10 in 12 starts; Has combined to lead 191 laps in last six starts; 10th-best average finish (16.0) in the last 10 races; Fourth in average finish (7.6) and sixth in laps led (103) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Kevin Harvick: Finished seventh last year for seventh top 10 in 21 starts; Ninth-best average finish (14.6) in the last 10 races; Tied for fifth in average finish (9.0) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 378) that he finished sixth and 10th, respectively, in the Advocare 500.

Tony Stewart: Last of three wins came in this event in 2010; Finished third last year for 15th top 10 in 25 starts; Third-best average finish (8.8) in the last 10 races; Fifth in laps led (127) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 707) that he finished 17th with in the All-Star Race.

Kasey Kahne: Last of two wins came in this event in 2009; Has combined to lead 235 laps in last four starts; Tied for third in average finish (7.4) and seventh in laps led (96) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will make first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in the same car (chassis No. 739) that he finished 12th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Last of three wins came in 2008; Finished fifth last season for 10th top 10 in 14 starts; Eighth-best average finish (14.5) in the last 10 races; Eighth in average finish (10.2) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 782) that he finished 11th with at Michigan International Speedway in June.

Kyle Busch: Winner of the 2008 spring race; Last of three top 10s in 14 starts came in this event in 2010 in fifth; Fourth in laps led (173) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Jeff Gordon: Defending race winner; Win was fifth in 38 starts; Tied for the second-best average finish (8.1) in the last 10 races; Seventh in average finish (9.8) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Ryan Newman: Last of six top 10s came in this event in 2010; Seven-time pole winner; 17.5 average finish in 19 starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 738) in the Advocare 500.

Marcos Ambrose: Finished 21st last season in first track starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; Only top 10 in six starts came in this event in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 784) that he last finished fifth with at Michigan International Speedway this month.

Paul Menard: Finished 18th in first track start with Richard Childress Racing last season; 21.6 average finish in 10 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 351) that he last finished 16th with at Dover International Speedway last fall.

Joey Logano: 27.6 average finish in five starts; Best finish came in this event in 2009 in 22nd.

Jamie McMurray: 20.0 average finish in three starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Last of four top 10s (seventh) came in 2008 with Roush Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 1109) in the Advocare 500.

Jeff Burton: Last of 14 top 10s (fourth) came in this event in 2010; Fifth-best average finish (13.5) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 393) that he most recently finished 21st with at Michigan International Speedway in June.

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Atlanta Driver Stats
Driver Avg Start Avg Finish
Aric Almirola 37.0 21.0
Bobby Labonte 17.8 18.4
Brad Keselowski 23.3 22.3
Carl Edwards 10.1 13.6
Casey Mears 24.9 21.9
Clint Bowyer 14.7 17.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 15.4 12.8
Dave Blaney 23.0 28.5
David Gilliland 28.1 27.2
David Ragan 22.4 26.7
David Stremme 20.3 26.8
Denny Hamlin 13.9 17.5
Greg Biffle 13.1 16.1
J.J. Yeley 27.4 27.1
Jamie McMurray 22.1 20.3
Jason Leffler 16.0 28.5
Jeff Burton 25.2 16.6
Jeff Gordon 12.4 12.2
Jimmie Johnson 8.6 10.0
Joe Nemechek 19.7 24.2
Joey Logano 32.0 27.6
Juan Pablo Montoya 14.3 16.9
Kasey Kahne 9.1 18.3
Kevin Harvick 18.5 19.9
Kurt Busch 15.5 17.4
Kyle Busch 12.2 17.7
Landon Cassill 37.0 22.0
Marcos Ambrose 24.2 22.0
Mark Martin 10.5 17.3
Martin Truex Jr. 16.2 22.8
Matt Kenseth 22.3 12.9
Michael McDowell 31.3 40.7
Mike Bliss 30.8 28.2
Paul Menard 26.6 21.6
Reed Sorenson 23.7 23.6
Regan Smith 32.8 26.4
Ryan Newman 6.6 17.5
Sam Hornish Jr. 32.0 29.8
Scott Riggs 23.6 25.9
Scott Speed 29.0 28.2
Tony Stewart 15.9 11.2
Travis Kvapil 33.5 32.7
Average Running Position in last 13 Atlanta Races
Driver Avg Place
Jimmie Johnson 7.7
Jeff Gordon 10.2
Tony Stewart 10.8
Denny Hamlin 11.8
Martin Truex Jr. 12.3
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 12.8
Carl Edwards 12.8
Matt Kenseth 12.8
Greg Biffle 13.3
Kurt Busch 14.3
Jeff Burton 14.5
Kyle Busch 14.7
Clint Bowyer 15.2
Juan Pablo Montoya 15.2
Kasey Kahne 15.8
Mark Martin 16.3
Kevin Harvick 16.8
Brian Vickers 17.0
Brad Keselowski 17.1
A J Allmendinger 19.3
Ryan Newman 19.3
Jamie McMurray 19.7
Marcos Ambrose 23.1
Elliott Sadler 23.2
Casey Mears 23.2
Paul Menard 23.4
David Stremme 24.5
Jason Leffler 24.5
Reed Sorenson 24.5
David Ragan 25.4
Michael Waltrip 25.4
Aric Almirola 25.6
Landon Cassill 26.2
Scott Riggs 26.2
David Reutimann 26.3
Robby Gordon 26.7
Joey Logano 27.3
David Gilliland 27.5
Bobby Labonte 28.4
Regan Smith 28.9
Scott Speed 29.0
Mike Bliss 29.0
J.J. Yeley 29.2
Sam Hornish Jr. 29.4
Jeff Green 29.4
Joe Nemechek 29.7
Dave Blaney 31.3
Bill Elliott 31.3
Ken Schrader 31.9
Mike Skinner 33.2
Terry Labonte 33.5
Tony Raines 34.5
Travis Kvapil 34.9
Boris Said 35.5
Mike Wallace 36.8
Kenny Wallace 38.4
Michael McDowell 40.6
Hermie Sadler 41.7

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