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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: Talladega 500
Other Notable Names: Geico 500 , Good Sam Club 500, Amp Energy Juice 500, UAW-Ford 500, EA Sports 500, DieHard 500

Restrictor-plate, superspeedways are among the toughest track types on the circuit for drivers to achieve and maintain streaks. So much can go wrong on them that drivers do not normally experience. In addition to the regular maladies of single car accidents, broken suspension parts, and blown engines, Talladega SuperSpeedway is host to "Big One" crashes and the erratic nature of the draft.

Multi-car accidents can take out more than half of the field in one fell swoop. Losing the draft can drop a driver 20 positions in a single lap, and making the wrong move in the run to the checkers can be just as critical. This week the best driver on average has a result of 12.8. The driver with the ninth- and 10th-best average finishes during the most recent six races sits worse than 15th—and they both are in desperate need of a good run.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. almost certainly needs to win in order to advance to the next round and Matt Kenseth is in even more dire circumstances.

10 best drivers at Talladega

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

1. Martin Truex Jr.
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 12.83
Career avg. finish: 20.5 in 21 attempts

Truex ascends to the top spot this week despite having only one top-five finish in his last six starts. The good news is that came this May when he crossed under the checkers fifth after starting 36th. His best asset at the moment is that he has finished on the same lap as the leaders in 10 of the last 11 ‘Dega duels.

2. Ryan Blaney
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 13.00 (2 starts)
Career avg. finish: 13.0 in 2 attempts

With only two starts under his belt at Talladega, fantasy owners might be inclined to discount Blaney’s second-place ranking this week, but his worst result of 22nd in this race last year would still make him a reasonable value in most games. His fourth this May after fighting a passel of veterans made him one of the best points’ earners in the field.

3. Ryan Newman
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 13.33
Career avg. finish: 20.4 in 27 attempts

Newman finished 23rd or worse in six races entering the 2012 fall Talladega event, but despite sustaining crash damage on the last lap that year, he scored a ninth-place finish. He crashed and finished 32nd in the next race, but has earned three top-10s in the last four efforts on this track type. The balance is tipped in his favor.

4. Jimmie Johnson
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 14.00
Career avg. finish: 16.9 in 27 attempts

Two solid runs are responsible for Johnson’s inclusion in the top five this week. He finished fifth in the 2013 spring event and was second earlier this year. His most recent fall race effort ended outside the top 20, which makes him an all-or-nothing pick entering this weekend.

5. Kevin Harvick (tied with Bowyer)
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 14.50
Career avg. finish: 15.3 in 29 attempts

Even a 40th-place finish in the 2013 spring race is not enough to drop Harvick from the top five. That is because his last three ‘Dega duels all ended in top-10s. The significant point in that statistic is that all of these strong runs were made in a Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet.

5. Clint Bowyer (tied with Hamlin)
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 14.50
Career avg. finish: 15.3 in 19 attempts

Bowyer entered the spring’s Geico 500 with eight top-10s in his most recent 10 Talladega races. He hovered around the back of the pack that weekend, but when it came time to punch the button he could not go and his 30th-place finish in that event almost dropped him from the top five in regard to the six-race average.

7. Sam Hornish Jr. (tied with Allmendinger)
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 15.00 (2 starts)
Career avg. finish: 29.9 in 11 attempts

Hornish was disappointed when he did not get a chance to qualify in the fall 2013 Camping World RV Sales 500 and he was forced to wait almost two years to show he would have been strong in that race. This spring he qualified among the top 12 and advanced to sixth in the final rundown.

8. AJ Allmendinger (tied with Hornish)
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 15.00 (3 starts)
Career avg. finish: 26.3 in 13 attempts

One strong run is enough to get drivers profiled this week and Allmendinger’s came in the spring 2014 Aaron’s 499. His fifth-place effort that week is his only top-15, but it is part of a four-race streak of races in which he finished on the lead lap.

9. Matt Kenseth
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 15.50
Career avg. finish: 18.8 in 32 attempts

No one wanted to come to Talladega in a must-win situation. That is why Kenseth was willing to race aggressively enough at the end of last week’s Hollywood Casino 400 to raise Joey Logano’s ire. It was a calculated decision and his logical nature is part of what makes Kenseth so strong. He does not make many mistakes in the draft, but winning this week is still going to be difficult.

