Driver Handicaps: Las Vegas

Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth is the defending race winner, taking the first victory at Las Vegas with the Gen-6 car in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing. (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 Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Las Vegas
• Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards are the only drivers with multiple wins in the seven races on the current track configuration, with two each.
• Matt Kenseth is the defending race winner, taking the first victory at the track with the Gen-6 car in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing.
• Kevin Harvick (11.7) and Greg Biffle (12.0) each rank in the top five among all drivers in average finish on the new track configuration.
• Tony Stewart, the 2012 winner, has posted an average finish of 5.3 in his last four starts.
• Series points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Las Vegas
• Brad Keselowski, a winner at Charlotte Motor Speedway last fall, finished third at Las Vegas last season for his first top-20 finish at the track.
• Kasey Kahne, who led 114 laps and finished second at Las Vegas last season, ranked third among all drivers in laps led on 1.5-mile tracks in 2013 with 413.
• Clint Bowyer, who was among the fastest in Thursday's test session, ended the 2013 season with consecutive top 10s on 1.5-mile tracks.
• Kyle Busch, a two-time winner on 1.5-mile tracks last season, finished fourth last year for his first top 10 at Las Vegas since winning in 2009.
• Joey Logano posted a 6.8 average finish in the nine races where he was running at the finish on 1.5-mile tracks in 2013.
• Jeff Gordon has led the most laps in the seven races on the current Las Vegas configuration, but has yet to finish in the top 10 in three starts with crew chief Alan Gustafson.
• Denny Hamlin was the last driver to win on a 1.5-mile track, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2013.
• Ryan Newman, who will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing, saw a streak of two consecutive top fives at Las Vegas come to an end last season because of an engine issue.  Kurt Busch, who posted a 13.0 average finish on 1.5-mile tracks last season, will make his first track start with Newman's old team, Stewart-Haas Racing.

Note: Sprint Cup teams will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires that they have competed with at Las Vegas since 2012.  Jimmie Johnson has posted the best average finish (4.0.) in that span while Tony Stewart has led the most laps (127).

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

Las Vegas Qualifying Facts - Note: First at the Track under new "Knockout" Format

*Active Pole Leaders
*Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Kasey Kahne - 3
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - 7.0
Pole - 1 time (Kyle Busch, 2009)
Kyle Busch - 2
Kyle Busch - 7.1
Top Five - 4 times 
Four drivers with one
Kurt Busch - 8.5
Top 10 - 7 times
Greg Biffle - 8.6
Top 15 - 8 times
  Kasey Kahne - 11.2
Worst - 25th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Kobalt 400.

*Best Average Finish at Las Vegas

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Jimmie Johnson
4.0
Four Races
Tony Stewart
5.2
Six Races
Carl Edwards
6.8
Eight Races
Carl Edwards
9.1
10 Races
Jimmie Johnson
9.7

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

2013 1.5-Mile Track Performers (11 Races)

Wins
Top Fives
Top 10s
Matt Kenseth - 4
Matt Kenseth - 7
Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson - 9
Kevin Harvick - 2
Joey Logano, Kyle Busch  - 6
Kyle Busch - 7
Kyle Busch - 2
Kasey Kahne - 5
Joey Logano - 7
Brad Keselowski - 1
Martin Truex Jr. - 4
Brad Keselowski - 7
Jimmie Johnson - 1
Jimmie Johnson - 4
Matt Kenseth - 7
Denny Hamlin - 1
Kyle Busch - 4
Martin Truex Jr. - 7
Laps Led
Average Finish
Poles
Jimmie Johnson - 688 
Matt Kenseth - 5.7
Matt Kenseth - 2
Matt Kenseth - 613
Kevin Harvick - 7.5
Eight drivers with one
Kasey Kahne - 413
Jimmie Johnson - 9.0
Kyle Busch - 373
Martin Truex Jr. - 10.0
Martin Truex Jr. - 188
Kasey Kahne - 10.1

