Driver Handicaps: Talladega

Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer

Jeff Burton finished second to Clint Bowyer in this event last season. Burton has finished in the top 10 in his last two starts, while Bowyer has scored five straight top 10s, including two wins. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

TALLADEGA, Ala. - Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Who's HOT at Talladega
• Clint Bowyer has finished seventh or better in his last five starts, including wins in both fall events.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in wins (6) and laps led (832). 
• Five-time winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has led the most laps (180) in the 10 races with the COT chassis.
• Tony Stewart has one win and six runner-up finishes. 
• Brad Keselowski has five top 10s in seven starts, including two wins.
• Matt Kenseth, who finished third in the spring, has led the most laps (116) in the last five races.
• 2008 winner Kyle Busch is coming off a second-place finish.
• Jeff Burton and Kasey Kahne each have finished in the top 10 in their last two starts.

Keep an Eye On at Talladega
• Greg Biffle (12.4), Kevin Harvick (13.0), David Reutimann (13.4) and Denny Hamlin (13.4) each rank in the top five in average finish among all drivers that have raced in the last five events at Talladega.
• Jimmie Johnson (16.0), David Ragan (17.1) and Juan Pablo Montoya (17.2) each rank in the top five among all drivers that have raced in all 10 events with the COT car at Talladega.
• Martin Truex Jr. has posted a 13.8 average finish in five starts with Michael Waltrip Racing at Talladega.
• Joey Logano has finished in the top 10 in four of his seven starts at Talladega.
• Paul Menard has posted an 11.4 average finish in his last five starts on restrictor-plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega).
• 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne finished eighth in the spring at Talladega.
• Kurt Busch has completed the most laps (1,788) while running in the top 15 in the last 15 races at Talladega.
• Michael Waltrip, who won at Talladega in 2003, finished ninth in this event last year.
• Carl Edwards and Juan Pablo Montoya have posted respective average finishes of 13.5 and 19.7 in their last 10 starts on restrictor-plate tracks.

Talladega Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Joe Nemechek - 4
1. Trevor Bayne - 8.7
Pole - 11 times
2. Jeff Gordon - 3
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9.9
Top Five - 44 times
3. Mark Martin - 3
3. Jeff Gordon - 11.6
Top 10 - 53 times
4. Juan Pablo Montoya - 2 4. Mark Martin - 13.7
Top 15 - 64 times
5. Seven tied with 1 5. Juan Pablo Montoya - 14.2
Worst - 36th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500.

*Best Average Finish at Talladega

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Brad Keselowski
2.5
Four Races
Clint Bowyer
2.5
Six Races
Clint Bowyer
4.8
Eight Races
Clint Bowyer
9.1
10 Races
Clint Bowyer
9.3

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

Talladega Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2012)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Trevor Bayne
1. Brad Keselowski
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 14.8
2. Joey Logan
2. Jeff Burton
2. Kurt Busch - 14.8
3. David Ragan
3. Marcos Ambrose
3. Joey Logano - 15.3
4. Joey Logano
4. Joe Nemechek
4. Matt Kenseth - 15.3
5. Jeff Burton
5. Joey Logano
5. Juan Pablo Montoya - 15.7
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Kurt Busch - 1788
1. Jeff Burton - 4048
1. Jeff Burton - 90.7
2. Matt Kenseth - 1749
2. Kurt Busch - 3728
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 90.0
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1726
3. Matt Kenseth - 3513
3. Brian Vickers - 87.3
4. Jeff Burton - 1676
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3350
4. Denny Hamlin - 87.0
5. Kyle Busch - 1422
5. Kyle Busch - 2837
5. David Ragan - 87.0

*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 Talladega, view the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 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. Jimmie Johnson - 8.9
2. Kyle Busch
2. Kasey Kahne
2. Greg Biffle - 9.5
3. Denny Hamlin
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Matt Kenseth - 9.8
4. Mark Martin
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Denny Hamlin - 9.9
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 10.8
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 7007
1. Brad Keselowski - 1605
1. Jimmie Johnson - 109.9
2. Matt Kenseth - 6678
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1539
2. Denny Hamlin - 103.7
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 6671
3. Kyle Busch - 1516
3. Greg Biffle - 100.7
4. Greg Biffle - 6434
4. Greg Biffle - 1371
4. Matt Kenseth - 100.0
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 6370
5. Matt Kenseth - 1359
5. Kyle Busch - 98.7

*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: Matt Kenseth
Pete Pistone: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ricky Hamber: Clint Bowyer
John Singler: Kyle Busch

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

Brad Keselowski: Coming off second win in seven starts; Has finished in the top five in his last two starts; Sixth-best average finish (12.0) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona); Will debut a new car (chassis No. 644) in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500.

