Loading scores...
Statistically Speaking

CampingWorld.com 500 Stats

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

This week’s race: CampingWorld.com 500
Traditional Name: None
Other Notable Names: The Profit on CNBC 500, Subway Fresh Fit 500

Short, flat tracks are nearly as prevalent on the NASCAR schedule as the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile courses, so winning or losing one’s fantasy league comes down to mastery of this type.

Also one-mile in length, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is the closest comparative to Phoenix International Raceway except that it has been weathered by icy cold winters instead of blistering hot summers. Martinsville Speedway is a little sister to these two courses, while Richmond International Raceway could be classified a number of ways. With its minimal banking and three-quarter mile length, it provides some data for the pool.

As with all tracks, it is ultimately a driver’s record on this one course that makes the most difference. Last year three drivers swept the top five on this course, another finished fourth in the spring and sixth in the fall, while nine racers in total swept the top 15. Short, flat tracks are rhythm courses and once a driver finds the perfect groove, they can lay down consistent fast laps.

Phoenix is not a place that is prone to dark horses. It takes experience to get around this course but as with all tracks that do not demand the greatest horsepower, a driver can make the difference. Ten active drivers have won races on this track and that number would likely be much greater if not for the exploits of Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. They combine for 10 victories in the past 18 races, which has not left very many opportunities for the competition.

The CampingWorld.com 500 is wedged between the unrestricted, intermediate speedways of Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. In two weeks, the series rolls into Virginia for another short, flat track race, and then it’s back to the West to visit Texas Motor Speedway. On the heels of that, another pair of short tracks including the minimally-banked Richmond course, are featured so fantasy players need to make decisive and aggressive roster moves during the next six weeks.

10 best drivers at Phoenix

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

1. Kevin Harvick
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 3.17
Career avg. finish: 11.4 in 24 attempts

With the exception of the 2013 Subway Fresh Fit 500, it would be nearly impossible to describe Harvick’s record at Phoenix as anything short of perfect. He won four of the last six races and finished second in another. In most cases he was dominant to a level rarely seen in modern NASCAR.

2. Brad Keselowski
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 5.50
Career avg. finish: 14.6 in 11 attempts

Keselowski has not been nearly as strong as Harvick during the past three years, but he has been more consistent and deserves the second position on any fantasy player’s roster. Since the start of 2012, Kez has finished between third and 11th in every race on this track and should have a perfect set of notes from which to work.

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 9.00
Career avg. finish: 16.1 in 25 attempts

To have such a strong three-year average, Earnhardt actually struggled in 2012 with two results outside the top 10. His last four efforts have ended in results of second through eighth, which rivals him with Keselowski. A strong practice this weekend could tip the scale in his favor.

4. Denny Hamlin
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 9.67
Career avg. finish: 11.0 in 19 attempts

Hamlin was the undisputed master of the short, flat tracks until recent years. Two of his last three Phoenix results fell outside the top 15, but it finally appeared he regained his rhythm last fall. He won the pole for the Quicken Loans 500 and finished fifth en route to a berth in the championship round. That should restore his poise and player’s confidence in his ability.

5. Greg Biffle
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 11.00
Career avg. finish: 13.8 in 22 attempts

Biffle—the entire Roush-Fenway Racing organization, for that matter—is not the first to come to mind on short, flat tracks, but that creates an opportunity for fantasy players. Biffle earned only one top-five in his last six races on this track and has top-10s in 50 percent of those starts, but he has consistently finished on the lead lap and 17th or better.

6. Jeff Gordon
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 11.33
Career avg. finish: 11.0 in 32 attempts

Gordon’s average finish during the past three years is even more impressive when one remembers his run-in with Clint Bowyer in 2012. He has not won on this track since 2011, but he was one of the drivers who swept the top five last year and remains a solid pick to do so again—if he can have a weekend that is completely unmarred by bad luck.

7. Matt Kenseth
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 12.00
Career avg. finish: 16.6 in 25 attempts

Kenseth would rival his former teammate Biffle for consistency if not for a 23rd in the fall 2013 race. Otherwise, he has been perfect in regard to top-15s dating back to his final season as a Roushketeer. The problem is that with Hamlin and Kyle Busch’s notes in the Joe Gibbs Racing playbook, he should have more than two top-10s in the past two years at Phoenix.

