Driver Handicaps: Phoenix

NASCAR

Carl Edwards won the March race at Phoenix - first at the track with the Gen-6 car - ahead of Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. (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 AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Who's HOT at Phoenix
• March winner Carl Edwards has posted the second-best average finish (7.8) in the four races on the new track configuration.
• Denny Hamlin has finished in the top three in his last three starts, including a win in the 2012 spring race.
Jimmie Johnson, who has four wins on the old track configuration, finished second in the spring.
Kevin Harvick is the defending race winner, which was his second top-two finish in the last three races.
• Brad Keselowski has finished sixth or better in the last three races.
Kyle Busch leads all drivers in laps led (289) over the last four races, including 237 led en route to a third-place finish in this event last year.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Phoenix
Matt Kenseth finished seventh in his first Phoenix start with Joe Gibbs Racing in March.
Greg Biffle (10.0), Juan Pablo Montoya (12.5) and Mark Martin (14.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among drivers that have driven in all four races on Phoenix's new track configuration. 
Kasey Kahne has finished in the top five in the last two Phoenix fall races - fourth last season with Hendrick Motorsports and a win in 2011 with Red Bull Racing.
Ryan Newman has finished in the top five in the the last three Phoenix fall races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 47 laps in March at Phoenix for his first top 10 in the last four races.
Jeff Gordon, winner of the last race on the old Phoenix configuration, has finished in the top 10 in two of the last three races there.
Clint Bowyer finished sixth in March for his first top 10 in three Phoenix starts with Michael Waltrip Racing.
Kurt Busch finished eighth in this event last year in his first Phoenix start with Furniture Row Racing.
• Paul Menard's only two Phoenix top 10s have come in the last two fall races.
• Danica Patrick (Finished 39th in March), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Finished 16th in March), Jeff Burton (finished 10th in March) and Montoya (finished 12th in March) participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Phoenix in September.

Chase drivers in bold.

Note: Sprint Cup teams will run the same right-side tire code they ran in March, but will have a new left-side tire coming out of a Goodyear test in September. Teams that particpated in that test were the No. 10 for Stewart-Haas Racing, the No. 17 for Roush Fenway Racing, the No. 31 for Richard Childress Racing, the No. 42 for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and the No. 55 for Michael Waltrip Racing.

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

Phoenix Qualifying Facts

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Ryan Newman - 4
1. Jeff Gordon - 10.9
Pole - 4 times
Jeff Gordon - 3
2. Martin Truex Jr. - 11.5
Top Five - 10 times
Carl Edwards - 3
3. Kasey Kahne - 11.6
Top 10 - 16 times
Mark Martin - 3 4. Mark Martin - 11.6
Top 15 - 27 times
Kyle Busch - 2 5. Carl Edwards - 11.9
Worst - 29th, one time

* - Must be entered in the AdvoCare 500.

*Best Average Finish at Phoenix

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Denny Hamlin
2.5
Four Races
Denny Hamlin
4.5
Six Races
Denny Hamlin
6.8
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson
8.0
10 Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.9

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

Phoenix 'New' Track Performers (4 Races on PIR's new configuration)

Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
Carl Edwards - 1
Denny Hamlin - 3
Denny Hamlin - 3
Denny Hamlin - 1
Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards
Brad Keselowski - 3
Kasey Kahne - 1
Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson
12 Drivers with two
Kevin Harvick - 1
Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski - 2
Laps Led
Average Finish
Poles
Kyle Busch - 289
Denny Hamlin - 4.5
Mark Martin - 2
Carl Edwards - 149
Carl Edwards - 7.8
Matt Kenseth - 1
Denny Hamlin - 107
Brad Keselowski - 8.2
Kyle Busch - 1 
Kevin Harvick - 103
Kevin Harvick - 8.8
Mark Martin - 78
Greg Biffle - 10.0

Chase Drivers at Phoenix (by standings)

Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Avg. Finish *Driver Rating
Jimmie Johnson 20 1 4 13 16 0 6.5 116.4
Matt Kenseth 22 1 1 5 9 3 17.2 87.0
Kevin Harvick 21 0 3 6 10 0 12.9 99.0
Kyle Busch 17 2 1 3 10 1 13.9 97.5
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 22 0 2 5 9 3 17.6 82.6
Jeff Gordon 29 3 2 10 20 3 11.4 98.8
Clint Bowyer 16 0 0 2 6 2 16.9 81.3
Greg Biffle 19 0 0 5 7 1 13.9 92.0
Joey Logano 9 0 0 1 3 2 18.0 76.6
Kurt Busch 21 0 1 4 11 0 13.9 97.7
Carl Edwards 18 3 2 7 11 1 11.8 100.6
Ryan Newman 22 4 1 8 8 4 19.0 86.8
Kasey Kahne 18 0 1 3 6 1 19.1 77.5

*Based off last 17 races.

