Early, EARLY Rankings: Daytona I, 2016

Dale Earnhardt Jr. photo

Dale Jr. tops my early EARLY Daytona 500 driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my early early early driver rankings for the upcoming Daytona 500. I compiled them by crunching the loop data for the past four plate races and the qualifying data from past two races at Talladega (qualifying was rained out at both Daytona races last year). 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.

Note: These rankings are rough, not least of which because I’m not even sure yet what the final entry list will look like. I’ll update the rankings as we work our way through Speedweeks.

OK, here they are:

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

2 thoughts on “Early, EARLY Rankings: Daytona I, 2016

  1. Ray Miller

    No Daytona Rides? Gilliland, Bowman, Yeley, Wise, Burton, J Earnhardt
    Has Rides: Stewart replacement, Ragan 23, Ty Dillon 95, Labonte 32, Smith 7, 93?,
    ? 62,40,33, else?
    Will we see 40 or 43 on the track this year? Has that been decided?

  2. Jed Henson Post author

    Hi Ray! Yeah, I’m still really foggy on who’s in/out. I’ve been out of the loop on purpose, to refresh for this season’s grind. Thanks for the info/questions! So is Labonte in for J Earnhardt for just Daytona? Man, I gotta plug back in.

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