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Statistically Speaking

Duck Commander 500 Stats

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

This week’s race: Duck Commander 500
Traditional Name: Texas 500
Other Notable Names: NRA 500, Samsung Mobile 500, Samsung / Radio Shack 500, Harrah's 500, DirecTV 500, Primestar 500, Interstate Batteries 500

The quest for a second race at Texas Motor Speedway began before they even had their first date, but it took eight years to get that coveted spot on the calendar. In 2005, a fall race was added, which means fantasy owners have a decade of records with two events on this similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track.

Texans like to think that everything is a little bigger and better in their home state and by sheer force of will, that is often true. From the largest television screen on the back stretch to some big fights in the pits this track provides plenty of action.

When it was new to the circuit, Texas was a track often kind to dark horses. Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. got their first Cup wins on this course, while Ryan Newman and Elliott Sadler earned their second wins. Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne earned their third career wins, with Carl Edwards (fourth) and Greg Biffle (fifth) finding early success. All of those victories came in the first 11 events.

Following the spring 2006 race, the tide turned. In the 17 races that followed Joey Logano is the only driver to win at the beginning of his career when he scored his fourth career Cup win last spring. A couple of drivers, Edwards and Denny Hamlin, earned their 10th career victory, but everyone else who visited Victory Lane in the past eight and half years has been fairly long in the tooth.

Texas is no longer kind to dark horses.

10 best drivers at Texas

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

1. Jimmie Johnson  
Last six races average finish at Texas: 6.00
Career avg. finish: 9.1 in 23 attempts

Three of Johnson’s four Texas victories came in the past six races on this track. He also finished second in the spring 2012 event and sixth on one other occasion, but that was not enough to keep him out of trouble in the 2014 Duck Commander 500. He was hit by debris from a Dale Earnhardt Jr. accident and fell two laps off the pace to 25th.

2. Greg Biffle
Last six races average finish at Texas: 7.67
Career avg. finish: 14.6 in 22 attempts

If Biffle is going to lead the turnaround for Roush-Fenway Racing it should begin at Texas. From fall 2008 through spring 2013 he recorded 10 consecutive top-10s on this course with the overwhelming majority being top-fives. His last two fall attempts fell into the low teens, but statistically he is still one of the best bargains.

3. Joey Logano
Last six races average finish at Texas: 8.50
Career avg. finish: 17.9 in 13 attempts

Logano’s 2014 Duck Commander 500 victory was his third consecutive top-five finish and that streak is a big part of the reason he is among the top five in three-year average results this week. His Texas success is fairly recent, however, as he earned only one lead lap finish in his first eight attempts. He’s gone the full distance in his last five starts.

4. Matt Kenseth
Last six races average finish at Texas: 9.50
Career avg. finish: 8.9 in 25 attempts

Kenseth would be much higher on this list if not for damage sustained in the final laps of last fall’s AAA Texas 500. He was running in the top 10 when the No. 20 sustained damage in a four-wide battle on a restart. He finished 25th, which snapped an eight-race streak of finishes 12th or better.

5. Kyle Larson
Last six races average finish at Texas: 11.67 (3 starts)
Career avg. finish: 11.7 in 3 attempts

Larson was forced to miss last week’s Martinsville Speedway race because of tests following a fainting spell and now he has a lot of ground to make up in the points. His best way to earn an invitation to the Chase is to win and that is within the realm of possibility at Texas where he swept the top 10 last year.

6. Brad Keselowski
Last six races average finish at Texas: 11.83
Career avg. finish: 18.2 in 13 attempts

Like his current teammate Logano, it took a while for Keselowski to develop his rhythm at Texas. He failed to finish on the lead lap there a single time in his first eight starts while earning only one top-10. His second-place finish in fall 2012 was unexpected, but it kicked off a five-race streak in which Keselowski has gone the distance in every event.

7. Martin Truex Jr.
Last six races average finish at Texas: 12.00
Career avg. finish: 15.4 in 19 attempts

Truex owes his spot among the top 10 to consistency. He has finished on the lead lap in his last seven consecutive races and has a career-best of second in 2013 to boost his average. Last year he barely swept the top 20 in the No. 78, but he has so much more momentum this time around that he should get back inside the top 10.