8. Carl Edwards
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 12.17
Career avg. finish: 12.2 in 21 attempts

With victories in 2010 and 2013 to snap long winless streaks, Phoenix has become a special place for Edwards. It would be a fitting place for him to get his first Joe Gibbs Racing win, and as previously noted that organization has a great set of notes from which to work.

9. Joey Logano
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 13.67
Career avg. finish: 15.1 in 12 attempts

Logano has two disappointing finishes in his last six Phoenix attempts. He crashed and retired seven laps from the end of his final race with Gibbs and finished outside the top 25 in his first Penske start. His last three efforts have all ended in top-10s, however, so look for him to move up this grid before the fall Phoenix race.

10. Jimmie Johnson
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 14.33
Career avg. finish: 7.7 in 23 attempts

Like Logano, Johnson’s last six races on this track have been marred by misfortune. He crashed in the 2012 and 2014 fall races when he could ill-afford bad results if he wanted to be champion, but fantasy players need to remember that he once scored 10 consecutive top-fives that included four victories between 2006 and 2011. He’s capable of winning anywhere NASCAR races.

Others of Note

11. Kasey Kahne
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 15.17
Career avg. finish: 18.0 in 21 attempts

Kahne has never been particularly consistent at Phoenix, but he scored consecutive top-10s with Red Bull Racing in 2011 and the fall race ended in victory. Since joining Hendrick Motorsports, he has failed to score back-to-back top-10s there although he continues to be an occasionally strong value. He finished second in the fall 2013 race and tends to run better in the second event than he does in spring.

15. Kyle Larson
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 16.50 in 2 starts
Career avg. finish: 16.5 in 2 attempts

Larson has made only two starts at Phoenix, but he could start moving up this ranking following his third. He qualified eighth for both events last year before finishing 20th in the spring and 13th in the fall. As he gets progressively comfortable with the flat track, he should crack the top 10.

19. Jamie McMurray
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 20.67
Career avg. finish: 20.8 in 23 attempts

This week will be a test for how much improvement Chip Ganassi Racing has undergone in the past two years. McMurray swept the top 15 last year and earned a rare top-10 in the spring. That is one of only three times in 23 attempts that he finished that well, but one has the sense it will not be his last.

20. Martin Truex Jr.
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 21.33
Career avg. finish: 17.7 in 18 attempts

Traditionally, Truex has lacked the kind of consistency fantasy players want and that makes him a fill-in pick most weeks. He has gotten off to one of the strongest starts of his and Furniture Rows’ histories and needs to keep that momentum. He has scored back-to-back top-10s twice in his career with the most recent coming in 2009. If he finishes that well again this week, it will be his second consecutive top-15 on this course.

24. Casey Mears
Last six races average finish at Phoenix: 25.17
Career avg. finish: 26.0 in 21 attempts

Like Truex, Mears is off to a better start than usual and he needed to dig deep and find his first career top-10 on this track. His last two spring attempts ended in 14th-place finishes, so he is on the right course if he can get some track position during the final pit stop. 

 

Three-year average finish

Rank

Driver

3-Year Avg. Finish

Attempts

1.

Kevin Harvick

3.17

6

2.

Brad Keselowski

5.50

6

3.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

9.00

6

4.

Denny Hamlin

9.67

6

5.

Greg Biffle

11.00

6

6.

Jeff Gordon

11.33

6

7.

Matt Kenseth

12.00

6

8.

Carl Edwards

12.17

6

9.

Joey Logano

13.67

6

10.

Jimmie Johnson

14.33

6

 

11.

Kasey Kahne

15.17

6

12.

Ryan Newman

15.67

6

13.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

15.75

4

14.

Aric Almirola

15.83

6

15.

Kyle Larson

16.50

2

16.

Tony Stewart

17.00

5

17.

AJ Allmendinger

17.75

4

18.

Paul Menard

20.33

6

19.

