Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR Alert: Atlanta, 2015

David Ragan will sub for Kyle Busch--run him while you can. (photo courtesy nascar)

David Ragan will sub for Kyle Busch–run him while you can. (photo courtesy nascar)

David Ragan will reportedly drive the 18 car for injured Kyle Busch at Atlanta this week, and for the foreseeable future while KyBu heals. If you play the Yahoo fantasy game, I recommend rostering Ragan in C group this week alongside Regan Smith (who pilots the 41 car for suspended Kurt Busch, also for the foreseeable future). Smith and Ragan are decent drivers at the Sprint Cup level, and now they’re in really good equipment—ride these horses while you have the chance.

Early Rankings: Atlanta, 2015

Jeff Gordon is the clear early favorite at Atlanta this week. (photo courtesy nascar)

Jeff Gordon tops my early Atlanta rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding  Daytona,  Talladega, and Watkins Glen);
  • the loop data for the past four races (excluding Daytona);
  • the loop data for the past four races at Atlanta;
  • the loop data for the past eight races at other tracks in the Large Ovals track group (i.e.,  Michigan,  Kentucky,  Fontana,  Charlotte,  Texas, and  Kansas);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Atlanta; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past seven races at the aforementioned Large Ovals.

The results:

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Matt Kenseth
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  9. Ryan Newman
  10. Carl Edwards Continue reading

Final Rankings: Daytona I, 2015

Jimmie Johnson tops my Daytona 500 rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Jimmie Johnson tops my Daytona 500 rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

The practice speed chart numbers have long held very little predictive value at the restrictor plate races because the cars draft during plate practices. And now, unfortunately, they draft during qualifying, too, so the Daytona 500 qualifying speed chart numbers are out the window as well.

Fortunately, Thursday’s Budweiser Duel 150 races gave us fresh loop data to work with. I crunched that data and used it to update my early Daytona 500 rankings. The results:

  1. Jimmie Johnson
  2. Dale Earnhardt. Jr.
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Greg Biffle
  5. Joey Logano
  6. Jeff Gordon
  7. Kasey Kahne
  8. Carl Edwards
  9. Martin Truex. Jr.
  10. Denny Hamlin Continue reading

Early Rankings: Daytona I, 2015

gregbiffle

Greg Biffle tops my early Daytona 500 rankings.

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s race at Daytona. I compiled them by crunching the loop data for the past four plate races, and taking a brief look at the qualifying data from last year’s Daytona 500 (because it was the last time Sprint Cup ran single-car qualifying on the plate tracks). I think these two metrics reflect speed, the ability to pass and the ability (and inclination) to run a lot of laps up front, all of which should give me the best chance to get in the ballpark with race-result predictions.

Finally, I took a look at the Sprint Unlimited race data and tweaked the rankings accordingly. My results:

  1. Greg Biffle
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Dale Earnhardt. Jr.
  7. Kasey Kahne
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Austin Dillon
  11. Continue reading

Final Rankings: Homestead, 2014

Jeff Gordon remains my pick to win today at Homestead. (photo courtesy nascar)

Jeff Gordon remains my pick to win today at Homestead. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final driver rankings for today’s race at Homestead. I compiled them by crunching the practice and qualifying data from Homestead on Friday and Saturday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Joey Logano
  7. Kyle Busch
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Carl Edwards
  10. Kurt Busch Continue reading

Mid-Week Rankings: Homestead, 2014

Jeff Gordon tops my early Homestead rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Jeff Gordon tops my early Homestead rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my mid-week driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Watkins Glen and Talladega;
  • the loop data for the past four races;
  • the loop data for the past four races at Homestead;
  • the loop data for the past seven races at the other tracks in the Steeps track group (i.e., BristolDarlingtonLas Vegas and Dover);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Homestead; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past seven races at the aforementioned Steeps.

The results:

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Matt Kenseth
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Carl Edwards
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Denny Hamlin
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Continue reading

Final Rankings: Phoenix II, 2014

Kevin Harvick remains my favorite to win today at Phoenix. (photo courtesy nascar)

Kevin Harvick remains my favorite to win today at Phoenix. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final driver rankings for today’s race at Phoenix. I compiled them by crunching the practice and qualifying data from Phoenix on Friday and Saturday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Kurt Busch
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Jamie McMurray Continue reading

Mid-Week Rankings: Phoenix II, 2014

Kevin Harvick tops my early Phoenix II rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Kevin Harvick tops my early Phoenix II rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Daytona, Talladega, Sonoma and Watkins Glen);
  • the loop data for the past four races (excluding Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races at Phoenix;
  • the loop data for the past eight races at the other tracks in the Flats track group (i.e., Richmond, MartinsvilleIndyPocono and New Hampshire);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Phoenix; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past eight races at the aforementioned Flats.

The results:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Jeff Gordon
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Jimmie Johnson
  9. Ryan Newman
  10. Jamie McMurray Continue reading

Final Rankings: Texas II, 2014

Kevin Harvick took over the top spot in my final Texas II rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Kevin Harvick took over the top spot in my final Texas II rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final driver rankings for today’s race at Texas. I compiled them by crunching the practice and qualifying data from Texas on Friday and Saturday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Jeff Gordon
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Carl Edwards
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  10. Matt Kenseth Continue reading