8. Denny Hamlin
Last six races average finish at Texas: 12.40 (5 starts)
Career avg. finish: 10.8 in 18 attempts

Hamlin has never seriously struggled at Texas with a near perfect record of top-20s in all but one race. Recently, he has failed to be a great value, however. Hamlin swept Victory Lane in 2010, but he has not scored a top-five since. His last two fall attempts ended in top-10s and last spring’s Duck Commander 500 gave him another top-15.

9. Kevin Harvick (tied with Newman)
Last six races average finish at Texas: 13.83
Career avg. finish: 13.1 in 24 attempts

Harvick had an amazing end to his 2014 season and his runner-up finish at Texas is part of the story. Unfortunately, that was his first top-five on this track since fall 2009. Worse still, a blown engine in April left a bad taste in his mouth, but that is the only time in 24 career attempts that he was not running at the end of a race on the 1.5-mile track.

9. Ryan Newman (tied with Harvick)
Last six races average finish at Texas: 13.83
Career avg. finish: 18.9 in 23 attempts

The No. 31 team is appealing their penalty stemming from tire doctoring at Auto Club—and while it is unlikely they will prevail outright, occasionally the severity of fines gets lessened. For the moment Newman will have crew chief Luke Lambert on top of the pit box and the team will be going all out to get a victory and secure a spot in the Chase.

Others of Note

14. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (tied with Kahne)
Last six races average finish at Texas: 16.17
Career avg. finish: 14.6 in 25 attempts

Earnhardt earned his first career Cup win on this track in 2000. He scored two more top-fives in the next four races, but he would have to wait until fall 2013 to get a fourth such finish. Most of his recent attempts ended in top-10s, but a last-place result in last year’s Duck Commander 500 drops his average outside of the 10 best.

14. Kasey Kahne (tied with Earnhardt)
Last six races average finish at Texas: 16.17
Career avg. finish: 18.6 in 21 attempts

Kahne currently has the fifth-most points in Cup standings, but he can ill afford a bad finish in the Duck Commander 500. Most of his last six efforts were solid, but a 25th in fall 2012 and a crash-induced 38th last fall spoil his average.

17. Paul Menard
Last six races average finish at Texas: 17.17
Career avg. finish: 19.7 in 17 attempts

Three of Menard’s last six races ended on the lead lap. The good news is that all of them came in the past two seasons and even when he failed to complete the distance, he earned a 15th in fall 2013. His worst results in the past four events were a pair of 17ths, so fantasy owners can expect him to finish in that same range on Saturday night.

18. Aric Almirola
Last six races average finish at Texas: 17.83
Career avg. finish: 20.1 in 8 attempts

In his last six starts, Almirola has alternated one race in which he finished off the lead lap with two that saw him go the full distance. If the pattern holds, this is due to be another incomplete race, which will put him somewhere in the 20s as his high water mark.

32. David Ragan
Last six races average finish at Texas: 33.00
Career avg. finish: 26.0 in 17 attempts

Ragan is currently seeded 13th in the Chase rankings and he has done that despite having generally disappointing runs in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Last week’s fourth could turn his season around and if so, his record with Roush-Fenway Racing is more germane than his recent one with Front Row Motorsports. With Roush, he finished in the top 10 in two of his last three starts. 

 

Rank

Driver

3-Year Avg. Finish

Attempts

1.

Jimmie Johnson

6.00

6

2.

Greg Biffle

7.67

6

3.

Joey Logano

8.50

6

4.

Matt Kenseth

9.50

6

5.

Kyle Larson

11.67

3

6.

Brad Keselowski

11.83

6

7.

Martin Truex Jr.

12.00

6

8.

Denny Hamlin

12.40

5

9.

Kevin Harvick

13.83

6

9.

Ryan Newman

13.83

6

 

11.

Clint Bowyer

14.00

6

12.

Tony Stewart

14.20

5

13.

Carl Edwards

14.50

6

14.

Kasey Kahne

16.17

6

14.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

16.17

6

16.

Jamie McMurray

16.83

6

17.

