Driver Handicaps: Talladega

Talladega

Matt Kenseth (229) and Jimmie Johnson (127) have combined to lead 356 laps in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 racecar. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MRN.com's Jeff Wackerlin breaks down all the stats and information to help steer you toward Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Who's HOT at Talladega
Matt Kenseth and David Ragan each have a win and have finished in the top 10 in their last
three starts.
Clint Bowyer, winner of the 2010 and 2011 fall race, leads all drivers that have competed in
the last 10 races with an 11.4 average finish.
Jimmie Johnson finished fifth in the spring to help his series-leading average finish of 2.3
in the three restrictor-plate races (Daytona and Talladega) with the Gen-6 car.
• Brad Keselowski has the best average finish in the last four races, including a win in the
2012 spring race.
Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in wins (6) and laps led (840).
Kyle Busch, winner of the 2008 spring race, has finished third or better in two his last three
starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Talladega
Dale Earnhardt Jr., a five-time Talladega winner, has posted the second-best average finish (9.0) among all drivers that have competed in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.  Michael Waltrip (10.3), Bowyer (11.0) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (12.0) round out the top five.
• David Gilliland (12.2), Greg Biffle (13.6), Aric Almirola (13.7) and Martin Truex Jr. (14.2) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among all drivers that have raced in the last five events at Talladega.
• Denny Hamlin is one of only three drivers (Kenseth and Johnson) that have led more than 50 laps (53) in the three plate races with the Gen-6 car.
Kurt Busch (149) and Carl Edwards (130) each ranked in the top five in the spring at Talladega in number of laps run in the top 15.
• Danica Patrick has posted one pole and an average finish of 18.3 in her three Cup starts on restrictor-plate tracks with the Gen-6 car.
• Jeff Burton, who has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts, ranks third in driver ratings over the last 17 races at Talladega.
• Justin Allgaier will be in the No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend, a team that has posted four top
10s - includng one win - at Talladega since 2009.
Kevin Harvick has finished 11th or better in four of the last seven races at Talladega, including a win in the 2010 spring race.
• Jamie McMurray, winner of the 2009 fall race, is third in laps led (53) in the last five races at Talladega.
• Austin Dillon will be making his first start at Talladega in a Sprint Cup car - the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Trevor Bayne will also be back in the No. 21 Ford for the Wood Brothers.

Chase drivers in bold.

Note: Sprint Cup teams will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires that they ran at Daytona International Speedway in July.

Be sure to check back with MRN.com for practice speeds on Friday.

Talladega Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Joe Nemechek - 4
1. Trevor Bayne - 9.8
Pole - 13 times
2. Jeff Gordon - 3
2. Jimmie Johnson - 10.1
Top Five - 51 times 
Mark Martin - 3
3. Jeff Gordon - 11.4
Top 10 - 62 times
3. Juan Pablo Montoya - 2 4. Ryan Newman - 13.3
Top 15 - 74 times
4. Eight drivers with one 5. Mark Martin - 13.7
Worst - 36th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Camping World RV Sales 500.

*Best Average Finish at Talladega

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
David Ragan
2.5
Four Races
Brad Keselowski
6.8
Six Races
Clint Bowyer
8.5
Eight Races
Clint Bowyer
8.8
10 Races
Clint Bowyer
11.4

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

Gen-6 Car Restrictor-Plate Performers (3 Races, Daytona and Talladega)

Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
1. Jimmie Johnson - 2
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3
2. David Ragan - 1
2. Michael Waltrip - 2
2. Michael Waltrip - 2
3. Eight drivers with one
Ryan Newman - 2
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 2
Laps Led
Average Finish
Poles
1. Matt Kenseth - 229
1. Jimmie Johnson - 2.3 
1. Danica Patrick - 1
2. Jimmie Johnson - 127
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 9.0
2. Kyle Busch - 1
3. Denny Hamlin - 53
3. Michael Waltrip - 10.3
4. Jeff Gordon - 32
4. Clint Bowyer - 11.0
5. Kyle Busch - 29
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - 12.0

Chase Drivers at Talladega (by standings) 

Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Avg. Fin. *Driver Rating
Matt Kenseth 27 0 1 5 9 4 17.6 91.5
Jimmie Johnson 23 1 2 6 10 8 17.1 83.1
Kevin Harvick 25 1 1 6 10 2 16.4 77.0
Jeff Gordon 41 3 6 15 19 9 16.3 81.8
Kyle Busch 17 0 1 3 4 5 22.9 79.9
Greg Biffle 21 0 0 2 5 5 19.9 73.7
Kurt Busch 25 0 0 6 13 6 16.7 86.8
Clint Bowyer 15 0 2 4 7 3 16.3 78.9
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 27 0 5 9 13 5 15.1 89.9
Carl Edwards 18 0 0 2 5 5 20.8 67.3
Joey Logano 9 0 0 2 4 3 20.0 79.0
Ryan Newman 23 0 0 4 8 8 22.2 70.7
Kasey Kahne 19 1 0 3 4 3 21.5 71.2

*Based off last 17 races.

