2014 NASCAR Duck Commander 500 analysis

Fort Worth TX is the next stop for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, as drivers take on the 1.5 mile Texas Motor Speedway. A fast 1.5 mile track is the best of all worlds to me. High banking, a tri-oval, not much room to breathe on the straightaway in back. Not as nerve-wrenching as Bristol, not quite the drama of the superspeedways like Talladega or Daytona, but a good combo of each type, in miniature. Here’s how the Sprint Cup drivers measure up:

Starts: Jeff Gordon makes his 27th start Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. make their 24th.
Wins: Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson have 3 wins here, Edwards 3-18. Winless: Kevin Harvick and Dave Blaney are 0-22. Jamie McMurray 0-20.

Top 5: Percentage-wise, the best here is Kenseth, 13-23, along with Jimmie, 10-21. Others: Greg Biffle 8-20, Kyle Busch 6-17. Carl Edwards 6-18, Denny Hamlin 5-16. Blaney is 0-22, David Gilliland and Brian Vickers 0-15.

Top 10: Kenseth again, 16-23 here, Jimmie 16-21. Others: Biffle 12-20, Hamlin and Clint Bowyer 9-16. Gilliland again outside the top 10 in all runs here, along with Travis Kvapil, who is 0-13.

Laps turned without win: Harvick 7345, McMurray 6466, Casey Mears 6296, Blaney 5916.

Laps led without victory: Martin Truex Jr. 231, Brad Keselowski 139, Bowyer 84, McMurray 70.

Best gains in starting position per race, 3 start minimum: Danica Patrick, generally running in the back of her 3 races, gains 9 positions. Kvapil 8.7, Kenseth 7.3, Harvick 8.8,
Running at finish: Harvick is perfect through 22 races here. Other perfectos: Mears through 19, Kyle Busch through 17, Denny Hamlin through 16.

Lead lap finishes: Kenseth 19-23, Jimmie 18-21. These two dominate percentagewise. Hamlin 12-16.
Top 10 prediction:
1 Harvick
2 Stewart
3 Keselowski
4 Hamlin
5 Larson
6 Biffle
7 Edwards
8 Bayne
9 Kurt Busch
10 Newman

IndyCar/NASCAR prediction for 3/30/14

IndyCar begins its season today in St. Petersburg FL, with the Firestone Grand Prix. Here I’ll examine how the active drivers for the race have done on this old street course in the past.
Starts/Wins: Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon have raced all 9 IndyCar events. Amazingly, neither have a victory, nor does Marco Andretti with 8. James Hinchcliffe managed a win in 2 starts, and Helio Castroneves 3 in 8 tries.

Top 5: Kanaan is 7-9m Helio 6-8, Hinchcliffe 2-2. Scott Dixon is 4-9.

Most laps without victory: Dixon 833, Kanaan 814, Marco 602. Fewest: Hinchcliffe, 210.

Most laps led without victory: Dixon 94, Justin Wilson 70. Everyone else has under 30.Notably, Graham Rahal led 19 laps total toward his lone victory here.

Best gain in position per race, 3 race minimum: Charlie Kimball averages 5.6.

Running at finish: Graham Rahal, Wilson and Dixon all are perfect through 6 races.
Lead lap finish: Justin Wilson is perfect through 6.

Predicting the top 5:
1 Kanaan
2 polesitter Takuma Sato
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay
4 Carlos Munoz
5 Will Power
Now to Martinsville for the NASCAR Sprint Cup:

Jeff Gordon, starting in row 3, leads active drivers with his 43rd start here today. Joe Nemech, starting last, makes start number 38. Nemechek is still waiting on win #1 here. Also: Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle are 0-22, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth 0-28, Kasey Kahne 0-20.
Gordon is 8-42 here, with Jimmie Johnson an impressive 8-24, and Denny Hamlin a more impressive 4-16, Tony Stewart is 3-29.
Top 5: These drivers score in this category over 50% of the time: Gordon 27-42, Jimmie 17-24, Hamlin 9-16. Nemechek is 0-37, Biffle 0-22, Casey Mears 0-21
Top 10: More over 50%: Gordon 34-42, Jimmie 21-24, Tony Stewart 15-29, Dale Jr 15-28, Hamlin 13-16, McMurray 12-22, Clint Bowyer 10-16, Kyle Busch 9-18, Brad Keselowski 5-8. David Gilliland 0-15; Travis Kvapil 0-16; David Reutimann 0-14, Reed Sorenson 0-12, Paul Menard 0-13.

Laps turned without victory: Nemechek 14224, followed by Kenseth 13901, Dale Jr 13877, Biffle 10804, McMurray 10378.

