Driver Handicaps: Kentucky

NASCAR

Brad Keselowski won at Kentucky in 2012 and Jimmie Johnson has combined to lead 203 laps in his last two starts at the 1.5-mile track. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Saturday night's Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Kentucky Speedway.

Who's HOT at Kentucky (3 Races)
• Defending race winner Matt Kenseth leads all drivers with a 4.7 average finish.
• Kyle Busch, winner of the 2011 race, leads all drivers in laps led with 243.
• Along with Kenseth and Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are the only drivers to finish in the top 10 in the three races.
• Brad Keselowski has posted two top 10s, including a win in 2012.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Kentucky
• Kevin Harvick has two runner-up finishes and has combined to lead 219 laps at the last two 1.5-mile tracks this season.
• Joey Logano has one win and an average finish of 5.2 in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
• Carl Edwards (7.2), Kasey Kahne (9.0), Paul Menard (9.2) and Brian Vickers (9.2) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among all drivers at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
• Martin Truex Jr. (7.5), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8.0), Jamie McMurray (8.5) and Clint Bowyer (9.5) are among the top 10 in average finish at Kentucky in the two races with the current tire combination. McMurray, Keselowski and Vickers participated in the Goodyear tire test last month.

Tire Notes: Sprint Cup teams will be running the same combination of left- and right-side tires that they've run at Kentucky since 2012.  Kenseth (4.0), Kahne (6.5), Gordon (6.5), Johnson (7.5), Truex (7.5) and Busch (7.5) are tops in average finish in that span.  McMurray, Keselowski and Vickers participated in the Goodyear tire test at Kentucky last month.

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

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

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 1
Kyle Busch - 2.3
Pole - 1 time
Jimmie Johnson - 1
Jimmie Johnson - 3.0
Pos. No. 8 - 1 time
 
Brad Keselowski - 7.3
Pos. No. 16 - 1 time
  Marcos Ambrose - 9.3
  Ryan Newman - 10.0

* - Must be entered in the Quaker State 400.

2014 Top "Knockout" Qualifying Performers (*14 Races)
Driver Poles Final Rounds
Kevin Harvick 3 10
Brad Keselowski 2 11
Denny Hamlin 2 8
Joey Logano 1 13
Carl Edwards 1 9
Jimmie Johnson 1 8
Jamie McMurray 1 7
Kyle Busch 1 7
Tony Stewart 1 6
Matt Kenseth 1 4
Jeff Gordon 0 9

*Qualifying was rained out at Richmond

*Best Average Finish at Kentucky

Rank
Driver
Avg. Fin.
1.
Matt Kenseth
4.7
2.
Kyle Busch
5.3
3.
Jimmie Johnson
6.0
4.
Jeff Gordon
7.7
5.
Kasey Kahne
8.7

Kentucky Loop Data Stat Leaders (2011-2013, 3 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Matt Kenseth
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3.9
2. Kyle Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kyle Busch - 5.4
3. Denny Hamlin
3. Kyle Busch
3. Matt Kenseth - 8.3
4. Matt Kenseth
4. Kasey Kahne
4. Carl Edwards - 9.8
5. Brad Keselowski
5. Carl Edwards
5. Kevin Harvick - 12.2
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 783
1. Kasey Kahne - 313
1. Jimmie Johnson - 125.9
2. Matt Kenseth - 775
2. Marcos Ambrose - 243
2. Kyle Busch - 125.2
3. Kyle Busch - 740
3. Jeff Gordon - 230
3. Matt Kenseth - 109.3
4. Carl Edwards - 643
4. Kevin Harvick - 225
4. Brad Keselowski - 104.8
5. Kevin Harvick - 628
5. Jamie McMurray - 218
5. Kasey Kahne - 98.2

