Early Rankings: Daytona II, 2015

Dale Earnhardt Jr. photo

Dale Jr. tops my early Daytona II rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

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, the qualifying data from the 2014 Daytona 500 and the spring Talladega race (because those are the most recent plate races 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. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  2. Jimmie Johnson
  3. Kasey Kahne
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Denny Hamlin
  6. Jeff Gordon
  7. Joey Logano
  8. Martin Truex Jr.
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Paul Menard
  11. Ryan Blaney
  12. Austin Dillon
  13. Kevin Harvick
  14. Kyle Busch
  15. Sam Hornish Jr.
  16. Greg Biffle
  17. Clint Bowyer
  18. Matt Kenseth
  19. Casey Mears
  20. Aric Almirola
  21. Jamie McMurray
  22. Danica Patrick
  23. Carl Edwards
  24. Tony Stewart
  25. David Ragan
  26. David Gilliland
  27. Ryan Newman
  28. Michael Annett
  29. Kyle Larson
  30. Landon Cassill
  31. Justin Allgaier
  32. Trevor Bayne
  33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  34. Cole Whitt
  35. Michael McDowell
  36. Josh Wise
  37. AJ Allmendinger
  38. Alex Bowman
  39. Matt DiBenedetto
  40. Bobby Labonte
  41. J.J Yeley
  42. Brett Moffitt
  43. Jeb Burton
  44. Brian Scott
  45. Brendan Gaughan