Early Week Driver Rankings for Kentucky


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back to intermediate track racing and once again it will be under the lights. The race at Kentucky Speedway will be the seventh race for the Cup Series on a 1.5-mile track. The previous six races have been very entertaining. I expect the same in the Bluegrass State. The Quaker State 400 can be seen Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

NASCAR will have a condensed schedule this week. There will be two practices and qualifying Friday. The first practice is at 11:30 p.m. ET (NBSN) and final practice will be at 1:30 p.m. ET (NBCS). Qualifying will be Friday evening at 6 p.m. ET (NBSC).

* NASCAR will inspect the cars Saturday afternoon (around 3 p.m. ET). Any car that fails once will go to the back and be scored from the back in Fantasy NASCAR. Be sure to check the website Saturday evening for my updated picks. I may have to change some drivers depending how the inspection goes.

My early week pick for the pole is Austin Dillon. Richard Childress has chosen to trim out their cars so they can qualify up front. It has worked. Dillon has won three poles this season, including the last race on a 1.5-mile track at Chicagoland Speedway. The No. 3 car may not race well, but it should start up front Saturday night.

Each week I use different stats in my model to create the best rankings possible to give you an edge on the completion. I am focusing a lot more on what has happened on the intermediate tracks this season than what has happened at Kentucky in the past. I used Driver Rating, Average Finishing Position and Average Green Flag Speed on the 1.5-mile tracks in 2019, Average Finishing Position in the last 4 non-Superspeedway races (momentum is important in NASCAR) and Driver Rating at Kentucky for my rankings this week.


Here are the early week driver rankings for Kentucky…


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


* I will post my final driver rankings Friday night.

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

*** Photos from NASCAR Media


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