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Statistically Speaking

Update: Phoenix

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

Kasey Kahne posted one of the fastest five laps in the first round of qualification, and then a strange malfunction with the Electronic Fuel Injector sent him to the garage. His official starting position of 24th will be listed in the books, but with a new engine, he drops to the back of the pack.

Jimmie Johnson advanced to the final round of qualification and on his first lap he posted a speed that put him fifth on the grid. On the second lap, his steering wheel came off in his hands and he crashed hard into the turn one wall. It seems that even the most experienced drivers in the field can sometimes make a mistake; he had forgotten to lock the steering wheel in place before his qualification attempt.

Kevin Harvick had a particularly bad qualification attempt and failed to advance to the top 12. He will come from deep in the pack in 18th and would seem to have a steep hill to climb. By the time Saturday rolled around, fantasy owners wondered what else could happen. As it turned out, the cream rose to the top Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Harvick and Kurt Busch posted the first- and second-fastest times in each session. Busch topped the morning practice and Harvick was top of the board in final practice, so it appears that after a few laps, they will both get to the front of the pack.

Races are not often won in single lap bursts, however, and the driver with the best consecutive 10-lap average in final practice came as a bit of a surprise. Kahne posted a speed of 135.339 mph. Coming off a solid top-10 last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he could be one of this week’s top dark horses if he can tiptoe through the field. The elder Busch was second on this chart.

Kurt also dominated the five- and 10-lap averages in the morning session. He rolls off the grid fourth and should have a much easier time finding the front of the pack than his teammate Harvick.

Martin Truex Jr. is another solid dark horse choice. He posted the fourth-fastest time in Friday’s practice, was fourth Saturday morning, and eighth in final practice. That gives him an average ranking in these three practices of 5.3, which is only behind the two Haasketeers.

Kyle Busch won the pole and was followed across the line by his teammates Carl Edwards in second and Denny Hamlin in third. Matt Kenseth is only three spots back in sixth, so Joe Gibbs Racing has to be favored as the strongest overall team.

Players who want to roll the dice on a long shot should consider Matt DiBenedetto. He qualified solidly in 23rd and had the 20th-fastest single lap in Happy Hour. If cautions wave just right, he could contend for a top-15, which will make him the best value in his cap range in any game. 

 

Start

Driver

Qual Speed

Practice 1

Rank

Practice 2

Rank

Final Practice

Rank

Avg. Rank

         

 

 

     

1

Kyle Busch

138.387

137.715

8

135.486

19

136.096

3

10.0

2

Carl Edwards

137.515

137.968

6

136.493

3

135.619

15

8.0

3

Denny Hamlin

137.426

138.467

2

135.629

18

135.808

11

10.3

4

Kurt Busch

137.394

138.846

1

137.436

1

136.173

2

1.3

5

Jimmie Johnson

137.174

137.489

9

135.834

11

135.695

12

10.7

6

Matt Kenseth

137.174

135.557

28

135.741

13

135.171

22

21.0

7

Kyle Larson

137.033

137.08

13

135.343

23

135.747

12

16.0

8

Martin Truex Jr.

