Driver Handicaps: Texas

NASCAR

Kyle Busch won in the spring at Texas for his second consecutive top five and Matt Kenseth has posted one win and a 5.2 average finish in the last five races. (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 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Texas
Kyle Busch has posted a 2.0 average finish in his last two starts, including a win in the spring after leading 171 laps.
• Two-time winner Greg Biffle is the only driver to have finished in the top 10 in the last 10 races.
Matt Kenseth, who finished 12th in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing in the spring, has the second-best average finish (5.2) in the last five races.
• Three-time winner Carl Edwards has finished eighth or better in four of his last five starts.
Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top 10 in six of the last seven races, including a win in this event last season.
• Martin Truex Jr. led 142 laps in the spring en route to a second-place finish - his third top 10 in the last four races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in four of the last five races.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Texas
• Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing tested at Texas last week.
• Penske Racing drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano bounced back to each score top-10 finishes in the spring after NASCAR confiscated parts from the rear-end housing of each car prior to the race. Keselowski, who won the last race at a 1.5-mile track (Charlotte), will be driving the same car he led 31 laps with at Atlanta Motor Speedway before engine problems struck.
Kevin Harvick (7.1) and Kasey Kahne (10.3) each rank in the top five in average finish among all drivers that have competed in nine races with the Gen-6 car at 1.5-mile tracks.
• Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be racing the same car he started fifth and finished eighth with at Chicagoland Speedway.
Clint Bowyer has posted a 12.7 average finish at Texas in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing, including a sixth-place finish in this event last year.
Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch have posted respective average finishes of 5.3 and 6.7 in the three races at 1.5-mile tracks in the Chase.

Chase drivers in bold.

Note: Sprint Cup teams will be running the same combination of left- and right-side tires they ran in the spring at Texas. The left side (also run at Chicagoland, Darlington and Homestead-Miami) has been the same since 2011, but the right side is unique to Texas and was introduced this season.

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

Texas Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 2
1. Jimmie Johnson - 8.8
Pole - 3 times
Jeff Gordon - 2
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 11.5
Top Five - 16 times
Bobby Labonte - 2
3. Kasey Kahne - 11.9
Top 10 - 19 times
Ryan Newman - 2 4. Jeff Gordon - 12.4
Top 15 - 19 times
Martin Truex Jr. - 2 Greg Biffle - 12.4
Worst - 31st, one time

* - Must be entered in the AAA Texas 500.

*Best Average Finish at Texas

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kyle Busch
2.0
Four Races
Greg Biffle
5.0
Six Races
Matt Kenseth
4.7
Eight Races
Greg Biffle
5.9
10 Races
Greg Biffle
5.5

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

Gen-6 Car Performers at 1.5-mile Tracks (9 Races)

Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
Matt Kenseth - 4
Kyle Busch - 6
Jimmie Johnson - 7
Kevin Harvick - 2
Matt Kenseth - 5
Kevin Harvick - 7
Kyle Busch - 2
Joey Logano - 5
Kyle Busch - 6
Brad Keselowski - 1
Kasey Kahne - 4
Martin Truex Jr. - 6
Kurt Busch - 4
Laps Led
Average Finish
Poles
Matt Kenseth - 466
Matt Kenseth - 6.3
Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.,
Jimmie Johnson - 433
Kevin Harvick - 7.1
Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin,
Kasey Kahne - 413
Jimmie Johnson - 9.9
Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth,
Kyle Busch - 371
Martin Truex Jr. - 10.2
Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1
Martin Truex Jr. - 188
Kasey Kahne - 10.3

Chase Drivers at Texas (by standings)

Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Avg. Fin. *Driver Rating
Matt Kenseth 22 0 2 12 15 0 8.5 106.5
Jimmie Johnson 20 1 2 9 15 1 9.1 103.8
Jeff Gordon 25 2 1 8 11 6 17.0 92.3
Kevin Harvick 21 0 0 3 10 0 12.5 84.7
Kyle Busch 16 1 1 6 7 0 14.1 101.5
Clint Bowyer 15 0 0 3 8 1 12.9 92.0
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 22 2 1 3 12 2 14.3 92.6
Greg Biffle 19 1 2 8 12 4 15.3 102.7
Kurt Busch 21 0 1 3 12 1 15.2 89.0
Carl Edwards 17 0 3 6 8 3 14.4 98.1
Joey Logano 10 0 0 2 2 1 21.7 67.4
Ryan Newman 20 2 1 3 4 3 19.8 71.4
Kasey Kahne 18 1 1 4 5 3 18.7 83.8

*Based off last 17 races.