Talladega Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2013, 17 Races)

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Danica Patrick
1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
1. Matt Kenseth - 14.1
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2. Brad Keselowski
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 15.1
3. David Ragan
3. Joey Logano
3. Kurt Busch - 15.1
4. Joey Logano
4. Joe Nemechek
4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - 15.3
5. Trevor Bayne
5. Marcos Ambrose
5. Jeff Burton - 16.4
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 2110
1. Jeff Burton - 4380
1. Matt Kenseth - 91.5
2. Kurt Busch - 2005
2. Kurt Busch - 4117
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 89.9
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1919
3. Matt Kenseth - 3952
3. Jeff Burton - 89.3
4. Jeff Burton - 1833
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3732
4. Kurt Busch - 86.8
5. Jimmie Johnson - 1586
5. Kyle Busch - 3146
5. Brad Keselowski - 85.7

*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.


For a look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Talladega, view the Camping World RV Sales 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 - 8.4
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9.9
3. Kyle Busch
3. Brad Keselowski
3. Kyle Busch - 11.2
4. Kasey Kahne
4. Kasey Kahne
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 11.9
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Kyle Busch
5. Carl Edwards - 12.3
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 7795
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1477
1. Matt Kenseth - 110.7
2. Kevin Harvick - 7120
2. Kurt Busch - 1393
2. Jimmie Johnson - 107.9
3. Jimmie Johnson - 6880
3. Matt Kenseth - 1365
3. Kyle Busch - 102.5
4. Kyle Busch - 6876
4. Martin Truex Jr. - 1340
4. Kasey Kahne - 98.4
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 6699
5. Jimmie Johnson - 1317
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 96.1

*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.


MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kurt Busch
Pete Pistone: Danica Patrick
Dustin Long: Jamie McMurray
John Singler: Paul Menard

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

Matt Kenseth: Defending race winner (while with Roush Fenway Racing); Has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts; Led 142 laps en route to an eighth-place finish in the spring; Leads all drivers in laps led (229) in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.

Jimmie Johnson: Last of two wins came in the 2011 spring race; Finished fifth in the spring for 10th top 10 in 23 starts; Leads all drivers in average finish (2.3) and wins (2) in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 764) that he won the July Daytona race with and raced at Talladega in the spring.

Kevin Harvick: Winner of the 2009 spring race; 28.3 average finish and one lap led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 432) in the Camping World RV Sales 500.

Jeff Gordon: Last of six wins came in this event in 2007; Finished second in this race last year for 15th top five in 41 starts; 21.7 average finish and 32 laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.

Kyle Busch: Winner of the 2008 spring race; Posted a 2.5 average finish in both races in 2012; 27.7 average finish and 29 laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.

Greg Biffle: Posted a 5.5 average finish in both races in 2012; 19.7 average finish in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same chassis (No. 852) that he finished 36th with in the spring at Talladega after being involved in a 16-car accident.

Kurt Busch: Finished 30th in the spring in first track start with Furniture Row Racing after being involved in an accident; 21.3 average finish and two laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.

Clint Bowyer: 15.7 average finish in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Won this event in 2010 and 2011 with Richard Childress Racing; Fourth-best average finish (11.0) among all drivers that have raced in the three restrictor-plate events with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 752) that he finished fourth with in July at Daytona.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Last of five wins came in this event in 2004; Has posted four top 10s and led 167 laps in 11 starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Second-best average finish (9.0) among all drivers that have run in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 773) that he raced in all three plate races this season, posting two top 10s at Daytona.

Carl Edwards: Finished third in the spring for fifth top 10 in 18 starts; 21.7 average finish and five laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 797) in the Camping World RV Sales 500.

Joey Logano: Finished 35th (engine) in the spring in first track start with Penske Racing; His four top 10s came in previous eight starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; 31.3 average finish in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 653) that he finished 19th with in the Daytona 500.

Ryan Newman: Only top 10 (ninth) in last eight starts came in this event last year; A crash or an engine issue has taken him out of contention in four of those races; Seventh-best average finish (15.7) among all drivers that have driven in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.

Kasey Kahne: 19.3 average finish in three starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 768) that he posted a 36.7 average finish with in the three plate races this season.

Brad Keselowski: Leads all drivers that have raced in the last four events with a 6.8 average finish; Sixth-best average finish (12.0) among all drivers that have raced in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 648) that he finished 15th with in the spring at Talladega.

Jamie McMurray: Only top 10 (second) in seven starts in an Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet came in the 2010 spring race; Won this event in 2009 with Roush Racing; 20.7 average finish and 12 laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.

Martin Truex Jr.: 12.7 average finish in seven starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Coming off fifth top 10 in 17 overall starts; 24.0 average finish and five laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car.

Paul Menard: 19.0 average finish in five starts with Richard Childress Racing; 30.0 average finish and two laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 406) that he last finished 43rd with at Daytona after engine issues sidelined him just 23 laps in.