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

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson - 6.9
2. Kurt Busch
2. Denny Hamlin
2. Jeff Gordon - 10.7
3. Kevin Harvick
3. Mark Martin
3. Kurt Busch - 10.7
4. Carl Edwards
4. Carl Edwards
4. Kevin Harvick - 11.0
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Matt Kenseth
5. Denny Hamlin - 11.1
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 4749
1. Kyle Busch - 466
1. Jimmie Johnson - 116.4
2. Jeff Gordon - 4292
Jimmie Johnson - 466
2. Carl Edwards - 100.6
3. Kyle Busch - 4224
2. Jeff Burton - 453
3. Denny Hamlin - 100.3
4. Kevin Harvick - 4035 
3. Ryan Newman - 450
4. Kevin Harvick - 99.0
5. Denny Hamlin - 3799
4. Matt Kenseth - 382
5. Jeff Gordon - 98.8

*Must be entered in the AdvoCare 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 Phoenix, 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 - 8.3
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9.5
3. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Busch - 11.3
4. Kasey Kahne
4. Brad Keselowski
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 11.6
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Kevin Harvick
5. Clint Bowyer - 12.7
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Matt Kenseth - 8707
1. Martin Truex Jr. - 1926
1. Matt Kenseth - 111.2
2. Kevin Harvick - 7925
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1847
2. Jimmie Johnson - 110.0
3. Jimmie Johnson - 7866
3. Kurt Busch - 1844
3. Kyle Busch - 101.8
4. Kyle Busch - 7730
4. Jimmie Johnson - 1819
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 97.5
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 7622
5. Matt Kenseth - 1758
5. Kasey Kahne - 96.0

*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: Kevin Harvick
Dustin Long: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Clint Bowyer

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

Jimmie Johnson: 13.0 average finish and 56 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Finished second in March for second top five in the last four races and 13th in 20 overall starts; Last of four wins came in this event in 2009 on old track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 832) that he finished sixth and fourth, respectively, with this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth: Finished seventh in first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing in March; Finish was first top 10 in the last five races and ninth in 22 overall starts; 17.0 average finish and 50 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration.

Kevin Harvick: Defending race winner; Fourth-best average finish (8.8), 103 laps led and one win in the four races run on the current track configuration; Swept both races in 2006 on old track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 430) that he last finished third with at Chicagoland Speedway.

Kyle Busch: Finished 23rd in March; Led 237 laps in this event last year en route to a third-place finish; 17.0 average finish and 289 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; A 36th-place finish in this event in 2011 due to engine issues hampered his four-race average finish; Won this race in 2005 with Hendrick Motorsports.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 16.0 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Finished fifth and led 47 laps in March for first top 10 in that four-race span; Won this event in 2003 and 2004 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on the old track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 818) that he last finished sixth with at New Hampshire in September.

Jeff Gordon: Winner of the 2011 spring race - the last on the old track configuration; 19.8 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Has not finished inside the top 30 in the past two fall races.

Clint Bowyer: Finished sixth in March to give him a 21.3 average finish in three track starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; 18.5 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 761) that he last finished 17th with at New Hampshire in September.

Greg Biffle: Fifth-best average finish and 39 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Finished seventh in this event last year for second consecutive top 10; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 867) that he finished third with at New Hampshire in September.

Joey Logano: Finished 26th in March in first track start with Penske Racing; 18.5 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 863) that he won the pole but finished 37th with (engine) at Chicagoland Speedway to open the Chase.

Kurt Busch: Finished eighth in this event last year in first track start with Furniture Row Racing; 18.0 average finish and 59 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration.

Carl Edwards: Led 122 laps en route to his win in March; Second-best average finish (7.8) and 149 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Also won this event in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 866) that he finished ninth with at New Hampshire in September.

Ryan Newman: Crashed and finished 40th in March; Has finished in the top five in five of the last seven races, including a win in the 2010 spring race; 17.8 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Has finished fifth in this race the last two seasons; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 826) in Sunday's AdvoCare 500.

Kasey Kahne: Fourth-place finish in this event last year is best - and only top 15 - in three track starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Won this event on 2011 with Red Bull Racing; 14.5 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 815) that he last finished 37th with at New Hampshire in September after leading 31 laps.

Brad Keselowski: Third-best average finish (8.2) in the four races run on the current track configuration; Fourth-place finish in March was third consecutive finish of sixth or better; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 864) that he finished seventh with at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: 24.8 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; 17th-place finish in this event in 2011 is best in that span; last of two top 10s (10th) in 20 overall starts came in this event in 2010.

Martin Truex Jr.: 26.5 average finish and 29 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Only top 10 (seventh) in that span came in the 2012 spring race; 21.7 average finish in seven track starts with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Paul Menard: Has finished ninth in the last two fall races; 17.2 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 434) that he finished 22nd with at New Hampshire in September.

