Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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Update: Kansas (Spring)

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Two weeks ago when Ryan Blaney narrowly missed out on his third pole of the season at Richmond International Raceway, he wondered what he was going to have to do to finally get to lead the field to green. It turned out to be simple; one just has to go faster than the second-place qualifier, which he did by 9/1000ths of a second over Joey Logano in time trials for the GoBowling.com 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Starting on the front row has not been a good omen for Blaney, however. He crashed out of Richmond’s race to finish 36th. He was 23rd at Phoenix International Raceway and 12th at Texas Motor Speedway following his previous season-best starts and in each of those cases, place-differential points played a huge role in his overall value. Every driver likes to think that a pole gives them momentum entering a race. It certainly provides a better pit stall than normal and could contribute to a top-10 finish, but it is hard to recommend the first-place starter unless one thinks they will lead a lot of laps in the first stage.

In the case of Blaney, that is unlikely. Logano has much more experience on this track and is liable to get around the No. 21 in the opening stages of the GoBowling.com 400. When he started on the front row in spring 2014 and 2015, he scored top-five finishes. He won back-to-back fall races in those same years and would enter this weekend with a seven-race streak of top-fives if not for an accident last year. Of the two front row starters, Logano has much better odds to lead laps and offset his potential negative place-differential.

The big story once again was inspection. Twelve cars failed to make it through the laser platform including some notable names. Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Erik Jones, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. highlight the list and will be forced to line up 29th through 33rd respectively. The hidden good news is that they have now become much better overall values because of the potential to gain positions during the race. Since so many of them failed to pass inspection, their pit selections will not be as bad as they could be—thanks to David Ragan, Michael McDowell, Landon Cassill, Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie, Timmy Hill, and Carl Long starting behind them.

With a Saturday night race, NASCAR made practice and qualification a one-day affair.

Drivers and teams tried to balance their duties as best they could, so the first one-hour session was spent mostly on short runs. The 10-lap averages that are most important to fantasy players did not come until the afternoon in a 90-minute session.

Johnson topped that chart with a speed of 181.513 mph, so he has the long run durability to help him get to the front. It is unlikely he will earn many stage points, but he should be in contention for a top-10 when the flag man reaches back for the checkers.

Kevin Harvick had the second quickest time with a 181.139 average. He was one of the favorites heading into this weekend on the strength of a second-place finish last spring and victory in the fall. He was likely a beneficiary of several top drivers failing to post a qualification lap and rolls off the grid eighth, which is three spots better than where he started en route to his win last year.

The speed charts were topped by Martin Truex Jr. in the morning session and Kyle Busch in the afternoon.

The best overall performance on the combined chart below goes to Truex with his third-place qualification and top-three efforts in both practices. Blaney is second, with Busch landing third.
  

Start

Driver

Qual Speed

Practice 1
Rank

Final Practice
Rank

Avg.
Rank

           

3

Martin Truex Jr.

      189.201

1

3

2.3

1

Ryan Blaney

      189.600

2

4

2.3

5

Kyle Busch

      188.495

8

1

4.7

9

Kyle Larson

      187.950

7

2

6.0

14

Matt Kenseth

      187.983

4

6

8.0

8

Kevin Harvick

      188.252

5

13

8.7

17

Brad Keselowski

      187.826

13

5

11.7

10

Chase Elliott

      187.493

10

15

11.7

6

Kurt Busch

      188.495

14

16

12.0

12

Jamie McMurray

      186.884

18

8

12.7

2

Joey Logano

      189.540

16

23

13.7

16

Trevor Bayne

      187.865

9

19

14.7

4

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      188.851

19

22

15.0

32

Erik Jones

              -  

3

12

15.7

29

Jimmie Johnson

              -  

11

7

15.7

33

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

              -  

6

9

16.0

13

Aric Almirola

      188.075

21

14

16.0

11

Austin Dillon

      187.240

22

17

16.7

7

Denny Hamlin

      188.285

12

31

16.7

30

Clint Bowyer

              -  

17

11

19.3

15

Daniel Suarez

      187.970

15

28

19.3

22

Ty Dillon

      186.123

23

18

21.0

19

Ryan Newman

      187.663

20

24

21.0

31

Kasey Kahne

              -  

24

10

21.7

18

Paul Menard

      187.722

26

21

21.7

24

Danica Patrick

      184.603

29

20

24.3

21

AJ Allmendinger

      186.864

27

25

24.3

20

Chris Buescher

      186.884

28

26

24.7

23

Matt DiBenedetto

      185.548

32

29

28.0

35

Michael McDowell

              -  

25

 

30.0

36

Landon Cassill

              -  

30

26

30.7

25

Gray Gaulding

      184.055

35

32

30.7

26

Cole Whitt

      181.311

33

35

31.3

34

David Ragan

              -  

31

30

31.7

27

Jeffrey Earnhardt

      178.141

38

38

34.3

28

Derrike Cope

      174.899

39

37

34.7

37

Reed Sorenson

              -  

34

34

35.0

38

Corey LaJoie

              -  

36

33

35.7

39

Timmy Hill

              -  

37

36

37.3

40

Carl Long

              -  

 

39

39.5

 

10-Lap Averages

 

10-Lap Averages

 

Avg

Practice 1

 

Final Practice

 

Rank

                 

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

 

1

Jimmie Johnson

  181.513

 

1.0

1

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

      182.216

 

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 

 

1.0

 

Kevin Harvick

 

 

2

Kevin Harvick

  181.139

 

2.0

 

Denny Hamlin

 

 

3

Denny Hamlin

  181.044

 

3.0

 

Kyle Larson

 

 

4

Kyle Larson

  180.817

 

4.0

 

Martin Truex Jr.

 

 

5

Martin Truex Jr.

  180.781

 

5.0

 

Ryan Blaney

 

 

6

Ryan Blaney

  180.761

 

6.0

 

Clint Bowyer

 

 

7

Clint Bowyer

  180.733

 

7.0

 

Danica Patrick

 

 

8

Danica Patrick

  180.640

 

8.0

 

Erik Jones

 

 

9

Erik Jones

  180.583

 

9.0

2

Chase Elliott

      181.400

 

18

Chase Elliott

  179.641

 

10.0

 

Brad Keselowski

 

 

10

Brad Keselowski

  180.516

 

10.0

 

Joey Logano

 

 

11

Joey Logano

  180.462

 

11.0

 

Daniel Suarez

 

 

12

Daniel Suarez

  180.224

 

12.0

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

 

13

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

  180.038

 

13.0

 

Kasey Kahne

 

 

14

Kasey Kahne

  179.953

 

14.0

 

Kurt Busch

 

 

15

Kurt Busch

  179.941

 

15.0

 

Aric Almirola

 

 

16

Aric Almirola

  179.912

 

16.0

 

Austin Dillon

 

 

17

Austin Dillon

  179.869

 

17.0

 

Ty Dillon

 

 

19

Ty Dillon

  179.530

 

19.0

 

Matt DiBenedetto

 

 

20

Matt DiBenedetto

  177.470

 

20.0

3

Gray Gaulding

      175.470

 

 

Gray Gaulding

 

 

NM

 



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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