It was a quiet Easter weekend in the racing world as all three of NASCAR’s national series were idle. Perhaps that was a good thing as drivers, teams and fans alike were able to catch their collective breath following a wild weekend of dirt racing at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 2021 season is set to resume this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Both the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series are scheduled to run.
To help get back us back in the swing for another race week, it’s worth revisiting the updated NASCAR Cup Series driver standings and statistics. This article is here to do just that. The stats included in this column are certain to be of browsing interest for any NASCAR fans. They can also serve the purpose of helping NASCAR DFS players and bettors with their handicapping going forward.
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||Wins||Top-5's||Top-10's||Total Laps Led|
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||247||1||2||4||233|
|47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||180||0||1||1||1|
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.||10.7||104.3||+66||13.8|
|47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||12.3||79.3||+19||0.1|
The average finish statistic is the mean finishing position of the drivers across all races in 2021. Denny Hamlin (4.7) continues to lead all drivers in this category. Averaging a top-five finish is pretty impressive, to say the least. It’s pretty crazy to see this stat and then remember that Hamlin is yet to reach victory lane this season. A win figures to be coming sooner than later for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team. But even when they aren’t winning races, Hamlin continues to be right in the mix each and every week.
After winning the Food City Dirt Race two weeks ago, Joey Logano (9.4) now sits tied for second average finishing position on the season with Kevin Harvick (9.4). Logano is one of just two drivers in the top five of this statistical category who have won races this season, with the other being Martin Truex Jr. (10.7). A couple of drivers who made notable jumps up in the last two weeks are William Byron (12.9) and Daniel Suarez (19.3). Austin Dillon (15.0) has also put together a string of solid runs and has improved his standing in the average finish statistic.
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 remains atop the driver rating statistic as well. His 114.5 rating through the first seven NASCAR Cup Series races has put a sizable gap between him and the current runner-up in the metric, Kyle Larson (106.1). Bristol Dirt winner Joey Logano (106.0) and Phoenix winner Martin Truex Jr. (104.3) round out the shortlist of four drivers with ratings greater than an even 100 at this point in the season. Among the current top 16 drivers in average finish, only Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell (72.9) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (79.3) have ratings less than 80.
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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Although he has only found victory lane once this season, many analysts and fans would likely agree that Kyle Larson has been the dominant driver. While he trails Denny Hamlin in driver rating, Larson tops the chart when it comes to pass differential. His +104 pass differential undoubtedly was helped by a pair of pit road speeding penalties in Phoenix and starting at the rear of the field in the Bristol Dirt Race. Two more Hendrick Motorsports drivers round out the top 3 in the pass differential statistic in Chase Elliott (+84) and William Byron (+75).
Another driver who stands out in this statistical category is Tyler Reddick. Despite an average finish of just 21.6, Reddick ranks fifth among all drivers with a +57 mark in pass differential. In a season that has produced seven different NASCAR Cup Series winners in as many races thus far, don’t count out Reddick and the Richard Childress Racing No. 8 team from being another darkhorse to reach victory lane.
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. A dominant showing at Atlanta has buoyed Kyle Larson to the top of this list. Larson did everything but win the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 and his 22.4% of total laps led comes in at just under a quarter of the laps run this season. He has led 379 total laps thus far, 120 more than runner-up Joey Logano (15.3%). JGR drivers Martin Truex Jr. (13.8%) and Denny Hamlin (12.5%) are the only other two to lead more than 10% of laps run this season.