Early Rankings: Sonoma, 2016

jimmie johnson photo

Jimmie Johnson tops my early Sonoma driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Update: I’ve posted my final Sonoma 2016 driver rankings, which improve upon these early rankings.

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Daytona and Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races at Sonoma;
  • the loop data for the past four races at Watkins Glen;
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Sonoma; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past four races at Watkins Glen.

The results:

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

2 thoughts on “Early Rankings: Sonoma, 2016

  1. KARL

    This analysis unfortunately under rates the progress that the two super rookies have made. True, a road course is a different breed of cat but I doubt that Ryan Blaney finishes around 26th barring an accident that could befall any of the drivers. Chase Elliot has been running even better and a top ten is easily in his grasp.

  2. Jed Henson Post author

    Agreed that the two rookies have been super, but I’m not with you on Blaney at Sonoma. From what I can tell, he has very little road course experience, and maybe none at Sonoma. Will see how he looks in practice/quals, and I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

    I’m more bullish on Chase, and he could score a top 10. He has significant road course experience, and he’s in Gordon’s old ride. Still, I’d like to see how he looks in p/q before I move him up. All those guys above him are pretty stout, too.

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