Driver Handicaps: Atlanta

NASCAR

Kasey Kahne (5.6), Matt Kenseth (6.0) and Martin Truex Jr. (6.0) lead the way in average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

To help you make your fantasy racing picks, MotorRacingNetwork.com's Jeff Wackerlin breaks down the stats and information to help steer you toward Sunday night's AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Atlanta
• Jeff Gordon, winner of this event in 2011, has finished in the top 10 in seven of his last 10 starts.
• Matt Kenseth has the best average finish (7.4) in the last 10 races.
• Three-time winner Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with an 11.1 average finish.
• Carl Edwards has posted an average finish of 8.1, including a win in 2008, in seven of the last 10 races where he's been running at the finish.
• Kurt Busch, who will be making his first track start with Furniture Row Racing, leads all drivers with 497 laps led in the last 10 races, which includes two wins.
• Defending race winner Denny Hamlin has posted a 4.5 average finish in his last two starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Atlanta
• Kasey Kahne (5.6), Martin Truex Jr. (6.0), Kevin Harvick (9.0), Jamie McMurray (11.4), Clint Bowyer (11.6), Joey Logano (13.0) and Aric Almirola each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2013.
• 2008 spring Atlanta winner Kyle Busch has posted one win and is third in laps led (263) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2013.
• Brad Keselowski has posted a 4.5 average finish in his last two starts at Atlanta.
• Paul Menard, who finished eighth last year at Atlanta, was among the 13 drivers that participated in the Goodyear Tire test earlier this month.
• Seven-time Atlanta pole winner Ryan Newman will be back in the same car he last finished sixth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
• Mark Martin will make his second start in the No. 14 Chevrolet for the injured Tony Stewart.

Note: Sprint Cup Series teams will be running the same left-side tire code that they have run the last two seasons at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  The right-side tire code is a new tire, and combines the compound that has recently been run at Kansas Speedway and Michigan International Speedway on the inside three inches of the tread, with the compound run at Atlanta for the last seasons across the rest of the tread.  Thirteen drivers last tested this tire combination at Atlanta that included Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Paul Menard, David Ragan, David Reutimann, Martin Truex Jr. and J.J. Yeley.

Be sure to check back with MotorRacingNetwork.com for practice speeds on Friday and Saturday.

Atlanta Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Ryan Newman - 7
1. Ryan Newman - 7.1
Pole - 14 times
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Jimmie Johnson - 8.6
Top Five - 60 times
Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne 
3. Kasey Kahne - 9.2
Top 10 - 83 times
Bobby Labonte 4. Carl Edwards - 10.3
Top 15 - 92 times
Mark Martin - 2 5. Mark Martin - 10.4
Worst - 39th, one time

* - Must be entered in the AdvoCare 500.

*Best Average Finish at Atlanta

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Jeff Gordon
1.5
Four Races
Kurt Busch
6.0
Six Races
Jeff Gordon
7.3
Eight Races
Jeff Gordon
7.2
10 Races
Matt Kenseth
7.4

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

Gen-6 Car Performers (24 Races)

Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
1. Matt Kenseth - 5
1. Kyle Busch - 10
1. Jimmie Johnson - 15
2. Jimmie Johnson - 4
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9
2. Kyle Busch - 14
3. Kyle Busch - 3
3. Clint Bowyer - 8
3. Clint Bowyer - 13
4. Kevin Harvick - 2
4. Three drivers with 7
Joey Logano - 13
Kasey Kahne - 2
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 13
Laps Led
Average Finish
Poles
1. Matt Kenseth - 1144
1. Clint Bowyer - 10.7
1. Denny Hamlin - 4
2. Jimmie Johnson - 1139
2. Jimmie Johnson - 11.1
2. Kyle Busch - 3
3. Kyle Busch - 1066
3. Carl Edwards - 12.5
3. Matt Kenseth - 2 
4. Kasey Kahne - 466
4. Kevin Harvick - 12.9
Jimmie Johnson - 2
5. Kurt Busch - 368
5. Kyle Busch - 14.2
3. 10 drivers with 1

Atlanta Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2013, 14 Races)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Martin Truex Jr.
1. Jimmie Johnson - 7.9
2. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
2. Jeff Gordon - 9.9
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Denny Hamlin
3. Denny Hamlin - 11.1
4. Carl Edwards
4. Jimmie Johnson
4. Tony Stewart - 11.4
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Kevin Harvick
5. Martin Truex Jr. - 11.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 4043
1. Jeff Gordon - 549 
1. Jimmie Johnson - 108.3
2. Jeff Gordon - 3765
2. Jimmie Johnson - 532
2. Jeff Gordon - 104.8
3. Carl Edwards - 3484
3. Greg Biffle - 509
3. Carl Edwards - 99.8
4. Matt Kenseth - 3268
4. Martin Truex Jr. - 506 
4. Denny Hamlin - 99.7
5. Greg Biffle - 3249
5. Matt Kenseth - 496
5. Matt Kenseth - 96.4

