Early Week Driver Rankings for COTA


The NASCAR Cup Series has competed at every type of track this year except a road course (not including the dirt track at Bristol). They will check that box this weekend when the Cup Series travels to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) to run the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix. This will be the third trip to Austin, Texas for the Cup Series and every year the races get better. The field is stacked, so I expect another great race this week. The EchoPark Texas Grand Prix can be seen Sunday at 3:30 pm ET on FOX.

Have you been a fan of NASCAR for a long time? If so, you probably remember the days when the “Road Course Ringers” would show up and give the Cup Series drivers a lot of competition on the road course tracks. Over the years the Cup Series drivers have improved and the “ringers” have had a tough time competing against the stars of the sport. There will be a lot of “ringers” in the race this week and some of them will be in some good cars.

Jordan Taylor will fill in for Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports. He will have the better car than the other ringers in the field and he just may have the best car overall in the field. Kimi Raikkonen “The Iceman” will drive the No. 91 car for Trackhouse Racing. This is another fast car, but Raikkonen finished 37th in his only start in the Cup Series (Watkins Glen last year). Jenson Button is a former Formula One World Champion. He will drive the No. 15 car for Rick Ware Racing. This car will be provided by Stewart-Haas Racing. Conor Daly will drive the No. 50 car for The Money Team. He has two Cup Series starts on his resume and his best finish is 29th.

Jimmie Johnson will also be in the field this week. The seven-time champion will drive the No. 84 car for Legacy Motor Club. I trust Johnson a lot more than the “Road Course Ringers” listed above.

We do not need to over complicate things this week. I am simply using the data from the road course races last year for the driver rankings this week. The Gen-7 car drives differently from the old cars, so I am limiting the data to the 2022 season. This should give us a good idea of which drivers will run up front Sunday.


Here are my early week driver rankings for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix

1. AJ Allmendinger
2. Ryan Blaney
3. Ross Chastain
4. Tyler Reddick
5. Austin Cindric
6. Daniel Suarez
7. Michael McDowell
8. Christopher Bell
9. Kyle Busch
10. Kyle Larson
11. Joey Logano
12. Chris Buescher
13. Kevin Harvick
14. William Byron
15. Martin Truex Jr.
16. Alex Bowman
17. Denny Hamlin
18. Jimmie Johnson
19. Chase Briscoe
20. Jordan Taylor
21. Erik Jones
22. Austin Dillon
23. Justin Haley
24. Brad Keselowski
25. Ty Gibbs
26. Noah Gragson
27. Ryan Preece
28. Kimi Raikkonen
29. Jenson Button
30. Todd Gilliland
31. Harrison Burton
32. Ty Dillon
33. Aric Almirola
34. Bubba Wallace
35. Corey LaJoie
36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
37. Conor Daly
38. Cody Ware
39. Josh Bilicki


The updated rankings will be posted Saturday after qualifying.


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