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

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Kyle Busch
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Matt Kenseth - 9.3
2. Greg Biffle
2. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson - 10.9
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Denny Hamlin
3. Kyle Busch - 11.2
4. Carl Edwards
4. Carl Edwards
4. Carl Edwards - 11.9
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 11.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 4497
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 707
1. Matt Kenseth - 106.5
2. Jimmie Johnson - 4329
2. Greg Biffle - 700
2. Jimmie Johnson - 103.8
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 4290
3. Carl Edwards - 679
3. Greg Biffle - 102.7
4. Carl Edwards - 4243 
4. Matt Kenseth - 669
4. Kyle Busch - 101.5
5. Greg Biffle - 4186
5. Jimmie Johnson - 660
5. Carl Edwards - 98.1

*Must be entered in the AAA Texas 500.
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during 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 Texas, view the AAA Texas 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 - 9.7
3. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Busch - 11.4
4. Kasey Kahne
4. Brad Keselowski
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 11.8
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Kevin Harvick
5. Carl Edwards - 12.6
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 8377
1. Martin Truex Jr. - 1872
1. Matt Kenseth - 111.0
2. Kevin Harvick - 7599
2. Kurt Busch - 1838
2. Jimmie Johnson - 108.8
3. Jimmie Johnson - 7535
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1818
3. Kyle Busch - 101.8
4. Kyle Busch - 735
4. Jimmie Johnson - 1798
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 97.0
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 7288
5. Matt Kenseth - 1718
5. Kasey Kahne - 95.7

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Early In a Run: *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: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Matt Kenseth
Dustin Long: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Greg Biffle

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

Matt Kenseth: Finished 12th in the spring in first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing; Finished in the top 10 in 11 of his previous 12 starts with Roush Fenway Racing; Last of two wins came in the 2011 spring race; Second-best average finish (5.2) in the last five races; Tested last week at Texas; Leads all drivers in average finish (6.3) and laps led (466) in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Jimmie Johnson: Defending race winner; Win was second in this event; Finished sixth in the spring for third consecutive top 10; Third-best average finish (6.2) in the last five races; Tested last week at Texas; Third-best average finish (9.9) and second in laps led (433) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 797) that he last led 130 laps with en route to a fourth-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway; This is also the same car he won with at Dover International Speedway after leading 243 laps.

Jeff Gordon: Winner of the 2009 spring race; Finished 38th this spring after posting an 8.0 average finish in his previous three starts; Tested last week at Texas.

Kevin Harvick: 10.0 average finish in last three starts; Tested last week at Texas; Second-best average finish (7.1) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 431) that he scored the win with at Kansas Speedway; He last finished sixth in this car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch: Led 171 laps in the spring en route to his first win in 16 starts; Win was second consecutive top five; Fifth-best average finish (7.8) in the last five races; Tested last week at Texas; 10th-best average finish (14.2) and fourth in laps led (371) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Clint Bowyer: 12.7 average finish in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Finished sixth in this event last year; Tested last week at Texas; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 777) that he last finished 11th with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Finished seventh in this event last year for fifth top 10 in 11 starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Finished 29th in the spring, snapping a streak of four consecutive top 10s; Tested last week at Texas; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 716) that he last finished 36th with at Michigan International Speedway in August.

Greg Biffle: Coming off 10th consecutive top 10 with a fourth-place finish; Last of two wins came in the 2012 spring race; Leads all drivers with a 4.8 average finish in the last five races; Tested last week at Texas; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 817) that he won with at Michigan International Speedway in June.

Kurt Busch: Finished eighth in this event last year in first track start with Furniture Row Racing; Won this race in 2009 with Penske Racing; Seventh-best average finish (11.7) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Carl Edwards: Three-time winner; Swept both races in 2008; Finished third in the spring for fourth top 10 in last five starts; Fourth-best average finish (6.4) in the last five races; Sixth-best average finish (11.2) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 831) that he tested at Texas earlier this month.

Joey Logano: Finished fifth in the spring in first track start with Penske Racing; Best finish - and only other top 10 - came in this event in 2010 with Joe Gibbs Racing, fourth place; Ninth-best average finish (14.0) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 853) that he finished 22nd with at Richmond International Raceway in September.

Ryan Newman: 14.6 average finish in nine starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Coming off fourth top 10 in 20 overall starts; Won the 2003 spring race with Penske Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 727) that he last finished eighth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kasey Kahne: 14.3 average finish in three starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Won the 2006 spring race with Evernham Motorsports; Tested last week at Texas; Fifth-best average finish (10.3) and third in laps led (413) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 809) that he last finished 12th with at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in seven starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Last of six top 10s (third) came in this event in 2008 with Roush Fenway Racing; Eighth-best average finish (13.6) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Brad Keselowski: Finished ninth in the spring for second consecutive top 10; Second-place finish in this event last year is best in 10 starts; Will return in the same car that he led 31 laps with at Atlanta Motor Speedway before engine issues relegated him to a 35th-place finish.

