Driver Handicaps: Michigan

Michigan

Kevin Harvick has finished second in his last three Michigan starts and Jimmie Johnson picked up the win there in June. (Photo: Getty Images)

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

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Who's HOT at Michigan
• Kevin Harvick has finished second in the last three races and led the most laps (63) in June.
• Clint Bowyer is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in the last seven races.
• Jimmie Johnson won the June race for his first win at the track.
• Greg Biffle leads all drivers with four wins.
• Joey Logano has led 101 laps and posted an average finish of 6.3 in his three track starts with Team Penske.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has posted three top 10s, including a win, in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced.
• Brad Keselowski (8.4) and Paul Menard (10.6) each rank in the top five in average finish in the last five races.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Michigan
• Kyle Larson finished eighth in June at Michigan and leads all drivers with a 5.0 average in the two races this season at 2-mile tracks.
• Matt Kenseth (11.0), Carl Edwards (11.6), Marcos Ambrose (13.6), Ryan Newman (13.8) and Martin Truex Jr. (15.6) round of the top 10 among all drivers that have competed in all five races since Michigan was resurfaced. Truex will not practice and qualify his car on Friday.
• Roush Fenway Racing tested at Michigan last month.
• Jeff Gordon will be back in the same car he raced to the win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
• Watkins Glen winner AJ Allmendinger has posted a 15.0 average finish in the two races at 2-mile speedways this season.
• Jeff Burton will drive Tony Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend. Burton has finished in the top 10 in his last two Michigan starts.
• Kurt Busch has combined to lead 80 laps in his last three starts at Michigan.
• Marcos Ambrose has finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the last two August Michigan races..
• Denny Hamlin does have two wins at Michigan, but will be looking to turn around his record at the track since it's been resurfaced. Hamlin's teammate Kyle Busch has one top 10 in the last five Michigan races, but did win at Auto Club this season and is third in laps led in the five races at 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car.

Tire Notes: Sprint Cup teams will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires they ran at Michigan in June. Jimmie Johnson won that race after leading 39 laps. Second-place finisher Kevin Harvick led the most laps with 63.

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

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

*Poles
*Best Starting Avg. 
Races Won from Starting Pos.
Jeff Gordon - 5
Jimmie Johnson - 8.8
Pole - 17 times
Brian Vickers - 3
Brian Vickers - 10.9
Top Five - 53 times 
Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton -2
Jeff Gordon - 11.3
Top 10 - 68 times 
Kurt Busch - 2 Kurt Busch - 11.8
Top 15 - 76 times
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 2 Kasey Kahne - 11.9
Worst - 32nd, one time

* - Must be entered in the Pure Michigan 400.

2014 Top "Knockout" Qualifying Performers (*20 Races)
Driver Poles Final Rounds
Kevin Harvick 4 15
Brad Keselowski 3 16
Denny Hamlin 2 10
Kyle Busch 2 10
Joey Logano 1 18
Jeff Gordon 1 15
Jimmie Johnson 1 12
Carl Edwards 1 11
Jamie McMurray 1 10
Tony Stewart 1 10
Matt Kenseth 1 6

*Qualifying was rained out at Richmond, shortened at Daytona (David Gilliland pole winner)

*Best Average Finish at Michigan

Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Kevin Harvick
2.0
Four Races
Kevin Harvick
5.5
Six Races
Clint Bowyer
7.3
Eight Races
Clint Bowyer
8.1
10 Races
Clint Bowyer
9.5

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

Michigan Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2014, 19 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Greg Biffle
1. Kyle Larson
1. Greg Biffle - 8.9
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth - 10.2
3. Matt Kenseth
3. Greg Biffle
3. Carl Edwards - 10.9
4. Kyle Larson
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Jimmie Johnson - 11.2
5. Carl Edwards
5. Carl Edwards
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 12.6
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Greg Biffle - 3085
1. Greg Biffle - 864
1. Greg Biffle - 107.8
2. Matt Kenseth - 2989
2. Carl Edwards - 850
2. Matt Kenseth - 104.5
3. Carl Edwards - 2925
3. Matt Kenseth - 833
3. Jimmie Johnson - 102.9
4. Jimmie Johnson - 2772
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 786
4. Carl Edwards - 102.2
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 2513
5. Jimmie Johnson - 731
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 97.5