*Must be entered in the Quaker State 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 Ratings: 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 Kentucky, view the Quaker State 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. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon - 8.9
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Jimmie Johnson - 9.8
3. Joey Logano
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Joey Logano - 10.2
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Kevin Harvick - 11.1
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Clint Bowyer
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 11.1
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Joey Logano - 3972
1. Jeff Gordon - 1165
1. Jimmie Johnson - 110.1
2. Jeff Gordon - 3965
2. Joey Logano - 1126
2. Kevin Harvick - 108.5
3. Brad Keselowski - 3847
3. Kevin Harvick - 1056
3. Jeff Gordon - 108.2
4. Matt Kenseth - 3761
4. Denny Hamlin - 1033
4. Joey Logano - 103.6
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3687
5. Kurt Busch - 1015
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 101.8

*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: Jimmie Johnson
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Dustin Long: Kyle Busch 
John Singler: Paul Menard

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon: Has finished in the top 10 in all three Kentucky starts.  Gordon has one win and leads all drivers with a 4.8 average finish in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.  This weekend, Gordon will return in the same car (chassis No. 869) that he won with at Kansas Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson: Has finished in the top 10 in all three Kentucky races and led a race-high 182 laps last year.  Johnson has one win, 222 laps led and an average finish of 10.2 in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.  This weekend, Johnson will return in the same car (chassis No. 799) that he last finished ninth with at Kansas Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Won the pole and finished 12th last season to give him an average finish of 15.3 in the three Kentucky races.  Earnhardt does have two top fives this season at 1.5-mile tracks, including a runner-up finish at Las Vegas.  This weekend, Earnhardt will return in the same car (chassis No. 877) that he finished fifth with at Kansas Speedway.

Matt Kenseth: Is the defending race winner and leads all drivers with a 4.7 average finish in the three races at Kentucky.  Kenseth, who is still searching for his first win of the year, is fourth among all drivers in average finish (7.5) in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Brad Keselowski: Finished 33rd last season to snap a streak of two consecutive top 10s at Kentucky that included a win in 2012.  Keselowski has one win, led 194 laps and has posted an average finish of 9.8 in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.  Keselowski participated in the Goodyear tire test last month and will return in the same car that he finished 17th with at Darlington Raceway.

Carl Edwards: Last week's winner at Sonoma will look to use his momentum on 1.5-mile tracks this season to post his first top 10 at Kentucky since finishing fifth in 2011.  Edwards is third among all drivers in average finish (7.2) in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2014. This weekend, Edwards will be back in the same car (chassis No. 880) that he finished fourth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano: Finished fourth in first Kentucky attempt with Team Penske, his first top 10 in three starts.  Logano has one win and is second among all drivers in average finish (5.2) in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.  This weekend, Logano will return in the same car (chassis No. 903) he finished 35th with at Darlington Raceway.

Ryan Newman: Only top 10 at Kentucky came in the first race in 2011.  Newman will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing in the same car (chassis No. 441) that he finished in the top 10 with at Phoenix International Raceway and Darlington Raceway.

Kevin Harvick: Coming off first top 10 at Kentucky.  Harvick has two runner-up finishes and has combined to lead 219 laps at the last two 1.5-mile tracks this season.  Harvick will make first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing driving the same car (chassis No. 850) that he finished second with in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kyle Larson: Making first Sprint Cup start at Kentucky.  Larson, who has one top 10 in the Nationwide Series at Kentucky, has posted a 13.5 average finish and one top five in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Kyle Busch: Has finished in the top 10 in all three Kentucky starts including a win in the inaugural event.  Busch has led 63 laps and posted an average finish of 9.5 in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Paul Menard: Has yet to post a top 10 at Kentucky but is coming off his third top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season.  Menard's 2014 average finish (9.2) on the intermediate ovals is tied for sixth among all drivers.  This weekend, Menard will return in the same car (chassis No. 454) that he last finished eighth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin: His average finish at Kentucky dropped to 16.3 last season after a crash took him out of the race.  Hamlin, who finished third at Kentucky in 2012, still has yet to post a top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season.

