Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


One intangible fantasy owners need to be aware of, is how pressure can dictate a driver’s results. Late in the 2017 season, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was involved in back-to-back accidents during the playoffs—retiring from Talladega SuperSpeedway and Kansas Speedway. From that point on, he had nothing to gain and little to lose, so he closed the year with four consecutive top-15 results that included two of his nine top-10s.

Stenhouse was also susceptible to the intangible momentum. In April, he finished ninth at Bristol Motor Speedway, fourth at Richmond International Raceway, and then won the race that locked him into the playoffs the following week at Talladega. That was his first career NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.

These three strong runs came as part of a nine-race streak of lead lap finishes, which meant the Roush-Fenway Racing driver kept himself in contention by taking care of his equipment. Running well in a NASCAR race is not always about just one thing.  Fantasy players need to consider all the circumstances that a driver faces.

Because he won Talladega, Stenhouse was front of mind on the next restrictor-plate, superspeedway in July. Closely on the heels of win number one, he won his second Cup race to truly lock into the playoffs regardless of how many unique winners there were in the regular season. His next two efforts ended in 14th-place finishes.

But then his momentum stalled. This time, peace of mind might have created some complacency—the flipside of this particular intangible. Stenhouse would not earn another top-10 until the final four weeks of the season.

Plate races are wild cards, but occasionally a driver shows a knack for staying out of trouble on them. Stenhouse has been great in the draft since his rookie season of 2013. He raced with the veterans after sustaining a little damage earlier in a race in Talladega, stayed tucked in the draft, and finished 13th on the lead lap. Four years later, Talladega remains his best race course in terms of three-year averages and his second best career average track.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Sonoma Raceway are his next two most effective tracks and they run to a type. Drivers have to back up the corners in order to accelerate at the apex.

Beyond those three courses, fantasy owners should feel confident starting Stenhouse on a variety of tracks whenever he has run well in two or three consecutive races.

Victories: Daytona (July) and Talladega (May)
2017 Average Finish: 17.08
Top-fives: 4 (.111)
Top-10s: 9 (.250)
Top-15s: 21 (.583)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-5s

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Talladega SuperSpeedway

11.50

18.87

23

3

6

9

12

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

13.33

20.75

12

1

2

16

 

Sonoma Raceway

13.33

22.17

12

1

1

11

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

15.33

16.73

11

1

3

19

 

Auto Club Speedway

15.67

20.73

15

1

3

28

 

Homestead - Miami Speedway

17.00

20.67

13

1

1

16

 

Daytona International Speedway +

17.17

21.96

23

2

5

5

3

Chicagoland Speedway

17.33

23.92

12

 

1

14

 

Watkins Glen International

17.67

22.36

14

 

 

18

 

Kentucky Speedway

18.00

19.29

7

 

 

21

 

Martinsville Speedway

18.33

21.00

22

 

2

19

20

Phoenix International Raceway

18.50

21.05

22

 

3

21

15

Michigan International Speedway

18.67

18.48

23

4

6

22

34

Atlanta Motor Speedway

18.67

20.13

16

1

3

25

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

19.00

19.23

22

1

6

16

16

Darlington Raceway

19.33

24.09

11

 

 

16

 

Dover Downs International

20.83

20.73

22

 

3

33

26

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

20.83

63.82

22

 

 

22

20

Charlotte Motor Speedway

22.17

23.61

23

 

2

13

19

Kansas Speedway

24.00

18.39

18

1

5

35

12

Pocono Raceway

24.83

23.59

22

 

2

20

19

Richmond International Raceway

26.00

24.59

22

1

1

25

28

Texas Motor Speedway

27.83

21.83

23

1

3

36

23

 
+ Top-five sweeps

20. Menard, Paul
 
21. Bayne, Trevor 
22. Dillon, Ty 
23. Buescher, Chris 
24. Allmendinger, AJ 
25. Kahne, Kasey

 



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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