Aric Almirola: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in five starts; 14.3 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 837) that he's raced five times this season, scoring a best finish of eighth at Richmond International Raceway in April.

Jeff Burton: 15.0 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Coming off second top 10 (10th) in that span and 14th in 28 overall starts; Participated in the Goodyear Tire test in September; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 429) that he finished 14th with at Dover International Speedway in September.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Started 12th and finished 16th in first Cup track start in March; Participated in the Goodyear Tire test in September; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 868) that he finished 24th with at New Hampshire in September.

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Untitled Document Phoenix Driver Stats

Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Jimmie Johnson 20 12.5 6.5 116.4
Carl Edwards 18 11.9 11.8 100.6
Denny Hamlin 16 12.5 9.8 100.3
Kevin Harvick 21 18.5 12.9 99.0
Jeff Gordon 29 10.9 11.4 98.8
Kurt Busch 21 13.6 13.9 97.7
Kyle Busch 17 13.1 13.9 97.5
Mark Martin 33 11.6 9.4 97.5
Greg Biffle 19 14.4 13.9 92.0
Matt Kenseth 22 20.1 17.2 87.0
Ryan Newman 22 12.4 19.0 86.8
Jeff Burton 28 23.7 12.7 85.0
Brad Keselowski 8 19.0 17.9 83.3
Martin Truex Jr. 15 11.5 18.4 83.2
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 22 17.8 17.6 82.6
Clint Bowyer 16 18.9 16.9 81.3
Juan Montoya 13 21.0 15.8 80.1
Kasey Kahne 18 11.6 19.1 77.5
Marcos Ambrose 10 17.0 16.8 77.5
Joey Logano 9 17.9 18.0 76.6
Jamie McMurray 20 16.5 21.9 73.3
Aric Almirola 5 15.6 19.2 72.7
R. Stenhouse Jr. 1 12.0 16.0 72.0
Bobby Labonte 29 23.0 18.4 67.7
David Reutimann 12 21.3 23.0 66.3
Paul Menard 13 18.5 22.3 63.8
Casey Mears 18 23.1 26.1 61.4
Reed Sorenson 8 27.8 26.8 58.6
Cole Whitt 1 19.0 25.0 58.1
David Ragan 13 25.0 28.0 53.6
Elliott Sadler 18 24.4 26.9 53.5
J.J. Yeley 10 28.7 27.2 52.6
Danica Patrick 2 38.5 28.0 51.1
David Gilliland 14 33.0 29.7 47.4
Travis Kvapil 13 35.7 28.0 47.1
Dave Blaney 21 25.1 28.6 47.1
Tony Raines 10 36.2 29.8 44.6
Joe Nemechek 26 24.7 28.9 43.0
Landon Cassill 6 30.7 33.2 41.5
Timmy Hill 1 41.0 29.0 37.9
Michael McDowell 7 30.4 40.0 34.6
Josh Wise 3 35.7 36.7 33.3
Justin Allgaier 0 - - -

* Based off Last 17 Races
Coast to Coast
Phoenix Green Flag Passes

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

Rank Driver Green Flag Passes
1 Jeff Burton 898
2 Bobby Labonte 823
3 Jamie McMurray 738
4 Casey Mears 727
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 723
6 Kyle Busch 717
6 Matt Kenseth 717
8 Tony Stewart 716
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 713
10 Greg Biffle 711
11 Ryan Newman 706
12 Kevin Harvick 678
13 Jimmie Johnson 665
14 Clint Bowyer 663
15 Jeff Gordon 645
16 Denny Hamlin 626
16 Mark Martin 626
18 Kurt Busch 604
19 Kasey Kahne 587
20 Carl Edwards 584
20 Paul Menard 584
22 Marcos Ambrose 561
23 Martin Truex Jr. 551
24 David Ragan 527
25 Dave Blaney 516
26 David Gilliland 490
27 Travis Kvapil 478
28 A J Allmendinger 465
29 Elliott Sadler 458
30 David Reutimann 433
31 Joey Logano 411
32 Sam Hornish Jr. 409
33 Brad Keselowski 384
34 Brian Vickers 378
35 J.J. Yeley 364
36 Michael Waltrip 330
37 Reed Sorenson 325
38 Regan Smith 318
39 David Stremme 305
40 Joe Nemechek 302
41 Scott Riggs 300
42 Johnny Sauter 284
43 Aric Almirola 265
44 Ken Schrader 260
45 Scott Speed 214
46 Mike Bliss 183
47 Tony Raines 180
48 Landon Cassill 108
49 Michael McDowell 96
50 Kenny Wallace 93
51 Danica Patrick 73
52 Cole Whitt 49
53 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 42
54 Brendan Gaughan 23
54 Josh Wise 23
56 Max Papis 19
57 Trevor Bayne 16
58 Jacques Villeneuve 10
59 Timmy Hill 8
60 Terry Labonte 3

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