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Statistically Speaking

Flat Tracks

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

Fantasy owners can suffer from infoxication especially when it comes to tracks that can be classified as multiple types. Last week’s two-mile tracks could also be grouped with the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile courses and considered as unrestricted, intermediate speedways. Flat tracks have a similar challenge. In terms of how drivers approach the corners, the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway can be analyzed alongside the shorter versions of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, and Martinsville Speedway.

Depending on which group fantasy owners give greatest credence, they may find some great darks horses on the short tracks by looking at the speedways—or vice versa.

Kevin Harvick had the best overall finish on short, flat tracks last year, but he was not infallible. His average finish of 7.4 was bolstered by a dominant victory at Phoenix in the spring CampingWorld.com 500 and a second-place result in the Quicken Loans 500—plus top-fives in Richmond and New Hampshire’s first races. He slipped outside of the top 10 in the second Richmond race—but most likely had an experimental setup under his car—and he foolishly gambled on fuel at New Hampshire during the Chase to finish 21st. In the first two races, he was also strong on the 2.5-milers with top-fives in the Axalta 400 and Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard, but suffered a blown engine in the Windows 400 at Pocono to spoil his average.

Matt Kenseth was perfect on the 2.5-milers in regard to top-10 finishes, but two of his efforts landed just outside of the top five. A sixth at Pocono and seventh at Indy were the tip of the iceberg and gave his team confidence to gamble on fuel in the second Pocono race. Kenseth seemed almost as surprised as the rest of the field when he stood in the Pennsylvania’s Victory Lane last August. Of course that is not how Kenseth will be remembered on flat tracks. Far more dramatic was his retaliation on Joey Logano at Martinsville in the fall that cost fantasy owners a lot of points. Astute fantasy owners will remember him for victories at Richmond and New Hampshire in their second races, however.

Martinsville notwithstanding, pound for pound Logano was probably the best value on short, flat tracks, however. He was on his way to winning the Goody's 500 before getting intentionally wrecked by Kenseth and that would have locked him into the Championship Four. It would also have given him a perfect streak of top-10s on this flat track and a streak of seven top-fives. Drivers need to be situationally aware to succeed in NASCAR and Logano put too much faith in Kenseth’s forgiving spirit by attempting to go around the stricken No. 20 on the outside entering a corner. Perhaps he could have passed on a straightaway or somehow otherwise avoided Kenseth late in that race.

Martin Truex Jr. was another great value on the 2.5-mile versions of the flat tracks. He was in the midst of a long streak of top-10s when NASCAR first rolled into Pocono and his victory in the Axalta 400 locked him into the Chase. He also finished fourth at the Brickyard, but his summer was not as strong as fantasy owners expected and they lost points with his 19th in the August Pocono event. 

 

Short, flat tracks (1-mile or less) Spring

Rank

Driver

2015 Avg.

New Hampshire 1

Richmond 1

Martinsville 1

Phoenix 1

1.

Kevin Harvick

7.38

3

2

8

1

2.

Joey Logano

8.25

4

5

3

8

3.

Kyle Busch

9.80

1

 

 

 

4.

Denny Hamlin

9.88

14

22

1

23

5.

Matt Kenseth

10.43

6

7

4

16

6.

Jamie McMurray

10.75

26

4

10

2

7.

Brad Keselowski

11.00

2

17

2

6

8.

Martin Truex Jr.

11.88

12

10

6

7

9.

Carl Edwards

12.25

7

19

17

13

10.

Ryan Newman

12.50

11

11

27

3

11.

Kasey Kahne

12.75

19

6

11

4

12.

Jimmie Johnson

12.88

22

3

35

11

13.

Kurt Busch

13.13

10

1

14

5

14.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

16.63

5

14

36

43

15.

Aric Almirola

17.38

15

20

12

19

16.

Kyle Larson

17.43

31

12

 

10

17.

Paul Menard

18.25

25

15

23

14

18.

Erik Jones

19.00

 

 

 

 

19.

Casey Mears

19.88

16

30

15

20

20.

AJ Allmendinger

21.00

13

13

43

17

21.

David Ragan

21.00

18

23

5

21

22.

Brian Scott

22.00

 

 

 

 

23.

