Driver Handicaps: Pocono

Jimmie Johnson

Defending event winner Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to lead more than 100 laps in the last four races at Pocono with 215. (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 Sunday's Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Who's HOT at Pocono
• Three-time winner Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with an 8.8 average finish.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in wins (6) and laps led (972).
• Tony Stewart leads all drivers with a 5.0 average finish in the four races since the track was resurfaced.
• Joey Logano has posted three top 10s, including a win, in the last four races.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman each finished in the top five in both races last season.
• Four-time winner Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in the last two June races.
• Kasey Kahne has one win and a runner-up finish in his last three starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Pocono
• Clint Bowyer (10.8), Brad Keselowski (11.0), Carl Edwards (11.8) and Greg Biffle (12.8) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among all drivers that have raced in the races since Pocono was resurfaced.
• Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Ganassi Racing were among the teams that tested at Pocono.
• Kevin Harvick will be back in the same car he led 239 laps with en route to his first Darlington Raceway win. Pocono is a track Harvick has yet to win at.
• Kyle Busch has finished in the top 10 in five of his last eight Pocono starts, including both races last season.
• Kurt Busch finished in the top 10 in both races last season and will debut a new chassis when he makes his first Pocono start with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Tire Notes: Teams will be running the same left- and right-side tires that they have run at Pocono since June 2012 when the track was resurfaced, with the only change being that the recommended air pressure for the left-side tires has been increased by a pound. Tony Stewart (5.2), Ryan Newman (6.8), Joey Logano (7.8), Jimmie Johnson (8.0) and Jeff Gordon (8.5) hold the top five average finishes in that span. Johnson is the only driver to lead more than 100 laps with 215.

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

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

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Jimmie Johnson - 3
Denny Hamlin - 6.5
Pole - 15 times
Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin
Jimmie Johnson - 8.6
Top Five - 44 times 
Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne
Kasey Kahne - 9.1
Top 10 - 50 times 
Ryan Newman, Joey Logano -2 Ryan Newman - 10.1
Top 15 - 63 times
  Kurt Busch - 11.4
Worst - 29th, one time

* - Must be entered in the Pocono 400.

2014 Top "Knockout" Qualifying Performers (*11 Races)
Driver Poles Final Rounds
Brad Keselowski 2 9
Kevin Harvick 2 7
Joey Logano 1 10
Carl Edwards 1 7
Denny Hamlin 1 7
Jimmie Johnson 1 7
Tony Stewart 1 5
Kyle Busch 1 6
Matt Kenseth 1 4
Jeff Gordon 0 7
Ryan Newman 0 6

*Qualifying was rained out at Richmond

*Best Average Finish at Pocono

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4.0
Four Races
Tony Stewart
5.2
Six Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.7
Eight Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.9
10 Races
Tony Stewart
6.9

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

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

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Jimmie Johnson - 9.7
2. Denny Hamlin
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon - 10.3
3. Kurt Busch
3. Kurt Busch
3. Kurt Busch - 10.6
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Kasey Kahne
4. Ryan Newman - 10.9
5. Kasey Kahne
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Denny Hamlin - 10.9
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 2610
1. Ryan Newman - 823
1. Jimmie Johnson - 109.3
2. Ryan Newman - 2527
2. Tony Stewart - 792
2. Denny Hamlin - 109.1
3. Jeff Gordon - 2481
3. Jeff Gordon - 778
3. Kurt Busch - 104.7
4. Tony Stewart - 2416
4. Jimmie Johnson -775
4. Jeff Gordon - 101.1
5. Kurt Busch - 2378
5. Kevin Harvick - 712
5. Tony Stewart - 98.5