Most laps led without victory: Dale Jr, 868, Kyle Busch 465, Kenseth 371, Bowyer 307, McMurray 117, Nemechek 116.
Best average gain in position per race, 3 race minimum:
Keselowski leads here, with a 6.7 gain. Jimmie is 5.7 , Kenseth 5.3

Running at finish: Gordon is perfect through 42. Biffle is next with 22, Carl Edwards with 19.
Lead lap finishes: Jimmie is 23-24. Keselowski is 7-8. Hamlin and Bowyer 14-16,
Top 10 prediction:
1 Jimmie
2 Hamln
3 Kenseth
4 Kyle Busch
5 Gordon
6 Logano
7 Edwards
8 Keselowski
9 Stewart
10 Bowyer

NASCAR Auto 400 analysis

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series returns to California and the Auto Club Speedway for the Auto Club 400. It’s the 5th race scheduled for 400 miles. Kyle Busch aims to get his 3rd victory at this track, and just the 2nd for Toyota. Kyle’s race last year saw just 17 lead changes, fewest of any competition here for a full race.

Starts: Jeff Gordon makes his 25th start, most among actives. Next up are Joe Nemechek in his 24th, Tony Stewart his 23rd.
Wins: All 10 active drivers with at least 1 win are in the field. Jimmie Johnson is 5-19, tremendous show of dominance at Fontanta. Also notable: Jeff Gordon 3-24, Matt Kenseth 3-21, Kyle Busch 2-16, Carl Edwards 1-16. Nemechek, starting 42nd, still looking for win #1. Also winless: Dale Earnhardt Jr 0-21, Ryan Newman 0-19.
Top 5: Jimmie is 12-19 here, very strong numbers. Also around 50%: Carl Edwards 8-16, Kyle 7-16. Casey Mears is 0-17 here, David Gilliland 0-12.

Top 10: JJ again, 14-19. Also over 50%: Kenseth 14-21 (pole), Carl Edwards 13-16, best % of the field; Tony Stewart 12-22, Kyle Busch 11-16, Kurt Busch 10-20, Kasey Kahne 10-17, Clint Bowyer 7-13. Among those still seeking a top-10 finish: Gilliland 0-12, Travis Kvapil 0-11.

Laps without win: Dale Jr has gone 4601 laps without victory. Also up on this list: Newman 4104, Jamie McMurray 4072, Nemechek 4053.
Laps led: JJ’s 851 laps led led this category. Kevin Harvick’s 61 laps is the smallest amount leading to a victory. Nemechek has 92 laps led without victory, Denny Hamlin 76, McMurray 57, Brian Vickers 45.
Best gain in position per race, 3 race minimum: Kenseth gains 9.5 spots per race, Edwards 10.4, David Ragan 6.3, Gilliland 5.1, Kvapil 6.1
Running at finish: Jeff Gordon 22-24. Perfect scores: Kenseth through 21, Kurt Busch through 20, Jimmie through 19, McMurray through 18.
Lead lap finish: Jimmie is perfect through 19, only driver with perfect record here. Kenseth is 19-21. No one else is truly consistent as these two.

Top 10 prediction:
1 Kenseth
2 Edwards
3 Jimmie
4 Harvick
5 Bowyer
6 Gordon
7 Keselowski
8 Stewart
9 Logano
10 Kyle Larson

2014 Food City 500 analysis

Nothing like racing in a bathtub..the .533 Bristol is like no other, with the high-banked pavement taking up much of the surface. There are neat storylines about, including the feud between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano, along with the lead for first separated by one point between Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Brad Keselowski. Kurt Busch won the Nationwide event on Saturday. Can he pull a double? I’ll investigate these as we dig into the Bristol history for active drivers:
Jeff Gordon, starting 6th, makes his 43rd start at Bristol, 3rd among active drivers. Joe Nemecheck,starting 42nd, is in for start #36. Tony Stewart in 37th, makes his 30th start.
Wins: 11 active drivers in the field have won at Bristol. In terms of win percentage, Kyle Busch is 5-18 (.277). Brother Kurt is 5-26.Keselowski is 2-8. Nemecheck has yet to win in 35 starts. Ryan Newman is 0-24.
Top 5: Gordon is 16-42, 38% clip. Also high percentage here: Matt Kenseth 11-28 (.392), Kevin Harvick (.346), Kyle Busch 8-18 (.444), Keselowski 3-8 (.375). Nemecheck hasn’t found top 5 in 35 starts, nor Travis Kvapil or David Gilliland in 15 starts.
Top 10: Gordon again, 23-42 (.547). Also over 50%: Kenseth (18-28), Dale Jr. (14-28), Kurt Busch (14-26), Jimmie Johnson & Ryan Newman (13-24), Kyle Busch (12-18, a stellar .666), Greg Biffle (12-22), Clint Bowyer (
Laps turned without victory: Nemechek (suprise) with 11765. After this, we have Newman (11251), Biffle (10830), McMurray (10750), Casey Mears (9194)
Laps led without victory: Biffle 438, Logano 144, Bowyer 132, Brian Vickers 127. On the flip side, Kurt Busch’s 5 wins came from 895 laps, which itself is equivalent to 3.36 total races here.
Best gain in position relevant to starting position, 3 race minimum: Kyle Busch 9.7, Dale Jr. 10.1, Kvapil 7.5

