Driver Handicaps: Richmond

NASCAR

L to R - Kyle Busch has won four of the last five spring races at Richmond; Marcos Ambrose leads all drivers with a 5.0 average finish on short tracks this season; Carl Edwards is the latest winner at Richmond. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Who's HOT at Richmond
• Kyle Busch leads all drivers in wins (4 - all in the spring race) and average finish (7.2).
• Carl Edwards finished in the top 10 in both races last season, including a win in the September race.
• Clint Bowyer, winner of this event in 2012, has combined to lead 273 laps in his last three starts.
• Kevin Harvick has recorded two wins in his last five starts.
• Jeff Gordon has finished eighth or better in six of the last 10 races.
• Denny Hamlin, a two-time winner, ranks second in average finish (9.0) in the last 10 races - missed this event last year due to injury.
• Tony Stewart has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Richmond
• Kurt Busch (led 109 laps) and Matt Kenseth (led 145 laps) each finished in the top 10 in both races at Richmond last season.
• Three-time Richmond winner Jimmie Johnson is looking to turn around a three-race streak of finishes outside the top 10 at the track by driving the same car he finished sixth with at Phoenix International Raceway in March.
• Richard Petty Motorsports teammates Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola lead all drivers with respective average finishes of 5.0 and 5.5 in the two short-track races this season.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr's only top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts at Richmond have come in the last two spring races.
• Ryan Newman has posted a 9.8 average finish in the last five Richmond races.
• Kyle Larson, who will make his first Cup start at Richmond, has finished in the top 10 in four of the last five races of the season.
• Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Joey Logano and Greg Biffle each rank in the top 10 among all drivers in points scored on short tracks with the Gen-6 car.
• Along with his teammate Logano, Brad Keselowski - who led 142 laps last September at Richmond - will be driving a new Team Penske chassis in the Toyota Owners 400.

Tire Notes: Teams will run a new left- and right-side tire codes this weekend based off a test last October. The left will have a compound change to give the cars more grip while the right-side tires will use the multi-zone technology.

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

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

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Jeff Gordon - 6
Jeff Gordon - 7.6
Pole - 22 times
Denny Hamlin - 2
Denny Hamlin - 9.3
Top Five - 65 times 
Jimmie Johnson - 2
Brad Keselowski - 11.2
Top 10 - 90 times
Brian Vickers - 2 Ryan Newman - 12.0
Top 15 - 98 times
Nine drivers with 1 Kyle Busch - 12.4
Worst - 31st, one time

* - Must be entered in the Toyota Owners 400.

2014 Top "Knockout" Qualifying Performers (7 Races)
Driver Avg. Start Poles Final Rounds
Brad Keselowski 4.0 1 6
Joey Logano 4.1 1 7
Denny Hamlin 9.7 1 5
Jimmie Johnson 9.9 0 5
Jeff Gordon 10.0 0 5
Ryan Newman 11.6 0 4
Kevin Harvick 11.7 1 3
Jamie McMurray 11.7 0 4
Kyle Busch 12.3 1 4
Carl Edwards 12.7 1 5
Matt Kenseth 15.6 1 3
Tony Stewart 17.4 1 3

*Best Average Finish at Richmond

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Carl Edwards
3.5
Four Races
Matt Kenseth
7.2
Six Races
Carl Edwards
6.8
Eight Races
Carl Edwards
7.0
10 Races
Kyle Busch
7.6

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

Richmond Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2013, 18 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin - 6.6
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
2. Kyle Busch - 7.8
3. Kyle Busch
3. Tony Stewart
3. Kevin Harvick - 7.9
4. Clint Bowyer
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Clint Bowyer - 9.5
5. Kurt Busch
5. Clint Bowyer
5. Ryan Newman - 11.7
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Kevin Harvick - 6617
1. Kevin Harvick - 613
1. Denny Hamlin - 114.8
2. Kyle Busch - 6271
2. Ryan Newman - 550
2. Kyle Busch - 111.9
3. Ryan Newman - 5419
3. Kyle Busch - 533
3. Kevin Harvick - 110.0
4. Denny Hamalin - 5361
4. Clint Bowyer - 485
4. Clint Bowyer - 100.7
5. Clint Bowyer - 5140
5. Tony Stewart - 462
5. Tony Stewart - 96.5

