We are officially through the first 10 races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway provided the thrill-a-minute action that is very much the norm at “restrictor plate” tracks. It also saw several surprise names perform and finish well. With 10 races (and arguably the second “Crown Jewel” of the season) complete, it’s a great time to reassess the latest NASCAR standings and NASCAR stats. Read on to find out where your driver stands heading into this weekend’s action at Kansas.
NASCAR Cup Series Standings Update
Refer to the table below for the updated NASCAR Cup Series points standings through the first five races of the season. The table also includes additional NASCAR Cup Series stats including Wins, Top-5 Finishes, Top-10 Finishes and Total Laps Led. The table is sortable by driver and statistic for your viewing convenience.
|Car Number||Driver||Standings Points||Current Playoff Standing||Projected Playoff Points||Wins||Top-5's||Top-10's||Total Laps Led|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||696||2||2023||3||7||11||647|
|47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||424||N/A||N/A||0||1||2||24|
NASCAR Cup Series Stats Update
Refer to the table below which includes several different NASCAR Cup Series stats through the first five races of the season. The table is sortable by driver and statistic for your viewing convenience. Commentary on several notable stats can be found below.
Note: Only drivers running a full-time Cup Series schedule are included in the table.
|Car Number||Driver||Average Finish||Driver Rating||Pass Differential||% Laps Led|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||12.8||97.6||+210||11.9|
|47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||19.0||69.2||+64||0.5|
The average finish statistic is the mean finishing position of the drivers across all races in 2021. Despite a disappointing run as the race favorite at Talladega, Denny Hamlin remains on top of this stat category. His average finish of 7.0 is buoyed by eight top-five runs in the first ten races. Pretty much the only thing left for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team is to park it in victory lane. One would have to imagine that victory is coming sooner than later.
One of the big movers in the average finish NASCAR stats category is William Byron (10.3). His runner-up effort at ‘Dega was his third top-five and eighth top-ten showing in the first ten races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. Kevin Harvick (10.3) quietly sits tied with Byron in the average finish category. It’s been a poor first ten races relative to the standard that Harvick and the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 team have set in the past. Nonetheless, a top-five run this past weekend keeps him right near the top of several meaningful categories.
The Driver Rating statistic is often one of the best indicators of exactly how well a NASCAR Cup Series driver is performing. With so much happening within a race, it makes sense to have a quantifiable statistic that is based on a combination of factors. A maximum of 150 Driver Rating points are available in a single race. Of course, it would require a perfect run to obtain a full 150. The Driver Rating formula combines the following:
- Finishing Position
- Top-15 Finish
- Average Position While Running on the Lead Lap
- Average Speed Under Green
- Fastest Laps
- Most Laps Led
- Lead-Lap Finishing Position
Denny Hamlin (117.0) is again the top driver in this NASCAR stats category. His rating is nearly 12 whole points higher than the next best driver, that being his JGR teammate, Martin Truex Jr. (105.3). In a season full of surprising finishes and winners, Truex is the only driver with two victories to his name through the first ten races. Joey Logano (103.5), who made the headlines at Talladega for his insane flip crash, rounds out the shortlist of drivers with ratings over 100.
The Pass Differential statistic indicates how many positions a driver has won or lost by way of passing over the course of a race. Those who have completed a greater number of green flag passes than they have been passed will have a positive number in this NASCAR Cup Series stats category. On the contrary, a driver who has been passed more times than he has passes completed will have a negative number.
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This NASCAR stats category might be the one that has seen the greatest fluctuation over the last three races. Martin Truex Jr. (+113) leads the way here, just as he does in wins. Interestingly enough, defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott (+102) is second. It’s been a very pedestrian start to the year for the No. 9 team. Elliott is the only Hendrick Motorsports driver without a win after Alex Bowman (+60) snagged a victory at Richmond two weeks ago. In fact, the Hendrick garage as a whole has proven very strong when it comes to pass differential. Elliott and Bowman sandwich William Byron (+83) and Kyle Larson (+81) between them, with all four drivers being very much in the green in this statistic.
Percentage of Laps Led
The percentage of laps led is calculated by dividing the sum of laps that a driver has led by the total number of laps that they have completed. He may not have a win yet this season, but Denny Hamlin (26.5%) has led more than a quarter of all NASCAR Cup Series laps run over the first ten races. Kyle Larson (14.6%) hasn’t led a lap in several weeks but remains second in this NASCAR stats category based on his dominant runs from earlier in the season. Martin Truex Jr. (13.0%) and Joey Logano (12.6%) are the only other drivers to lead more than 10% of all laps this season. Further down the list, both Matt DiBenedetto (1.1%) and Bubba Wallace (1.7%) were able to boost their outlook in this category after spending time up front last weekend at Talladega.