Crunching The Numbers: Martinsville Speedway First Data 500

The First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway kicks off the third round of the NASCAR Playoffs. Who is the favorite, and who might be leaving disappointed?

Martinsville Speedway Track Specs

  • Track Configuration: 0.526 Mile Oval
    • Scheduled Laps: 500 (263 miles)
    • Stage 1 End: 130
    • Stage 2 End: 160
  • Turns 1 – 4 banking: 12°
  • Frontstretch
    • Length: 8000 feet
    • Banking: 0°
  • Backstretch
    • Length: 800 feet
    • Banking: 0°

First Data 500 Trends of the Race

  • Overtime: 3 (2007, 2008, & 2009)
  • Caution Finishes: 2 (2007 & 2009)
  • Rain Shortened: 0

Trending of the past 5 Fall races:

  • Margin of Victory 0.611 seconds
  • 13 cautions
    • First Caution: Lap 17
    • Final Caution: Lap 450 (50 laps to go)
  • 18 drivers on the lead lap

Trending of the past 10 Fall races:

  • Margin of Victory 0.781 seconds
  • 15 cautions
    • First Caution: Lap 23
    • Final Caution: Lap 465 (35 laps to go)
  • 18 drivers on the lead lap

First Data 500 Pole Sitters

  • Pole winners have an average finish of 11.8
  • Average laps lead: 65.1 laps (13.0% of the race)
  • 23.1% of pole winners find their way to victory lane
  • Most laps led by a pole sitter was 339 (67.8% of the race) by Jimmie Johnson in 2008
    • Johnson won that race
  • 46.2%% of pole winners are current Playoff contenders
    • 23.1% of pole winners have been eliminated from Playoff contention this year

First Data 500 Winners

  • The average race winner’s starting position is 8.5
    • The median race winner’s starting position is P5
    • The mode of race winner’s starting position is P1
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. started from P23 in 2014, the furthest back a race winner has started
  • 53.8% of the winners have come from starting in the top 5
  • 69.2% of the winners have come from starting in the top 10
  • Winning drivers have lead an average of 129.7 laps (25.9% of the race)
    • Fewest laps led by race winner: Tony Stewart led 14 laps (2.8% of the race) in 2011
    • Most laps led by a race winner: Jimmie Johnson led 339 laps (67.8% of the race) in 2008
  • There have been 5 different race winners from 3 different teams since 2004
    • Jimmie Johnson leads the active field with 6 wins
    • Hendrick Motorsports leads the field with 10 wins
  • 61.5% of First Data 500 winners have come from the Playoff field

First Data 500 & Manufacturer Statistics

First Data 500 Predictions & Analysis

Brad Keselowski went to victory lane earlier this year at Martinsville Speedway. Jimmie Johnson is the defending First Data 500 race winner; a feat I am sure, he would like to repeat again this year. Near the bottom of the list is Martin Truex Jr.; but don’t let his historical performance outweigh his outstanding season.

First Data 500 Playoff Contender Stats

In a shocking twist of events, Homestead Final Four favorite, Kyle Larson, is eliminated from the Playoffs. Martin Truex Jr. is still shining, winning 50% of the Playoff races thus far. In fact, Truex Jr. has one the first race of each round. Sophomore year driver, Chase Elliott, is holding strong, with an outstanding second best Playoff average finish, with Brad Keselowski rounding out the podium. Will we see these three drivers fighting it out at Homestead?

The graph below shows the 12 drivers’ finishes through the 6 Playoff races. They are ordered by their average Playoff finish. Trending could spell trouble for Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, with Jimmie Johnson, quite possibly, wanting to locate his golden horseshoe.

Ashley Hobbs

Birthday: 9 March 1989 (so I do not have to update my age each year)
Location: Florida (Jersey native, born and raised)

What better way to combine 2 of my favorite things, NASCAR and statistics, than providing y’all with an analytical report each weekend during the NASCAR season.

When I am not crunching the numbers, I spend time with my hubby, 3 black cats (Ninja, Daytona, and Chronos), and I watch too much TV, especially Doctor Who. Why yes, I am a geek and proud! So join forces with me and follow my weekly Crunching The Numbers segment. Who knows, I may surprise you!

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