Early Rankings: Daytona I, 2012

Here are my early driver rankings for the annual crapshoot called the Daytona 500. I compiled them by crunching the loop and qualifying data for the 2011 races at Daytona and Talladega, which reflects speed, the ability to pass and the ability (and inclination) to run a lot of laps up front:

  1. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  2. Paul Menard
  3. Jeff Burton
  4. Ryan Newman
  5. Regan Smith
  6. Tony Stewart
  7. Jeff Gordon
  8. Matt Kenseth
  9. Jimmie Johnson
  10. Kasey Kahne
  11. Juan Pablo Montoya
  12. Brad Keselowski
  13. Carl Edwards
  14. Trevor Bayne
  15. Clint Bowyer
  16. A.J. Allmendinger
  17. Kurt Busch
  18. Joey Logano
  19. Kyle Busch
  20. Greg Biffle
  21. David Ragan
  22. Martin Truex, Jr.
  23. Kevin Harvick
  24. Elliott Sadler (i)
  25. Aric Almirola
  26. Mark Martin
  27. Danica Patrick (i)
  28. David Reutimann
  29. Jamie McMurray
  30. Marcos Ambrose
  31. Bobby Labonte
  32. Casey Mears
  33. Denny Hamlin
  34. Dave Blaney
  35. Joe Nemechek
  36. Michael McDowell
  37. Michael Waltrip
  38. Terry Labonte [PC 1]
  39. Robby Gordon
  40. J.J. Yeley
  41. Robert Richardson
  42. David Gilliland
  43. Landon Cassill(i)
  44. Bill Elliott [PC}
  45. Tony Raines
  46. David Stremme
  47. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (i)
  48. Kenny Wallace (i)
  49. Mike Wallace (i)

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