Austin Dillon

22.25

8

27

41

15

24.

Greg Biffle

22.50

27

21

19

27

25.

Clint Bowyer

22.75

34

9

13

24

26.

Ryan Blaney

23.00

23

 

 

 

27.

Chris Buescher

24.00

 

 

24

 

28.

Tony Stewart

24.63

20

41

20

39

29.

Danica Patrick

24.63

24

25

7

26

30.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25.75

17

28

40

12

31.

Trevor Bayne

25.75

32

24

18

28

32.

Justin Allgaier

26.50

40

18

42

18

33.

Chase Elliott

27.00

 

16

38

 

34.

David Gilliland

27.63

21

31

25

29

35.

Landon Cassill

27.88

30

26

21

22

36.

Cole Whitt

28.25

28

36

22

25

37.

Sam Hornish Jr.

30.38

29

35

32

40

38.

Brett Moffitt

31.88

33

29

28

32

39.

JJ Yeley

32.00

43

 

26

31

40.

Matt DiBenedetto

32.75

35

37

31

35

41.

Mike Bliss

33.50

 

 

34

33

42.

BJ McLeod

34.00

 

 

 

 

43.

Michael Annett

34.63

36

33

39

42

44.

Alex Bowman

35.00

42

32

37

30

45.

Jeb Burton

35.00

41

38

29

34

46.

Alex Kennedy

35.75

 

39

33

38

47.

Josh Wise

36.60

 

42

30

36

48.

Eddie MacDonald

37.00

37

 

 

 

49.

Ryan Preece

37.00

 

 

 

 

50.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

37.50

 

 

 

 

51.

Derek White

39.00

39

 

 

 

52.

Timmy Hill

39.60

38

 

 

 

53.

Reed Sorenson

39.67

44 (DNQ)

34

 

 

54.

Ryan Ellis

40.00

 

 

 

 

55.

Kyle Fowler

41.00

 

 

 

 

56.

Michael McDowell

42.00

 

 

 

 

57.

Joey Gase

42.50

 

43

 

 

58.

Travis Kvapil

44.50

 

 

 

45 (DNQ)

 

Short, flat tracks (1-mile or less) Fall

Rank

Driver

2015
Avg.

Phoenix 2

Martinsville 2

New Hampshire 2

Richmond 2

1.

Kevin Harvick

7.38

2

8

21

14

2.

Joey Logano

8.25

3

37

3

3

3.

Kyle Busch

9.80

4

5

37

2

4.

Denny Hamlin

9.88

8

3

2

6

5.

Matt Kenseth

10.43

 

38

1

1

6.

Jamie McMurray

10.75

15

2

14

13

7.

Brad Keselowski

11.00

9

32

12

8

8.

Martin Truex Jr.

11.88

14

6

8

32

9.

Carl Edwards

12.25

12

14

5

11

10.

Ryan Newman

12.50

11

7

10

20

11.

Kasey Kahne

12.75

26

9

9

18

12.

Jimmie Johnson

12.88

5

12

6

9

13.

Kurt Busch

13.13

7

34

19

15

14.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

16.63

1

4

25

5

15.

Aric Almirola

17.38

10

16

43

4

16.

Kyle Larson

17.43

21

19

17

12

17.

Paul Menard

18.25

13

15

15

26

18.

Erik Jones

19.00

19

 

 

 

19.

Casey Mears

19.88

22

17

18

21

20.

AJ Allmendinger

21.00

24

11

23

24

21.

David Ragan

21.00

18

25

41

17

22.

Brian Scott

22.00

 

 

 

22

23.

Austin Dillon

22.25

20

18

22

27

24.

Greg Biffle

22.50

25

26

4

31

25.

Clint Bowyer

22.75

23

43

26

10

26.

Ryan Blaney

23.00

 

 

 

 

27.

Chris Buescher

24.00

 

 

 

 

28.

Tony Stewart

24.63

27

10

11

29

29.

Danica Patrick

24.63

16

40

40

19

30.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

25.75

41

39

13

16

31.

Trevor Bayne

25.75

34

31

16

23

32.

Justin Allgaier

26.50

17

13

39

25

33.

Chase Elliott

27.00

 

 

 

 

34.

