Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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14. Daniel Suarez

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Last year, it was a two-man battle for the Rookie of the Year honors between Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones. And while Suarez came up second, the war will continue to rage into 2018 and beyond as this crop of Young Guns tries to solidify their place in the record books. It is not going to be a difficult proposition as both will drive for one of the most dominant organizations in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Last week, Kyle Busch went on record saying that he thinks NASCAR’s marketing plan touting the Young Guns is a “stupid” idea, failing to reflect on the fact that he entered the series as a brash 19-year-old who more than occasionally needed to be reined in. Notably, both Suarez and Jones drive for the same owner as Busch.

For his part, Suarez does not often need the bridle; if anything, he could benefit from a more generous use of the whip. That is part of the reason that his efforts improved as the season progressed. One expects a driver to be better the second time they visit courses, so that is not a surprise. But for Suarez it was more a reflection of his comfort level with racing aggressively against his idols.

When Suarez found that comfort level in the car, he was a place-and-hold driver. Nine of his 12 top-10s last year came in streaks that included a four-race span from early July through August—just past the halfway point of the season. He had another three-race streak in September and October. When he missed during that period, it was often by narrow margins as he had a six-race streak of top-15s.

Suarez is going to carry that momentum into 2018 and it is a good bet that he will qualify for the playoffs. Handicappers—including those who set salary caps—tend to be a little tentative both in regard to rookies and sophomores. That suggests the driver of the No. 19 is going to be undervalued.

One reason for this tentativeness is because Young Guns are prone to crash. And while Suarez was not overly reckless last year, he was involved in five accidents that caused him to retire. Two of these came on restrictor-plate, superspeedways where avoiding trouble is often impossible; one of them was at Darlington Raceway. The other two came on unrestricted, intermediate speedways, and that raises just the slightest bit of concern.

2017 Victories: None
Average Finish: 15.47
Top-fives: 1 (.027)
Top-10s: 12 (.333)
Top-15s: 20 (.556)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-5s

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Watkins Glen International

3.00

3.00

1

1

1

3

 

Auto Club Speedway

7.00

7.00

1

 

1

7

 

Dover Downs International *

7.00

7.00

2

 

2

6

8

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

7.00

7.00

1

 

1

7

 

New Hampshire Motor Speedway *

7.00

7.00

2

 

2

6

8

Charlotte Motor Speedway

8.50

8.50

2

 

1

11

6

Richmond International Raceway

9.50

9.50

2

 

1

12

7

Pocono Raceway

11.00

11.00

2

 

1

15

7

Chicagoland Speedway

12.00

12.00

1

 

 

12

 

Phoenix International Raceway

12.50

12.50

2

 

1

7

18

Sonoma Raceway

16.00

16.00

1

 

 

16

 

Bristol Motor Speedway

16.50

16.50

2

 

 

18

15

Texas Motor Speedway

16.50

16.50

2

 

 

19

14

Talladega SuperSpeedway

17.00

17.00

2

 

 

19

15

Kentucky Speedway

18.00

18.00

1

 

 

18

 

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

20.00

20.00

1

 

 

20

 

Atlanta Motor Speedway

21.00

21.00

1

 

 

21

 

Kansas Speedway

21.50

21.50

2

 

1

7

36

Daytona International Speedway

23.00

23.00

2

 

 

29

17

Martinsville Speedway

23.50

23.50

2

 

 

32

15

Michigan International Speedway

30.50

30.50

2

 

 

24

37

Homestead - Miami Speedway

34.00

34.00

1

 

 

34

 

Darlington Raceway

38.00

38.00

1

 

 

38

 

 

* Top-10 sweeps

2018 Top-25 Fantasy Values

15. Newman, Ryan 
16. Busch, Kurt 
17. Almirola, Aric 
18. Dillon, Austin 
19. Stenhouse Jr., Ricky 
20. Menard, Paul 
21. Bayne, Trevor 
22. Dillon, Ty 
23. Buescher, Chris 
24. Allmendinger, AJ 
25. Kahne, Kasey 

Rookie Watch

Wallace Jr., Darrell

 



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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