Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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10. Erik Jones

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Erik Jones performed almost precisely like a rookie should in 2017. He ran consistently for most of the season, crashed as often as one expects from a first-year driver, and improved after the halfway point. What might have come as a bit of a surprise was a long streak of top-10s from late July through September.

Jones got off to a slightly rocky start in the Daytona 500 when he crashed out just past the midway point—finishing 39th in a field of 40. He went the distance the next week at Atlanta Motor Speedway to score his first top-15 of the season and then completed every lap of the four races. All of these were top-15s and one of them was a top-10. Jones finished eighth after starting eighth at Phoenix International Raceway.

The next four races did not go as well. Jones finished off the lead lap and outside the top 15 at Texas Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway, managed only four laps at Richmond International Raceway before he crashed, and another accident sidelined him at Talladega SuperSpeedway. Then he was back on track at Kansas Speedway with the first of six lead lap finishes in his next eight attempts. One of these was his first career top-five at Pocono Raceway in June.

Jones really turned the corner in the second half of the season, however. Beginning with the Coke Zero 400, he scored the majority of his top-10s in a 12-week span. He finished ninth at Daytona International Speedway and sixth at Kentucky Speedway, struggled twice on a pair of flat tracks (New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway), then scored six straight top-10s. One more poor result at Chicagoland Speedway came before three more lead lap finishes during the playoffs.

When Jones did not run well, it was often the result of crash damage. Including his accident in the season-opening 500, he failed to finish seven times due to crash damage. That equates to nearly 20 percent of his starts, which can tax a team like Furniture Row. Four of these came in pairs, and that can erode the confidence of a rookie. Each time after crashing in consecutive races, he struggled in his next event as well.

Still, Jones was consistently one of the top fantasy values in most games. As a rookie, cap managers were often reluctant to get overly enthusiastic, so he remained affordable. Often, sophomores also struggle, but with his move into Matt Kenseth’s ride at Joe Gibbs Racing, Jones is getting propelled to another level and that is going to make him even more successful in 2018.

2017 Victories: None
Average Finish: 17.06
Top-fives: 5 (.138)
Top-10s: 14 (.389)
Top-15s: 21 (.583)

 

Track

3-Yr
Avg.
Fin

Career
Avg.
Fin

Career
Attempts

Career
Top-5s

Career
Top-10s

Race 1

Race 2

Darlington Raceway

5.00

5.00

1

1

1

5

 

Pocono Raceway *

5.50

5.50

2

1

2

3

8

Kentucky Speedway

6.00

6.00

1

 

1

3

 

Michigan International Speedway

8.00

8.00

2

1

1

13

3

Bristol Motor Speedway

9.50

9.50

2

1

1

17

2

Watkins Glen International

10.00

10.00

1

 

1

10

 

Phoenix International Raceway *

10.33

10.33

3

1

2

8

4

Auto Club Speedway

12.00

12.00

1

 

 

12

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway

12.00

12.00

2

 

1

7

17

Dover Downs International

13.50

13.50

2

 

 

15

12

Atlanta Motor Speedway

14.00

14.00

1

 

 

14

 

Texas Motor Speedway

14.67

14.67

3

 

1

22

10

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

15.00

15.00

1

 

 

15

 

Martinsville Speedway

19.00

19.00

2

 

 

12

26

Homestead - Miami Speedway

21.00

21.00

1

 

 

21

 

Richmond International Raceway

22.00

22.00

2

 

1

38

6

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

22.50

22.50

2

 

1

39

6

Daytona International Speedway

24.00

24.00

2

 

1

39

9

Sonoma Raceway

25.00

25.00

1

 

 

25

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

31.00

31.00

1

 

 

31

 

Kansas Speedway

32.33

32.33

3

 

 

22

35

Chicagoland Speedway

33.00

33.00

1

 

 

33

 

Talladega SuperSpeedway

34.50

34.50

2

 

 

33

36

 

* Top-10 sweeps

2018 Top-25 Fantasy Values

11. Johnson, Jimmie 
12. McMurray, Jamie 
13. Bowyer, Clint 
14. Suarez, Daniel 
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 
Byron, William



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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