Running at finish: Best perfect record belongs to McMurray, through 22 races. Also perfect: Kyle Busch (18), Paul Menard (13), AJ Allmendinger (11).

Lead lap finish: Dale Jr. is 23-28 (82%). Also notable: Kenseth (20-28), Harvick (18-26), Biffle (18-22), Kyle Busch (14-18). Clint Bowyer (11-16)
Here’s my Top 10:
1 Kyle Busch
2 Hamlin
3 Kenseth
4 Keselowski
5 Dale Jr.
6 Ambrose
7 Biffle
8 Kurt Busch
9 Carl Edwards
10 Jimmie


Last week’s top 10 finished this way, 16,6, 23, 15, 4,5,41,14,2,13. All 10 ran to the finish, with Harvick the only driver of my 10 not to go the full 267 laps. Of those 267, my top 10 led 153 of them.

At 3pm ET today, NASCAR features the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, your basic 1.5 mile track.

Jeff Gordon will make his 17th start here, most of any driver. Tony Stewart in his 16th.
Just 6 active drivers have won here. Jimmie Johnson is 4-12 (.333), Kenseth 3/14 (.214), Carl Edwards 2/9 (.222), Kyle Busch 1/10 (.1), Tony Stewart 1/15, Gordon 1/16. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is winless in 14, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick are 0/13.
19 active drivers have a top-5 record here. Most impressive is Matt Kenseth, 6/14, and Jimmie, 5/12, along with Carl Edwards 4/9, Kyle Busch 4/10 Casey Mears has never reached the top 5 in 10 runs, nor has Martin Truex Jr in 8.
Top 10: Despite just one win, Tony Stewart has the best % for top 10 runs, going 9/15. Also at least 50% here: Dale Jr (7/14, Jimmie 7/12, Kenseth 7/14, Greg Biffle 6/10, Kasey Kahne 5/10, Carl Edwards 5/9, Kyle Busch 5/10, Denny Hamlin 4/8. David Gilliland has yet to find the top 10 in 7 starts.
Laps run: Harvick has turned 3487 laps without a victory, leading this field. Other ohfers: Kurt Busch 3364, Dale Jr 3312, Ryan Newman 3262, Jamie McMurray 2938, Kasey Kahne 2562.
Laps led without victory: Dale Jr leads this category, with 232, followed by Kahne at 172, Biffle at 115, Newman with 98. Kenseth’s 513 laps led out of 3360 run here lifetime, 15% is the best ratio of active drivers. Carl Edwards’ 2 wins have come while leading 160 laps.
Avg finish to start gain in position, 3 race minimum: Harvick gains 8.4 positions per race, sporting an average finish of 12.7. Among those gaining at least 5 spots: Kenseth 5.6, Hamlin 7.0, Dale Jr 5.5, Trevor Bayne 8.4 (averages a 17th place finish tho), Paul Menard 6.7. Casey Mears 5.7, Gilliland 5.3, David Ragan 7.0.

Running at finish: Harvick is perfect in 13, as is Jimmie in 12, McMurray in 11, Casey Mears in 10.
Lead lap finish: Carl Edwards has the only perfect record, always on the lead lap in 9 races. Those with one blemish include Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano.

Putting this together, and reading through the starting grid, here’s how I see the top 10:

1 Austin Dillon
2 Jimmie
3 Bowyer
4 McMurray
5 Logano
6 Edwards
7 Harvick
8 Truex
9 Dale Jr.
10 Vickers
Looking back to last week, here’s how my predicted top 10 ranked:6th, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 17th, 10th, 1st, 9th, 20, 39th (engine). 9 of my top 10 finished running, and 9 finished on the lead lap, and lead 298 of the 312 laps.

