NASCAR Sprint Cup at Talladega analysis

With the residue of Kentucky Derby-related stuff finally cleaned out of my brain, I can finally focus again on NASCAR material. And with good timing: One of the bigger, badder tracks on the schedule, Talladega is front and center for the Aaron’s 499.
Here are the vital stats:
Starts: Michael Waltrip makes his 56 start here, most among active drivers. Next on that list: Jeff Gordon makes his 43rd, Tony Stewart his 30.
Wins: 6 drivers with more than 1 win here are in the starting grid, dominated by Gordon with 6 and Dale Earnhardt Jr with 5. Also notable: Brad Keselowski has won twice in 10 starts, Clint Bowyer twice in 16. Still without a win among the actives: Kurt Busch, who is 0-26. He starts 9th today.
Top 5: Jeff Gordon 15-42 Dale Jr 10-28. Tony Stewart 9-29 among the leaders. Still without a Top 5: Casey Mears is 0-21, and he starts 4th today.
Top 10: Gordon 19-42, Dale Jr 14-28, Kurt Busch 13-26 Clint Bowyer 8-16 David Ragan 7-14, Keselowski 6-10 are the best among these percentage-wise. No Top 10s yet for AJ Allmendinger in 8 starts. He starts 3rd today. Must be the new qualifying system!

Laps turned without victory: Kurt Busch 4672, Greg Biffle 3871, Ryan Newman 3879, Casey Mears 3514.
Laps led without victory: Denny Hamlin 204, Kurt Busch 148, Ryan Newman 67, Biffle 65, Mears 61.
Best average gain in position per race: David Gilliland 9.8. Also notable: Reed Sorenson 9.0. Kevin Harvick 6.3, David Ragan 4.7, Kurt Busch 4.9

Running at finish: Waltrip is 42-55. Best driver percentagewise is Harvick, 24 of 26.
Lead lap finish: Jeff Gordon is 30-42. David Ragan is 12-14, best percentagewise of these.
Here’s my top 5:
Brian Scott (pole)
Paul Menard
Kurt Busch

Sprint Cup NASCAR at Daytona (analysis/prediction)

Halfway through the Sprint Cup series, a look at Daytona’s famed super-speedway course and the important stats to help determine a winner.
Wins: 14 active drivers carry a win here, Jeff Gordon has 6, Tony Stewart 4. Trevor Bayne with his lone win coming in just 5 starts.  Winless: Mark Martin (55), Terry Labonte (60), Michael Waltrip (50)
Top 10s: Labonte has 26 Top 10s out of 60 races. Schrader 22 of 45. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 15-27. Matt Kenseth 13-27. Kurt Busch 12-25, Carl Edwards 8-17.
Laps turned without win: Terry Labonte 9941, Martin 8596, Schrader 7058, Bobby Labonte 6597,, Joe Nemechek 5000.
Laps led without win: Schrader, 298, Martin 273, Kurt Busch 239, Denny Hamlin 217, Terry Labonte 158.
Best average finish, 3-race minimum: Dale Jr (14.0), Clint Bowyer (15.5), Terry Labonte (15.6), Gordon (16.1), Kevin Harvick (16.5).
Running at finish: Terry Labonte 49-60. Mark Martin 43-55, Michael Waltrip 39-50, Jeff Gordon 36-41, Ken Schrader 34-45. Kurt Busch only missed 1 finish in 25 races, Denny Hamlin perfect in 15.
Lead lap finish: Martin 32-55, Gordon 31-41, Terry Labonte 31-60, Schrader 28-45, Burton 27-39.  Clint Bowyer has a great reputation at 80% here, 12-15.
Predicted top 10:

1 Bowyer
2 Kenseth
3 Ricky Stenhouse Jr
4 Kahne
5 Paul Menard
6 Kyle Busch
7 Martin Truex Jr
8 Greg Biffle
9 Michael Waltrip
10 Carl Edwards


Nationwide Series/NASCAR Sprint Cup at Darlington

Top 10 prediction for this event will be edited into this post once I get info on how everyone qualifies.
Here’s how the Nationwide Series measures up on this track:
6 active drivers have won here, with Matt Kenseth scoring 3 of them.  Kenny Wallace has 26 starts here without one, as does Mike Wallace with 22, and Brad Teague with 20
Top 10s: Kenseth is 12 of 16 here; Jeff Green 9 of 19; Kevin Harvick 6 of 11.  Mike Harmon and Stanton Barrett are both 0 for 10 reaching top 10s here.
Laps turned here without victory: The Wallaces again: Kenny with 3663, Mike with 2861. Kevin LePage 2625.
Laps led without victory: For all his top 10s, Harvick has 114 laps led without seeing Victory Lane. Morgan Shepherd 79, Joe Nemechek 64.

Top average finishing positions, 3 races minimum: Dale Earnhardt Jr 8.8, Kenseth 9.3, Justin Allgaier 9.8, Harvick 12.2, Kasey Kahne 12.8

Running at finish: Kenny Wallace 24 of 26, LePage 18 of 21, Green 17 of 19. Harvick is perfect through 11 here.
Lead lap finish: Kenny Wallace 14 of 26; Kenseth 13 of 16, Kahne 9 of 10.  Allgaier and Reed Sorensen are 4 of 4.