Jimmie Johnson: Winner of the 2011 spring race; Has finished 20th or worse in his last five starts on restrictor-plate tracks (Talladega and Daytona); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 698) that he last finished 36th with at Daytona International Speedway in July after being involved in an accident.

Denny Hamlin: Finished eighth in this event last year for third top five in the last five races; Tied for the fourth-best average finish (13.4) among the drivers that have competed in the last five races; 10th-best average finish (14.6) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona).

Clint Bowyer: Winner of the fall race the past two seasons; Has finished seventh or better in last five starts; Leads all drivers with a 3.4 average finish among the drivers that have competed in the last five races; Finished sixth in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing in May; Second in laps led (82) in the last five races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 705) that he finished eighth with in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.

Tony Stewart: Only top 10 (seventh) in seven starts with Stewart-Haas came in this event last year; Won this event in 2008 with Joe Gibbs Racing; Prior to win he finished second six times; Fifth-best average finish (11.8) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 565) that he won with at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Kasey Kahne: Finished fourth in May in his first track start with Hendrick Motorsports; 5.0 average finish in last two starts; Third-best average finish (10.0) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona).

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Last of five wins came in this event in 2004; Finished ninth in May for third top 10 in seven starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Fourth in laps led (55) in the last five races; Ninth-best average finish (14.0) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona).

Martin Truex Jr: Finished 10th in this event last year for second top 10 in five starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Fifth-best average finish (13.8) among the drivers that have competed in the last five races.

Kevin Harvick: Winner of the 2009 spring race; Win was the start of three-straight top fives; Finished 32nd in this event last year; Third-best average finish (13.0) among the drivers that have competed in the last five races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 387) that he finished seventh with in the Daytona 500.

Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers in wins (6) and laps led (832); Swept both races in 2007; Has started from the pole in two of his last three starts: Last of 18 top 10s came in the 2011 spring race in third.

Greg Biffle: Coming off fourth top 10 in 19 starts; Second-best average finish (12.4) among the drivers that have competed in the last five races; Seventh-best average finish (12.2) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona); Will debut a new car (chassis No. 798) in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500.

Matt Kenseth: Led 73 laps and finished third in the spring; Finish was first top 10 in the last 11 races; Has led the most laps among all drivers in the last five races with 116; Leads all drivers with a 5.4 average finish in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 793) that he last finished third with from the pole at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Kyle Busch: Winner of the 2008 spring race; Finished second in the spring for third top 10 in 15 starts; 23.3 average finish; Fifth in laps led (51) in the last five races.

Carl Edwards: Last of four top 10s (sixth) came in the 2011 spring race; 20.9 average finish in 16 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 792) that he last finished sixth with at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Ryan Newman: Third-place finish in the 2009 spring race is his only top 10 in seven starts with Stewart-Haas; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 606) that he last finished fifth with at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Paul Menard: 13.7 average finish in three starts with Richard Childress Racing; Fourth-best average finish (11.4) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 388) that he last finished 14th with at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Marcos Ambrose: 24.9 average finish in seven starts; Only top 10 came in the 2009 spring race in fourth.

Joey Logano: 16.1 average finish in seven starts; Last of four top 10s came in the 2011 spring race; Eighth-best average finish (13.2) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona).

Jeff Burton: Has posted a 6.0 average finish in his last two starts; Third in laps led (74) in the last five races; Second-best average finish (8.0) in the last five restrictor-plate races (Talladega and Daytona); Will return in the same car (chassis No. 343) that he last finished second with at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Jamie McMurray: 19.8 average finish in five starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Won this event in 2009 with Roush Fenway Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1009) that he finished 32nd with at Talladega in the spring.

