StatChat - NASCAR Cup Series @ Atlanta

Yet another week of NASCAR Cup Series racing, and yet another different winner.  Is this the year we have 36 different winners? (Spoiler alert – no, it’s not).  However, it wouldn’t be crazy to suggest that our streak of different winners continues this weekend.  With some of the big-name drivers still without a win this year (Hamlin, Keselowski, Logano, Elliott, