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Kevin Harvick
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Statistically Speaking

Fastest Laps Through Week 4

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: April 3, 2020, 6:26 pm ET

Not all stats are created equal.

In the past few weeks we have been looking at Average Running Position, Driver Rating, and several other metrics.

Average Running Position tells us who spent the most time at the head of the pack. Driver Rating is NASCAR Statistical Services’ take on who is the strongest in the field. Both of these stats tell us a lot about a driver’s performance in a given week.

Fastest Laps can be a little less clear in how it impacts a driver’s strength. Stats like these become important in the aggregate, however. And specifically with Fastest Laps, it is one of the scoring categories for the Draft Kings game and as a result cannot be overlooked.


Chase Elliott tops the Driver Rating chart. He ranks second in Average Running Position and both of those are stats that can make him and his fans proud. He might not be as happy to land at the top of the Fastest Laps chart, however.

Elliott’s 119 Fastest Laps tells a story in which he would prefer not to be the hero. He has been caught off sequence a couple of times this year. Pitting early and running with fresh tires insures that a driver will gain seconds on the competition, but it can also be risky. When Elliott cut a valve stem on his tire in the Pennzoil 400, it came after he short pitted. It is possible that his crew made a mistake on the stop because they were trying to gain the fraction of a second that means so much when a driver is standing still.

Elliott finished 26th in that race, but with 48 Fastest Laps, he ranked first in the field and added points in the Draft Kings game that helped soften the blow. Elliott also had the most Fastest Laps at Phoenix with 60.

Kevin Harvick was close on Elliott’s heels in this statistic in both of those races. He logged the third-most fast laps at Las Vegas and second-most at Phoenix. Particularly on the short, flat track, he did not need to take too many risks since he had the best car on the track. In this instance his Fastest Laps recorded points to a display of dominance that should scare the competition about their fate when the series returns to this track for the season finale.

Alex Bowman is third on the chart with 90 Fastest Laps that accounts for 10.8% of the total run. As with Harvick, his greatest performance in this regard came in a race that he dominated. Not only did Bowman have the best Driver Rating and Average Running Position for the Auto Club 400, he won one of the two stages and finished second in the other. This was because he simply had the best car that afternoon and as a result, he posted the most laps at the top of this leaderboard with a total of 66.

Bowman had the fourth-most (18) Fastest Laps at Vegas the week before.

Ryan Blaney has been a solid value all year. He tied Bowman for the fourth-most (18) laps in this category at Vegas and was second at Auto Club with 38. These two drivers may be developing a rivalry that carries into future races this season.

Because Blaney has had arguably the strongest car all year, he held the points lead until he was driven into the Phoenix wall by Denny Hamlin.

Blaney’s teammate Brad Keselowski rounds out the top five with 49 Fastest Laps. Logano sits seventh on the chart with 42 and this is a sign of just how strong Team Penske has been. Keselowski has posted the third-most Fastest Laps in the latest two races of the season and that has helped elevate him in the Fantasy Power Rankings.

Hendrick Motorsports likewise has shown consistency and speed. In addition to Elliott and Bowman, William Byron (37) and Jimmie Johnson (23) also grace the top 10. Given the struggles from this organization in 2019, that shows solid improvement that should have them on fantasy players’ radar screens.

Michael McDowell posted the highest number of Fastest Laps in the Daytona 500, but this stat is essentially meaningless on the plate track because if simply shows who was able to suck up in the draft. McDowell’s 11 Fastest Laps was 6.9% of the total available and once the green flag waves, 35 of the 40 drivers were able to post as least one fast lap.

Season to Date: Fastest Laps

Rank

Driver

Avg. Finish

% Fastest Laps

# Fastest Laps

1.

Chase Elliott

13.5

14.3

119

2.

Kevin Harvick

6.0

11.0

91

3.

Alex Bowman

13.0

10.8

90

4.

Ryan Blaney

17.3

7.2

60

5.

Brad Keselowski

14.8

5.9

49

6.

Joey Logano

10.0

5.1

42

7.

Martin Truex Jr.

24.5

4.8

40

8.

William Byron

21.8

4.5

37

9.

Jimmie Johnson

14.8

2.8

23

10.

Kurt Busch

16.8

2.4

20

10.

Austin Dillon

19.0

2.4

20

 

12.

Kyle Busch

13.5

2.2

18

12.

Tyler Reddick

22.5

5.5

18

14.

Christopher Bell

29.0

1.8

15

15.

Denny Hamlin

11.0

1.7

14

15.

Quin Houff

35.0

1.7

14

17.

Michael McDowell

22.0

1.4

12

17.

Bubba Wallace

16.8

1.4

12

17.

JH Nemechek

21.3

1.4

12

20.

Ty Dillon

20.3

1.3

11

20.

Erik Jones

19.8

1.3

11

22.

Timmy Hill

35.0

1.2

10

23.

Garrett Smithley

34.7

1.5

10

24.

Kyle Larson

11.0

1.1

9

25.

Ross Chastain

23.0

1.0

8

26.

Ryan Newman

9.0

4.1

7

26.

David Ragan

4.0

4.1

7

26.

Justin Haley

13.0

4.1

7

29.

Matt DiBenedetto

11.8

0.8

7

30.

Aric Almirola

14.8

0.7

6

30.

Reed Sorenson

32.8

0.7

6

30.

Chris Buescher

12.5

0.7

6

30.

Brennan Poole

27.0

0.7

6

34.

Corey LaJoie

20.0

0.6

5

35.

Brendan Gaughan

7.0

2.4

4

36.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

16.3

0.5

4

36.

Ryan Preece

28.5

0.5

4

38.

Clint Bowyer

11.5

0.4

3

38.

Daniel Suarez

26.3

0.5

3

40.

BJ McLeod

38.0

1.2

2

40.

Cole Custer

20.8

0.2

2

42.

JJ Yeley

28.3

0.2

1

 

2020 Stats through Week 4

Driver Rating
Streaking in 2020
The Big 3
Segment Points
Average Running Position

 

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.