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Statistically Speaking

Update: Richmond

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

Mother Nature was mostly uncooperative on Friday.

NASCAR got one practice in the books and then qualification was rained out. The lineup was set by the first practice session speeds, which gave Kevin Harvick his first pole since last fall at Chicagoland Speedway. Notably, he led the field to green that weekend after time trials were also rained out, but he did not get a chance to show how powerful he would be at the end of the race. He crashed on lap 209 of 267 after ignoring a tire vibration. Harvick was fourth-fastest in final practice, however, which confirms his speed.

Joey Logano played the weather to his benefit and laid down the second-fastest lap in practice. He rolls off from the outside pole, but he was not quite as fast in final practice with only the 10th-best time. He wasn’t much better on long runs in Happy Hour—posting only the 15th-quickest, 10-lap average. Given the struggles he has experienced for most of 2016, it is unlikely he is going to challenge for a top-five despite a three-year average that put him atop the leaderboard in this week’s Statistically Speaking column.

The best overall value this week might be Jimmie Johnson. He had the third-fastest time in first practice, was fastest in Happy Hour, and posted the quickest 10-lap average in that session. Unless he employs a risky setup during the afternoon or makes a mistake in the pits, he should be one of this week’s dominant drivers. His combination of short- and long-run speed could earn maximum points in most salary cap games even though he will not maximize place-differential points.

Players looking for dark horses might want to consider Ryan Blaney and Ryan Newman. Both drivers start outside the top 10 with Newman rolling off 14th and Blaney well down the order in 29th. Both had solid 10-lap averages, however. Newman posted the ninth-quickest time in final practice; Blaney was 10th and those numbers are supported by the fact that all but a couple of drivers ran 10 laps or more during the afternoon.

Martin Truex Jr. was right there with Newman and Blaney in Happy Hour. He posted the 11th-quickest, 10-lap average and rolls off the grid 22nd. If he can squeak into the top 10 and earn the points associated with that, plus bank 12 or more place-differential points in games that offer them, Truex will be well-worth his salary cap. Anything in the low-teens will make him a decent value, but once he slips into the mid-teens he will be too expensive. In the past three year’s, Truex has an average of slightly better than 17th, which makes him a coin toss this week. 

 

Start

Driver

Qual Speed

Practice 1

Rank

Final Practice

Rank

Avg. Rank

               

1

Kevin Harvick

 

    129.069

1

           120.374

4

2.0

2

Joey Logano

 

    128.694

2

           119.676

10

4.7

3

Jimmie Johnson

 

    128.187

3

           120.849

1

2.3

4

Carl Edwards

 

    128.181

4

           119.979

5

4.3

5

Denny Hamlin

 

    128.156

5

           119.570

11

7.0

6

Brad Keselowski

 

    128.011

6

           119.305

15

9.0

7

Kurt Busch

 

    127.799

7

           119.564

12

8.7

8

Kasey Kahne

 

    127.334

8

           120.622

2

6.0

9

Kyle Busch

 

    127.298

9

           120.493

3

7.0

10

AJ Allmendinger

 

    127.220

10

           119.883

8

9.3

11

Austin Dillon

 

    127.208

11

           118.572

24

15.3

12

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 

    125.517

12

           119.021

17

13.7

13

Matt Kenseth

 

    125.307

13

           119.931

6

10.7

14

Ryan Newman

 

    124.913

14

           119.400

14

14.0

15

Kyle Larson

 

    124.861

15

           119.011

18

16.0

16

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 

    124.775

16

           119.290

16

16.0

17

Trevor Bayne

 

    124.775

16

           118.286

27

20.0

18

Tony Stewart

 

    124.700

18

           118.614

23

19.7

19

Greg Biffle

 

    124.527

19

           118.979

19

19.0

20

Brian Scott

 

    124.516

20

           118.551

25

21.7

21

Danica Patrick

 

    124.487

21

           118.624

22

21.3

22

Martin Truex Jr.