*Must be entered in the Toyota Owners 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 Richmond, view the Toyota Owners 400 Pre-Race Loop Data Book (pdf)

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Brad Keselowski
1. Kevin Harvick
1. Jeff Gordon - 8.8
2. Joey Logano
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Denny Hamlin - 9.9
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Matt Kenseth - 10.0
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Kyle Busch - 10.6
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Brad Keselowski - 10.6
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Denny Hamlin - 2222
1. Jeff Gordon - 618
1. Jimmie Johnson - 106.0
2. Matt Kenseth - 2201
2. Brad Keselowski - 575
2. Joey Logano - 105.2
3. Jeff Gordon - 2142
3. Denny Hamlin - 533
3. Jeff Gordon - 105.0
4. Brad Keselowski - 2138
4. Matt Kenseth - 508
4. Brad Keselowski - 104.5
5. Joey Logano - 2019
5. Joey Logano - 492
5. Kyle Busch - 103.8

*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: Tony Stewart
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Dustin Long: Joey Logano
John Singler: Carl Edwards

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers with 16 top fives and 1,464 laps led at Richmond. Coming off his 26th top 10 after leading 49 laps from the pole last season at RIR. Gordon has both a 9.5 average finish in the last two races at Richmond and the first two short-track races of the 2014 season. This weekend, Gordon will return in the same car (chassis No. 816) that he raced last September at RIR and most recently at Phoenix International Raceway, where he finished fifth.

Matt Kenseth: The defending event pole winner has finished seventh or better in his last three Richmond starts, the last two coming with Joe Gibbs Racing. He was second among all drivers in laps led last season at Richmond with 145. So far in 2014, Kenseth has been the best driver on short tracks, posting a 9.5 average finish in the two races. Kenseth won the 2002 September race at Richmond for one of his 12 top 10s in 28 overall starts.

Carl Edwards: Coming off his first Richmond win after leading 46 laps from the 26th starting position last fall. The win marked his second consecutive top 10 - best track average finish (3.5) in 2013 - and 10th in 19 starts. Edwards, who has a 7.0 average finish in the two short-track races this year, will return in the same car he scored the win with at Bristol Motor Speedway last month.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: His only top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts at Richmond with Hendrick Motorsports have come in the last two spring races - finishing second and 10th, respectively. The only time Earnhardt has led laps (67) in that 10-race span came in the 2012 September race, when he started from the pole. Earnhardt won three races at Richmond with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. ... the last one coming in this event in 2006. Hendrick Motorsports has prepared the same car (chassis No. 857) for this weekend that he finished second with at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

Jimmie Johnson: Equaled his worst finish at Richmond last September to raise his average finish to 17.3 in 24 starts. Johnson's last of eight top 10s (sixth) came in this event in 2012 and his last of three wins came in the 2008 September race. Johnson, who has a 10.5 average finish in the two short-track races in 2014, will return in the same car (chassis No. 832) that he last finished sixth with at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

Kyle Busch: His streak of four consecutive wins in the spring Richmond race came to an end last season with a 24th-place finish. Busch did lead 40 laps in that event to push his laps led total to 586 in the past five spring races. His average finish in the two races at RIR in 2013 was 21.5.

Brad Keselowski: Led for the first time in nine Richmond starts last September, showing the way for 142 laps en route to a 17th-place finish. Keselowski, who posted his only top 10s at RIR in both races in 2012, will debut a new car (chassis No. 906) with the Detroit Genuine Parts colors in the Toyota Owners 400.

Joey Logano: Recorded his best finish in 10 starts at Richmond last year in this event in his first track start with Team Penske. He's yet to lead a lap at RIR, but has led laps in the two short-track races this season - where he's posted a 12.0 average finish. This weekend, Logano will debut a new car (chassis No. 905).

Ryan Newman: Coming off his 14th top 10 in 24 starts at Richmond, a third-place finish. He's yet to finish worse than 15th in his last five starts, but his last top 10 in the spring race came in 2010 (eighth place). This weekend, Newman will make his first Richmond start with Richard Childress Racing in the same car (chassis No. 435) that he finished 20th with at Martinsville Speedway, where he had a mechanical issue.

Austin Dillon: Will make his Richmond Cup debut in the same car (chassis No. 433) that Kevin Harvick finished 20th with at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last September.