Jamie McMurray

20.67

6

20.

Martin Truex Jr.

21.33

6

21.

Brian Vickers

22.00

2

21.

Regan Smith

22.00

2

23.

Clint Bowyer

22.83

6

24.

Casey Mears

25.17

6

25.

Danica Patrick

29.40

5

25.

Travis Kvapil

29.40

5

27.

David Gilliland

29.67

6

28.

Michael Annett

30.00

2

29.

David Ragan

30.67

6

30.

Austin Dillon

31.00

2

31.

JJ Yeley

31.20

5

32.

Reed Sorenson

32.00

3

33.

Justin Allgaier

32.67

3

34.

Landon Cassill

34.67

6

35.

Michael McDowell

35.40

5

36.

Cole Whitt

36.33

3

37.

Alex Bowman

36.50

2

38.

Mike Bliss

37.50

4

39.

Josh Wise

38.50

6

 

 Exercise Caution

Most caution flags: 12, 2014 Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500
Fewest caution flags: 2, 1999 Checker Auto Parts / Dura Lube 500
Average number of caution flags per race: 7.4

Final Caution, last five races:
November 2014: 298 of 312: 2-car accident in turn 4 (Reed Sorenson and Mike Wallace)
March 2014: 298 of 312: (fluid from Kurt Busch)
November 2013: 287 of 312: debris
March 2013: 311 of 316 (to set up a green-white-checker): 1-car accident (Ken Schrader)
November 2012: 312 of 319 (to set up green-white-checker): 4-car accident (Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, and Aric Almirola)

Most caution laps: 66, 2003 Checker Auto Parts 500
Fewest caution laps: 10, 1999 Checker Auto Parts / Dura Lube 500
Average number of caution laps per race: 39.4

Leading the way

Most leaders: 15, 2012 Subway Fresh Fit 500
Fewest leaders: 2, 1990 Checker 500k
Average number of leaders: 8.2

Most lead changes: 28, 2011 Subway Fresh Fit 500
Fewest lead changes: 1, 1990 Checker 500
Average number of lead changes: 13.9

Victory Lane

Last five winners (starting position):
November 2014: Kevin Harvick (third)
March 2014: Kevin Harvick (13th)
November 2013: Kevin Harvick (ninth)
March 2013: Carl Edwards (15th)
November 2012: Kevin Harvick (19th)

Worst starting position for race winner: 29th, Ricky Rudd: 1995 Dura Lube 500

A race at Phoenix has been won by the pole sitter 4 times and from the front row 7 times in 37 races.

Recent races won from the pole:
November 2010: Carl Edwards, Kobalt Tools 500
April 2009: Mark Martin, Subway Fresh Fit 500
November 2008: Jimmie Johnson, Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 by Pennzoil
April 2007: Jeff Gordon, Subway Fresh Fit 500

Active winners at Phoenix:
Kevin Harvick: 6
Jimmie Johnson: 4
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 2
Carl Edwards: 2
Jeff Gordon: 2
Kurt Busch: 1
Kyle Busch: 1
Denny Hamlin: 1
Kasey Kahne: 1
Matt Kenseth: 1
Ryan Newman: 1
Tony Stewart: 1

First time winners at Phoenix:
Bobby Hamilton, 1996 Dura Lube 500
Alan Kulwicki, 1988 Checker 500

Running at the End

The following active drivers have been running at the end of every Phoenix race they started:
Tony Stewart (25)
Kevin Harvick (24)
Denny Hamlin (19)
Paul Menard (16)
AJ Allmendinger (11)
Aric Almirola (8)
Sam Hornish Jr. (8)
Ron Hornaday Jr. (6)
Justin Allgaier (3)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4)
Michael Annett (2)
Austin Dillon (2)
Kyle Larson (2)
Ty Dillon (1)
Brian Scott (1)

Jimmie Johnson had been running at the end of his first 22 races until his crashed last fall.

Great Starts

Active drivers with top-10s in their first start on this track:
Tony Stewart: first (1999)
Kasey Kahne: fifth (2004)
Kyle Busch: eighth (2005)

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.