*Must be entered in the Pure Michigan 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 Michigan, view the Pure Michigan 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 - 9.7
2. Jeff Gordon
2. Kevin Harvick
2. Joey Logano - 10.0
3. Kevin Harvick
3. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kevin Harvick - 11.6
4. Brad Keselowski
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 11.6
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Clint Bowyer
5. Brad Keselowski - 12.8
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Joey Logano - 4880
1. Jeff Gordon - 1375
1. Jeff Gordon - 108.0
2. Jeff Gordon - 4763
1. Joey Logano - 1375
2. Kevin Harvick - 104.0
3. Brad Keselowski - 4609
3. Denny Hamlin - 1367
3. Joey Logano - 103.8
4. Matt Kenseth - 4563
4. Kasey Kahne - 1304
4. Brad Keselowski - 100.3
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 4522
5. Kurt Busch - 1277
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 100.0

*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: Kasey Kahne
Pete Pistone: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dustin Long: Kyle Larson
John Singler: Greg Biffle

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Dale Earnhardt Jr.:  Won the June race in 2012 for his second win in 13 Michigan starts with Hendrick Motorsports. He leads all drivers in laps led (175) in the five races since the track was resurfaced. Earnhardt participated in the Goodyear Tire test before the June race and will return in the same car (chassis No. 877) that he finished fifth with at Kentucky Speedway.

Jeff Gordon: Coming off 26th top 10 in 42 starts with a sixth-place finish. An engine issue and an accident gave Gordon and average finish of 28.0 in the previous three races. He is a two-time Michigan winner, with his last coming in the 2001 June. This weekend, Gordon will return in the same car (chassis No. 895) that he scored the win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with.

Matt Kenseth: Last top 10 (sixth) came in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2013 June race. Kenseth holds an 11.0 average finish among all drivers in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced. His is also second in average finish (9.2) among drivers that have raced in all five races on 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car.

Brad Keselowski: Ranks fourth in average finish (8.4) among drivers that have raced in all five of the races since Michigan was resurfaced. Led 38 laps and finished 26th due to a tire failure in the race on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in March. He followed that up with a third-place run at Michigan in June. This weekend, Keselowski will return in the same car (chassis No. 914) that he finished second with at Dover International Speedway.

Joey Logano: Defending race winner. Logano has led 101 laps and posted an average finish of 6.3 in his three track starts with Team Penske last season. He ranks sixth in average finish (12.2) among drivers that have raced in all five races on 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car. This weekend, Logano will return in the same car (chassis No. 913) he finished eighth with at Dover International Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Ranks eighth among all drivers in average finish (11.6) since Michigan was resurfaced. Edwards' last of two wins at Michigan came in the 2008 August race. He is tied for third in average finish (11.0) among drivers that have raced in all five races on 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car. Edwards, who tested at Michigan, will debut a new car (chassis No. 927) in the Pure Michigan 400.

Jimmie Johnson: Coming off first win in 25 starts for his second top 10 in the five races on Michigan's new surface. Engine issues have taken Johnson out of contention in two of the last four races. Johnson did dominate at the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway earlier this season, leading 104 laps, up until a blown tire with seven laps-to-go. This weekend, Johnson will return in the same car (chassis No. 891) that he finished 14th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick: Finished second in the last three races to help give him the best average finish (6.7) among all drivers in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced. Harvick also is tied for third in average finish (11.0) among drivers that have raced in all five races on 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car.

Ryan Newman: Only top 10 in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced came in the 2012 August race in 12th. Newman, who won earlier in his career at Michigan with Team Penske, finished 15th in his first track start with Richard Childress Racing in June. The car (chassis No. 480) Newman will drive in the Pure Michigan 400 is the same one he finished 29th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kyle Larson: Finished eighth in his first Cup Series track start in June. Larson also finished second at Auto Club Speedway to give him a 5.0 average finish in the two races this season at 2-mile speedways.

Clint Bowyer: Holds the distinction of being the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in the last seven Michigan races. He ranks third among all drivers in average finish (7.2) in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced. This weekend, Bowyer will return in the same car (chassis No. 813) that he finished 10th with at Michigan in June.

Greg Biffle: Is the leader in active wins (4) at Michigan and has won two of the last four races, including this event in 2012. Biffle is also second in both average finish (7.0) and laps led (140) in the five races since the speedway was resurfaced. He holds a 15.2 average finish in all four races on 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car. Biffle, who tested at Michigan, will return in the same car (chassis No. 908) that he finished 20th with at Michigan in June.

