Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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Restrictor-plate superspeedway

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Restrictor-plate, superspeedway races are among the most popular with NASCAR’s fans.

Among fantasy players, they have a much different reputation.

Any event in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series can be unpredictable. Engines and parts fail, drivers and teams make mistakes, and weather occasionally tosses a monkey wrench into the gears, but the plate tracks add two more uncertain variables to the equation: The "Big One" crash and the capriciousness of the draft.

Multi-car accidents encompassing more than two or three vehicles happen on other tracks, but they are not the norm. On plate tracks, the tight drafting pack makes this much more likely. Miscalculating the draft can be just as serious to a driver’s finish. If he pulls out at the wrong time and does not have help, he can fall from challenging for the lead to 25th or greater in the span of a half-lap.

For that reason, the best strategy on this course type is often to spread the wealth around. Do not take any driver who is more predictable on other courses and do not overspend on marquee teams. Dark horses are just as likely to score top-10s such as Michael McDowell did in the summer Daytona race or AJ Allmendinger’s three top-15s last year.

Still, there are a few drivers who seem to do particularly well on plate tracks. Austin Dillon swept the top 10 in four races held at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega SuperSpeedway with a best of third in the spring event in Alabama. And that record is confirmed by his career record on the two tracks: He swept the top 15 as a rookie and scored three of four results in that range as a sophomore.

Kyle Busch might have joined him at the top of the charts last year if he and most of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates had not decided to ride around in the back of the pack to stay out of trouble. The No. 18 team entered the fall ‘Dega duel with three consecutive results of third or better that included runner-up finishes in two events.

Busch’s second-place results were scored behind Brad Keselowski. He won the Geico 500 at Talladega and Coke Zero 400 in the middle of the season and was the only driver to earn trophies in multiple races on this course type. He was joined in Victory Lane by his Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano, to give the organization three plate wins. Logano also finished sixth in the Daytona 500 and fourth in the Coke Zero 400.

Denny Hamlin rounded out the winners last year. His Daytona 500 victory over Martin Truex Jr. provided the closest finish in NASCAR history and secured his spot in the playoffs. Hamlin did not need to run well in the next two plate races—and he didn’t—but when the pressure was back in the fall, he finished third and advanced to the next round of the playoffs.

Clutch finishes such as Hamlin’s suggest there is a lot more strategy than most admit to. There are drivers who seem to have a knack for stepping up when needed, but a fantasy player could go broke trying to determine who they will be.

Victories:
Brad Keselowski: Talladega (spring), Daytona (summer)
Denny Hamlin: Daytona (spring)
Joey Logano: Talladega (fall) 

 

Restrictor-plate, superspeedways

Driver

Avg.

Talladega 2

Daytona 2

Talladega 1

Daytona 1

Austin Dillon

7.00

9

7

3

9

Joey Logano

9.00

1

4

25

6

Kyle Busch

9.25

30

2

2

3

Kurt Busch

11.25

4

23

8

10

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

12.00

5

5

16

22

Kyle Larson

12.00

6

6

29

7

Denny Hamlin

13.00

3

17

31

1

Ryan Blaney

13.25

11

14

9

19

Trevor Bayne

14.50

17

3

10

28

AJ Allmendinger

14.50

10

13

14

21

Brad Keselowski

15.00

38

1

1

20

Aric Almirola

15.50

8

15

27

12

Michael McDowell

15.50

16

10

21

15

Kevin Harvick

16.25

7

39

15

4

Clint Bowyer

16.75

18

9

7

33

Ryan Newman

17.75

14

18

28

11

Jamie McMurray

18.50

19

34

4

17

Greg Biffle

19.25

15

8

20

34

Martin Truex Jr.

21.00

40

29

13

2

Tony Stewart

21.33

32

26

6

 

Landon Cassill

21.50

21

31

11

23

Matt Kenseth

23.25

28

28

23

14

Paul Menard

23.25

13

36

26

18

Brian Scott

23.25

2

37

30

24

Jimmie Johnson

24.00

23

35

22

16

Cole Whitt

24.33

 

11

18

44

Ty Dillon

25.00

 

 

 

25

Regan Smith

25.75

25

38

32

8

David Ragan

25.75

24

16

34

29

Danica Patrick

26.50

20

27

24

35

Casey Mears

29.00

39

12

33

32

Kasey Kahne

29.25

35

30

39

13

Michael Annett

29.50

33

20

38

27

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

32.33

 

21

40

36

Reed Sorenson

34.00

37

22

 

43

Alex Bowman

36.00

36

 

 

 

Josh Wise

41.33

 

41

41

42

 

Previous Track Type Profiles

1.5-mile doglegs 
Short Tracks 
Short, Flat Tracks 
Road Courses 
Two-mile Tracks 

2016 restrictor-plate, superspeedways 

 



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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