Early Week Driver Rankings for Indianapolis


This is it… This is the last chance for drivers to qualify for their spot in the 2019 playoffs. There is no better place to host such a significant race on the NASCAR schedule than the Brickyard in Indianapolis. This will be our first look at what each team has for the playoffs. The organizations that already have a playoff spot do not want to enter the playoffs blind so they bring their best equipment to the track to see what they have. It does not hurt that the Brickyard trophy is one of the most coveted pieces of hardware in the sport. It will be cool to see what each team has this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Big Machine Vodka 400 can be seen Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

NASCAR will have a condensed schedule this week. There will be two practices Saturday and qualifying Sunday morning. The first practice is at 11 a.m. ET (Sat) and final practice is at 1:30 p.m. ET (Sat). Qualifying will be Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET. I hate this schedule because I am usually busy with Fantasy Football Sunday mornings so I will have to post my picks before qualifying on Saturday night. I will post a screen shot of my picks after qualifying Sunday afternoon.

The cars will have the 550 HP engines with the 2” splitter, 8” spoiler and aero ducts. The long front and back-stretches should allow the draft to come into play this week. The race will likely be similar to what we saw in the two races at Pocono (Those were two of the worst races of the season). It is just hard to put on a good show at a track that was not designed for 3,300 pound stock car.

My early week pick for the pole is Kyle Busch. The No. 18 car has sat on the pole for the last three races at Indianapolis. Busch also qualified 2nd and 5th in the two races at Pocono (Similar track to Indianapolis). I am sure Busch wants to make a statement before the playoffs begin. It should start with winning the pole Sunday morning.

Each week I use different stats in my model to create the best rankings possible to give you an edge on the completion. This week I used Driver Rating on the Indianapolis, Average Finishing Indianapolis, Driver Rating at Flat Tracks (Phoenix, Richmond, New Hampshire and Pocono), Average Running Position at Flat Tracks, Green Flag Speed in the last 8 races and momentum over the last 4 oval races.


Here are the early week driver rankings for Indianapolis…


1. Kyle Busch
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Kyle Larson
5. Kurt Busch
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Erik Jones
8. Chase Elliott
9. Joey Logano
10. Ryan Blaney
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Martin Truex Jr.
13. Ryan Newman
14. William Byron
15. Daniel Suarez
16. Alex Bowman
17. Paul Menard
18. Jimmie Johnson
19. Chris Buescher
20. Matt Dibenedetto
21. Aric Almirola
22. Daniel Hemric
23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
24. Austin Dillon
25. Ty Dillon
26. Darrell Wallace Jr.
27. Ryan Preece
28. Michael McDowell
29. David Ragan
30. Matt Tifft
31. Corey Lajoie
32. Ross Chastian
33. Landon Cassill
34. Reed Sorenson
35. Quinn Houff
36. J.J. Yeley
37. B.J. McLeod
38. Josh Bilicki
39. Cody Ware


* I will post my final driver rankings Saturday night.

**Stats from Driveraverages.com and NASCAR Media. Career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

*** Photos from NASCAR Media


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