Driver Handicaps: Pocono

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson has posted a 6.1 average finish in the last 10 races at Pocono Raceway. (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's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Who's HOT at Pocono
• Two-time winner Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with an 8.8 average finish.
• Five-time winner Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with 957 laps led.
• Four-time winner Denny Hamlin is coming off his eighth top-five finish. 
• Mark Martin leads all drivers with 34 top-10 finishes.
• Tony Stewart has finished third or better in five of the last eight races, including a win in the 2009 June race.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., who led 36 laps in June, has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts.

Keep an Eye On at Pocono 
• Joey Logano, who will be shooting for his third consecutive pole at Pocono, won the June race after leading 49 laps.
• Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski, who each finished in the top 10 last weekend at Indianapolis, have won the last two August Pocono races, respectively.
• Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch each have finished in the top five in three of their last five starts.
• Ryan Newman (11.0), Carl Edwards (12.1), Mark Martin (12.2), Matt Kenseth (12.5) and Clint Bowyer (13.2) each rank in the top 10 among all drivers in average finish in the last 10 races at Pocono.
• Kasey Kahne, who was the fastest driver in Pocono testing in June, was running in the top 10 in his Pocono debut with Hendrick Motorsports until a cut tire late in the race took him out of contention.
• Paul Menard has finished in the top 10 in his last two starts at Pocono.
• Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray each finished in the top 10 at Pocono in June.

Pocono Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Mark Martin - 3
1. Denny Hamlin - 5.8
Pole - 14 times
2. Seven drivers with 2
2. Kasey Kahne - 9.0
Top Five - 43 times
3. Mark Martin - 9.1
Top 10 - 49 times
4. Jimmie Johnson - 9.3
Top 15  - 62 times
5. Ryan Newman - 9.8
Worst - 29th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Pennsylvania 400.

*Best Average Finish at Pocono

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Jimmie Johnson
4.0
Four Races
Jimmie Johnson
5.5
Six Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.7
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.2
10 Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.1

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

Pocono Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2012)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin - 8.6
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jimmie Johnson - 10.2
3. Kurt Busch
3. Kurt Busch
3. Jeff Gordon - 10.3
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Mark Martin
4. Kurt Busch - 10.6
5. Mark Martin
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Ryan Newman - 11.3
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 2278
1. Ryan Newman - 715
1. Denny Hamlin - 117.6
2. Ryan Newman - 2190
2. Jimmie Johnson - 686
2. Jimmie Johnson - 106.7
3. Jeff Gordon - 2159
3. Jeff Gordon - 660
3. Kurt Busch - 105.8
4. Tony Stewart - 2075
4. Tony Stewart - 658
4. Jeff Gordon - 100.3
5. Mark Martin - 2055
5. Matt Kenseth - 638
5. Tony Stewart - 99.3

*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 Pocono Raceway view the Pennsylvania 400 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 - 8.4
2. Kyle Busch
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Matt Kenseth - 8.7
3. Mark Martin
3. Kasey Kahne
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 9.7
4. Denny Hamlin
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Jimmie Johnson - 9.7
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Denny Hamlin - 10.5
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 4949
1. Brad Keselowski - 1308
1. Jimmie Johnson - 109.2
2. Jimmie Johnson - 4791
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1270
2. Greg Biffle - 104.8
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 4733
3. Kyle Busch - 1244
3. Matt Kenseth - 104.1
4. Greg Biffle - 4710
4. Marcos Ambrose - 1095
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 102.0
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 4572
5. Matt Kenseth - 1084
5. Denny Hamlin - 100.5

*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: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pete Pistone: Denny Hamlin
Ricky Hamber: Denny Hamlin 
John Singler: Greg Biffle

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

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Has finished in the top 10 in last three starts; Only other top 10 in nine starts with Hendrick Motorsports came in the 2008 June race in fourth; Led 36 laps in June; Posted two runner-up finishes with Dale Earnhardt Inc; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 726) that he finished eighth with at Pocono in June.

Matt Kenseth: Coming off second top 10 in the last eight races; 13.9 average finish and 50 laps led in 25 starts; Ninth-best average finish (12.5) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 810) that he started 14th and finished seventh with at Pocono in June.

Greg Biffle: Winner of this event in 2010; Recorded fourth top 10 in 18 starts with an eighth-place finish last year in this event; Led 19 laps and finished 24th in June; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 803) that he finished 21st with at Kentucky Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson: Swept both races in 2004; Has finished in the top 10 in last five starts; Leads all drivers with an 8.8 average finish; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 681) that he finished fourth with at Pocono Raceway in June. This is also the same car that he scored wins at Darlington Raceway and Kansas Speedway with.

Denny Hamlin: Last of four wins came in the 2010 June race; 9.3 average finish and 660 laps led in 13 starts; Sixth-best average finish (11.3) in the last 10 races.

Kevin Harvick: Fifth-place finish in the 2011 June race was the last in a streak of three consecutive top fives; Fifth-best average finish (11.1) in the last 10 races; Has finished 14th in his last two starts; Has only led five laps in 23 starts; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 396) that Austin Dillon finished 24th with at Michigan International Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr: 15.2 average finish in four starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Last of four top 10s came in the 2011 June race in 10th.

Tony Stewart: Last of two wins came in the 2009 June race; 7.3 average finish in seven starts with Stewart Haas Racing; Second-best average finish (9.4) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 722) that he finished third with at Pocono in June.

Brad Keselowski: Defending race winner: Win is only finish inside the top 15 in five starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 813) that he finished second with in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Clint Bowyer: Finished sixth in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing in June; Finish was sixth top 10 in 13 starts; 15.7 average finish and 91 laps led; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 733) that he raced at Pocono in June.

Kyle Busch: Posted a 2.5 average finish in the 2011 races; Finished 30th in June; Three finishes of third or better in nine starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Has combined to lead 61 laps in his last five starts.

Carl Edwards: Last of two wins came in the 2008 August race; Scored seventh top 10 in 15 starts last year in this event; Seventh-best average finish (12.1) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 815) that he finished 11th with at Pocono in June.

Kasey Kahne: Won the 2008 June race with Gillett Evernham Motorsports; 17.7 average finish in 16 starts; Finished 29th after a crash in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in June; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 724) that he won with at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Ryan Newman: Finished in the top 10 in both races last season; 10.1 average finish in seven starts with Stewart Haas Racing; Won the 2003 July race with Penske Racing; Fourth-best average finish (11.0) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 733) that he finished seventh with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers in wins (5) and laps led (957); Third-best average finish (10.4) in the last 10 races; Finished 19th in June.

Paul Menard: Has finished in the top 10 in last two starts; 11.0 average finish in three starts with Richard Childress Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 384) that he started third and finished ninth with at Pocono in June.

Joey Logano: Won the June race after leading 49 laps; Win was first top 10 in seven starts; Will be shooting for third consecutive pole; 18.0 average finish.

Marcos Ambrose: 22.3 average finish in three starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; Lone top 10 (sixth) came in the 2009 June race with JTG Daugherty Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 735) that he finished 32nd with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: Coming off fourth top 10 in 19 starts; 21.7 average finish; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1106) that he finished 10th with at Pocono in June.

Jeff Burton: Finished in the top 10 in both events in 2010; 11th-best average finish (13.4) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 385) that he last finished 19th with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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