*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 Loop Data eBook (pdf)

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Matt Kenseth
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Matt Kenseth - 8.6
2. Kasey Kahne
2. Kasey Kahne
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9.2
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Brad Keselowski
3. Kyle Busch - 11.9
4. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
4. Carl Edwards - 12.6
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 12.6
Laps in Top 15--
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 5801
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1220
1. Matt Kenseth - 109.2
2. Jimmie Johnson - 5335
2. Kurt Busch - 1156
2. Jimmie Johnson - 108.7
3. Kevin Harvick - 5268
3. Martin Truex Jr. - 1121
3. Kyle Busch - 101.9
4. Kasey Kahne - 5150
4. Matt Kenseth - 1118
4. Kasey Kahne - 101.2
5. Kyle Busch - 4943
5. Joey Logano - 1082
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 94.9

*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 Writer Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kasey Kahne
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Dustin Long: Jeff Gordon
John Singler: Matt Kenseth

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

Jimmie Johnson: Last of three wins came in the 2007 fall race; Crash in this event last year ended streak of two consecutive top-three finishes; Fourth among all drivers in average finish (9.2) and laps led (257) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 728) that he last finished second with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after leading 73 laps.

Clint Bowyer: Finished 27th last year in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing; Last of five top 10s (seventh) came in this event in 2010; 11.6 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 777) that he finished 20th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Last of three top 10s came in the 2008 October race; Engine issues last year snapped streak of two consecutive top fives; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; Tied for the fifth-best average finish (11.4) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 821) that he last finished 11th with at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Kevin Harvick: Has finished ninth or better in six of the last eight races; Led 101 laps and finished fifth last season; Third-best average finish (9.0) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Won in the fourth race on 1.5-mile tracks, Charlotte Motor Speedway; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 391) that he last finished 17th with at Pocono Raceway in August.

Kyle Busch: Winner of the 2008 spring race; Coming off fourth top 10 in 15 starts; Has combined to lead 85 laps in last two starts; Has posted one win, 263 laps led and a 17.2 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Matt Kenseth: Has finished ninth in last two starts; Leads all divers with a 7.4 average finish in the last 10 races; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; Leads all drivers win wins (3), laps led (355) and is tied for the second-best average finish (6.0) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Making first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 13.1 average finish in eight starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Coming off 11th top 10 in 25 starts; 20.6 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 726) he won the pole and finished 12th with at Kentucky Speedway in June.

Kasey Kahne: Finished 23rd last season in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports; Last of two wins came in this event in 2009 with Richard Petty Motorsports; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; Leads all drivers with a 5.6 average finish and is second in laps led (275) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 779) that he led 66 laps with en route to the win at Pocono Raceway.

Greg Biffle: 16.8 average finish in 18 starts; Last of nine top 10s (eighth) came in the 2010 spring race; 21.0 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 844) that he last finished 34th with at Kentucky Speedway.

Joey Logano: Coming off best finish (18th) in six starts; 13.0 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 862) in his first track start with Penske Racing.

Brad Keselowski: Has posted an average finish of 4.5 in last two starts; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; 17.4 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 861) in the AdvoCare 500.

Kurt Busch: Last of three wins came in the 2010 spring race with Penske Racing; Has finished 13th or better in nine of the last 10 races; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; Making first track start with Furniture Row Racing; 16.2 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Jeff Gordon: Scored fifth win in this event in 2011; Finished second last year for 10th top 10 in last 13 races; 23.8 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Martin Truex Jr: Led 40 laps and finished fourth last year; 14.3 average finish in four starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Racing this weekend with a fracture of right wrist; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; Tied for the second-best average finish (6.0) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Ryan Newman: Seven-time pole winner; Two top 10s (last in this event in 2010) in six starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; 16.4 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 748) that he last finished sixth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Jamie McMurray: 20.5 average finish in 19 starts; Last of four top 10s came in the 2008 October race; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; Tied for the fifth-best average finish (11.4) in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Paul Menard: 13.0 average finish in two starts with Richard Childress Racing; Coming off third top 10 in 11 starts; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; 16.0 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 403) that he finished 10th with in its last start on a 1.5-mile track, Kansas Speedway.

Aric Almirola: 26.5 average finish in two starts; Participated in the Goodyear confirmation test earlier this month; 15.8 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 855) that he finished 15th with at Kentucky Speedway in June.

