Loading scores...
Statistically Speaking

Update: Martinsville (Fall)

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

Three drivers dominated the weekend and that kind of consistency in practice and qualification will mean a lot at this weekend.

Track position matters at Martinsville Speedway and establishing it will begin with the very first lap of the Goody's Fast Relief 500. Leading the field to green is important because it keeps a driver from getting shuffled out of the low groove and moved to the back. Those aggressive position changes often come with a degree of damage that can hamper a driver’s ability to rotate through the corners.

Martin Truex Jr. posted a lap of 98.206 mph. Barely .008 seconds behind him, Joey Logano qualified on the outside pole and both drivers kept their speed throughout the weekend.

Logano has the outside lane and is going to find it difficult to get the jump on the veteran Truex, but if the two are able to run side-by-side for any sustained period of time, Logano could prevail since he had a much more consistent fast lap in three practices. Logano was third-best on Friday, second-fastest Saturday morning, and eighth-best in Happy Hour.

Truex was fastest when it counted and won the pole, but his fastest laps in the practice sessions were never better than fourth. That will even out by the fact that Truex is going to have the best pit stall and should be able to keep the lead under service stops unless he gets mired in the pack. Truex had the quickest 10-lap average in Saturday morning’s practice session.

Kyle Larson won two of the three practice sessions, but failed to find speed when he needed it most. He posted the fastest single lap in the first and final practice sessions. Even more importantly, he had the quickest 10-lap averages in both of those outings and was fourth-quickest Saturday morning. While Larson qualified 11th, he is an odds-on favorite to earn a top-10 and positive place-differential points. If he gets track position late in the race, he could challenge for a top-five.

AJ Allmendinger is another driver who needs to be watched closely. He qualified fourth for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 and probably will not stay in the top five. He could easily earn a top-10, however. Even a relatively modest top-15 would make him a good value. ‘Dinger was sixth quickest in the first practice session in regard to 10-lap runs.

Tony Stewart is another dark horse contender who cannot be overlooked. He was consistently fast during the weekend and eventually logged the sixth fastest lap in the final round of time trials. He had the second- and third-quickest average speeds in Saturday’s two sessions and that suggests he will be able to stay with the leaders. This team lacks the maturity to guarantee they will not finish outside the top 10, but they should be able to record a top-15.

Based on the weekend preliminary numbers, Jeff Gordon will not challenge for a victory but he should be able to get a top-10. He qualified 10th, posted the third-quickest time in Friday’s practice, was 12th-quick in Saturday morning, and sixth-quick in Happy Hour. Gordon has the perfect balance of patience and aggression needed on short tracks, which he has shown nine times with victories. Unless a mistake is made, he will outperform his salary cap.

 

Start

Driver

Qual Speed

P1
Rank

P2
Rank

Final
Rank

Avg. Rank

             

2

Joey Logano

          98.165

3

2

8

3.8

1

Martin Truex Jr.

          98.206

6

4

7

4.5

11

Kyle Larson

          96.904

1

15

1

7.0

4

AJ Allmendinger

          97.729

8

5

19

9.0

14

Jamie McMurray

          97.372

13

1

8

9.0

8

Denny Hamlin

          97.518

2

11

16

9.3

9

Kyle Busch

          97.508

7

16

5

9.3

6

Tony Stewart

          97.684

21

9

2

9.5

3

Jimmie Johnson

          97.840

10

10

20

10.8

12

David Ragan

          96.830

24

3

4

10.8

5

Chase Elliott

          97.699

4

26

12

11.8

13

Ryan Newman

          97.422

19

8

11

12.8

17

Matt Kenseth

          97.222

15

6

15

13.3

10

Jeff Gordon

          97.427

9

20

14

13.3

23

Kurt Busch

          96.968

11

12

12

14.5

7

Carl Edwards

          97.613

18

7

27

14.8

18

Paul Menard

          97.172

22

17

3

15.0

20

Kevin Harvick

          97.048

19

13

10

15.5

24

Danica Patrick

          96.914

5

14

21

16.0

22

Kasey Kahne

          97.008

16

19

22

19.8

32

Austin Dillon

          96.533

12

23

17

21.0

19

Brad Keselowski

          97.073

30

29

6

21.0

15

Ryan Blaney

          97.292

14

25

31

21.3

25

Greg Biffle

          97.058

23

21

18

21.8

16

Aric Almirola

          97.292

29

22

29

24.0

26

Casey Mears

          97.008

17

28

25

24.0

28

Clint Bowyer

          96.820

27

24

22

25.3

39

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

          92.997

25

18

27

27.3

27

Matt DiBenedetto

          97.008

28

32

24

27.8

30

Michael McDowell

          96.657

26

30

26

28.0

21

Regan Smith

          97.048

31

31

32

28.8

31

Trevor Bayne

          96.573

32

27

30

30.0

29

Chris Buescher

          96.666

34

35

36

33.5

33

Landon Cassill

          95.694

35

36

35

34.8

40

Michael Annett

                 -  

33

33

34

35.0

35

Brian Scott

          95.295

39

34

32

35.0

36

Gray Gaulding

          95.146

37

37

38

37.0

37

Dylan Lupton

          94.794

36

39

37

37.3

34

Reed Sorenson

          95.381

40

38

 

37.3

38

Jeffrey Earnhardt

          94.548

38

40

39

38.8

 

 

10-Lap Averages

 

10-Lap Averages

 

10-Lap Averages

 

Avg

Practice 2

 

Practice 3

 

Final Practice

 

Rank

                         

1

Kyle Larson

          95.242

 

4

Kyle Larson

      95.999

 

1

Kyle Larson

      95.462

 

2.0

 

Martin Truex Jr.