Martin Truex Jr.: Led 142 laps and finished second in the spring race; Finish was fourth top 10 in seven starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Tested last week at Texas; Fourth-best average finish (10.2) and fifth in laps led (188) among all drivers in the nine races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Paul Menard: Fifth-place finish is only top 10 in five starts with Richard Childress Racing; 21.0 average finish in 14 overall starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 427) that he tested last week at Texas.

Aric Almirola: Coming off first top 10 (seventh) in five starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 843) that he raced at Texas in the spring.

Jeff Burton: Last of two wins came in the 2007 spring race; Last of nine top 10s (ninth) in 25 overall starts came in this event in 2009; Tested last week at Texas; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 372) that he last finished 34th with at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Finished 40th in the spring in first start; Tested last week at Texas; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 860) that he finished eighth with at Chicagoland Speedway.

Photos

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Untitled Document Texas Driver Stats
Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish Driver Rating
Matt Kenseth 22 16.0 8.5 106.5
Jimmie Johnson 20 8.8 9.1 103.8
Greg Biffle 19 12.4 15.3 102.7
Kyle Busch 16 14.4 14.1 101.5
Carl Edwards 17 14.1 14.4 98.1
Denny Hamlin 15 17.0 10.9 93.3
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 22 11.5 14.3 92.6
Jeff Gordon 25 12.4 17.0 92.3
Clint Bowyer 15 13.6 12.9 92.0
Martin Truex Jr. 16 16.4 15.1 89.0
Kurt Busch 21 15.7 15.2 89.0
Mark Martin 25 15.4 13.9 87.8
Kevin Harvick 21 21.2 12.5 84.7
Kasey Kahne 18 11.9 18.7 83.8
Marcos Ambrose 10 16.3 19.4 82.8
Jeff Burton 25 24.8 17.2 80.0
Jamie McMurray 19 24.1 17.7 76.6
David Reutimann 11 19.0 24.9 75.1
Juan Montoya 13 15.8 23.2 73.1
Ryan Newman 20 17.2 19.8 71.4
David Ragan 13 15.2 21.9 71.2
Brad Keselowski 10 25.2 21.3 71.0
Paul Menard 14 20.1 21.0 68.5
Casey Mears 18 24.9 19.4 67.8
Joey Logano 10 17.6 21.7 67.4
Trevor Bayne 6 17.8 19.8 67.1
Aric Almirola 5 18.8 19.6 66.8
Elliott Sadler 18 18.6 23.1 60.2
David Gilliland 14 30.5 29.4 52.7
Bobby Labonte 25 19.6 24.9 52.4
Danica Patrick 2 37.0 26.0 52.2
R. Stenhouse Jr. 1 17.0 40.0 45.7
Travis Kvapil 12 37.1 28.2 45.7
Austin Dillon 1 12.0 33.0 45.3
J.J. Yeley 10 27.9 35.5 44.6
Landon Cassill 6 34.0 30.7 44.3
Dave Blaney 21 32.6 28.1 44.0
Joe Nemechek 22 25.1 31.7 39.3
Josh Wise 4 35.5 36.5 34.9
Michael McDowell 8 31.8 38.8 33.7
Timmy Hill 1 43.0 36.0 28.8
Kyle Larson 0 - - -
Cole Whitt 0 - - -
Coast to Coast
Texas Green Flag Passes

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

Driver Green Flag Passes
Kevin Harvick 1360
Jamie McMurray 1358
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1264
Kurt Busch 1258
Matt Kenseth 1246
Ryan Newman 1243
Jeff Burton 1222
Kasey Kahne 1220
Mark Martin 1200
Denny Hamlin 1197
Casey Mears 1127
Carl Edwards 1105
Greg Biffle 1103
Jeff Gordon 1095
Martin Truex Jr. 1071
Tony Stewart 1045
Juan Pablo Montoya 1037
Paul Menard 1029
Clint Bowyer 1020
David Ragan 1009
Jimmie Johnson 974
Kyle Busch 955
Brian Vickers 895
Bobby Labonte 872
A J Allmendinger 863
Marcos Ambrose 858
David Gilliland 857
Brad Keselowski 827
David Reutimann 817
Joey Logano 782
Trevor Bayne 739
Regan Smith 698
Dave Blaney 671
Elliott Sadler 640
Travis Kvapil 622
Sam Hornish Jr. 504
Reed Sorenson 464
Aric Almirola 453
Michael Waltrip 453
Scott Speed 405
Scott Riggs 400
Landon Cassill 374
Joe Nemechek 360
David Stremme 337
J.J. Yeley 299
Ken Schrader 296
Tony Raines 267
Mike Bliss 262
Michael McDowell 170
Danica Patrick 141
Terry Labonte 136
Johnny Sauter 98
Josh Wise 66
Max Papis 49
Austin Dillon 15
Timmy Hill 15
Boris Said 12
Kenny Wallace 12
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 11

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