Labor Day is upon us folks, and that means we are headed to Atlanta for a night race (until next year when we go back to Darlington!). Bristol provided us with some great racing as always, as well as keeping those final 4 slots for the Chase up for grabs. Matt Kenseth seems to have a nice gap on those drivers below him, and he is heading to a track that has been very good to him. So much is on the line for about 8 drivers this weekend, while those already locked into the Chase are going to be looking for another victory to add to their arsenal.
Atlanta - AdvoCare 500 (2013) Statistics:
Winner: Kyle Busch (lead 11.08% of the race)
Top 5: Kyle Busch, Joey Logano (most laps lead; 24%), Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman
Average Speed: 135.128 mph
Margin of Victory: 0.740 seconds
Lead Changes: 28
Number of Cautions: 9
Caution Laps: 47 (14.46% of the race)
First Caution: 27
Last Caution: 299
Drivers on Lead Lap: 17
2014 Driver Statistics
With his third victory of the season, Joey Logano becomes the fifth driver with three wins this season. With Dale Earnhardt Jr. having a worse night at Atlanta than Jeff Gordon, Gordon reclaims the top spot of drivers with the best average finish of 2014. Several drivers improved their average finish, while some big names (who normally are great at Atlanta) flopped. Those drivers on the outside of the Chase looking in basically kept tabs on each other all night, so that fight to get in on points is still hot.
Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Predictions
Since dropping to just 1 race at Atlanta, the intermediate quad-oval that thinks she is a super speedway, has produced many great races. Some drivers love the track, and their numbers prove that; but there are other drivers that struggle every time. Tony Stewart holds the best average finish at Atlanta (with only 1 race per season), but Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Jeff Gordon are not too far behind. Brad Keselowski on the other hand, has a horrendous average finish at Hotlanta, 35.5; but with the hot streak he is on now, he should be a driver to keep your eyes on. Kyle Larson has not race at Atlanta, but he has proven to tame every track he has gone to this season, and if he wants to improve his point’s position, he will need to tame this track and hope everyone else does not.
Power rankings are based off current yearly stats, track seasonal stats, track overall stats, track type stats, team average (year, track seasonal, and track overall), manufacturer rank, and (yearly) race completion percentage. Manufacturer and team power ranking are more used as a tie-breaker rather than actually incorporated into the equation.
Dark Horses: Team Penske
Avoid: Aric Almirola
Surprise, surprise; Hendrick Motorsports has the best average finish as well as the most wins (Jeff Gordon most recently in 2011) at Atlanta, as well as this season. Team Penske is on the heels of HMS this season; both teams have gone toe-to-toe all season honestly. Could another team step up to the plate this weekend? JTG Daugherty Racing could be a surprise finisher, and also keep an eye on Stewart-Haas Racing. Will we see Tony Stewart back behind the wheel?
Chevrolet has the best average finish at Atlanta, but Toyota is right there in terms on wins. This race could easily level the playing field as no really manufacturer has a distinct advantage.
Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta (Atlanta): Key Statistics
- The average race winner has come from starting in the top 6 (5.5 average)
- 10% of the winners have come from starting on the pole (Kasey Kahne – 2006)
- 50% of the winner have come from starting in the top 5
- 90% of the winners have come from starting in the top 10
- Kurt Busch won in 2010 from starting P11, which is the furthest back a race winner has started (taking into account the ‘first visit’ to Atlanta)
- Winning drivers have lead an average of 97.2 laps (29.91% of the race)
Race Speed (mph):
95% Confidence Interval: (118.579, 161.577)
Atlanta, while be it a fast track, has slowed down drastically over the past 10 years. Trending points to a slower than average race this weekend.
Margin of Victory (seconds):
95% Confidence Interval: (-1.473, 3.962)
2004 produced the largest margin of victory in the past 10 years. The trending has been on a decline, even if we ignore 2004’s value, dipping well below the average. However, 2009-2013 has produced a ‘new’ trend; that trend has been increasing. While still under the average, it is not as drastic as the entire history.
95% Confidence Interval: (10.846, 39.554)
Lead changes have been on the rise y’all; and we know that means more passes for the lead, thus more action at the front of the track. Trending is pointing to just slightly above the average.
95% Confidence Interval: (3.051, 12.749)
The number of cautions has also been on the rise lately, slowly creeping above the average, but not far above. With a track as fast as this track is, so much can go wrong in such a short period of time.
95% Confidence Interval: (12.887, 69.313)
Caution laps are trending almost exactly the same as the cautions themselves; an increase over time and above the average.
95% Confidence Interval: (-42.925, 104.725)
2004 (again) gave us the latest first caution lap. With that in the history, trending is declining, and declining well below the average. Taking out that point as it is so drastic, trending is moving upwards and just slightly above the average.
95% Confidence Interval: (231.432, 354.168)
3 Atlanta races have gone into overtime, most recently in 2012. Trending has been on the rise and higher than the average. This will set up for a short run to the checkers, or provide us a chance at a GWC finish.
Drivers on the Lead Lap:
95% Confidence Interval: (6.967, 26.533)
The number of drivers on the lead lap at the end of the race has also been on the rise, surpassing the average. If this holds true, there will be a lot of great racing all over the track. With so much on the line, those guys outside of the Chase cutoff will do whatever it takes to finish up front.