 

 

1

Martin Truex Jr.

      96.198

 

5

Martin Truex Jr.

      95.219

 

3.0

 

Kyle Busch

 

 

6

Kyle Busch

      95.891

 

2

Kyle Busch

      95.356

 

4.0

 

Joey Logano

 

 

 

Joey Logano

 

 

4

Joey Logano

      95.278

 

4.0

11

Tony Stewart

          94.289

 

2

Tony Stewart

      96.135

 

3

Tony Stewart

      95.279

 

5.3

3

Jeff Gordon

          94.818

 

12

Jeff Gordon

      95.639

 

6

Jeff Gordon

      95.113

 

7.0

4

David Ragan

          94.805

 

15

David Ragan

      95.551

 

10

David Ragan

      95.010

 

9.7

15

Jamie McMurray

          93.862

 

3

Jamie McMurray

      96.111

 

11

Jamie McMurray

      95.001

 

9.7

6

AJ Allmendinger

          94.584

 

9

AJ Allmendinger

      95.780

 

14

AJ Allmendinger

      94.908

 

9.7

 

Kevin Harvick

 

 

8

Kevin Harvick

      95.838

 

12

Kevin Harvick

      94.950

 

10.0

 

Kurt Busch

 

 

16

Kurt Busch

      95.518

 

7

Kurt Busch

      95.108

 

11.5

2

Chase Elliott

          95.176

 

24

Chase Elliott

      95.193

 

9

Chase Elliott

      95.098

 

11.7

 

Carl Edwards

 

 

7

Carl Edwards

      95.856

 

17

Carl Edwards

      94.860

 

12.0

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

 

5

Jimmie Johnson

      95.907

 

19

Jimmie Johnson

      94.742

 

12.0

 

Ryan Newman

 

 

17

Ryan Newman

      95.463

 

8

Ryan Newman

      95.103

 

12.5

 

Matt Kenseth

 

 

13

Matt Kenseth

      95.597

 

12

Matt Kenseth

      94.950

 

12.5

 

Clint Bowyer

 

 

10

Clint Bowyer

      95.679

 

20

Clint Bowyer

      94.719

 

15.0

7

Aric Almirola

          94.472

 

14

Aric Almirola

      95.595

 

26

Aric Almirola

      94.427

 

15.7

13

Austin Dillon

          94.195

 

20

Austin Dillon

      95.418

 

16

Austin Dillon

      94.861

 

16.3

8

Danica Patrick

          94.430

 

18

Danica Patrick

      95.462

 

24

Danica Patrick

      94.575

 

16.7

5

Michael McDowell

          94.586

 

28

Michael McDowell

      94.761

 

22

Michael McDowell

      94.586

 

18.3

 

Brad Keselowski

 

 

23

Brad Keselowski

      95.249

 

15

Brad Keselowski

      94.871

 

19.0

9

Kasey Kahne

          94.426

 

25

Kasey Kahne

      95.173

 

29

Kasey Kahne

      94.158

 

21.0

12

Matt DiBenedetto

          94.197

 

32

Matt DiBenedetto

      94.621

 

21

Matt DiBenedetto

      94.602

 

21.7

 

Casey Mears

 

 

22

Casey Mears

      95.264

 

23

Casey Mears

      94.578

 

22.5

 

Greg Biffle

 

 

21

Greg Biffle

      95.322

 

25

Greg Biffle

      94.558

 

23.0

 

Paul Menard

 

 

19

Paul Menard

      95.432

 

27

Paul Menard

      94.395

 

23.0

 

Denny Hamlin

 

 

29

Denny Hamlin

      94.732

 

18

Denny Hamlin

      94.752

 

23.5

10

Trevor Bayne

          94.334

 

26

Trevor Bayne

      95.122

 

35

Trevor Bayne

      93.415

 

23.7

14

Regan Smith

          93.882

 

34

Regan Smith

      94.391

 

30

Regan Smith

      94.010

 

26.0

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

 

27

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      94.837

 

28

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      94.318

 

27.5

19

Gray Gaulding

          90.525

 

37

Gray Gaulding

      92.793

 

 

Gray Gaulding

 

 

28.0

16

Chris Buescher

          93.590

 

36

Chris Buescher

      93.688

 

34

Chris Buescher

      93.634

 

28.7

17

Landon Cassill

          92.560

 

35

Landon Cassill

      94.230

 

36

Landon Cassill

      93.057

 

29.3

 

Michael Annett

 

 

29

Michael Annett

      94.732

 

33

Michael Annett

      93.709

 

31.0

18

Dylan Lupton

          91.884

 

38

Dylan Lupton

      91.922

 

37

Dylan Lupton

      92.644

 

31.0

 

Ryan Blaney

 

 

31

Ryan Blaney

      94.712

 

32

Ryan Blaney

      93.757

 

31.5

 

Brian Scott

 

 

33

Brian Scott

      94.444

 

31

Brian Scott

      93.877

 

32.0

 

Jeffrey Earnhardt

 

 

39

Jeffrey Earnhardt

      91.187

 

38

Jeffrey Earnhardt

      91.560

 

38.5

 

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.