TOP FIVE DRIVERS

Quik Trip 500 from ATLANTA

The #5 driver is the winning-est current driver here, #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff has five wins in 41 starts with 16 Top 5’s. Jeff’s first win came in spring of 1995 and his last was in 2011 – a span of 16 years. Jeff was, and still is, very good here. He looked good up until the end of the race in Daytona and needs a big finish here.

My #4 driver is coming off kind of a big win, #22 Joey Logano. He has eight starts, no wins and one Top 5. Joey has elevated his entire program over the last year. You have to throw out his stats. He has showed dramatic improvement everywhere and you should expect it here. Joey is #2 hottest over the last six weeks and finished in 2nd two years ago. Joey is Top 5-rated for me at tracks like this.

The #3 driver is a former winner here, #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale has 27 starts, one win, and nine Top 5 finishes. Dale is #4 hottest over the last six races and is #4 in highest average finish. It seems he hasn’t missed a step with his new crew chief and should have a big day here Sunday.

My #2 pick is another former winner, #11 Denny Hamlin. Denny has 15 starts, one win and three Top 5’s. His win came in 2012 and he finished 3rd last year. Denny is also #3 hottest over the last six weeks. Joe Gibbs Racing is loaded (maybe over-loaded) with talent and early this year Denny is off to a good start ahead of the rest.

My #1 driver is also a former winner here in the A-T-L, #4 Kevin Harvick. Kevin has 23 starts, one win, and five Top 5’s. While Kevin doesn’t have the best large amount of Top 5’s in Atlanta, he is #3 highest average finisher here and six of his last eight races here were Top 10’s.

Monday look for our preview of the Kobalt Tools 400 from Las Vegas Speedway.

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TOP 30 DRIVER RANKINGS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS

QUIK TRIP 500 from ATLANTA

  1. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  2. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  3. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88
  4. JOEY LOGANO #22
  5. JEFF GORDON #24
  6. MATT KENSETH #20
  7. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  8. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  9. GREG BIFFLE #16
  10. CARL EDWARDS #99
  11. KYLE LARSON #42
  12. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  13. AUSTIN DILLION #3
  14. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  15. KASEY KAHNE #5
  16. PAUL MENARD #27
  17. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  18. ARIC ALMIROLA #43
  19. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47
  20. DANICA PATRICK #10
  21. CASEY MEARS #13
  22. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  23. REGAN SMITH#41
  24. MICHAEL ANNETT #46
  25. TONY STEWART #14
  26. CLINT BOWYER #15
  27. DAVID RAGAN #18
  28. TREVOR BAYNE #6
  29. SAM HORNISH #9
  30. DAVID GILLILAND #38

Friday we break down the Top 5 drives to watch.

TOP TEN TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST DAYTONA

  1. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
  2. JOE GIBBS RACING
  3. TEAM PENSKE
  4. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
  5. STEWART HAAS RACING
  1. GERMAIN RACING
  2. FURNITURE ROW RACING
  3. JTG RACING
  4. MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING
  5. ROUSH/FENWAY RACING

One race into the season Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske.start strong in the Top 3. We find Stewart Haas Racing and Richard Childress Racing rounding out the Top5. The next three are our single car teams. Michael Waltrip Racing and Roush Fenway complete the Top 10. Look for this to shake up a little more in this first few weeks of the season.

Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers for the Quik Trip 500.

TOP TEN DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: INTERMEDIATE TRACKS

  1. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  2. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  3. MATT KENSETH #20
  4. JOEY LOGANO #22
  5. JEFF GORDON #24
  6. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  7. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  8. GREG BIFFLE #16
  9. CARL EDWARDS #19
  10. JAMIE McMURRAY #1

Top 10 drivers on Intermediate tracks, Wednesday look for our Top 10 Teams and Thursday look for our Top 30 driver rankings for Sunday’s QUIK TRIP 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway.

RACE PREVIEW

atl 15

QUIK TRIP 500

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

March 1st, 1:00PM ET on FOX TV

1.54 Miles 24 Degrees of Banking

Atlanta is the fastest and probably the #1 favorite track amongst the drivers to drive on. Great sweeping turns and a smooth surface are two of the main reasons. At 1.54 miles it is a tad bigger than the many other “cookie cutter tracks.” But the date for this race has seen many changes over the years, now it is the second race of the year or really the first “real race”. Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are the two most dominate teams here in the last 10 years. In the 16 races run JGR has five wins and HMS has four. Note though that JGR has three of the last five wins but HMS the other two. No question these two teams dominate here. Who will get the first non restrictor plate win of the year? We’ll find out on Sunday.

Tuesday look for our Top 10 drivers on intermediate tracks for week two. Thursday we rank the top 30 drivers for the QUIK TRIP 500.

TOP FIVE DRIVERS

Top 5 Drivers to Watch:Daytona 500

 

My #5 driver has his work cut out for him on Sunday, #2 Brad Keselowski. Brad has 11 starts, no wins and two Top 5’s. One of those top 5’s came here last year with his 3rd place finish. He is #5 rated on restrictor place track. But since he starts 38th it may take him most of the race to make it to the Top 5.

 

My #4 pick is a driver who won his first Sprint Cup race here in 2003, #16 Greg Biffle. Greg is my #3 rated restrictor plate driver and did very well in the Duel Race yesterday. Greg started 6th and finished 4th and should be able to keep this momentum going on Sunday. Greg is confident because he has 23 starts, one win and three Top 5’s. Not a huge number of Top 5 finishes, but Greg is looking to change that this year.

 

My #3 driver to watch doesn’t have the best stats coming in here, #22 Joey Logano. Joey has 12 starts, no wins and two Top 5 finishes. Joey has struggled a little on plate tracks. Things are turning around for Joey as he qualified 5th and finished in 3rd place in his Duel race after starting 10th.

 

The #2 driver is a former-winner here at Daytona, #31 Ryan Newman. Ryan has 26 starts, with one win in the 500 in 2008. He is #2 hottest coming off that #2 run for the championship last year. His team Richard Childress Racing, is not a stranger to success here at Daytona.

 

My #1 pick is a three-time former-winner, #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale has 30 starts, three wins, and 11 Top 5’s. Dale is my #1 rated restrictor plate racer. His last points’ win came in this race last year and his most recent non-points win came in the first dual race last night. Current success plus knowing he has the #1 best average finish means you should look for Dale Jr. dominance to continue.

 

Monday look for our preview of the Quik Trip 500 from Atlanta.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

DAYTONA 500 from DAYTONA

  1. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88
  2. RYAN NEWMAN #31
  3. JOEY LOGANO #22
  4. GREG BIFFLE #16
  5. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2
  6. DENNY HAMLIN #11
  7. MATT KENSETH #20
  8. JEFF GORDON #24
  9. KEVIN HARVICK #4
  10. CLINT BOWYER #15
  11. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48
  12. AUSTIN DILLION #3
  13. CARL EDWARDS #19
  14. KYLE BUSCH #18
  15. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1
  16. KURT BUSCH #41
  17. RICKY STENHOUSE #17
  18. CASEY MEARS #13
  19. TONY STEWART #14
  20. PAUL MENARD #27
  21. MARTIN TRUEX #78
  22. DANICA PATRICK #10
  23. KASEY KAHNE #5
  24. MICHAEL WALTRIP #55
  25. ARIC ALMIROLA #43
  26. LANDON CASSILL #40
  27. KYLE LARSON #42
  28. JUSTIN ALLGAIER #51
  29. BOBBY LABONTE #32
  30. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47

Friday we break down the Top 5 drivers to watch in Sunday’s Daytona 500.