Clint Bowyer: Coming off first top 10 at Kentucky, a third-place finish.  Bowyer's only top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season came in Texas, eighth place.  This weekend, Bowyer will return in the same car (chassis No. 800) that he finished fourth with at Dover International Speedway.

Greg Biffle: Has yet to finish inside the top 20 at Kentucky and has an average finish of 25.3.  Biffle's only top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season came at Texas Motor Speedway, where he finished sixth.  This weekend, Biffle will return in the same car (chassis No. 890) that he finished 19th with in the All-Star Race at Charlotte.

Kasey Kahne: Fifth among all drivers in average finish both at Kentucky (8.7) and in the four races at 1.5-mile tracks this season (9.0).  This weekend, Kahne will return in the same car (chassis No. 820) that he last drove in the All-Star Race at Charlotte.

Tony Stewart: Has yet to finish in the top 10 at Kentucky.  Stewart does have one top 10 this season at 1.5-mile tracks, finishing 10th at Texas.  This weekend, "Smoke" will return in the same car (chassis No. 735) that he last finished 20th with at Kansas Speedway.

Austin Dillon: Finished 24th last season at Kentucky driving for Phoenix Racing.  Dillon, who has yet to finish in the top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season, will return in the same car (chassis No. 465) that he last finished 16th with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: Coming off first top 10 at Kentucky, a second-place finish to Matt Kenseth.  McMurray, who participated in the Goodyear tire test last month, is also coming off his first top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season, finishing fifth at Charlotte.

Brian Vickers: Finished 31st last season in first Kentucky start with Michael Waltrip Racing.  Vickers participated in the Goodyear tire test last month and is coming off his second top 10 at a 1.5-mile track this season with a sixth-place finish in Charlotte.  This weekend, Vickers will return in the same car (chassis No. 797) that he last raced at Charlotte.

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Untitled Document
Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish Driver Rating
Jimmie Johnson 3 3.0 6.0 125.9
Kyle Busch 3 2.3 5.3 125.2
Matt Kenseth 3 16.3 4.7 109.3
Brad Keselowski 3 7.3 13.7 104.8
Kasey Kahne 3 14.7 8.7 98.2
Denny Hamlin 3 11.7 16.3 98.1
Carl Edwards 3 11.3 15.3 94.5
Jeff Gordon 3 11.7 7.7 91.8
Martin Truex Jr. 3 15.0 11.0 90.7
Kurt Busch 3 14.7 11.3 90.6
Kevin Harvick 3 15.0 12.3 90.5
Joey Logano 3 14.7 13.3 87.2
Clint Bowyer 3 13.7 18.0 86.1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 12.3 15.3 86.0
Ryan Newman 3 10.0 17.3 81.3
Jamie McMurray 3 24.7 17.7 78.8
Marcos Ambrose 3 9.3 15.3 78.0
AJ Allmendinger 3 18.7 19.7 75.9
Tony Stewart 3 18.7 21.3 70.9
Greg Biffle 3 17.3 25.3 70.9
Paul Menard 3 16.3 22.0 69.4
R. Stenhouse Jr. 1 13.0 17.0 68.8
Aric Almirola 2 15.5 20.5 67.3
Brian Vickers 2 18.0 29.0 65.4
Austin Dillon 1 26.0 24.0 63.0
Casey Mears 3 25.7 20.3 61.9
David Ragan 3 26.3 21.0 60.7
Danica Patrick 1 29.0 23.0 57.2
Landon Cassill 3 27.7 28.0 50.2
Travis Kvapil 3 37.0 29.3 47.8
David Gilliland 3 36.3 29.0 47.5
David Stremme 2 30.0 30.5 44.9
J.J. Yeley 2 35.5 36.0 36.3
Josh Wise 2 33.5 38.0 33.0
Joe Nemechek 3 33.0 38.7 30.8
Justin Allgaier 0 - - -
Michael Annett 0 - - -
Alex Bowman 0 - - -
Kyle Larson 0 - - -
Reed Sorenson 0 - - -
Ryan Truex 0 - - -
Cole Whitt 0 - - -

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