Sprint Cup series at Sonoma Raceway (analysis)

I’m all for having more diversity with regard to racing. Different distances, different cars, different tpes of courses, be it off-road, endurance or your classic road course.  I would love to see a road course, maybe even two, be part of the playoffs that NASCAR calls The Chase.   
This week, one such road course, at Sonoma Raceway, is where the Sprint Cup cars run. Here are the stats for this event:

9 active drivers have wins here. Jeff Gordon (5) and Tony Stewart (2) are the only ones with more than one. Drivers without wins here include the Labonte brothers, Jeff Burton, and Michael Waltrip. 

Top 10s: Gordon dominates, with 16 top-10s in 20 races. Mark Martin 13-21, Tony Stewart 9-14. Joe Nemecheck 0-16, Dale Earnhardt Jr 0-13, Dave Blaney 0-12.

Laps turned without victory: Bobby Labonte 1992, Jeff Burton 1927, Terry Labonte 1868. 
Laps led without victory: Denny Hamlin 48, Terry Labonte & Marcos Ambrose 46.

Best average finishing position: Gordon 8.6, Clint Bowyer 9.7, Stewart 10.9, Martin 11.9, Ambrose 12.8.

Running at finish: Martin 20-21, Waltrip perfect through 19, Gordon 19-20, Burton 18-19. Matt Kenseth perfect through 13.
Lead lap finish: Martin 19-21, Gordon 18-20, Waltrip 17-19. Ryan Newman perfect in 11.

Here’s my top 10:

1 Bowyer
2 Carl Edwards
3 Greg Biffle
4 Jamie McMurray (pole)
5 Kenseth
6 Juan Pablo Montoya
7 Ambrose
8 Kyle Busch
9 Casey Mears
10 Jeff Gordon

Stats: http://www.racing-reference.info

NASCAR/Formula 1 racing analysis & prediction for today’s events

Woke up too late, (and in much too much tooth pain) to cover the men’s final at the French Open, but I have enough time (and enough tooth remedies) to give you info on two racing events set for this afternoon.

At the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, it’s the Canadian Grand Prix for Formula 1 drivers.
Wins: 4 active drivers have wins here: Lewis Hamilton with 3, and Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen with 1 each. Mark Webber is 0-10, and Felipe Massa is 0-9. Amazingly, Hamilton has his 3 wins in just 5 races here.

Top 5: Raikkonen dominates this category, with 6 top-5’s in 9 races. Alonso is 4-10, Sebastien Vettel 3-4. Nico Rosberg has no top-5’s in 6 races.

Laps turned without victory: Webber-633, Massa-601, Rosberg-351.

Laps led without victory: Vettel-90, Webber-22.

Average finishing position, 3-race minimum: Vettel-4.5, Raikkonen-6.0, Webber-9.0

Running at finish: Webber is 9-10, Raikkonen 8-9. Vettel is perfect in 4 races.

Lead lap finishes: Raikkonen 7-9, Webber 6-10, Rosberg 5-6. Again, Vettel is perfect in 4.

Top 5 prediction:
1 Sergio Perez
2 Vettel
3 Jean-Eric Vergne
4 Webber
5 Nico Hulkenberg
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series heads to Long Pond, PA and the ‘tricky triangle’, a crew chief’s nightmare in car setup with it’s 3 distinct corners.

Wins:Jeff Gordon leads with 6, Denny Hamlin has 4, Bobby Labonte 3, and Bobby’s bro Terry is one of five drivers with 2 wins. Still waiting for their first: Mark Martin 0-52, Michael Waltrip 0-47, Ken Schrader 0-44.
Top 10: Martin 34-52, Gordon 28-40, Tony Stewart 20-28, Jimmie Johnson 15-22. No top 10’s yet: David Reutimann and David Gilliland are 0-12.

Laps turned without victory: Martin-9490, Waltrip 8145, Schrader 8019, Jeff Burton 7117.

Laps led without victory: Martin 448, Schrader 212, Brian Vickers 159, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 151.

Average finishing position: Jimmie-9, Gordon-10.2, Hamlin-10.7, Martin 11.1, Stewart 11.3.

Running at finish: Terry Labonte 47-54, Martin 45-52, Schrader 39-44, Waltrip 37-47. Matt Kenseth is perfect through 26.

Lead lap finishes: Martin 43-52, Jeff Gordon 33-40, Jeff Burton 28-38, Kenseth 23-26. Joey Logano is perfect in 8 races.

Top 8 prediction:
1 Carl Edwards
2 Clint Bowyer
3 Harvick
4 Jimmie
5 Kenseth
6 Keselowski
7 Dale Jr.
8 Gordon

Stats: http://www.racing-reference.info