NASCAR Sprint Cup at Darlington:
10 active drivers with wins on this historic track. Jeff Gordon has 7 wins here, Jimmie Johnson with 3.  Ken Schrader has 44 races here without a win, and Michael Waltrip is 0 for 43.
Top 10s: Mark Martin is 26 of 46 in the top 10; Jeff Gordon 21 of 32, Jeff Burton 16 of 30.  Still waiting to crack the top 10 here is Casey Mears, who is 0 for 11.

Laps turned without win: Schrader, 13366; Michael Waltrip 12536; Nemechek 7197.
Laps  led without win: Kahne, 328; Ryan Newman 325; Michael Waltrip 214.

Average finish position 3 race minimum: Denny Hamlin 5.9 (hopefully in condition to do a full race); Jimmie 9.1; Brad Keselowski 9.2, Martin Truex Jr. 11.3, Tony Stewart 11.8

Running at finish: Terry Labonte 44 of 54;  Mark Martin 43 of 46; Ken Schrader 37 of 44. Elliott Sadler is a perfect 18 for 18.
Lead lap finishes: Martin, 29 of 46; Jeff Gordon 22 of 32; Jeff Burton 19 of 30. Tony Stewart 16 of 20.  Denny Hamlin perfect in 7.


NASCAR Sprint Cup @ Richmond International Speedway analysis & predic

16 active drivers in this series have won, with Kyle Busch having 4 wins,
with Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte, Dale Jr 3 wins. Ken
Schrader, Bobby Labonte and Michael Waltrip have raced here over 40 times
each without a win.

Top 10s: Mark Martin 30 for 54, Terry Labonte 28 of 55, Jeff Gordon 25 of
40, Tony Stewart 19 of 28. David Gillaland has run here 13 times without
cracking the top 10, and these drivers 12 times: Paul Menard, Travis Kvapil,
David Stremme.

Laps turned without win: The aforementioned drivers without a win here all
lead in this category, Terry Labonte with 19628 laps. Beyond the bottom 3,
Elliott Sadler is at 8922 and counting.

Laps led without win: Carl Edwards 442, Bobby Labonte 161, David Reutimann

Average finish position: Kyle Busch 5.4, Clint Bowyer 9.6, Stewart 10.4,
Ryan Newman 11.6, Harvick 11.7 (Denny Hamlin who is injured and out, is 8.1)

Running at finish: Mark Martin is truly the ironman here, with 51 of 54
races running to completion. Ken Schrader 44 of 47, Terry Labonte 44 of 55,
and Bobby Labonte 37 of 40, Jeff Burton 36 of 37. Best perfect record
belongs to Kevin Harvick (24).

Lead lap finish: Martin again, with 35 of 54, Jeff Gordon 27 of 40, Jeff
Burton 23 of 37, Tony Stewart 20 of 28, and Kyle Busch 15 of 16.

Predicted top 10: 
1 Kenseth
2 Juan Pablo Montoya
3 Clint Bowyer
4 Kyle Busch
5 Marcos Ambrose
6 Vickers
7 Kahne
8 Jeff Gordon
9 Joey Logano
10 Jamie MacMurray

Idealistic Sport show #1 4/5/13

To access this show, go to and link to the FeedPlayer with multiple stream/share/download options. Or go to

Introductory show as I talk about my interest in individual sports including my essay on original baseball stats, plus analysis and predictions of these events: 
Boxing: 2 bouts in tonight’s ESPN2 coverage of Friday Night Fights 4/5/13
Horse racing: Santa Anita Derby & Wood Memorial 4/6/13

Analysis but no predictions of these:
NASCAR Sprint Cup series at Martinsville for 4/7/13

I will have 2 WTA (tennis) finals of tournaments covered on my blog on 4/7/13, along with early analysis of The Masters before the first round of play by 4/10/13 

Music from: 
Blue Sour
the matthew show
The Pinz
Late Cambrian

NASCAR Kobalt Tools 400 stats and prediction

NASCAR Sprint Cup series visits Las Vegas Motor Speedway today for the Kobalt Tools 400. Here are the pertinent stats:
Joe Nemechek is 0/14 in race wins here, while Bobby Labonte is 0/15.
Top 10 watch: Greg Biffle is 6 of 9; Denny Hamlin 4 of 7; Ryan Newman 6 of 12; Mark Martin 10 of 15; Tony Stewart 9 of 14; Jeff Burton 8 of 15; Carl Edwards 4 of 8; Jimmie Johnson 6 of 11.
Ken Schrader has not led a lap here out of 2678 laps. Ditto for Jamie McMurray after 2671 and Casey Mears after 2290. Neither of these have won here either.
Top 5 average finish position: Jimmie (9.8), Carl Edwards (10.2), Jeff Burton (10/9), Matt Kenseth (12.5), Marcos Ambrose (12.8)

Jeff Burton has kept his car running at finish in all 15 races here, missing the lead lap in just one race. Carl Edwards, tho, is perfect in 8 races finishing on the lead lap.

Adjusting for both today’s starting grid and average start/finish in prior races run here, here’s how I see the top 10:
1 Denny Hamlin

2 Clint Bowyer
3 Jimmie Johnson
4 Kevin Harvick
5 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
6 Martin Truex, Jr.
7 Kasey Kahne
8 Tony Stewart
9 Greg Biffle
10 Paul Menard