136.934

138.132

4

136.389

4

135.905

8

5.3

9

Joey Logano

136.773

138.254

3

135.947

9

135.859

9

7.0

10

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

136.752

137.462

10

135.941

10

134.963

24

14.7

11

Jamie McMurray

136.555

136.95

15

134.953

26

134.685

27

22.7

12

Ryan Blaney

136.307

137.101

12

135.701

15

135.813

10

12.3

13

Greg Biffle

137.247

136.82

18

135.486

20

135.161

23

20.3

14

Aric Almirola

137.216

137.804

7

135.665

16

135.328

17

13.3

15

Austin Dillon

137.091

136.976

14

135.369

22

135.947

5

13.7

16

Paul Menard

137.028

136.846

17

135.777

12

135.588

16

15.0

17

Chase Elliott

136.971

136.431

21

136.379

5

136.096

3

9.7

18

Kevin Harvick

136.893

138.074

5

136.685

2

136.317

1

2.7

19

Brad Keselowski

136.851

137.179

11

135.461

21

135.916

7

13.0

20

Ryan Newman

136.576

136.659

19

134.695

28

135.318

18

21.7

21

Trevor Bayne

136.503

136.861

16

135.069

25

134.303

30

23.7

22

AJ Allmendinger

136.488

135.66

26

136.013

8

134.892

25

19.7

23

Matt DiBenedetto

136.395

136.034

23

134.62

29

135.237

20

24.0

24

Kasey Kahne

137.19

136.054

22

136.147

7

135.926

6

11.7

25

Casey Mears

135.537

136.576

20

135.196

24

134.625

28

24.0

26

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

135.527

135.977

24

136.312

6

135.690

14

14.7

27

Landon Cassill

135.394

134.983

30

133.72

33

133.869

33

32.0

28

Ty Dillon

135.369

135.569

31

135.706

14

134.867

26

23.7

29

David Ragan

135.206

135.598

27

135.634

17

135.303

19

21.0

30

Brian Scott

134.917

135.506

29

133.789

32

133.884

32

31.0

31

Regan Smith

134.514

135.695

25

134.263

30

134.434

29

28.0

32

Chris Buescher

134.429

134.213

34

132.984

34

133.690

34

34.0

33

Michael McDowell

134.068

134.454

32

132.616

36

133.072

35

34.3

34

Cole Whitt

133.67

132.675

38

132.92

35

132.567

36

36.3

35

Clint Bowyer

133.072

133.581

35

134.766

27

134.303

31

31.0

36

Danica Patrick

132.895

134.399

33

134.208

31

135.216

21

28.3

37

Josh Wise

132.797

132.719

37

132.033

37

131.21

39

37.7

38

Michael Annett

132.768

132.939

36

NA

 

131.353

38

37.0

39

Joey Gase

132.543

131.234

39

130.957

38

131.368

37

38.0

 

10-Lap Averages

Practice 1

     

1.

Jamie McMurray

133.409

2.

Danica Patrick

131.236

     
     

10-Lap Averages

Practice 2

     

1.

Kurt Busch

135.699

2.

Carl Edwards

135.440

3.

Ryan Blaney

135.025

4.

Denny Hamlin

134.934

5.

Kyle Busch

134.746

6.

Jimmie Johnson

134.722

7.

Kyle Larson

134.630

8.

Kevin Harvick

134.468

9.

Paul Menard

134.458

10.

Casey Mears

134.448

11.

Chase Elliott

134.299

12.

Ty Dillon

134.207

13.

Greg Biffle

134.196

14.

Jamie McMurray

134.184

15.

Martin Truex Jr.

134.046

16.

Matt Kenseth

133.991

17.

Austin Dillon

133.764

18.

Matt DiBenedetto

133.727

19.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

133.691

20.

Kasey Kahne

133.491

21.

AJ Allmendinger

133.305

22.

Trevor Bayne

133.076

23.

Brian Scott

132.559

24.

Chris Buescher

130.740

     

10-Lap Averages

Final Practice

     

1.

Kasey Kahne

135.330

2.

Kurt Busch

135.263

3.

Martin Truex Jr.

135.174

4.

Paul Menard

135.054

5.

Kyle Busch

134.977

6.

Aric Almirola

134.865

7.

Ryan Blaney

134.827

8.

Joey Logano

134.800

9.

Jimmie Johnson

134.779

10.

Austin Dillon

134.700

11.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

134.683

12.

Kyle Larson

134.665

13.

Matt Kenseth

134.571

14.

Kevin Harvick

134.341

15.

Brad Keselowski

134.340

16.

David Ragan

134.145

17.

Greg Biffle

133.781

18.

Denny Hamlin

133.761

18.

Ryan Newman

133.763

20.

Matt DiBenedetto

133.640

21.

Ty Dillon

133.443

22.

Jamie McMurray

133.385

23.

Casey Mears

133.172

24.

Carl Edwards

132.278

25.

Clint Bowyer

131.623

26.

Brian Scott

131.390

27.

Chris Buescher

130.640

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.