Las Vegas Motor Speedway Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2013, 9 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Carl Edwards
1. Jimmie Johnson - 9.6
2. Kyle Busch
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2. Jeff Gordon - 10.0
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Kyle Busch - 10.3
4. Greg Biffle
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Greg Biffle - 10.7
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Carl Edwards - 11.6
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Kyle Busch - 1904
1. Kyle Busch - 358
1. Jimmie Johnson - 112.3
2. Jeff Gordon - 1870
2. Carl Edwards - 344
2. Jeff Gordon - 103.8
3. Jimmie Johnson - 1825
3. Jeff Gordon - 334
3. Tony Stewart - 103.4
4. Carl Edwards - 1768 
4. Jimmie Johnson - 311
4. Greg Biffle - 103.0
5. Greg Biffle - 1754
5. Tony Stewart - 298
5. Kyle Busch - 102.8

*Must be entered in the Ford EcoBoost 400.
*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 Las Vegas, view the Kobalt 400 Pre-Race Loop Data eBook (pdf)

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Ryan Newman
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 4.7
2. Joey Logano
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Brad Keselowski - 7.1
3. Kurt Busch
3. Brad Keselowski
3. Joey Logano - 7.6
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Jimmie Johnson - 9.6
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Jeff Gordon - 9.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 485
1. Jeff Gordon - 334
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 127.8
2. Jeff Gordon - 468
2. Brad Keselowski - 317
2. Kevin Harvick - 117.5
3. Brad Keselowski - 460
3. Denny Hamlin - 303
3. Brad Keselowski - 116.5
4. Joey Logano - 451
Joey Logano - 303
4. Joey Logano - 114.2
5. Jimmie Johnson - 442
5. Matt Kenseth - 278
5. Jimmie Johnson - 106.5

*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: Joey Logano
Pete Pistone: Matt Kenseth
Dustin Long: Kevin Harvick
John Singler: Matt Kenseth

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

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off third consecutive top 10; Led 70 laps and finished 10th in 2012; Has recorded five top 10s and has yet to finish worse than 16th in six starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Posted a 15.8 average finish and five top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 822) that he finished third with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Brad Keselowski: Coming off first top 10 (third) in five starts; Posted a 14.5 average finish, one win and seven top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 859) in the Kobalt 400.

Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers with 370 laps led in the seven races on the current track configuration; Posted a 17.3 average finish and three top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 830) that he finished 11th with at Homestead-Miami Speedway last fall.

Kevin Harvick: Fourth among all drivers in average finish (11.7) in the seven races on the current track configuration; Won two races and ranked second among all drivers in average finish (7.5) last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 843) in the Kobalt 400.

Jimmie Johnson: Two-time winner and third among all drivers in average finish (11.3) in the seven races on the current track configuration; Won one race and ranked third among all drivers in average finish (9.0) and first in laps led (688) last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 824) that he finished sixth with at Kansas Speedway last October.

Joey Logano: 14.0 average finish in five starts; Finished 12th last season in first track start with Team Penske; Ranked sixth among all drivers in average finish (12.5) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 844) in Sunday's race.

Matt Kenseth: Won this race last season in first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing; 15.1 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Led all drivers in wins (4) and average finish (5.7) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.

Denny Hamlin: Tied for sixth among all drivers in average finish (13.6) in the seven races on the current track configuration; 17.5 average finish in two track starts with crew chief Darian Grubb; Last to win on a 1.5-mile track, Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Leads all drivers with a 6.7 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Winner of the 2008 and 2011 races; Ranked 10th among all drivers in average finish (13.6) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 880) in the Kobalt 400.

Greg Biffle: Finished 17th in this event last season; Fifth among all drivers in average finish (12.0) in the seven races on the current track configuration; Is debuting a new car (chassis No. 879) this weekend.

Jamie McMurray: 18.0 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Finished eighth in 2012 and has posted a 10.5 average finish in last two starts: Recorded an average finish of 16.6 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.

Casey Mears: Recorded an average finish of 27.3 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Recorded an average finish of 18.6 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 882) in the Kobalt 400.

Kyle Busch: Posted one win and a 14.4 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Won two races and ranked ninth among all drivers in average finish (13.5) last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks.

Ryan Newman: Recorded an average finish of 15.1 and six top 10s last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 456) in Sunday's race.

Austin Dillon: Posted an average finish of 23.8 in five Cup starts last season on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 451) in the Kobalt 400.

Marcos Ambrose: Recorded an average finish of 16.8 last season in the 11 races with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car for Sunday's race.