Aric Almirola: 15.3 average finish in four starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; 20.3 average finish and one lap led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 780) that he finished 10th with in the spring at Talladega.

Marcos Ambrose: 21.2 average finish in five starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; 19.3 average finish in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 836) that he finished 14th with at Talladega in the spring.

Jeff Burton: Has finished in the top 10 in three of his last four starts; 24.7 average finish and two laps led in the three restrictor-plate races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 410) in the Camping World RV Sales 500.

Photos

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Untitled Document Talladega Driver Stats (Ordered by Driver Ratings - Last 17 races)
Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Matt Kenseth 27 20.9 17.6 91.5
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 27 15.4 15.1 89.9
Jeff Burton 39 24.6 18.3 89.3
Kurt Busch 25 21.2 16.7 86.8
Brad Keselowski 9 18.0 12.6 85.7
David Ragan 13 19.8 14.8 85.0
Aric Almirola 7 20.9 19.6 83.9
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 21.0 13.0 83.9
Jimmie Johnson 23 10.1 17.1 83.1
Jeff Gordon 41 11.4 16.3 81.8
Denny Hamlin 15 18.2 19.0 81.6
Jamie McMurray 22 21.0 20.2 81.5
Kyle Busch 17 20.4 22.9 79.9
Joey Logano 9 22.0 20.0 79.0
Clint Bowyer 15 18.8 16.3 78.9
Juan Pablo Montoya 13 16.4 20.5 77.0
Kevin Harvick 25 22.0 16.4 77.0
Martin Truex Jr. 17 19.3 21.9 76.9
Casey Mears 20 22.1 21.7 74.6
Marcos Ambrose 9 20.3 23.9 74.1
Greg Biffle 21 16.3 19.9 73.7
Paul Menard 14 19.5 22.8 72.2
Kasey Kahne 19 22.8 21.5 71.2
Ryan Newman 23 13.3 22.2 70.7
Trevor Bayne 5 9.8 25.4 68.5
Michael Waltrip 54 19.7 19.7 67.6
Danica Patrick 1 23.0 33.0 67.4
Carl Edwards 18 14.1 20.8 67.3
David Reutimann 13 25.2 23.7 67.3
Sam Hornish Jr. 6 19.5 28.7 66.9
Travis Kvapil 11 23.0 19.6 64.5
David Gilliland 12 28.8 19.6 63.4
Bobby Labonte 41 21.8 18.9 61.6
Landon Cassill 5 32.8 26.6 58.0
J.J. Yeley 7 22.7 26.0 57.8
Dave Blaney 23 29.8 25.6 55.4
Tony Raines 9 30.7 23.2 51.3
Joe Nemechek 37 20.3 26.6 50.2
Terry Labonte 58 17.7 18.7 49.5
Michael McDowell 6 29.2 32.7 44.3
Josh Wise 3 25.0 34.7 35.5
Cole Whitt 1 42.0 40.0 31.0
Justin Allgaier 0 - - -
Austin Dillon 0 - - -
Coast to Coast
Talladega Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last 17 races at Talladega.

Rank Driver Green Flag Passes
1 Jeff Burton 6481
2 Kurt Busch 5819
3 Martin Truex Jr. 5612
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5551
5 Kevin Harvick 5404
6 Kasey Kahne 5188
7 Matt Kenseth 5142
8 Casey Mears 5031
9 Kyle Busch 4976
10 Tony Stewart 4863
11 Jamie McMurray 4813
12 Bobby Labonte 4503
13 Juan Pablo Montoya 4474
14 Greg Biffle 4444
15 Ryan Newman 4434
16 Paul Menard 4397
17 Denny Hamlin 4388
18 Jimmie Johnson 4385
19 David Ragan 4323
20 Michael Waltrip 4321
21 David Reutimann 4282
22 Clint Bowyer 4145
23 Jeff Gordon 4071
24 Elliott Sadler 4060
25 Regan Smith 3995
26 Brian Vickers 3657
27 Carl Edwards 3656
28 Brad Keselowski 3612
29 Marcos Ambrose 3578
30 David Gilliland 3441
31 Joe Nemechek 3309
32 David Stremme 3277
33 Joey Logano 3251
34 Dave Blaney 3184
35 Travis Kvapil 2825
36 Mark Martin 2466
37 Aric Almirola 2320
38 A J Allmendinger 2072
39 Scott Riggs 2010
40 J.J. Yeley 1949
41 Sam Hornish Jr. 1947
42 Reed Sorenson 1813
43 Trevor Bayne 1748
44 Scott Speed 1699
45 Johnny Sauter 1376
46 Tony Raines 1301
47 Terry Labonte 1241
48 Landon Cassill 1231
49 Mike Bliss 1012
50 Michael McDowell 950
51 Ken Schrader 884
52 Kenny Wallace 792
53 Boris Said 511
54 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 352
55 Max Papis 336
56 Danica Patrick 330
57 Josh Wise 174
58 Jacques Villeneuve 156
59 Cole Whitt 87
60 Timmy Hill 1
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