Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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Pure Michigan 400 Stats

Friday, August 11, 2017


This week’s race: Pure Michigan 400
Traditional Name: Yankee 400
Other Notable Names: Carfax 400, 3M Performance 400, GFS Marketplace 400, Pepsi 400, DeVilbiss 400, GM Goodwrench Dealer 400, Champion Spark Plug 400

In recent years, Michigan International Speedway has become one of the most consistent tracks in terms of who challenges for victory. Chase Elliott has done so in every race joined NASCAR. Kyle Larson won the last two.

Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, and a handful of others have long top-10 streaks that make them favorites in fantasy NASCAR games and these drivers are salted throughout the valuation list. Setting a roster for the Pure Michigan 400 is not necessarily going to be easy, but it is not impossible.

10 best drivers at Michigan

Over the past six races, these drivers have the best average finish on this track.

1. Chase Elliott
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 2.00 (3 starts)
Career avg. finish: 2.0 in 3 attempts

One would think an average finish of 2.0 would make a driver very, very happy. Instead, Elliott is down on himself for failing to win each of those races. He has come close every time but has not yet gotten the hang of restarts. Then again, neither did the former driver of the No. 24 Jeff Gordon—so maybe it’s not Elliott’s fault.

2. Joey Logano
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 4.83
Career avg. finish: 17.5 in 18 attempts

If the battle comes down to Logano and Elliott, the driver who wants it more is going to take it. That gives the edge to the No. 22 team because Logano has to take the checkers in order to be part of the playoffs. In head-to-head competition, he beat Elliott in spring 2016.

3. Brad Keselowski
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 7.67
Career avg. finish: 10.5 in 16 attempts

No matter how good it would be for the organization, if Keselowski has a chance to beat Logano on Sunday he is going to take the spot. This is his hometown track and it stings a little that Keselowski is still waiting for his first win at Michigan.

4. Kevin Harvick
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 9.50
Career avg. finish: 13.0 in 34 attempts

He’s not going to give it to him, but Harvick probably has some advice for Logano about finishing second. Harvick has been the bridesmaid five times in the past nine races and has two more top-fives. His most recent outing was a 14th this spring, so he was thinking fond thoughts of second.

5. Jamie McMurray
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 9.83
Career avg. finish: 19.9 in 30 attempts

This was not always one of McMurray’s favorite tracks, but a switch flipped in 2015. Since then he has four top-10s and a 16th in his last five Michigan attempts and that makes him one of the best salary cap options this week.

6. Denny Hamlin
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 11.50
Career avg. finish: 11.8 in 24 attempts

Hamlin’s average would be much better if not for an accident in the 2016 FireKeepers Casino 400. He retired 12 laps from the end, but that is the only time he’s been worse than 11th in his last six races.

7. Kyle Larson (tied with Earnhardt)
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 13.00
Career avg. finish: 11.6 in 8 attempts

This could easily become Larson’s favorite track if he wins this weekend. To do so would give him three consecutive Michigan victories and a fourth consecutive top-five.

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (tied with Larson)
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 13.00
Career avg. finish: 15.0 in 35 attempts

Earnhardt has snapped long winless streaks at Michigan in the past and it is not inconceivable that he could do so again this week. His last six efforts on this two-miler have resulted in five top-10s and he would be among the top five if not for an accident last June that contributed to his missing the final portion of the 2016 season.

9. Ryan Newman (tied with Truex)
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 13.33
Career avg. finish: 12.8 in 32 attempts

Newman makes his way onto the top-10 list with consistency—like he almost always does. In the past six races he has only one top-10 and no top-fives, but has never finished worse than 18th. Expand the parameters, and he has a current top-20 streak at Michigan totaling 13 races.

9. Martin Truex Jr. (tied with Newman)
Last six races average finish at Michigan: 13.33
Career avg. finish: 15.5 in 24 attempts

Truex lacks some of the consistency of the drivers above him, but the biggest reason he is ninth on this list instead of among the top five is an accident in summer 2014 that is scheduled to age out of this six-race formula at the end of the Pure Michigan 400. 

 

Rank

Driver

Avg. Fin

Attempts

1.

Chase Elliott

2.00

3

2.

Joey Logano

4.83

6

3.

Brad Keselowski

7.67

6

4.

Kevin Harvick

9.50

6

5.

Jamie McMurray

9.83

6

6.

Denny Hamlin

11.50

6

7.

Kyle Larson

13.00

6

7.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

13.00

5

9.

Martin Truex Jr.

13.33

6

9.

Ryan Newman

13.33

6

 

11.

Matt Kenseth

13.50

6

12.

Paul Menard

13.67

6

13.

Kurt Busch

14.33

6

14.

Kasey Kahne

15.67

6

15.

Austin Dillon

16.17

6

16.

Jimmie Johnson

16.50

6

17.

Ryan Blaney

18.80

6

18.

Ty Dillon

19.33

3

19.

Trevor Bayne

21.33

6

20.

Aric Almirola

21.40

5

21.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

21.67

6

22.

AJ Allmendinger

22.50

6

23.

Danica Patrick

23.33

6

24.

Clint Bowyer

24.33

6

25.

David Ragan

26.17

6

26.

Kyle Busch

26.50

6

27.

Michael McDowell

27.00

2

28.

Cole Whitt

29.33

6

29.

Chris Buescher

30.33

3

30.

Landon Cassill

32.00

6

31.

Matt DiBenedetto

32.60

5

32.

Reed Sorenson

34.40

5

33.