David Gilliland

27.63

30

24

28

33

35.

Landon Cassill

27.88

35

21

38

30

36.

Cole Whitt

28.25

33

20

24

38

37.

Sam Hornish Jr.

30.38

31

28

20

28

38.

Brett Moffitt

31.88

36

35

27

35

39.

JJ Yeley

32.00

29

29

 

34

40.

Matt DiBenedetto

32.75

28

30

30

36

41.

Mike Bliss

33.50

 

 

 

 

42.

BJ McLeod

34.00

 

 

34

 

43.

Michael Annett

34.63

32

23

29

43

44.

Alex Bowman

35.00

38

22

42

37

45.

Jeb Burton

35.00

39

27

33

39

46.

Alex Kennedy

35.75

 

33

 

 

47.

Josh Wise

36.60

 

 

31

44 (DNQ)

48.

Eddie MacDonald

37.00

 

 

 

 

49.

Ryan Preece

37.00

37

42

32

 

50.

Jeffrey Earnhardt

37.50

 

 

35

40

51.

Derek White

39.00

 

 

 

 

52.

Timmy Hill

39.60

43

36

36

45 (DNQ)

53.

Reed Sorenson

39.67

 

 

 

41

54.

Ryan Ellis

40.00

40

 

 

 

55.

Kyle Fowler

41.00

 

41

 

 

56.

Michael McDowell

42.00

 

 

 

42

57.

Joey Gase

42.50

42

 

 

 

58.

Travis Kvapil

44.50

 

 

44 (DNQ)

 

 

2.5-mile Flat Tracks (Pocono and Indy)

Rank

Driver

Average

Pocono 2

Indy

Pocono

1

Matt Kenseth

4.67

1

7

6

2

Jimmie Johnson

8.00

6

15

3

3

Martin Truex Jr.

8.00

19

4

1

4

Joey Logano

8.67

20

2

4

5

Brad Keselowski

9.67

2

10

17

6

Kyle Larson

9.67

12

9

8

7

Kyle Busch

10.33

21

1

9

8

Clint Bowyer

12.00

8

6

22

9

Greg Biffle

12.00

5

19

12

10

Ryan Blaney

12.00

 

12

 

11

Denny Hamlin

12.33

22

5

10

12

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

12.33

4

22

11

13

Carl Edwards

12.67

10

13

15

14

Jamie McMurray

12.67

15

16

7

15

Kevin Harvick

15.67

42

3

2

16

Kurt Busch

16.67

37

8

5

17

Ty Dillon

18.00

 

 

18

18

Chase Elliott

18.00

 

18

 

19

Paul Menard

18.67

11

14

31

20

Austin Dillon

19.00

13

25

19

21

Tony Stewart

19.33

9

28

21

22

David Ragan

20.33

17

21

23

23

Casey Mears

21.33

28

20

16

24

Landon Cassill

21.67

14

26

25

25

AJ Allmendinger

22.67

7

23

38

26

Ryan Newman

24.33

23

11

39

27

Kasey Kahne

26.67

43

24

13

28

Danica Patrick

26.67

16

27

37

29

Justin Allgaier

27.00

24

37

20

30

Cole Whitt

29.33

27

33

28

31

David Gilliland

29.67

33

29

27

32

Michael Annett

30.00

26

30

34

33

Michael McDowell

31.00

 

31

 

34

Matt DiBenedetto

31.00

29

32

32

35

Alex Bowman

31.33

25

43

26

36

Brett Moffitt

31.67

31

34

30

37

Sam Hornish Jr.

32.33

39

17

41

38

Aric Almirola

33.00

18

38

43

39

Travis Kvapil

33.50

32

 

35

40

Trevor Bayne

34.67

40

40

24

41

JJ Yeley

35.00

30

39

36

42

Brian Scott

36.00

 

36

 

43

Josh Wise

36.50

 

44 (DNQ)

29

44

Jeb Burton

37.67

35

45 (DNQ)

33

45

Alex Kennedy

38.00

38

 

 

46

Timmy Hill

38.50

36

41

 

47

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

39.33

41

35

42

48

Reed Sorenson

40.00

34

46 (DNQ)

 

 
 

 Two-mile Tracks

 

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.