Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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3. Jimmie Johnson

Monday, January 30, 2017


Jimmie Johnson won the championship in 2016, but he came a long way from having a dominant season and was not a top fantasy choice every week. His average finish of 13.97 was only 10th-best among fulltime drivers and with an average start of 12.06, he lost place-differential points as often as he gained them. Johnson was not even dominant in the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but when the checkers were in sight, he dug deep to win his seventh title and tied Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty in the record books.

The nature of the points’ structure since the advent of the 10-race playoff meant that drivers only had to run well in certain races. Once a driver won, the pressure was off for the remainder of the regular season and if he could win pivotal races during the playoffs, he did not need to record consecutive top-10s. That was good news for Johnson fans, because he earned three or more consecutive top-10s only twice during the year with his best effort being four straight in September/October.

Johnson won the second race of the year at Atlanta Motor Speedway, added one more three weeks later at Auto Club Speedway, and then three during the playoffs. One win came in round two. One win came in round three—or else he might not have had an opportunity to win the Cup at Homestead.

Johnson has shown an ability to adjust to the new rules, however, and that is why he has been so solid during the past decade. He will have to race differently in 2017 because everyone will need to do so and the persistent bonus points that go along with segment wins and victories will insure no one gets to take it easy during any stage of any race. Johnson might already have a good feel for that, in fact. No one knows how driver and team strategies might have differed in 2016 with this set of rules, but Johnson would have earned the fifth-most points if they had been awarded at the quarter and half-race mark last year. He would have scored seven segment wins—which was fourth-best—and those bonus points would likely have gotten him to the finale.

Johnson is great on every track type, but he is at his best on unrestricted, intermediate speedways that traditionally have held playoff races. It is too early to suggest he will win an eighth championship, but he is likely to be an even better and more consistent choice next year based on the overall strength of Hendrick Motorsports.

Victories: Atlanta, Auto Club, Charlotte (fall), Martinsville (fall), and Homestead
Top-fives: 11 (.305)
Top-10s: 16 (.444)
Top-15s: 22 (.611) 

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Best
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Atlanta Motor Speedway

2.00

10.68

1

25

16

1

 

Homestead - Miami Speedway

7.00

12.79

1

14

10

1

 

Texas Motor Speedway

7.17

8.37

1

27

20

4

11

Sonoma Raceway

8.67

12.47

1

15

9

13

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

9.83

14.17

1

30

17

23

7

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

10.67

14.60

1

15

7

3

 

Richmond International Raceway

11.00

16.03

1

30

12

3

11

Auto Club Speedway

11.33

6.50

1

22

16

1

 

Chicagoland Speedway

11.67

9.47

2

15

10

12

 

Kansas Speedway

12.33

8.86

1

21

17

17

4

Dover Downs International

13.00

9.53

1

30

21

25

7

Michigan International Speedway

15.00

16.43

1

30

12

16

6

Martinsville Speedway *

15.17

7.30

1

30

24

9

1

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

15.83

10.50

1

30

20

12

8

Phoenix International Raceway

16.14

8.96

1

27

19

11

38

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

16.67

10.93

1

15

9

3

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway +

16.83

12.58

1

31

19

3

1

Kentucky Speedway

17.00

11.50

3

6

5

32

 

Pocono Raceway

17.50

10.57

1

30

19

35

15

Daytona International Speedway

17.50

17.50

1

30

14

16

35

Darlington Raceway

18.33

10.39

1

18

12

33

 

Talladega Superspeedway

18.67

17.30

1

30

11

22

23

Watkins Glen International

26.00

15.40

3

15

8

40

 

Inactive Tracks

Homestead - Miami Speedway - old

 

16.50

8

2

1

 

 

North Carolina Speedway

 

23.20

2

5

2

 

 

 

+ Top-five sweeps
* Top-10 sweeps

4. Kyle Busch 
5. Chase Elliott 
6. Brad Keselowski 
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 
8. Matt Kenseth 
9. Denny Hamlin 
10. Kyle Larson 
11. Martin Truex Jr. 
12. Carl Edwards
13. Kasey Kahne 
14. Kurt Busch 
15. Erik Jones 
16. Ryan Blaney 

2016 Profile: Jimmie Johnson 
2015 Profile: Jimmie Johnson 

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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