Statistically speaking: a look at Atlanta Motor Speedway

oralb500_black1Only two races remain before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “regular season” ends and the Chase for the Sprint Cup gets underway for the 16 drivers who’ll battle for the 2014 Sprint Cup title. All that’s left, as far as opportunities go to claim one of those 16 spots, are Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the race at Richmond (Va.) International Speedway next Saturday.

Jeff Gordon leads the way in terms of career wins at Atlanta with five, and he’s tops in driver rating at the track. Sunday’s race will be a milestone one for Gordon, as it’ll be his 750th at the Cup level. It’s fitting that the milestone will be reached at Atlanta, as AMS was the site of Gordon’s first-career start at the Cup level in the final race of the 1992 season.

Gordon already has three wins this season, so his Chase berth is secure. With only two remaining until the Chase, focus shifts to drivers still in search of race wins. Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman lead the way among winless drivers and look to be on their ways to claim one of the final available Chase spots by virtue of their points positions, that is if they don’t win one of the next two races. Neither driver has experienced Atlanta’s victory lane in a Sprint Cup race.

Tony Stewart returns to action at Atlanta after sidelining himself for three races to deal with the Aug. 9 incident at Canadaigua (N.Y) Motorsports Park. NASCAR has given Stewart a waiver to allow him to still race for a Chase spot, despite failing to make a qualifying attempt for two of the three races missed. Stewart is still winless on the year, so far, but he’s a three-time winner at Atlanta and is third in the driver ratings.

Here’s a look at how some of the season’s winless drivers have fared when visiting Atlanta:

Marcos Ambrose (No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford)

· One top 10

· Average finish of 20.3

· Average Running Position of 20.5, 23rd-best

· Driver Rating of 68.1, 23rd-best

· 8 Fastest Laps Run, 34th-most

· 739 Green Flag Passes, 19th-most

· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.119 mph, 23rd-fastest

· 876 Laps in the Top 15 (33.4%), 22nd-most

· 208 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 21st-most

Greg Biffle (No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)

· Three top fives, nine top 10s; one pole

· Average finish of 15.9

· Average Running Position of 13.7, 11th-best

· Driver Rating of 91.3, 11th-best

· 237 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most

· 993 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most

· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.998 mph, 13th-fastest

· 3,301 Laps in the Top 15 (67.3%), sixth-most

· 518 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota)

· Five top 10s

· Average finish of 19.8

· Average Running Position of 15.7, 16th-best

· Driver Rating of 84.8, 15th-best

· 76 Fastest Laps Run, 15th-most

· 865 Green Flag Passes, 13th-most

· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.054 mph, 11th-fastest

· 2,444 Laps in the Top 15 (57.5%), 15th-most

· 358 Quality Passes, 17th-most

Austin Dillon (No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet)

· Average finish of 19.0

· Average Running Position of 20.6, 24th-best

· Driver Rating of 67.3, 24th-best

· 1 Fastest Laps Run, 44th-most

· 86 Green Flag Passes, 45th-most

· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.903 mph, 26th-fastest

· 1 Laps in the Top 15 (.3%), 47th-most

· 1 Quality Passes, 43rd-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

· Eight top fives, 14 top 10s

· Average finish of 12.7

· Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best

· Driver Rating of 96.5, fifth-best

· 190 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most

· 1,018 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most

· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.262 mph, sixth-fastest

· 3,415 Laps in the Top 15 (69.7%), fifth-most

· 528 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet)

· Four top 10s

· Average finish of 20.0

· Average Running Position of 19.2, 22nd-best

· Driver Rating of 73.7, 22nd-best

· Series-high 1,145 Green Flag Passes

· 1,965 Laps in the Top 15 (40.1%), 18th-most

· 407 Quality Passes, 15th-most

Paul Menard (No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet)

· One top five, three top 10s

· Average finish of 20.7

· Average Running Position of 23.3, 27th-best

· Driver Rating of 63.6, 26th-best

· 899 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most

· 827 Laps in the Top 15 (21.1%), 24th-most

· 208 Quality Passes, 21st-most

Ryan Newman (No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet)

· Two top fives, seven top 10s; seven poles

· Average finish of 17.7

· Average Running Position of 18.6, 20th-best

· Driver Rating of 74.1, 21st-best

· 1,077 Green Flag Passes, third-most

· 1,742 Laps in the Top 15 (35.5%), 19th-most

· 346 Quality Passes, 19th-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet)

· Three wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole

· Average finish of 11.7

· Average Running Position of 11.4, third-best

· Driver Rating of 100.2, third-best

· 800 Green Flag Passes, 16th-most

· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.240 mph, seventh-fastest

· 3,231 Laps in the Top 15 (70.6%), seventh-most

· 490 Quality Passes, 10th-most

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet)

· Two top fives, four top 10s; one pole

· Average finish of 20.3

· Average Running Position of 11.7, fourth-best

· Driver Rating of 91.4, 10th-best

· 890 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most

· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.359 mph, fourth-fastest

· 3,517 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8%), fourth-most

· 559 Quality Passes, second-most

Atlanta Motor Speedway Data

Season Race #: 25 of 36 (08-31-14)

Track Size: 1.54-miles

Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 24 degrees

Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 24 degrees

Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees

Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees

Frontstretch Length: 2,332 feet

Backstretch Length: 1,800 feet

Race Length: 325 laps / 500.5 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Atlanta

Jeff Gordon………………………… 105.6

Jimmie Johnson…………………… 104.8

Tony Stewart……………………….. 100.2

Carl Edwards………………………. 100.0

Matt Kenseth………………………… 96.5

Denny Hamlin……………………….. 96.2

Kurt Busch……………………………. 94.5

Kyle Busch…………………………… 94.4

Dale Earnhardt Jr…………………… 93.3

Martin Truex Jr………………………. 91.4

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (15 total) among active drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2013 pole winner:

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford

189.688 mph, 29.227 secs. 08-30-13

2013 race winner:

Kyle Busch, Toyota

135.128 mph, (03:42:14), 08-30-13

Track qualifying record:

Geoffrey Bodine, Ford

197.478 mph, 28.074 secs. 11-15-97

Track race record:

Bobby Labonte, Pontiac

159.904 mph, (03:07:48), 11-16-97

Tags: Atlanta Motor Speedway Chase For The Sprint Cup NASCAR

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