Kasey Kahne: 13.7 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Ranked fifth among all drivers in average finish (10.1) and third in laps led (413) in the 11 races last year with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 829) in the Kobalt 400.

Reed Sorenson: Making first track start since 2009; 30.8 average finish in four starts.

Tony Stewart: Posted one win and a 13.9 average finish in the seven races on the current track configuration; Recorded an average finish of 16.0 last season in five starts with the Gen-6 car on 1.5-mile tracks; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 848) in the Kobalt 400.

Photos

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Untitled Document Las Vegas Driver Stats

Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Jimmie Johnson 12 13.4 9.5 112.3
Jeff Gordon 16 13.6 15.4 103.8
Tony Stewart 15 13.9 12.7 103.4
Greg Biffle 10 8.6 13.8 103.0
Kyle Busch 10 7.1 14.7 102.8
Carl Edwards 9 13.8 9.7 98.8
Matt Kenseth 14 17.2 11.6 98.7
Kevin Harvick 13 21.1 12.7 94.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 14 21.1 15.6 88.2
Kasey Kahne 10 11.2 14.0 87.7
Jeff Burton 16 19.2 11.9 87.6
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1 7.0 18.0 83.5
Joey Logano 5 12.2 14.0 83.1
Kurt Busch 13 8.5 21.8 82.7
Ryan Newman 13 12.3 18.1 80.5
Martin Truex Jr. 8 20.1 16.3 80.0
Denny Hamlin 8 20.1 13.1 79.2
Jamie McMurray 11 21.9 18.2 74.3
Marcos Ambrose 5 14.6 14.6 74.1
Clint Bowyer 8 17.8 17.1 72.9
Trevor Bayne 3 25.7 17.3 70.0
Paul Menard 7 26.0 19.3 69.3
Austin Dillon 1 27.0 21.0 66.9
Brad Keselowski 5 14.0 25.0 66.7
Brian Vickers 7 22.7 23.0 62.8
A J Allmendinger 4 20.0 28.5 59.0
Reed Sorenson 4 29.3 30.8 57.9
Casey Mears 10 25.9 20.2 57.6
J.J. Yeley 6 28.2 30.2 54.1
David Ragan 7 33.1 26.1 53.4
Dave Blaney 12 27.8 27.3 51.8
Travis Kvapil 7 28.1 29.7 51.6
Aric Almirola 5 30.0 32.6 49.4
David Gilliland 7 31.9 26.6 48.8
Joe Nemechek 15 20.9 29.2 47.8
Danica Patrick 1 37.0 33.0 40.5
Landon Cassill 3 35.7 40.3 34.6
Josh Wise 2 38.0 37.5 33.3
Michael McDowell 4 38.5 41.0 30.3
Timmy Hill 1 42.0 42.0 27.3
Justin Allgaier 0 - - -
Michael Annett 0 - - -
Alex Bowman 0 - - -
Parker Kligerman 0 - - -
Blake Koch 0 - - -
Kyle Larson 0 - - -
Ryan Truex 0 - - -
Cole Whitt 0 - - -

*Based off last nine races

Las Vegas Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last nine races at Las Vegas.

Driver Green Flag Passes
Jamie McMurray 602
Carl Edwards 571
Jeff Burton 562
Kasey Kahne 539
Denny Hamlin 536
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 532
Kevin Harvick 521
Tony Stewart 501
Kyle Busch 500
Jimmie Johnson 499
Clint Bowyer 492
Jeff Gordon 491
Greg Biffle 483
Bobby Labonte 475
Matt Kenseth 468
Martin Truex Jr. 466
Kurt Busch 455
Ryan Newman 449
Paul Menard 437
David Gilliland 394
Casey Mears 369
David Ragan 336
Dave Blaney 303
Brian Vickers 302
Joey Logano 289
Travis Kvapil 279
Marcos Ambrose 261
J.J. Yeley 255
Trevor Bayne 244
A J Allmendinger 219
Brad Keselowski 217
Michael Waltrip 180
Aric Almirola 157
Reed Sorenson 157
Joe Nemechek 117
Austin Dillon 70
Josh Wise 69
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 52
Danica Patrick 43
Landon Cassill 41
Michael McDowell 41
Terry Labonte 35
Timmy Hill 15
Eric McClure 6
Morgan Shepherd 5

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