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NASCAR Cup Series Stats and Standings Update | Through Race 22

Who’s ready for an action-packed finish to the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series regular season? We here at FlurrySports sure are! Following a two-week pause to catch our breath, the cars are set to return to the track this weekend at Watkins Glen. The two races going into the Olympic break featured a pair of surprise winners. As a result, the NASCAR standings and playoff chase got shaken up in a big way. Several drivers find themselves in win-or-go-home mode with just four regular-season races remaining.

The following column offers updated tables and commentary for both the NASCAR Cup Series points standings and several key NASCAR stats ahead of the season’s resumption at Watkins Glen.

NASCAR Cup Series standings stats Denny Hamlin Kyle Larson playoffs
Credit: Getty Images

NASCAR Cup Series Standings Update

Refer to the table below for the updated NASCAR Cup Series points standings through the 22nd race of the season at New Hampshire. In an effort to give readers a better idea of how the playoff picture is shaping up, note that the drivers are listed in order of their current projected playoff seeding and NOT total standings points accumulated prior to manual sorting. 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 NumberDriverStandings PointsCurrent Playoff StandingProjected Playoff PointsWinsTop-5'sTop-10'sTotal Laps Led
5Kyle Larson86112042411151441
19Martin Truex Jr.696220233711647
18Kyle Busch7403202121014229
11Denny Hamlin8744202001115771
9Chase Elliott711520162912219
24William Byron749620161814245
48Alex Bowman612720153612151
22Joey Logano733820141813361
12Ryan Blaney689920121511295
2Brad Keselowski676102009179285
1Kurt Busch552122008137172
20Christopher Bell53211200514957
34Michael McDowell44813200512525
10Aric Almirola37714200512351
4Kevin Harvick6731520010615105
8Tyler Reddick596162001011120
3Austin Dillon591N/AN/A0169
17Chris Buescher475N/AN/A00477
21Matt DiBenedetto453N/AN/A02560
42Ross Chastain452N/AN/A02643
23Bubba Wallace426N/AN/A01149
47Ricky Stenhouse Jr.424N/AN/A01224
99Daniel Suarez401N/AN/A01374
14Chase Briscoe377N/AN/A0026
43Erik Jones360N/AN/A0027
37Ryan Preece357N/AN/A00312
6Ryan Newman354N/AN/A0132
41Cole Custer337N/AN/A0022
7Corey LaJoie269N/AN/A00112
38Anthony Alfredo222N/AN/A0004
52Josh Bilicki107N/AN/A0000
00Quin Houff96N/AN/A0000

Surprise Winners Alter Playoff Outlook

After upset wins by Kurt Busch at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Aric Almirola at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the NASCAR standings endured a huge shakeup going into the Olympic break. While Busch had tracked down a top-16 spot on points prior to his win, the victory ensured he will occupy a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Almirola completely reversed what has been a season of poor fortune by taking the checkered flag at New Hampshire. The No. 10 team effectively “stole” a playoff bid that another driver might otherwise have been able to claim on points.

RCR Teammates on the Bubble

We have now had 13 different drivers win at least one race on the season. That leaves just three spots remaining in the 16-car playoff field up for grabs on points. Current standings leader Denny Hamlin is all but a lock to nail down one of those. Kevin Harvick also is sitting pretty on points with a solid cushion between him and the cutline. Almirola’s win leaves the two Richard Childress Racing teammates, Tyler Reddick and Austin Dillon, as the drivers fighting to claim the final playoff berth. Reddick holds just a five-point edge heading into the Watkins Glen race. 

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Of course, should either Reddick or Dillon win one of the four remaining races, he would clinch a playoff ticket automatically. And while both RCR cars have significant distance over all other drivers in the points standings, the same “win-and-in” scenario applies. While getting in on points may not be an option for names such as Chris Buescher, Ross Chastain or Matt DiBenedetto, a surprise victory over the final four races would lock in their shot to race for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Championship.

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 NumberDriverAverage FinishDriver RatingPass Differential% Laps Led
11Denny Hamlin8.7107.0+8114.1
5Kyle Larson10.3108.5+23727.3
22Joey Logano10.897.7-76.8
9Chase Elliott10.998.7+2544.1
4Kevin Harvick11.290.5+571.9
18Kyle Busch11.499.4+1334.4
24William Byron11.997.1+644.5
2Brad Keselowski12.690.9+685.3
19Martin Truex Jr.12.897.6+21011.9
12Ryan Blaney13.188.8+325.9
3Austin Dillon13.479.4-80.2
48Alex Bowman14.088.3+993.0
8Tyler Reddick14.479.6+460.4
20Christopher Bell16.184.401.1
1Kurt Busch17.381.9+603.6
17Chris Buescher17.471.6-1341.5
42Ross Chastain17.874.3+250.8
21Matt DiBenedetto17.972.8-1291.1
34Michael McDowell18.365.5-790.5
47Ricky Stenhouse Jr.19.069.2+640.5
99Daniel Suarez19.864.4-531.4
23Bubba Wallace20.168.8-150.9
14Chase Briscoe20.561.7-370.1
43Erik Jones21.060.6-240.1
10Aric Almirola21.864.8-721.1
6Ryan Newman21.959.2-1560
41Cole Custer22.060.7+190
37Ryan Preece22.160.1+570.2
7Corey LaJoie25.550.7-150.2
38Anthony Alfredo27.244.3-2160.1
52Josh Bilicki32.432.5-450
00Quin Houff33.032.5-1260

Average Finish

The average finish statistic is the mean finishing position of the drivers across all races in 2021. As he has all season, Denny Hamlin (8.7) continues to be the most consistent driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. He is the only driver to average a top-10 finish this season and remains the points standings leader despite not yet winning a race. Four-time winner Kyle Larson (10.3) sits in second. Joey Logano (10.8) rounds out the top three. Logano’s Team Penske teammates, Brad Keselowski (12.6) and Ryan Blaney (13.1) also both improved in this NASCAR stats category over the last two races.

Kyle Larson NASCAR Cup Series stats standings playoffs
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Driver Rating

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:

  • Wins
  • 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 

Coming out of the Olympic break, only two drivers can claim to have maintained driver ratings north of 100 for the full season. Kyle Larson (108.5) tops the field while Denny Hamlin (107.0) is a close second. Kyle Busch (99.4) rounds out the top three. The average driver rating statistic is laden with drivers from Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing at the top.

Pass Differential

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. 

Chase Elliott (+254) leads the NASCAR Cup Series in passes completed under green. Considering that the next two races both come on road courses, Elliott very well could stretch out his lead in this category. The other two drivers with more than 200 passes under green have combined to win seven races this season. Kyle Larson (+237) is second while Martin Truex Jr. (+210) brings up third.

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. While his dominant stretch of top-2 finishes has ended, Kyler Larson (27.3%) still holds a massive advantage in the percentage of laps led on the season. Two Joe Gibbs Racing drivers are the only others to lead double-digit laps in 2021. Interestingly enough, both Denny Hamlin (14.1%) and Martin Truex Jr. (11.9%) accumulated most of their circuits led in the first half of the year.

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