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 16.17
Career avg. finish: 15.1 in 31 attempts

Earnhardt is the most recent winner at Talladega when he earned the victory in the spring Geico 500. That was his second win on a plate track in 2015, but it is a long way from the four consecutive wins he scored from 2001 through 2003. Like Kenseth he needs another victory to advance comfortably to the next round of the playoffs, but he might also qualify if there is enough carnage among the other Chasers.

Others of Note

15. Denny Hamlin
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 19.00
Career avg. finish: 18.5 in 19 attempts

Five of the top six drivers in points this week fall outside of the top 10 in regard to the six-race, average finish. The biggest problem is that only Logano has the cushion he needs to advance based on a victory and everyone else is in jeopardy. Sitting 18 points ahead of the cutoff with six drivers between him and that mark makes Hamlin the most likely to run conservatively this week.

21. Jeff Gordon
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 20.50
Career avg. finish: 17.3 in 45 attempts

Gordon swept Victory Lane in 2007—winning his 77th Cup race to pass Dale Earnhardt Sr. for sixth on the all-time wins’ list and scoring his 80th later that same year to get within striking distance of Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, and Bobby Allison. Since then he has scored only three more top-10s in the last 15 Talladega races.

27. Kurt Busch (tied with Edwards)
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 23.17
Career avg. finish: 16.8 in 29 attempts

Busch is slowly moving back up the grid but he has a long way to go to get into the top 10. His last two Talladega efforts netted a seventh in this race last year and a 12th this spring. Three of his last six races ended in the 30s including a 39th in the 2012 fall race. When that ages out of the formula, he will improve considerably.

27. Carl Edwards (tied with Ku Busch)
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 23.17
Career avg. finish: 21.5 in 22 attempts

For a while Edwards was crash prone on the restrictor-plate, superspeedways, but he has survived without significant damage in three of his last four Talladega attempts. The problem is that his results did not improve much and he has only one top-10 in that span—a third in 2013—compared to three 30-something results.

36. Joey Logano
Last six races average finish at Talladega: 26.50
Career avg. finish: 20.9 in 13 attempts

Logano scored four top-10s in his first five races at Talladega and then as suddenly as his success was built it crumbled. Since then he has finished outside the top 20 in six of the last eight races and most of his bad results came with crash damage.

 

Rank

Driver

3 Yr. Avg. Finish

Attempts

1.

Martin Truex Jr.

12.83

6

2.

Ryan Blaney

13.00

2

3.

Ryan Newman

13.33

6

4.

Jimmie Johnson

14.00

6

5.

Clint Bowyer

14.50

6

5.

Kevin Harvick

14.50

6

7.

Sam Hornish Jr.

15.00

2

7.

AJ Allmendinger

15.00

3

9.

Matt Kenseth

15.50

6

10.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

16.17

6

 

11.

Paul Menard

17.17

6

12.

Travis Kvapil

17.75

4

13.

Brad Keselowski

18.67

6

14.

David Gilliland

18.83

6

15.

David Ragan

19.00

6

15.

Denny Hamlin

19.00

6

17.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19.20

5

18.

Kyle Busch

19.40

5

19.

Greg Biffle

19.50

6

20.

Aric Almirola

19.67

6

21.

Jeff Gordon

20.50

6

22.

Casey Mears

21.50

6

23.

Jamie McMurray

22.17

6

24.

Austin Dillon

22.25

4

25.

Kyle Larson

22.67

3

26.

Michael Waltrip

23.00

6

27.

Carl Edwards

23.17

6

27.

Kurt Busch

23.17

6

29.

Landon Cassill

23.83

6

30.

Kasey Kahne

24.00

6

30.

Reed Sorenson

24.00

2

30.

Cole Whitt

24.00

5

33.

Bobby Labonte

24.75

4

34.

Josh Wise

25.00

6

35.

Danica Patrick

25.60

5

36.

Joey Logano

26.50

6

37.

Michael Annett

27.33

3

38.

Tony Stewart

29.00

5

38.

Alex Bowman

29.00

3

40.

Justin Allgaier

29.75

4

41.

Michael McDowell

31.33

6

42.

JJ Yeley

32.40

5

43.

Trevor Bayne

33.50

6

44.