Mark Martin (Tony Stewart): Martin will enter second race since taking over for the injured Tony Stewart; Coming off 24th top 10 (10th with Michael Waltrip Racing) in 52 starts; 17.8 average finish in four starts in races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will race the same car (chassis No. 736) that Stewart raced to a 20th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway.

Jeff Burton: Last of 14 top 10s (fourth) came in this event in 2010; 19.6 average finish in the five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 372) that he last finished eighth with at Michigan International Speedway in August.

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Untitled Document Atlanta Driver Stats - Last 14 Races

Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish Driver Rating
Jimmie Johnson 21 8.6 11.1 108.3
Jeff Gordon 39 12.3 11.9 104.8
Carl Edwards 15 10.3 15.1 99.8
Denny Hamlin 13 13.4 16.2 99.7
Matt Kenseth 24 21.6 12.7 96.4
Kurt Busch 22 15.5 17.2 94.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 25 16.2 12.5 93.3
Kyle Busch 15 11.6 16.9 92.8
Greg Biffle 18 12.5 16.0 92.6
Martin Truex Jr. 14 17.1 21.5 90.8
Kasey Kahne 16 9.2 18.6 88.9
Kevin Harvick 22 18.7 19.2 86.4
Juan Montoya 10 16.2 17.3 84.9
Jeff Burton 35 25.3 16.5 84.6
Brad Keselowski 4 22.8 17.5 83.7
Mark Martin 52 10.4 17.2 83.5
Clint Bowyer 12 16.0 18.2 83.0
Brian Vickers 15 16.2 16.4 80.9
A J Allmendinger 7 27.9 14.4 74.4
Jamie McMurray 19 22.0 20.5 72.2
Ryan Newman 20 7.1 18.4 72.1
Marcos Ambrose 7 22.1 21.3 65.8
Paul Menard 11 25.8 20.4 64.5
David Reutimann 8 20.5 26.4 62.9
Casey Mears 17 24.5 22.6 60.9
David Ragan 10 21.6 26.8 57.7
Aric Almirola 2 25.0 26.5 57.0
Joey Logano 6 28.2 26.0 56.5
David Gilliland 11 28.2 27.5 55.8
David Stremme 7 21.9 28.6 55.5
Landon Cassill 2 38.5 21.0 54.5
Mike Bliss 9 30.8 28.2 50.3
J.J. Yeley 9 29.1 28.7 49.6
Dave Blaney 24 23.0 28.4 47.7
Joe Nemechek 36 20.2 24.8 47.4
Scott Speed 7 30.0 29.4 46.1
Danica Patrick 1 23.0 29.0 43.6
Travis Kvapil 11 34.2 32.1 39.7
Michael McDowell 3 31.3 40.7 28.4
Austin Dillon 0 - - -
Timmy Hill 0 - - -
R. Stenhouse Jr. 0 - - -
Josh Wise 0 - - -
Paythefan
Atlanta Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last 14 races at Atlanta.

Rank Driver Green Flag Passes
1 Jamie McMurray 1025
2 Ryan Newman 952
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 944
4 Brian Vickers 926
5 Matt Kenseth 919
6 Kyle Busch 918
7 Jeff Burton 902
8 Kurt Busch 885
9 Greg Biffle 881
10 Paul Menard 812
11 Kevin Harvick 806
12 Tony Stewart 800
13 Clint Bowyer 795
14 Martin Truex Jr. 788
15 Casey Mears 766
16 Mark Martin 738
17 Juan Pablo Montoya 734
18 Elliott Sadler 723
19 Jimmie Johnson 693
20 Jeff Gordon 675
21 Bobby Labonte 660
22 Kasey Kahne 653
23 Carl Edwards 646
24 Marcos Ambrose 624
25 A J Allmendinger 609
25 Denny Hamlin 609
27 David Gilliland 599
28 Michael Waltrip 598
29 Dave Blaney 565
30 David Ragan 564
31 David Reutimann 494
32 Sam Hornish Jr. 450
33 David Stremme 447
34 J.J. Yeley 431
35 Joe Nemechek 421
36 Mike Bliss 412
37 Scott Riggs 407
38 Joey Logano 404
39 Regan Smith 385
40 Brad Keselowski 359
41 Scott Speed 329
42 Ken Schrader 313
43 Travis Kvapil 266
44 Tony Raines 202
45 Landon Cassill 155
46 Johnny Sauter 99
47 Aric Almirola 89
48 Trevor Bayne 77
49 Terry Labonte 58
50 Danica Patrick 39
51 Max Papis 19
52 Michael McDowell 17
53 Boris Said 12

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