Greg Biffle: His ninth-place finish in the 2012 September race at Richmond is his only top 10 in his last 14 starts there. This weekend, Biffle will return with the same chassis (No. 885) that was involved in a practice accident at Bristol Motor Speedway last month.

Tony Stewart: Has finished ninth or better in four of his last five starts at Richmond. He led 118 laps en route to a third-place finish in this event in 2012. Stewart, who has posted a 10.5 average finish in the two short-track races in 2014, will return in the same car (chassis No. 792) that he was running in the top five with last year in the spring Richmond race until a green-white-checkered finish left him 18th.

Brian Vickers: Finished 24th in his first Richmond start with Michael Waltrip Racing last September. He subbed for Denny Hamlin at Joe Gibbs Racing in last year's spring race, finishing 35th. Vickers' last of three top 10s in 16 overall starts at RIR came in the 2011 spring race, 10th with Red Bull Racing. This season, Vickers has posted a 12.5 average finish in the two short-track races.

Kyle Larson: Will be making his first Richmond Cup start in the Toyota Owners 400. He ran in two Nationwide races last season at RIR, finishing eighth and 14th. This season in the two short-track Cup races, Larson has posted an 18.5 average finish with his best coming at Bristol Motor Speedway, 10th place.

Denny Hamlin: Coming off his worst finish in his last 10 Richmond starts, 21st. He finished fourth in his last start in the spring race, in 2012, to mark his fourth consecutive top-10 finish dating back to his second win at RIR in the 2010 September race. Hamlin won the pole and finished sixth in the first short-track race of the season at Bristol and has a 12.5 average finish in the two races so far.

Clint Bowyer: Led 72 laps and finished 25th last September after a late spin that manipulated the race. The finish snapped his streak of three consecutive finishes of seventh or better. Following a win in the 2012 September race, Bowyer finished second in this event last year and led the most laps of any driver at RIR in 2013 with 185. Bowyer, who has recorded an average finish of 12.0 in the two short-track races this season, will return in the same car (chassis No. 798) that he last finished 16th with at Auto Club Speedway.

Marcos Ambrose: Leads all drivers with a 5.0 average finish on short tracks in 2014 and will look to use that to his advantage to turn around his Richmond record, where he's yet to finish in the top 10 in his last six starts. Ambrose's sponsor, Stanley, will donate $1 million to the Children's Miracle Network through the Ace Hardware Foundation if he can win this weekend.

Paul Menard: Coming off his first top 10 in 14 starts at Richmond with a fifth-place finish. Menard, who finished 13th in this event last season, will return in the same car (chassis No. 448) that he finished 23rd with earlier this season at Phoenix International Raceway.

AJ Allmendinger: Finished 15th last September in his first Richmond start with JTG/Daugherty Racing. His last of two top 10s in 13 overall starts came in the 2011 spring race, seventh place.

Jamie McMurray: Coming off his first top five in 22 starts at Richmond, fourth place. It marked his first top 10 in a Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and first since 2009, when he drove for Roush Fenway Racing.

Photos

  • 1994 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1995 Brickyard Winner: Dale Earnhardt
  • 1996 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
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  • 1998 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1999 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
  • 2001 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 Brickyard Winner: Bill Elliott
  • 2003 Brickyard Winner: Kevin Harvick
  • 2004 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2005 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2006 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2007 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2008 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2009 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2010 Brickyard Winner: Jamie McMurray
  • 2011 Brickyard Winner: Paul Menard
  • 2012 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2013 Brickyard Winner: Ryan Newman
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Untitled Document Richmond Driver Stats