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Talladega Driver Stats

Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish Driver Rating
Aric Almirola 5 22.0 21.6 79.7
Bobby Labonte 39 20.9 18.9 61.7
Brad Keselowski 7 18.4 13.0 86.2
Carl Edwards 16 15.4 20.9 67.0
Casey Mears 18 22.2 21.3 73.4
Clint Bowyer 13 19.9 15.6 79.5
D. Earnhardt Jr. 25 15.7 14.8 90.0
Dave Blaney 21 28.9 25.9 55.8
David Gilliland 10 28.2 21.8 62.2
David Ragan 11 19.4 17.1 87.0
D. Reutimann 11 22.9 20.9 70.0
David Stremme 9 31.2 26.6 61.2
Denny Hamlin 13 18.7 18.2 87.0
Greg Biffle 19 16.9 19.7 72.9
Jamie McMurray 20 20.6 19.4 79.9
Jeff Burton 37 24.5 18.2 90.7
Jeff Gordon 39 11.6 16.8 81.5
Jimmie Johnson 21 9.9 17.7 81.5
Joe Nemechek 35 19.3 25.9 53.4
Joey Logano 7 25.7 16.1 84.8
Josh Wise 1 16.0 42.0 29.8
Juan Montoya 11 14.2 18.5 80.4
Kasey Kahne 17 24.9 20.8 70.1
Kevin Harvick 23 22.0 15.6 76.5
Kurt Busch 23 20.4 15.1 86.8
Kyle Busch 15 21.4 23.3 80.4
Landon Cassill 3 28.0 27.0 68.7
Marcos Ambrose 7 22.9 24.9 69.8
Martin Truex Jr. 15 21.1 23.5 75.1
Matt Kenseth 25 21.7 18.6 86.7
M. McDowell 4 25.8 36.0 40.0
Michael Waltrip 52 20.0 19.9 66.8
Paul Menard 12 20.1 22.1 71.4
Regan Smith 10 24.5 25.2 67.8
R.Richardson Jr. 4 39.0 27.0 39.5
Ryan Newman 21 14.3 22.4 71.4
Sam Hornish Jr. 5 21.4 29.6 65.4
Terry Labonte 56 17.1 18.5 47.1
Tony Stewart 27 17.0 15.5 84.5
Travis Kvapil 9 20.6 18.9 66.3
Trevor Bayne 3 8.7 21.0 78.1

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Talladega Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last 15 races at Talladega.

Rank Driver Green Flag Passes
1 Jeff Burton 5839
2 Kurt Busch 5162
3 Martin Truex Jr. 4941
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4926
5 Kasey Kahne 4862
6 Kevin Harvick 4788
7 Tony Stewart 4584
8 Matt Kenseth 4575
9 Kyle Busch 4551
10 Casey Mears 4394
11 Denny Hamlin 4218
12 Jamie McMurray 4106
13 Bobby Labonte 4102
14 Elliott Sadler 4060
15 Ryan Newman 4053
16 Greg Biffle 3985
17 Jimmie Johnson 3965
18 David Reutimann 3915
19 Juan Pablo Montoya 3891
20 David Ragan 3886
21 Michael Waltrip 3815
22 Brian Vickers 3657
23 Paul Menard 3629
24 Clint Bowyer 3613
25 Robby Gordon 3521
26 Jeff Gordon 3467
27 Carl Edwards 3343
28 Joe Nemechek 3304
29 Regan Smith 3169
30 David Gilliland 2988
31 Joey Logano 2838
32 Brad Keselowski 2813
33 Dave Blaney 2748
34 Marcos Ambrose 2619
35 Mark Martin 2466
36 David Stremme 2415
37 Jeff Green 2301
38 Travis Kvapil 2270
39 A J Allmendinger 2072
40 Scott Riggs 2010
41 Reed Sorenson 1813
42 Mike Wallace 1700
43 J.J. Yeley 1606
44 Aric Almirola 1501
45 Sam Hornish Jr. 1445
46 Scott Speed 1368
47 Tony Raines 1301
48 Trevor Bayne 1150
49 Mike Bliss 1012
50 Landon Cassill 934
51 Ken Schrader 884
52 Terry Labonte 804
53 Kenny Wallace 792
54 Mike Skinner 784
55 Boris Said 511
56 Robert Richardson Jr. 427
57 Michael McDowell 393
58 Jason Leffler 319
59 Bill Elliott 294
60 Hermie Sadler 60

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