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Statistically Speaking

NASCAR’s Adjusted Average Finish

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: May 24, 2019, 4:44 pm ET

A driver’s finishing position is critical to fantasy players. The bulk of points are earned by where one crosses under the checkered flag, but it is not the only scoring metric employed by fantasy games.

One of the critical scoring components in the Draft Kings game is place-differential points and this week we will play around with how those relate to a driver’s average finishing position.


Kurt Busch tops the adjusted average finish charts.

His consistency has been so great overall (with a worst of 13th since the series rolled out of Daytona) that his season average result of 8.83 is the second-best in the field. His qualification effort on the other hand, has not been something that anyone would get excited about.

With an average start of 17.08, Busch has added an average of 8.25 points per game in Draft Kings. He’s lost place-differential points only twice this year. One of these came in the Daytona 500 after he suffered crash damage and lost more than 10 laps. The other time he finished worse than he started was at Richmond Raceway when he had an uncharacteristically good showing in time trials and rolled off the grid second.

Subtract the average improvement from Busch’s average finish and one is left with a near perfect .058, which makes him one of the best values each and every week.

It should come as little surprise that his brother Kyle Busch has the second-best adjusted finish. His 7.08 average is by far the best in the field and if not for the mistake he made at Kansas while driving over his head, he might top this chart.

Kyle has finished worse than he started only twice in 12 races. Last week’s 22-position drop to 30th skewed his average by quite a bit, but he still has an average improvement of 5.42 positions. Another mitigating factor is that Kyle qualifies much better than Kurt with five efforts that landed him on the first three rows this year. That doesn’t provide a lot of margin for improvement.

The importance of place-differential points can be seen with Joey Logano. He has the third-best average finish of 8.92, but has lost more than 11 points on two occasions by finishing worse than he started. That puts Logano only fifth on this chart.

Moreover, Logano has failed to capitalize on two occasions when he could have added a lot of place-diff points. He qualified 27th at Atlanta Motor Speedway but climbed only four spots before the end. Last week when he started 30th at Kansas Speedway, he finished 15th. That does not bode well for this week’s race on the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On the other end of the spectrum are the drivers one would expect.

Notably, Daniel Hemric has qualified quite well on a number of occasions with top-10 starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Talladega Superspeedway. He won the draft lottery at ‘Dega and finished fifth, but in the other two races he lost 18 spots at Vegas and 26 at Texas.

That pattern of finishing worse than he started is deeply ingrained. In 12 races, Hemric has improved only twice and with an average drop of six positions, his adjusted average is 29.75.

Ryan Blaney is one of the marquee drivers who need to be watched closely. His average fall through the ranks rivals Hemric at -5.42. In addition, his average finish of 17.92 is not nearly good enough to overcome this deficit. Blaney has finished worse than he started nine times this year, but that’s not the worst news. Six of those disappointing races have come since Texas, which is a six-race period he would like to forget.

Starting 19th this week should help him improve his adjusted average, but then again he should have been able to move up through the field at Richmond when he started 22nd. Instead, he finished 25th.

William Byron will not want to read this after winning the pole. He has been so good in qualification with six previous efforts that landed him on the first four rows that he has been destined to fall back in race trim. He’s lost an average of 4.25 position per race to give him an adjusted average of 20.83.

By comparison, Ross Chastain has been a better value with an improvement of five spots and an adjusted average of 23.17. One of the things making him a better value is that he has not shown the same kind of flash as Byron and therefore has not commanded nearly as high a price in the Draft Kings game.

 

Adjusted Average Finish

Driver

Avg.
Fin

Avg.
Start

Starts

+/-
spots

Adjusted
avg.

Kurt Busch

8.83

17.08

12

8.25

0.58

Kyle Busch

7.08

12.50

12

5.42

1.67

Martin Truex Jr.

11.08

16.58

12

5.50

5.58

Chase Elliott

10.08

12.42

12

2.33

7.75

Joey Logano

8.92

9.92

12

1.00

7.92

Brad Keselowski

10.42

11.92

12

1.50

8.92

Daniel Suarez

14.33

19.00

12

4.67

9.67

Denny Hamlin

10.25

9.42

12

-0.83

11.08

Erik Jones

14.25

17.08

12

2.83

11.42

Ryan Newman

15.42

17.75

12

2.33

13.08

Clint Bowyer

12.50

11.08

12

-1.42

13.92

Kevin Harvick

11.08

8.25

12

-2.83

13.92

Aric Almirola

14.42

12.75

12

-1.67

16.08

Jimmie Johnson

15.08

13.67

12

-1.42

16.50

Alex Bowman

14.25

11.92

12

-2.33

16.58

Kyle Larson

16.42

15.67

12

-0.75

17.17

Austin Dillon

15.25

11.25

12

-4.00

19.25

Ty Dillon

19.92

20.42

12

0.50

19.42

Paul Menard

16.83

14.08

12

-2.75

19.58

Chris Buescher

20.33

20.83

12

0.50

19.83

Ryan Preece

22.00

23.83

12

1.83

20.17

William Byron

16.58

12.33

12

-4.25

20.83

Ross Chastain

28.17

33.17

12

5.00

23.17

Ryan Blaney

17.92

12.50

12

-5.42

23.33

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

18.58

13.08

12

-5.50

24.08

Corey LaJoie

26.17

28.00

12

1.83

24.33

Matt Tifft

28.58

30.17

12

1.58

27.00

Matt DiBenedetto

24.17

21.25

12

-2.92

27.08

David Ragan

25.00

21.17

12

-3.83

28.83

Daniel Hemric

23.75

17.75

12

-6.00

29.75

Landon Cassill

31.08

31.00

12

-0.08

31.17

Bubba Wallace

27.08

21.58

12

-5.50

32.58

Michael McDowell

27.67

22.25

12

-5.42

33.08

Cody Ware

34.33

34.22

9

-0.11

34.44

 

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.