Loading scores...
Statistically Speaking

Update: Atlanta

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

At the end of qualification Friday, it appeared there would be an all-Busch front row. Kyle beat Kurt Busch by 0.013 seconds—less than the blink of an eye. Twice previously in their careers, the Busch brothers lined up first and second and Kyle won each event. Then came inspection.

Kyle Busch failed post-qualification inspection because the rear-end toe was out of bounds, according to NBC’s Nate Ryan. His time was disallowed, and Busch drops to the back of the pack to start the race. As difficult a task as he has, Kyle can still win the Folds of Honor Quicktrip 500. Last year, Jimmie Johnson won after starting 37th. In 2001, Bobby Labonte won from 39th, which is where Busch will start this weekend, and which is the furthest back any driver has ever started.

No further penalties are expected on the No. 18.

Kyle’s penalty elevated Kurt to the pole with speed of 191.582 mph and brings Jamie McMurray to the outside of the front row. McMurray slapped the wall during final practice while he was looking down at his digital dashboard, but the damage was cosmetic.

Since Busch’s time was officially disallowed, his starting position in Fantasy NASCAR will be listed as 39th, which insures he is going to earn maximum place-differential points in games that offer them.

Qualification was a topsy-turvy affair. Cars that were fast in practice developed extreme loose conditions and the fastest driver in the first session, Kyle Larson failed to advance to the final round of time trials to roll off the grid 20th. Chase Elliott showed more promise in practice than in qualification and yet he failed to advance to the second round. Notably he was bumped at the last minute by fellow Rookie of the Year contender Ryan Blaney. Blaney did not improve much in the second round of qualification, and with Busch’s penalty, the two freshmen line up side-by-side on row 12.

Blaney had the better final practice at seventh-quickest among 34 drivers while Elliott was 12th-quickest.

In final practice, Aric Almirola lamented the fact that the teams were given only 80 minutes of practice on Saturday. The schedule was condensed to make room for both an XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series race. Almirola was considered a strong dark horse until now, but he did not sound very confident with 24 minutes remaining in this session.

Denny Hamlin posted the fastest single lap in final practice, but races are not won in a single circuit around the track. His 10-lap average was 10th on the chart far and that is about where he can be expected to land on Sunday.

McMurray had the quickest 10-lap average of 181.480 mph and was followed by Ryan Newman, Johnson, Kurt Busch, and Austin Dillon rounding out the top five.  

 

Start

Driver

Qual Speed

Practice 1

Rank

Final Practice

Rank

             

1

Kurt Busch

      191.582

    190.326

6

           186.084

9

2

Jamie McMurray

      190.130

    190.156

7

           186.347

7

3

Trevor Bayne

      189.897

    188.931

19

           183.382

25

4

Ryan Newman

      189.961

    189.577

14

           185.947

10

5

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      189.863

    190.646

4

           185.362

13

6

Kevin Harvick

      189.779

    188.693

22

           185.269

15

7

Carl Edwards

      189.766

    188.700

21

           184.886

21

8

Austin Dillon

      189.681

    190.404

5

           184.948

20

9

Martin Truex Jr.

      189.364

    190.078

8

           182.226

2

10

Brian Scott

      188.591

    188.770

20

           182.964

30

11

Kasey Kahne

      187.196

    191.807

2

           185.207

16

12

Denny Hamlin

      190.685

    188.584

23

           188.450

1

13

Matt Kenseth

      190.260

    189.948

11

           185.903

11

14

Greg Biffle

      190.182

    187.386

28

           185.362

14

15

Casey Mears

      190.150

    188.494

24

           186.115

8

16

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

      189.818

    187.837

26

           187.095

4

17

Brad Keselowski

      189.144

    190.071

9

           185.189

17

18

Ty Dillon

      189.138

    188.334

25

           182.789

33

19

Jimmie Johnson

      188.790

    189.818

12

           187.297

3

20

Kyle Larson

      188.719

    192.902

1

           185.822

12

21

Paul Menard

      188.713

    189.370

15

           185.071

18

22

AJ Allmendinger

      188.636

    190.975

3

           183.097

27

23

Ryan Blaney

      187.449

    189.196

17

           184.966

19

24

Chase Elliott

      189.390

    189.338

16

           186.963

5

25

Danica Patrick

      189.079

    186.988

29

           182.922

31

26

Joey Logano

      189.041

    189.642

13

           182.886

32

27

Aric Almirola

      188.565

    189.034

18

           183.643

24

28

Clint Bowyer

      188.028

    184.542

33

           184.327

22

29

Landon Cassill

      187.837

    183.795

34

           180.804

35

30

Regan Smith

      187.392

    185.090

32

           183.097

28

31

Chris Buescher

      187.120

    187.621

27

           183.097

28

32

Michael McDowell

      185.903

    183.759

35

           181.497

34

33

David Ragan

      185.778

    186.171

30

           183.230

26

34

Michael Annett

      185.617

    185.604

31

           179.977

36

35

Matt DiBenedetto

      185.499

    181.366

37

           183.899

23

36

Cole Whitt

      184.039

    179.901

38

           177.863

98

37

Josh Wise

      183.820

    176.662

39

           177.385

38

38

Jeffrey Earnhardt

      180.769

    183.352

36

           177.317

39

39

Kyle Busch

              -  

    189.948

10

           186.679

6

             
             

Top-10 Laps first practice session

       

1

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      180.648

       

2

Denny Hamlin

      177.524

       

3

Kyle Busch

      176.757

       

4

Chase Elliott

      176.184

       
             
             

Top-10 Laps first final session

       

1

Jamie McMurray

      181.480

       

2

Ryan Newman

      181.259

       

3

Jimmie Johnson

      181.096

       

4

Kurt Busch

      181.048

       

5

Austin Dillon

      181.038

       

6

Dale Earnhardt Jr

      180.979

       

7

Ryan Blaney

      180.864

       

8

Martin Truex Jr.

      180.790

       

9

Matt Kenseth

      180.731

       

10

Denny Hamlin

      180.661

       

11

Brad Keselowski

      180.609

       

12

Chase Elliott

      180.445

       

13

Casey Mears

      180.437

       

14

Kyle Larson

      180.381

       

15

Kasey Kahne

      180.370

       

16

Aric Almirola

      180.142

       

17

Greg Biffle

      180.114

       

18

Kevin Harvick

      179.848

       

19

Carl Edwards

      179.524

       

20

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

      179.499

       

21

Danica Patrick

      179.427

       

22

Joey Logano

      179.194

       

23

AJ Allmendinger

      179.168

       

24

Trevor Bayne

      279.048

       

25

Kyle Busch

      179.029

       

26

Paul Menard

      178.859

       

27

Brian Scott

      178.829

       

28

Ty Dillon

      178.803

       

29

Clint Bowyer

      178.766

       

30

Regan Smith

      178.755

       

31

Chris Buescher

      178.573

       

32

David Ragan

      177.829

       

33

Michael McDowell

      177.433

       

34

Michael Annett

      175.837

       

 

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.