*Must be entered in the Pocono 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 Pocono, view the Pocono 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. Joey Logano
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon - 9.2
2. Brad Keselowski
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Joey Logano - 10.1
3. Kevin Harvick
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Jimmie Johnson - 10.1
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Matt Kenseth - 10.3
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Kyle Busch
5. Denny Hamlin - 11.5
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Joey Logano - 3605
1. Jeff Gordon - 1052
1. Jimmie Johnson - 109.3
2. Matt Kenseth - 3578
2. Joey Logano - 1022
2. Kevin Harvick - 106.8
3. Jeff Gordon - 3562
3. Denny Hamlin - 975
3. Joey Logano - 106.4
4. Brad Keselowski - 3499
4. Kevin Harvick - 966
4. Jeff Gordon - 106.1
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3290
5. Kurt Busch - 900
5. Matt Kenseth - 100.6

*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: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pete Pistone: Denny Hamlin
Dustin Long: Jeff Gordon
John Singler: Greg Biffle

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Matt Kenseth: Pocono wasn't the best of tracks for Kenseth since joining Joe Gibbs Racing last season, posting finishes of 25th and 22nd in his first two track starts with the team. His 10 top-10 finishes all came with Roush Fenway Racing, with the last coming in this race in 2012.

Jeff Gordon: Scored his series-leading sixth Pocono win in the 2012 August race. He's coming off a runner-up finish to lower his average finish to 8.5 in the four races with the current tire combination, which ranks fifth among all drivers. This weekend, Gordon will debut a new car (chassis No. 869) in the Pocono 400.

Carl Edwards: Last top 10 in the June Pocono race came in 2009, which followed his second win at the track. Edwards failed to finish in the top 10 last season, but his average finish (11.9) in the four races with the current tire combination ranks eighth among all drivers. This weekend, Edwards will debut a new car (chassis No. 921).

Jimmie Johnson: Dominated this race last year for third win at Pocono. Johnson's 215 laps led in the four races with the current tire combination far surpass all drivers. His 8.0 average finish in that span ranks fourth among all drivers and his 8.8 overall average finish is a series best. This weekend, Johnson will go for his third straight win of the season in the same car (chassis No. 824) that he finished third with at Darlington.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Has yet to win at Pocono but does have seven top-five finishes, including two last season. Earnhardt's 12.0 average finish in the last four races with the current tire combination ranks ninth among all drivers. This weekend, Earnhardt will return in the same car (chassis No. 810) that he last finished 12th with at Auto Club Speedway.

Joey Logano: Finished in the top 10 in his first two Pocono starts with Team Penske last season. Won this event in 2012 with Joe Gibbs Racing to help give him the third-best average finish (7.8) in the four races with the current tire combination. This weekend, Logano will debut a new car (chassis No. 915) in the Pocono 400.

Kyle Busch: Rebounded from a disappointing 2012 season at Pocono to finish in the top 10 in both races last year. Since winning the pole for this event in 2010, Busch has done fairly well - finishing in the top 10 five times, including two runner-up showings.

Brad Keselowski: Coming off third top 10 in eight starts. Keselowski, who won the 2011 August race, has the seventh-best average finish (11.0) in the four races with the current tire combination. This weekend, Keselowski will pilot a new car (chassis No. 916).

Denny Hamlin: Last of four wins came in his race in 2010. Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in the last two June races. He failed to lead any laps last season, but did combine to lead 363 in the seven races prior.

Kyle Larson: Tested at Pocono and will run in Saturday's ARCA race in preparation for his first Sprint Cup start at the track.

Ryan Newman: Has finished sixth or better in his last three starts at Pocono to help give him the second-best average finish (6.8) in the last four races with the current tire combination. Newman tested at Pocono in preparation for his first track start with Richard Childress Racing. He will be returning in the same car (chassis No. 456) that he last finished 16th with at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick: Posted his ninth top 10 in 26 starts last year in this event. Will make his first Pocono start with Stewart-Haas Racing in the same car (chassis No. 843) he led 239 laps with en route to the win at Darlington Raceway.

Brian Vickers: Tested at Pocono in preparation for his first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing. His last of five top 10s came in the 2009 August race with Red Bull Racing. This weekend, Vickers will pilot the same car (chassis No. 799) that he last finished 25th with at Richmond International Raceway.

