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Digging into the NASCAR stats pile – Daytona Beach News-Journal

Digging into the NASCAR stats pile – Daytona Beach News-Journal
31 Dec
1:24

No surprise, Joe Gibbs Racing dominated in all categories.

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is officially over after competitors honored Kyle Busch as their champion in Nashville last week.

Now that the season is properly bottled and capped, it is a good time to dig around in the stats for interesting facts and figures.

The name kicked around the most in the stacks of numbers is Joe Gibbs Racing, which had a stranglehold on the series from Race 1 to the finale. The car owner’s four teams won 19 of 36 races, which is a modern-era record.

It’s no surprise that Busch and JGR teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin held three of the top five positions in postseason driver ratings.

Busch led all drivers with a rating of 108.4, but Ford drivers Kevin Harvick, who was second at 105.2, and fourth-place Joey Logano, at 98.4, were in the mix. Logano didn’t make the Championship Round but still finished just ahead of Hamlin at 98.0.

Another good indicator of JGR’s dominance was in the laps-led category. Busch topped this chart by leading 1,582 laps for the season, followed by Truex at 1,371. Hamlin was fifth at 921.

Truex was second to Busch in a number of statistical categories, including the final points standings. Truex won the title in 2017 and finished second in 2018 to Joey Logano.

“Man, second again,” said Truex at the awards ceremony in Nashville. “I think I hate second more than Kyle; I think that’s possible.”

The surprise name here would be Team Penske Ford driver Brad Keselowski, who was third in laps-led by pacing the field for 1,085 circuits during the season.

Not surprisingly, Gibbs Racing drivers topped the Stage wins and points stat pile.

Busch ended the season with 12 Stage wins and 46 playoff points, which helped him navigate the rough knockout playoff waters. He was the only final-four driver who made it through on points.

Busch credited his No. 18 Toyota team and crew chief Adam Stevens for his performance numbers.

“No matter what was thrown at them, they never gave up,” Busch said at Nashville. “They were able to finish off that final race at Homestead with their best performance.”

Truex, who led the Cup Series with a season-high seven wins, had nine Stage wins and 42 playoff points. Hamlin had six Stage triumphs and finished with 37 playoff points.

Logano (30) and Harvick (28) rounded out the top five in playoff points.

Busch posted the most laps while running around the Top-15 competitors during the season. He was in the front pack for 8,691 laps or for 84.7 percent of the time. Harvick was hot on his bumper in this category, boasting 8,466 laps, followed by Truex at 8,112.

And that category feeds straight into another called “average running position.” Busch had the best number at 9.019 followed by Harvick (9.144), Truex (10.291), Logano (10.433) and Hamlin (10.818).

As maybe a sign of things to come, Ryan Blaney was a surprising sixth in this category. He posted an average running position of 10.932.

Blaney shows up second in another category, tagged “quality passes,” just behind Busch. Busch led the field with 2,344 quality passes, followed by Blaney with 2,191.

Busch was followed in season-ending points by Truex, Harvick and Hamlin, who had a rebound season following a 2018 downer.

“The fact is that, every week, we were a factor, and that’s all you can ask for as a driver,” said Hamlin, who opened the season by winning the Daytona 500.

Source: https://www.news-journalonline.com/sports/20191210/digging-into-nascar-stats-pile

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