Early Rankings: Daytona I, 2015


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. Casey Mears
  12. Paul Menard
  13. Kevin Harvick
  14. Kyle Busch
  15. Jeff Gordon
  16. Martin Truex. Jr.
  17. Carl Edwards
  18. Aric Almirola
  19. Landon Cassill
  20. Danica Patrick
  21. Tony Stewart
  22. Clint Bowyer
  23. Reed Sorenson
  24. Kyle Larson
  25. Ryan Newman
  26. Jamie McMurray
  27. Ryan Blaney
  28. Ricky Stenhouse. Jr.
  29. Michael Annett
  30. Sam Hornish Jr.
  31. Justin Allgaier
  32. Trevor Bayne
  33. David Gilliland
  34. Michael Waltrip
  35. Cole Whitt
  36. Brian Scott
  37. AJ Allmendinger
  38. Michael McDowell
  39. David Ragan
  40. Ty Dillon (i)
  41. J.J Yeley
  42. Jeb Burton
  43. Johnny Sauter (i)
  44. Ron Hornaday
  45. Justin Marks (i)
  46. Bobby Labonte
  47. Alex Bowman
  48. Josh Wise
  49. Mike Wallace