Paul Menard

17.17

6

18.

Aric Almirola

17.83

6

19.

Kurt Busch

20.33

6

20.

Jeff Gordon

20.83

6

21.

AJ Allmendinger

22.00

4

21.

Justin Allgaier

22.00

2

23.

Austin Dillon

24.25

4

24.

Michael Annett

25.50

2

25.

Trevor Bayne

25.83

6

26.

Casey Mears

26.00

6

27.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

26.25

4

28.

Danica Patrick

28.00

5

29.

Cole Whitt

28.50

2

30.

David Gilliland

30.00

6

31.

Travis Kvapil

30.40

5

32.

David Ragan

33.00

6

33.

Landon Cassill

33.50

6

33.

Reed Sorenson

35.25

4

34.

Alex Bowman

37.00

2

34.

Josh Wise

37.00

6

34.

JJ Yeley

37.00

6

37.

Michael McDowell

37.50

6

38.

Mike Bliss

40.67

3

 

Exercise Caution

Most caution flags: 13, 2014 AAA Texas 500
Fewest caution flags: 2, 2012 Samsung Mobile 500
Average number of caution flags per race: 7.8

Final Caution, last five races:
November 2014: 336 of 341: 1-car spin in turn 3 (Jeff Gordon)
April 2014: 334 of 340 (to set up green-white-checkered): debris
November 2013: 257 of 334: debris
April 2013: 315 of 334: debris
November 2012: 331 of 335 (green-white-checkered): two-car accident (Mark Martin, Carl Edwards)

Most caution laps: 73, 1997 Interstate Batteries 500
Fewest caution laps: 10, 2012 Samsung Mobile 500
Average number of caution laps per race: 39.9

Leading the way

Most leaders: 17, 2000 DirecTV 500
Fewest leaders: 4, 2009 Dickies 500
Average number of leaders: 10.4

Most lead changes: 33, 2010 AAA Texas 500
Fewest lead changes: 13 (2 times), 2009 Dickies 500, 2007 Samsung 500
Average number of lead changes: 22.4

Victory Lane

Last five winners (starting position):
November 2014: Jimmie Johnson (third)
April 2014: Joey Logano (10th)
November 2013: Jimmie Johnson (third)
April 2013: Kyle Busch (pole)
November 2012: Jimmie Johnson (pole)

Worst starting position for race winner: 31st, Matt Kenseth: 2002 Samsung / Radio Shack 500

A race at Texas has been won by the pole sitter 3 times and from the front row 6 times in 28 races.

Recent races won from the pole:
April 2013: Kyle Busch, NRA 500
November 2012: Jimmie Johnson, AAA Texas 500
April 2006: Kasey Kahne, Samsung / Radio Shack 500

Active winners at Texas
Jimmie Johnson: 4
Carl Edwards: 3
Greg Biffle: 2
Denny Hamlin: 2
Matt Kenseth: 2
Tony Stewart: 2
Kurt Busch: 1
Kyle Busch: 1
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 1
Jeff Gordon: 1
Kasey Kahne: 1
Joey Logano: 1
Ryan Newman: 1

First time winners at Texas:
Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2000 DirecTV 500
Jeff Burton: 1997 Interstate Batteries 500

Running at the End

The following active drivers have been running at the end of every Texas race they started:
Casey Mears (21)
Kyle Busch (19)
Denny Hamlin (18)
Brad Keselowski (13)
Aric Almirola (8)
Danica Patrick (5)
Austin Dillon (4)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4)
Kyle Larson (3)
Justin Allgaier (2)
Michael Annett (2)
Cole Whitt (2)

Matt Kenseth failed to finish his first race in 2000, but has been running at the end of the last 24.
Trevor Bayne had been running at the end of his first nine races until he crashed last fall.

Great Starts

Active drivers with top-10s in their first start on this track:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: first (2000)
Kasey Kahne: second (2004)
Kurt Busch: fourth (2001)
Jimmie Johnson: sixth (2002)
Tony Stewart: sixth (1999)
Denny Hamlin: seventh (2005)
Kevin Harvick: seventh (2001)
Jamie McMurray: 10th (2003)

 

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.