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Statistically Speaking

2015 Forecast: Logano, #1

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Conventional wisdom holds that a driver has to lose one championship before he can win one. Last year Joey Logano entered the Ford EcoBoost 400 with a one-in-four chance to claim the Cup, but he had fierce competition from Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin—and his own nerves. This year the nerves should be more readily controlled and Logano will fare much better if he is in the same situation.

Regardless of whether Logano wins the championship, he needs to be considered one of the best fantasy values for the entire season. Along with Harvick, teammate Brad Keselowski, and Jeff Gordon, he was one of the four best values from the drop of the green flag at Daytona International Speedway last year until the checkers waved at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

If it seemed that he was one of the drivers in contention to win nearly every week, that is because he was—and he actually took the trophy home five times on a wide variety of tracks. Logano won on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile Kansas and Texas Motor Speedways, the short tracks of Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, plus the flat one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

When he wasn’t gracing Victory Lane, he had it in sight. Logano finished sixth or better in more than half of his starts. He was not infallible with a couple of accidents, a blown engine, a broken hub, and broken rear gear contributing to sub-20th-place finishes, but those disappointments were few and far between.

Often change is good for everyone involved and Logano’s 2014 season was similar to that of Matt Kenseth’s 2013 campaign. That is the year Kenseth took over the No. 20 ride and it is telling that both are still considered top-10 competitors this season.

While Logano is a threat everywhere, fantasy owners might wish to compare his results with Keselowski to find the sweet spot. Both ran well on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks where the majority of the organization’s effort is placed. That will continue in 2014 and if a player can manipulate their salary cap so that both Penske pilots are on board, they will dominate certain weekends.

Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway are Logano’s best tracks in terms of average finishes, but a quick glance at the chart below shows that he also has considerable skill on the flat tracks of Martinsville Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Richmond. The minimally banked corners make these course drivers’ tracks, so Logano is developing into a well-rounded racer.

 

Avg. Finish

Starts

Track

Best Finish

2014 race 1 finish

2014 race 2 finish

10.00

12

Charlotte Motor Speedway

3

12

4

12.25

4

Kentucky Speedway

4

9

 

12.33

6

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

4

4

 

13.83

12

Dover Downs International

3

8

4

14.00

12

Martinsville Speedway

2

4

5

14.92

12

Michigan International Speedway

1

9

3

15.08

12

Phoenix International Raceway

3

4

6

15.33

6

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

5

5

 

15.42

12

Richmond International Raceway

1

1

6

15.83

6

Sonoma Raceway

6

16

 

16.50

6

Watkins Glen International

5

6

 

16.58

12

Pocono Raceway

1

40

3

16.83

6

Chicagoland Speedway

4

4

 

17.92

13

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

1

40

1

17.92

13

Texas Motor Speedway

1

1

12

18.33

12

Bristol Motor Speedway

1

20

1

18.38

8

Auto Club Speedway

3

39

 

19.75

12

Daytona International Speedway

3

11

17

19.82

11

Kansas Speedway

1

4

1

19.92

12

Talladega SuperSpeedway

3

32

11

20.00

6

Homestead - Miami Speedway

8

16

 

21.50

8

Atlanta Motor Speedway

2

14

 

23.00

6

Darlington Raceway

9

35

 

 

 

Previous Forecasts

#2 Jeff Gordon
#3 Kevin Harvick
#4 Brad Keselowski
#5 Jimmie Johnson
#6 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
#7 Kyle Larson
#8 Matt Kenseth
#9 Jamie McMurray
#10 Denny Hamlin 

Dan Beaver
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.