Brian Scott

42.50

2

 

 

Matt DiBenedetto

18.00

1

 

Chris Buescher

24.00

1

 

Timmy Hill

42.00

1

 

Jeb Burton

45.00

1


Exercise Caution

Most caution flags: 11, 2004 Aaron's 499
Fewest caution flags: 0 (2 times), 2002 EA Sports 500, 1997 Winston 500
Average number of caution flags per race: 5.5

Final Caution, last five races:
May 2015: Lap 159 of 188: fluid on the track (from Austin Dillon)
October 2015: Lap 189 of 194 (to set up second green-white-checkered finish): 5-car accident on backstretch (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, David Gilliland, Michael Annett, and Greg Biffle)
May 2014: 188 of 188 (on last lap): debris
October 2013: 188 of 188: 2-car accident on backstretch (Austin Dillon and Casey Mears)

May 2013: 184 of 192 (to set up green-white-checkered finish): 12-car accident on backstretch (Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Ryan Newman, JJ Yeley, Danica Patrick, Bobby Labonte, David Stremme, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Michael Waltrip)

Most caution laps: 62, 1972 Winston 500
Fewest caution laps: 0 (2 times), 2002 EA Sports 500, 1997 Winston 500
Average number of caution laps per race: 28.5

Leading the way

Most leaders: 29, 2010 Aaron's 499
Fewest leaders: 4, 1971 Winston 500
Average number of leaders: 13.7

Most lead changes: 88 (2 times), 2011 Aaron's 499, 2010 Aaron's 499
Fewest lead changes: 13, 1973 Winston 500
Average number of lead changes: 40.1

Victory Lane

Last five winners at Talladega (starting position):
May 2015: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4)
October 2015: Brad Keselowski (5)
May 2014: Denny Hamlin (34)
October 2013: Jamie McMurray (9)
May 2013: David Ragan (19)
October 2012: Matt Kenseth (15)

Worst starting position for race winner: 36th, Jeff Gordon: 2000 DieHard 500

A race at Talladega has been won by the pole sitter 13 times and from the front row 33 times in 92 races.

Recent races won from the pole:
April 2007: Jeff Gordon, Aaron's 499
April 1998: Bobby Labonte, DieHard 500
July 1995: Sterling Marlin, DieHard 500
July 1990: Dale Earnhardt Sr., DieHard 500

Active winners at Talladega
Jeff Gordon: 6
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 6
Brad Keselowski: 3
Clint Bowyer: 2
Jimmie Johnson: 2
Jamie McMurray: 2
Kyle Busch: 1
Denny Hamlin: 1
Kevin Harvick: 1
Matt Kenseth: 1
David Ragan: 1
Tony Stewart: 1
Brian Vickers: 1
Michael Waltrip: 1

First time winners at Talladega:
Brad Keselowski, 2009 Aaron's 499
Brian Vickers, 2006 UAW-Ford 500
Ken Schrader, 1988 Talladega DieHard 500
Phil Parsons, 1988 Winston 500
Davey Allison, 1987 Winston 500
Bobby Hillin Jr, 1986 Talladega 500
Ron Bouchard, 1981 Talladega 500
Lennie Pond, 1978 Talladega 500
Dick Brooks, 1973 Talladega 500
Richard Brickhouse, 1976 Talladega 500

Running at the End

The following active drivers have been running at the end of every Talladega race they started:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (4)
Justin Allgaier (3)
Ryan Blaney (2)
Matt DiBenedetto (1)

Aric Almirola blew an engine and failed to finish his first race in 2007, but has been running at the end of the last 10.
Danica Patrick failed to finish her first race in 2013, but has been running at the end of the last four.
Cole Whitt failed to finish his first race in 2012, but has been running at the end of the last four.

Great Starts

Active drivers with top-10s in their first start on this track:
Brad Keselowski: first (2009)
Kurt Busch: third (2001)
Tony Stewart: fifth (1999)
Jimmie Johnson: seventh (2002)
Kyle Larson: ninth (2014)
Joey Logano: ninth (2009)

Current Streaks

At Talladega
Kevin Harvick, three top-10s
Ryan Newman, two top-10s

On restrictor-plate, superspeedways (Talladega and Daytona)
Kevin Harvick, four top-10s
Dale Earnhardt Jr., three top-fives including back-to-back wins
Jimmie Johnson, three top-fives
Denny Hamlin, three top-10s
Ryan Newman, two top-10s

In 2015
Joey Logano, 10 top-10s including back-to-back wins
Denny Hamlin, two top-fives
Kurt Busch, two top-10s
Carl Edwards, two top-10s
Brad Keselowski, two top-10s
Jeff Gordon, two top-10s

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.