The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Texas Driver Handicaps by Matt McLaughlin -- Wednesday April 11, 2007

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Matt McLaughlin's Texas Driver Handicaps

Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday April 11, 2007

 

2007 Texas “1” Driver Handicaps

Jeff Gordon: For unfathomable reasons, Fort Worth has presented a real challenge for Gordon. In addition to being one of those rare tracks on the Cup circuit where he’s never won, his average here over twelve starts is a lowly seventeenth. But it's not all gloom and doom for the No. 24 here. Gordon did finish second at Texas in 2002 while in the midst of scoring four consecutive Top 5s at this track.

Jeff Burton: Burton scored his first ever Cup victory during the first ever Cup race held at this track. He also finished second here in 2000, too; but that was his last Fort Worth Top 5 to date. With just one Top 10 finish in his last eight starts at the track, his average finishing position for his career here has dropped to nineteenth.

Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has six Top 10s and an eleventh place result here in just seven starts. He was runner-up in last Fall's Fort Worth Texas Cup event.

Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won here in 2002 and finished second in this race last year. But he has just two additional Top 10 results in the nine total Cup races he's run here.

Kyle Busch: Busch's fourth place result in his last start at the track helped boost his average in four Texas races to twentieth place.

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has Top 10 results in all three of his Texas Cup starts, with a best result of fourth in last year’s event.

Clint Bowyer: Bowyer finished fifth in last Fall's race here.

Tony Stewart: Stewart won here last Fall and rides a streak of three straight Top 10s into Texas this weekend like a cowboy from Nebraska. Overall, he has Top 10 finishes in seven of his ten Cup starts.

Carl Edwards: Edwards won here in the Fall of 2005, but averaged a 25th place finish at Texas last year after crashing out in the Spring.

Kevin Harvick: Harvick posted a pair of Top 5 finishes here last year; those were his best two Texas results in eight starts. He's also scored three Busch series victories here.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: This is a special place for Earnhardt. He won his first ever Busch race here in 1998 and scored his first ever Cup victory in 2000. Overall, he has Top 10 finishes in seven of his nine Cup starts at Texas.

Jamie McMurray: McMurray finished second here in 2005 but posted results of 37th and 26th place last year.

David Stremme: Stremme finished 21st and 24th in his only two Fort Worth Cup starts.

Elliott Sadler: Sadler won this race in 2004, but that’s been his only Top 5 result in ten starts here. Including that win, he has a total of just three Top 10 finishes in those ten races. As a sidenote, that win was the last one scored by any RYR driver on a non-restricted plate track to date.

Mark Martin: He's back in the saddle again…and in the saddle of the proper race car, not one of those CoT abominations. Martin won here – way back when – in 1998, and finished second in the Fall of 2005 in the Ferdinand Ferko Memorial 500. Overall, he has Top 10 results in half of his twelve Cup starts here.

Juan Montoya: This will be Montoya's first Cup start in Texas, but he's been a quick study elsewhere. He finished 28th here last year in the fall Busch race.

Kurt Busch: Busch has Top 10 finishes in six of his eight Cup starts here, winning last year's Texas Busch race.

J.J. Yeley: Yeley qualified on the outside pole for this race last year, but stumbled to 35th by the time the checkered flag flew. He improved a bit in the Fall event, finishing 20th.

David Ragan: While this will be his first Cup start in the Lone Star State, Ragan’s no stranger to Texas; he’s finished sixth and eighth here in his last two Truck Series starts.

Ryan Newman: Newman won here in 2003, but has finished outside the Top 30 in three of his last six Fort Worth Cup starts. Will the real Ryan Newman please stand up…or at least wiggle a few fingers to indicate you still have a pulse?

Others to Watch

Bobby Labonte: Labonte has been a study in contrasts here in Fort Worth. He finished third in three of the first four Cup events run at this track; since then, he's only managed to score one additional Top 10 finish in the next eight Texas Cup events.

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Bob
04/12/2007 09:03 AM
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Hey McLauglin,

I was just wondering, you being in the press and all, have you ever heard of a racer named Kasey Kahne? The reason I ask is because didn’t he win the Texas race last year? And I was wondering how he could be omited in any discussion of handicapping drivers in an upcoming race? But maybe you hadn’t heard of him, what with your busy schedule of going from the Hendrick to Childress to Gibbs to GM hospitality tents and all.

dr
04/12/2007 10:08 AM
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Get a clue, Bob. With the exception of Labonte, Matt ran down the top 20.