Paul Menard: Will look to rebound from a disappointing season at Pocono after completing a recent test at the track. Menard's last of two top 10s came in this event in 2012, ninth place. This weekend, Menard will return in the same car (chassis No. 463) that he finished 41st with at Darlington Raceway after a late-race incident.

Austin Dillon: Tested at Pocono in preparation for his first Pocono Sprint Cup start. Dillon will return in the same car (chassis No. 457) that he last finished 19th with at Kansas Speedway.

Greg Biffle: Finished in the top 10 in both races last season at Pocono, including a runner-up showing (to Jimmie Johnson) in this event. Biffle's win in the 2010 August race is one of four top 10s in the last seven races. This weekend, Biffle will return in the same car (chassis No. 896) that he finished sixth with at Texas Motor Speedway.

Clint Bowyer: Has posted a 10.8 average finish in four Pocono starts with Michael Waltrip Racing. Tested recently at Pocono and will be driving the same car (chassis No. 809) that he finished 23rd with at Kansas Speedway.

Kasey Kahne: Coming off his second win at Pocono after leading 66 laps. Despite a 36th-place finish in this event last year, Kahne also finished second in the 2012 August race. This weekend, Kahne will return in the same car (chassis No. 870) that he finished third with at Kansas Speedway.

Aric Almirola: Best finish in four starts at Pocono is 18th, which came in the 2012 August Race. However, Almirola has finished 13th or better in the last four races this season, including an eighth-place run at Kansas Speedway.

AJ Allmendinger: Making first Pocono start with JTG Daugherty Racing. Only top 10 in 12 starts came in this event in 2010 with Richard Petty Motorsports.

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Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Jimmie Johnson 24 8.6 8.8 109.3
Denny Hamlin 16 6.5 12.6 109.1
Kurt Busch 25 11.4 15.2 104.7
Jeff Gordon 42 11.6 10.0 101.1
Tony Stewart 30 12.9 11.0 98.5
Carl Edwards 18 17.2 13.3 97.3
Ryan Newman 24 10.1 11.7 96.4
Kasey Kahne 20 9.1 17.0 92.8
Kevin Harvick 26 19.0 14.0 89.6
Matt Kenseth 28 18.2 14.9 89.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 28 15.0 16.3 89.1
Greg Biffle 22 17.3 16.4 88.1
Kyle Busch 18 13.8 17.8 86.8
Brian Vickers 14 12.0 16.6 86.6
Brad Keselowski 8 17.3 13.6 86.5
Joey Logano 10 13.3 15.6 86.3
Martin Truex Jr. 16 18.8 15.3 81.2
Clint Bowyer 16 18.4 15.1 80.7
Marcos Ambrose 10 15.5 21.5 73.8
Jamie McMurray 22 16.9 20.8 70.9
Aric Almirola 4 16.0 21.8 70.1
A J Allmendinger 12 21.4 24.3 65.4
Paul Menard 14 18.7 22.2 65.1
David Ragan 14 27.3 24.3 57.0
Casey Mears 22 24.3 24.1 56.9
Danica Patrick 2 32.0 32.0 55.2
Travis Kvapil 13 33.7 24.5 50.8
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 16.5 30.0 50.7
David Gilliland 14 30.6 30.6 49.4
Dave Blaney 27 28.3 26.1 49.3
Reed Sorenson 11 28.7 32.0 46.8
J.J. Yeley 13 29.7 32.1 45.0
Landon Cassill 7 29.7 32.6 41.4
Timmy Hill 2 39.5 31.0 36.6
Josh Wise 4 36.3 38.5 35.0
Alex Kennedy 1 42.0 42.0 28.3
Justin Allgaier 0 - - -
Michael Annett 0 - - -
Alex Bowman 0 - - -
Austin Dillon 0 - - -
Kyle Larson 0 - - -
Ryan Truex 0 - - -
Cole Whitt 0 - - -
*Last 18 Races

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