Early Rankings: Talladega II, 2015

Dale Earnhardt Jr. photo

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

Update: I’ve now completed my final Talladega II rankings (click here to see them).

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 and the spring Talladega race (because those are the last two races in which qualifying occurred and 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.

The results:

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