JJ Yeley

35.33

3

34.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

36.33

3

 

 

 

 

 

Erik Jones

13.00

1

 

Daniel Suarez

24.00

1

 

Corey LaJoie

30.00

1


Exercise Caution

Most caution flags: 10, 2006 GFS Marketplace 400
Fewest caution flags: (0 three times), 1999 Kmart 400 by Castrol Super Clean, 1984 Champion Spark Plug 400, 1973 Motor State 400
Average number of caution flags per race: 5.2
In 2017: 9.1

Final Caution, last five races:
June 2017: Lap 192 of 200: five-car accident on the backstretch (Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, and Aric Almirola)
August 2016: Lap 188 of 200: Debris from Paul Menard
June 2016: Lap 190 of 200: 1-car accident on the frontstretch (Denny Hamlin)
August 2015: Lap184 of 200: 1-car spin in turn 4 (Jimmie Johnson)
June 2015: Lap 138 of 138: rain that shortened the race

Most caution laps: 78, 1969 Yankee 600
Fewest caution laps: 0 three times, 1999 Kmart 400 by Castrol Super Clean, 1984 Champion Spark Plug 400, 1973 Motor State 400
Average number of caution laps per race: 26.9
In 2017: 46.0

Leading the way

Most leaders: 15, 1982 Gabriel 400
Fewest leaders: 4, 2017 FireKeepers Casino 400
Average number of leaders: 9.3
In 2017 9.0

Most lead changes: 65, 1981 Champion Spark Plug 400
Fewest lead changes: 7, 1984 Champion Spark Plug 400
Average number of lead changes: 22.3
In 2017 18.8

Victory Lane

Last five winners at Michigan (starting position):
June 2017: Kyle Larson (1)
August 2016: Kyle Larson (12)
June 2016: Joey Logano (1)
August 2015: Matt Kenseth (1)
June 2015: Kurt Busch (24)

Worst starting position for race winner: Mark Martin 32nd 2009 LifeLock 400 (second-place Jeff Gordon started 27th and fourth-place Carl Edwards started 29th)

A race at Michigan has been won by the pole sitter 21 times and from the front row 29 times in 96 races.

Recent races won from the pole:
2017 FireKeepers Casino 400: Kyle Larson
2016 FireKeepers Casino 400: Joey Logano
2015 Pure Michigan 400: Matt Kenseth
2014 Pure Michigan 400: Jeff Gordon
2013 Pure Michigan 400: Joey Logano
2009 Carfax 400: Brian Vickers
2006 3M Performance 400 by Post-it Picture Paper: Kasey Kahne
2001 Kmart 400: Jeff Gordon

Active winners at Michigan:
Kurt Busch: 3
Matt Kenseth: 3
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 2
Denny Hamlin: 2
Joey Logano: 2
Ryan Newman: 2
Kyle Larson: 2
Kyle Busch: 1
Kevin Harvick: 1
Jimmie Johnson: 1
Kasey Kahne: 1

Top-10
All-time Winners at Michigan:
David Pearson: 9
Cale Yarborough: 8
Bill Elliott: 7
Mark Martin: 5
Rusty Wallace: 5
Richard Petty: 4
Bobby Allison: 4
Greg Biffle: 4
Dale Jarrett: 4
Davey Allison: 3
Kurt Busch: 3
Matt Kenseth: 3
Jeff Gordon: 3
Bobby Labonte: 3

Top-10
Two-mile track victories (Michigan and Auto Club):
David Pearson: 9
Cale Yarborough: 8
Jimmie Johnson: 7
Bill Elliott: 7
Jeff Gordon: 6
Mark Martin: 6
Matt Kenseth: 6
Rusty Wallace: 6
Greg Biffle: 5
Kyle Busch: 4
Bobby Allison: 4
Dale Jarrett: 4
Richard Petty: 4
Kurt Busch: 4

First time winners at Michigan:
2016: Kyle Larson, Pure Michigan 400
1991: Dale Jarrett, Champion Spark Plug 400

Running at the End

The following active drivers have been running at the end of every Michigan race they started:
David Ragan (21)
Brad Keselowski (16)
Aric Almirola (10)
Austin Dillon (10)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (9)
Cole Whitt (7)
Ryan Blaney (5)
Chris Buescher (3)
Ty Dillon (3)
Chase Elliott (3)
Erik Jones (1)
Corey LaJoie (1)
Daniel Suarez (1)

Danica Patrick had a streak of eight consecutive races in which she was running at the end until an accident 10 laps from the end of this spring’s Michigan race.

Great Starts

Active drivers with top-10s in their first start on this track:
Chase Elliott: 2 (2016 in both races and spring 2017)
Kasey Kahne: 2 (2004)
Ryan Newman: 5 (2001)
Reed Sorenson: 5 (2006)
Kyle Larson: 8 (2014)
Kyle Busch: 9 (2005)
Kevin Harvick: 10 (2001)

No one has earned a pole in their first start, but Ryan Blaney qualified fifth in 2015—the best among active drivers.

Current Streaks

At Michigan
Joey Logano, nine top-10s
Chase Elliott, three second-place finishes
Kyle Larson, three top-fives
Jamie McMurray, three top-10s
Denny Hamlin, two top-10s

On two-mile tracks (Michigan and Auto Club)
Joey Logano, 10 top-10s
Chase Elliott, five top-10s
Jamie McMurray, five top-10s
Kyle Larson, four top-fives
Martin Truex Jr., two top-10s
Kyle Busch, two top-10s

Brad Keselowski had nine top-10s entering this spring’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan; he finished 16th to snap the streak.

In 2017
Matt Kenseth, four top-10s
Daniel Suarez, four top-10s
Denny Hamlin, two top-fives
Martin Truex Jr., two top-fives
Kyle Larson, two top-10s
Clint Bowyer, two top-10s  
Erik Jones, two top-10s

 



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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