Kasey Kahne: Coming off third top 10 (fifth) in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced. Two crashes have raised his average finish to 17.2 in that span. Kahne does have one win at Michigan, coming in the 2006 June race with Evernham Motorsports. This weekend, Kahne will pilot the same car (chassis No. 888) that he last finished 10th with at Pocono Raceway.

Austin Dillon: 19.8 average finish in four starts at Michigan. Will return in the same car (chassis No. 481) that he finished 10th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch: Fourth-place finish in the 2013 June race is his only top 10 in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced. Busch, who won at Auto Club Speedway in March, ranks third in laps led (130) among drivers that have raced in all five races on 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car.

Marcos Ambrose: Has finished fifth and sixth, respectively in the last two August Michigan races. Ambrose scored the pole in the first race on Michigan's new surface in 2012 and has three top 10s in the five races since.

Paul Menard: Has posted a 10.6 average finish in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced. Menard ranks first in average finish (7.8) among drivers that have raced in all five races on 2-mile speedways with the Gen-6 car. This weekend, Menard will return in the same car (chassis No. 480) that he last finished 34th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Brian Vickers: Won the 2009 August race with Red Bull Racing. His lone start in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced came in June when he finished 42nd. This weekend, Vickers will return in the same car he raced at Michigan earlier this summer.

Jamie McMurray: Coming off best finish in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced in 12th. McMurray's last of four top 10s in 23 overall starts came in this event in 2008.

Denny Hamlin: Won the 2011 June for his second Michigan win, but has yet to finish in the top 10 in his last six starts. Hamlin's average finish in the five races since Michigan was resurfaced is 24.8. His best finish in that span came in this event in 2012 in 11th.

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Untitled Document Michigan Driver Stats
Driver Races Avg Start Avg Finish *Driver Rating
Greg Biffle 23 13.8 11.6 107.8
Matt Kenseth 30 17.8 9.8 104.5
Jimmie Johnson 25 8.8 16.2 102.9
Carl Edwards 20 20.0 9.1 102.2
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 30 14.2 16.0 97.5
Jeff Gordon 43 11.3 12.3 91.2
Kyle Busch 19 14.4 17.8 91.1
Kurt Busch 27 11.8 20.9 90.0
Kyle Larson 1 12.0 8.0 89.7
Kasey Kahne 21 11.9 15.9 89.1
Kevin Harvick 27 17.5 13.4 88.7
Denny Hamlin 17 14.8 15.8 88.0
Joey Logano 11 15.0 16.0 87.8
Brad Keselowski 10 19.3 15.5 87.1
Brian Vickers 15 10.9 16.7 86.5
Clint Bowyer 17 18.2 15.1 82.2
Martin Truex Jr. 17 13.8 16.9 81.5
Justin Allgaier 1 17.0 16.0 79.6
Ryan Newman 26 13.2 17.4 76.6
Jeff Burton 40 19.2 16.2 75.5
Austin Dillon 4 18.8 19.8 73.7
Aric Almirola 5 15.8 20.6 73.4
Jamie McMurray 23 24.4 19.4 70.6
Paul Menard 16 22.3 19.3 69.8
Marcos Ambrose 12 22.6 21.4 68.5
David Ragan 15 25.4 20.3 68.2
AJ Allmendinger 12 25.7 20.9 66.8
Casey Mears 22 24.9 22.8 65.3
R. Stenhouse Jr. 3 22.3 20.7 64.8
Danica Patrick 3 30.7 17.7 63.4
Trevor Bayne 7 16.6 23.1 62.3
Michael Annett 1 37.0 21.0 53.5
Travis Kvapil 15 32.5 26.3 50.9
Reed Sorenson 11 31.5 27.0 49.9
David Gilliland 16 32.1 29.4 47.7
Landon Cassill 8 27.3 28.6 47.0
Dave Blaney 26 29.3 26.8 46.6
Joe Nemechek 40 22.9 28.5 44.4
Cole Whitt 1 42.0 28.0 42.1
Josh Wise 5 36.0 38.8 34.9
Alex Bowman 1 41.0 40.0 33.9
Alex Kennedy 0 - - -
Ryan Truex 0 - - -

*Last 19 Races

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