 

    124.481

22

           119.920

7

17.0

23

Chase Elliott

 

    124.464

23

           118.911

20

22.0

24

Aric Almirola

 

    124.064

24

           117.950

29

25.7

25

Casey Mears

 

    123.734

25

           118.697

21

23.7

26

Paul Menard

 

    123.598

26

           119.835

9

20.3

27

Jamie McMurray

 

    123.553

27

           118.463

26

26.7

28

Landon Cassill

 

    123.125

28

           117.575

31

29.0

29

Ryan Blaney

 

    122.566

29

           119.480

13

23.7

30

David Ragan

 

    122.266

30

           116.616

35

31.7

31

Josh Wise

 

    121.995

31

           114.446

40

34.0

32

Michael McDowell

 

    121.990

32

           117.791

30

31.3

33

Chris Buescher

 

    121.891

33

           116.721

34

33.3

34

Regan Smith

 

    121.496

34

           116.777

33

33.7

35

Reed Sorenson

 

    121.250

35

           115.736

38

36.0

36

Matt DiBenedetto

 

    121.131

36

           118.131

28

33.3

37

Ryan Ellis

 

    120.182

37

           116.898

32

35.3

38

Jeffrey Earnhardt

 

    119.458

39

           116.440

36

37.7

39

Clint Bowyer

 

    117.842

40

           116.324

37

38.7

40

Michael Annett

 

            -  

41

           115.321

39

40.0

 

10-Lap Averages

 

10-Lap Averages

Avg

Practice 2

 

Final Practice

Rank

               

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

 

1

Jimmie Johnson

  119.667

1.0

 

Kevin Harvick

 

 

2

Kevin Harvick

  119.001

2.0

 

Kyle Busch

 

 

3

Kyle Busch

  118.854

3.0

3

Kasey Kahne

      120.021

 

5

Kasey Kahne

  118.731

4.0

 

Carl Edwards

 

 

4

Carl Edwards

  118.838

4.0

 

Kurt Busch

 

 

6

Kurt Busch

  118.508

6.0

 

Brad Keselowski

 

 

7

Brad Keselowski

  118.334

7.0

 

AJ Allmendinger

 

 

8

AJ Allmendinger

  118.305

8.0

 

Ryan Newman

 

 

9

Ryan Newman

  118.300

9.0

1

Tony Stewart

      120.327

 

18

Tony Stewart

  117.744

9.5

 

Ryan Blaney

 

 

10

Ryan Blaney

  118.249

10.0

5

Chase Elliott

      119.454

 

16

Chase Elliott

  118.094

10.5

 

Martin Truex Jr.

 

 

11

Martin Truex Jr.

  118.235

11.0

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 

 

12

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

  118.219

12.0

 

Matt Kenseth

 

 

13

Matt Kenseth

  118.218

13.0

 

Denny Hamlin

 

 

14

Denny Hamlin

  118.199

14.0

4

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

      119.499

 

25

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

  117.319

14.5

2

Casey Mears

      120.298

 

27

Casey Mears

  117.235

14.5

 

Joey Logano

 

 

15

Joey Logano

  118.156

15.0

 

Kyle Larson

 

 

17

Kyle Larson

  118.027

17.0

6

Chris Buescher

      118.822

 

32

Chris Buescher

  116.052

19.0

 

Austin Dillon

 

 

19

Austin Dillon

  117.692

19.0

 

Trevor Bayne

 

 

20

Trevor Bayne

  117.673

20.0

 

Paul Menard

 

 

21

Paul Menard

  117.640

21.0

 

Greg Biffle

 

 

22

Greg Biffle

  117.586

22.0

 

Danica Patrick

 

 

23

Danica Patrick

  117.474

23.0

 

Brian Scott

 

 

24

Brian Scott

  117.361

24.0

 

Michael McDowell

 

 

26

Michael McDowell

  117.267

26.0

 

Jamie McMurray

 

 

28

Jamie McMurray

  117.226

28.0

 

Aric Almirola

 

 

29

Aric Almirola

  117.141

29.0

 

Matt DiBenedetto

 

 

30

Matt DiBenedetto

  116.892

30.0

 

Landon Cassill

 

 

31

Landon Cassill

  116.830

31.0

 

David Ragan

 

 

33

David Ragan

  115.456

33.0

 

Jeffrey Earnhardt

 

 

34

Jeffrey Earnhardt

  115.367

34.0

 

Regan Smith

 

 

35

Regan Smith

  115.189

35.0

 

Ryan Ellis

 

 

36

Ryan Ellis

  114.135

36.0

 

Michael Annett

 

 

37

Michael Annett

  113.384

37.0

 

Josh Wise

 

 

38

Josh Wise

  111.326

38.0

 

 

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.