2011 Stats: Points Finish 8th, 3 Win, 13 Top Fives, 18 Top Tens, Average Running Position 12.9, Average Finish 13.0, Laps Led 992, Driver Rating 96.5
Strengths- Jeff Gordon is at his best on short tracks, flat tracks, intermediate tracks and Infineon.
Weaknesses- Despite having success on plate tracks last season overall they haven’t been that friendly to him in recent years.
Intermediate Track Grade- A-, Last season the 24 team got off to a rough start on intermediate tracks, but in the early summer they found their form. In the second half of the season if they didn’t have problems they were consistently a fifth through tenth place team.
From Kentucky onward through the rest of the season they had a 13.1 average finish, 98.3 driver rating (7th best) and more importantly they were always near the front (11.1 average running position, 7th best)
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Flat Track Grade- A, Jeff Gordon is an elite flat track driver and he’s capable of winning at any of the four flat tracks. He’s equally strong at both the short and the big flat tracks.
In 2011 on the short flat tracks Gordon won at Phoenix and finished 4th and 11th at New Hampshire. On this flat track subgroup Gordon led 275 laps, scored the 5th most points, and had the 4th best driver rating (110.4). In 2012 Jeff Gordon will once again be a serious contender at these venues.
On the big flat tracks last year Jeff Gordon was “The Man”. Between Pocono and Indy last season he had a 3rd place average finish. He won the June Pocono race and at Indy he clearly had the best car not running on fumes. He also sported the best driver rating in the series (136.0) on the big flats.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B+, As with any driver at these wild card venues he had his good days and his bad days. Last year Jeff Gordon didn’t do badly on these tracks. He had one top ten finish at each of these tracks. Paul Menard scored the most points last year but I would happily take Gordon’s 2011 29 points per race average and run.
On Jeff Gordon’s plate resume he has 6 wins at both Daytona and Talladega. His top ten finish percentage is nearly 50% at both tracks (Daytona 50% — Talladega 47%).
Short Track Grade- A+, Jeff Gordon didn’t win any short track races last year but I could argue he was cheated out of two wins (Bristol #2 and Richmond #2). Last year on the second trip to each short track Jeff Gordon finished third.
When you take away his 39th place accident in the spring Richmond race his numbers look really impressive. When you take that race away he averaged 39 points per race on this track type last season (tied for most in series) and had the best driver rating (111.9).
Road Course Track Grade- B+, Jeff Gordon isn’t quite the road warrior he once was. He’s still extremely strong at Infineon (six straight top tens, finished 2nd last year) but at Watkins Glen he’s fallen into mediocrity. His last win at “The Glen” was in 2001 and since then his average finish is 20.1. In that ten race span his best finish is 9th.
How to use Jeff Gordon from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? Jeff Gordon is a versatile driver and if you’re in a league where you keep the driver on your team for the year he’s almost a must have driver. From an allocation stand point I would use Jeff Gordon at flat tracks, short tracks, and intermediate tracks.