Loading scores...
Kyle Busch
Getty Images
Statistically Speaking

Joe Gibbs Racing vs. Team Penske

by Dan Beaver

Last year much of the season was dominated by drivers the media designated the Big 3. Through 15 races of 2019, the focus shifts and the storylines every week seem to revolve around two organizations that are standing head and shoulders above the rest.

The three Team Penske drivers have combined for five wins and 18 top-fives. Joe Gibbs has nine wins and 25 tops fives, which seems to give them an advantage, but as with most statistics – it isn’t that cut and dried. Considering the fact that Gibbs has one more driver in their four-man stable than Penske, the number of top-fives per entry is remarkable similar at 6.25 for Gibbs and 6.00 for Penske.

Currently Joey Logano has the points’ lead. Kyle Busch is second in the standings with Brad Keselowski third. Martin Truex Jr. sits sixth in the standings and Denny Hamlin is seventh; both drivers have wins. Ryan Blaney is ninth and fairly comfortably in playoff contention, leaving only Erik Jones as the odd-man out in 18th without a victory.

Gibbs takes a slight advantage in terms of average finishing result with an 11.13 to Penske’s 11.51. Between the two organizations, they field about 19 percent of a typical field, however, and all of them will not fit on a roster or allow one to manage their salary cap appropriately, so know fantasy players want to dig a little deeper and see exactly how each driver stacks up against another.

Joey Logano vs. Kyle Busch

Even though Logano has the points lead, this matchup has to go in Busch’s favor. His four victories combine with five Stage wins to give him a fairly sizeable playoff bonus advantage of 25 to Logano’s 16. There is another bonus that goes to the points’ leader at the end of the regular season, but it’s impossible to start counting that unhatched chicken.

One of the negatives surrounding Busch is the fact that he often races over his head and makes catastrophic mistakes. That is what happened at Kansas several weeks ago and his 30th-place finish in the Digital Ally 400 kept him from taking sole possession of the record for the most top-10s to begin a season. He rebounded and finished in the top five during the next three weeks, giving him an almost perfect record in that regard.

By comparison, Logano has been less consistent. He also has only one finish outside the top 20, but he has been 15th or worse on three other occasions to give him a top-10 percentage of .733 compared to Busch’s .933.

Brad Keselowski vs. Martin Truex Jr.

In this head-to-head comparison, Keselowski has the advantage.

Keselowski’s average finish through the first 15 races is slightly worse than 10th and with his 10.13, he is a full position ahead of Truex’s 11.47.

Both drivers have three wins. Both have also struggled with consistency, but the lows seem to be much lower for Truex than Kez. Truex has two sub-30th-place results with a 35th in the Daytona 500 and again two weeks ago at Pocono Raceway. Kez has one at Texas Motor Speedway.

It is the recent lack of consistency for Truex, however, that most hurts his fantasy relevance. Since winning his first race of the year at Richmond Raceway, he has alternated sub-15th-place results with two more victories and a third. In that same span of seven races Keselowski also has four top-10s to his credit, but he’s finished just outside that mark on two other occasions, which gives him only one sub-15th-place result.

Ryan Blaney vs. Erik Jones

Based on their points’ position, this rivalry should easily fall to Blaney. Then again, nothing is easy in Fantasy NASCAR.

One expects less consistency from Young Guns than the seasoned veterans and in this case, it is best to concentrate on their ability to occasionally rack up solid runs – in the hope that a player has them activated at the right time. Both Blaney and Jones have four top-fives to their credit. At six to five, Jones holds the advantage in top-10s while Blaney has one more top-15 (nine) than his opponent.

Both Blaney and Jones have four results of 25th or worse in 2019, which undoubtedly shredded the lineup of any player unlucky enough to have them activated during those weeks.

Blaney scored three consecutive top-fives at the start of the season. But that was actually a double-edged sword since he finished 25th or worse in two of the next three races after getting players excited. Jones has back-to-back top-10s on two occasions, but no consecutive top-fives.

While tempted to say this one is too close to call, we’ll let the average finish in the first 15 races break the tie and give Jones a slight advantage with his 16.33 compared to Blaney’s 16.60.

 

Driver

Avg.
Finish

Wins

Top-fives

Top-10s

Top-15s

Segment
Wins

 

 

Kyle Busch

6.27

4

9

14

14

5

Denny Hamlin

10.47

2

6

9

11

1

Martin Truex Jr.

11.47

3

6

9

10

2

Erik Jones

16.33

0

4

6

8

0

 

 

Joey Logano

7.80

2

8

11

12

6

Brad Keselowski

10.13

3

6

8

11

4

Ryan Blaney

16.60

0

4

5

9

2

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.