Driver Races Avg Start Avg Fin. Avg Pos *Driver Rating
Denny Hamlin 15 9.3 8.9 6.6 114.8
Kyle Busch 18 12.4 7.2 7.8 111.9
Kevin Harvick 26 16.5 11.3 7.9 110.0
Clint Bowyer 16 12.9 10.1 9.5 100.7
Tony Stewart 29 17.8 10.6 12.1 96.5
Jeff Gordon 42 7.6 14.1 13.8 96.0
Kurt Busch 26 19.3 17.3 14.4 92.2
Ryan Newman 24 12.0 11.4 11.7 91.6
Carl Edwards 19 13.3 13.7 14.9 90.1
Jimmie Johnson 24 12.5 17.3 16.2 88.5
Kasey Kahne 20 13.0 18.0 16.4 86.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 29 15.9 13.8 15.2 85.4
Matt Kenseth 28 20.3 15.8 16.3 84.7
Greg Biffle 23 18.3 17.0 17.2 81.5
Brad Keselowski 9 11.2 20.1 16.2 81.1
Martin Truex Jr. 16 15.4 22.6 16.6 80.8
Jamie McMurray 22 23.0 22.4 19.0 73.7
Joey Logano 10 13.5 17.8 18.8 72.9
R. Stenhouse Jr. 2 16.5 13.0 19.5 71.6
Aric Almirola 4 19.5 20.0 19.7 71.0
Marcos Ambrose 10 21.7 19.7 22.1 70.0
A J Allmendinger 13 18.8 20.7 21.3 69.8
David Reutimann 14 18.9 23.8 22.2 65.9
David Ragan 14 23.4 21.1 22.8 65.2
Brian Vickers 16 18.3 25.4 22.6 64.4
Casey Mears 22 22.5 24.3 23.8 62.9
Dave Blaney 26 25.2 25.9 24.8 59.6
Paul Menard 14 27.1 24.5 25.3 58.4
Reed Sorenson 12 28.5 27.0 28.5 53.1
Landon Cassill 7 25.0 27.7 28.0 51.4
Travis Kvapil 14 29.9 26.4 28.6 49.8
David Gilliland 15 36.0 30.6 30.8 47.0
David Stremme 14 24.6 33.4 31.1 44.3
Danica Patrick 2 33.0 29.5 33.9 40.9
Michael McDowell 9 30.0 38.2 36.7 39.4
Josh Wise 4 31.8 37.3 36.6 37.1
Joe Nemechek 40 23.7 29.2 36.3 36.2
Ryan Truex 1 38.0 35.0 37.4 34.1
Cole Whitt 1 43.0 40.0 39.8 32.5
Justin Allgaier 0 - - - -
Michael Annett 0 - - - -
Alex Bowman 0 - - - -
Austin Dillon 0 - - - -
Kyle Larson 0 - - - -

*Last 18 Races
Untitled Document Laps Led in the Last 18 Races at Richmond

Driver Laps Led
Denny Hamlin 1390
Kyle Busch 931
Kevin Harvick 898
Jeff Gordon 710
Carl Edwards 488
Clint Bowyer 348
Kurt Busch 340
Tony Stewart 329
Jimmie Johnson 293
Kasey Kahne 281
Matt Kenseth 225
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 219
Brad Keselowski 142
David Reutimann 104
Ryan Newman 100
Jeff Burton 75
Greg Biffle 63
Martin Truex Jr. 48
Jamie McMurray 25
Brian Vickers 21
Casey Mears 6
Paul Menard 4
Dave Blaney 2
Travis Kvapil 2
A J Allmendinger 1
Michael McDowell 1
Richmond Green Flag Passes

Number of passes a driver had under green conditions in the last 18 races at Richmond.

Driver Green Flag Passes
Casey Mears 1021
Matt Kenseth 984
Jamie McMurray 984
Bobby Labonte 983
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 962
Carl Edwards 957
Jeff Burton 929
Kasey Kahne 923
Ryan Newman 921
Tony Stewart 875
Kevin Harvick 854
Clint Bowyer 851
Greg Biffle 836
Martin Truex Jr. 815
Jimmie Johnson 809
Kurt Busch 807
David Ragan 799
Kyle Busch 792
Jeff Gordon 782
A J Allmendinger 770
Dave Blaney 717
David Reutimann 716
David Gilliland 700
Paul Menard 697
Brian Vickers 683
Reed Sorenson 593
Denny Hamlin 579
Travis Kvapil 557
Marcos Ambrose 551
David Stremme 541
Joey Logano 529
Brad Keselowski 519
Michael Waltrip 402
Joe Nemechek 376
Landon Cassill 372
J.J. Yeley 359
Sam Hornish Jr. 348
Michael McDowell 252
Aric Almirola 250
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 185
Danica Patrick 75
Josh Wise 65
Terry Labonte 42
Ryan Truex 37
Timmy Hill 6
Morgan Shepherd 3
Cole Whitt 3
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