Aaron’s 499 (2013) Statistics:
Winner: David Ragan (lead 2.08% of the race); Matt Kenseth lead the most laps
Average Speed: 148.729mph
Margin of Victory: 0.212 seconds
Lead Changes: 30
Number of Cautions: 5
Caution Laps: 31 (16.1458% of the race)
First Caution: 24
Last Caution: 184
Drivers on Lead Lap: 20
2014 Driver Statistics
Jeff Gordon is still leading the way in terms of average finish (as well as the point’s standings) and seems to be getting better each week. If he keeps this up, he will get that win (and multiple of them) and be a true contender for the Championship. Along with Gordon, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth have still been the only drivers to complete every lap of the (regular) season.
This is NOT the point’s standings!!! These statistics are the top 16 best average finishes plus any driver who has wins that is not in that top 16.
Aaron’s 499 Predictions
*Note that the statistics here are for Talladega Super Speedway and not for the year; those are above.*
Dale Earnhardt Jr. already has won on a plate track this year, and he is a pretty good plate racer at that, so he should be great here yet again. However, look out for Jeff Gordon; with 3 wins in recent years at Talladega, and as hungry as he is to finally close the deal on that win, he may just pull off that win. Also, look out for that sneaky pair of Davids from Front Row Motorsports. With Ragan winning last year, who knows what else can happen! These two are great plate racers and should not be tossed away.
Dark Horses: Tony Stewart, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon, Everyone
Avoid: Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., Everyone
In 2014, Joe Gibbs seems to be leading the way with Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske right on their heels, but everyone is chasing Team Penske when it comes to wins. When it comes to Talladega, those in the Ganassi stable always look pretty racy, followed by Hendrick Motorsports and the little engine that could team, Front Row Motorsports (keep a close eye on the Davids here!). When it comes to winning at Dega, Hendrick Motorsports is in a league of their own.
It is neck and neck with Chevrolet and Ford so far this season; but when it comes to Talladega, it is hard to beat a Chevrolet.
Aaron’s 499 at Richmond International Raceway: Key Statistics
Race Speed (mph):
95% Confidence Interval: (131.714, 167.105)
Talladega races do not tend to vary much in their speed; in fact, the trending over the years has shown an increase in the speed, but tandem racing vs. pack racing does provide a difference.
Margin of Victory (seconds):
95% Confidence Interval: (-0.074, 0.364)
3 of the past 10 races have ended under caution, most recently in 2008. The past 2 years have provided at least 1 green-white-checkered. With that said, a race here can end ridiculously close, or close but not a photo finish close; either way, look for a close finish of some kind even though trending is increasing (that doesn’t mean much here honestly).
95% Confidence Interval: (11.839, 94.961)
Excluding the years of the two-car-tandem, lead changes tend to be pretty consistent, but the past 2 years have been below average. Even with that, the trending has increased over the years, basically balancing the tandem years out with the past 2 years. Depending on how racy they want to be, we can see something like last year (30’s) or slightly more up to the average but nothing like 88 we saw in tandem years.
*This IS Talladega; you can take most statistics with a grain of salt in terms of cautions as those can be as unpredictable as the winning lottery numbers.*
95% Confidence Interval: (3.924, 11.276)
The number of cautions seen at Talladega has been on the decline over the years; that means these drivers are too busy racing to be wrecking, right? The trending has this race coming in under the average, around 5 cautions, which happened the past 2 years.
95% Confidence Interval: (13.016, 49.784)
The decline in cautions leads to a decline in caution laps (obviously). If trending holds true to both, we could see slightly fewer caution laps than average.
95% Confidence Interval: (-16.09, 62.09)
Trending of the first caution is on the rise but around the average value. As long as no one tries to make any dumb moves at the start of the race, we can stick with the average (and probably will be some debris caution too).
95% Confidence Interval: (171.126, 198.674)
The last caution coming out is fairly consistent. It may not always produce a green-white-checkered (or multiple) but it can still set up for a shootout. With a scheduled 188 laps, the average tells us we will see a shootout; how many laps is unseen obviously but it is Dega so a few GWC’s is very good.
Drivers On The Lead Lap:
95% Confidence Interval: (13.605, 31.795)
Thanks to drafting, most drivers can stay in touch with the leaders and avoid being lapped. If a driver is lapped, they probably had some issues and are just logging laps at that point. Last year there were 32 cars running but only 20 on the lead lap. If you can avoid a wreck, there is a good chance you will be on the lead lap; but don’t lose the draft! Trending for drivers on the lead lap at the end is pretty flat so the average is a good number to stick with.