Early Rankings: Talladega I, 2015

Joey Logano tops my early Talladega rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Joey Logano tops my early Talladega rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s race at Talladega. I compiled them by crunching the loop data for the past four plate races, the qualifying data from last year’s Daytona 500 (because that’s the last sorta-recent plate race in which qualifying didn’t involve drafting), and the loop data for this year’s Daytona Duels. Those metrics reflect speed, the ability to pass and the ability (and inclination) to run a lot of laps up front:

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Kasey Kahne
  4. Jimmie Johnson
  5. Greg Biffle
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr
  8. Martin Truex Jr
  9. Kevin Harvick
  10. Jeff Gordon
  11. Paul Menard
  12. Austin Dillon
  13. Clint Bowyer
  14. Sam Hornish Jr.
  15. Danica Patrick
  16. Casey Mears
  17. Brad Keselowski
  18. Matt Kenseth
  19. Aric Almirola
  20. Kyle Larson
  21. Michael Annett
  22. David Ragan
  23. Jamie McMurray
  24. David Gilliland
  25. Landon Cassill
  26. Carl Edwards
  27. Ryan Blaney
  28. Chris Buescher
  29. Justin Allgaier
  30. Trevor Bayne
  31. Brian Scott
  32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  33. Brendan Gaughan
  34. Michael McDowell
  35. Cole Whitt
  36. AJ Allmendinger
  37. Ryan Newman
  38. Matt Dibenedetto
  39. Alex Bowman
  40. Tony Stewart
  41. Josh Wise
  42. Bobby Labonte
  43. J.J Yeley
  44. Michael Waltrip
  45. Kenny Wallace
  46. Jeb Burton

2 thoughts on “Early Rankings: Talladega I, 2015

  1. Jed Henson Post author

    Hi Ray! I try to apply zero gut feel to my rankings and let only the numbers do the talking. In these early ‘Dega rankings, I actually didn’t even notice those guys were ranked so poorly. I just cranked the numbers and posted the list.

    I admit, it looks disturbing now that I see it! Part of the deal is, the plate races have become even less predictable due to group qualifying. And, the fact is Stewart and Newman have flat sucked the past few plate weekends.

    We’ll see if moving back to solo qualifying on the plates helps improve plate predictability this week. I suspect Stewart and Newman will rise after qualifying. And, I’m not so rigid that I consider ONLY the numbers. I do look at other folks’ rankings (e.g., FNP, Accupredict, etc.) and sometimes tweak my rankings if I see something convincing. The reason: I recognize the numbers don’t capture everything. And the wisdom of crowds is a real thing.

    But never forget: Gut feel is what keeps the lights on in all those giganto casinos in Vegas.

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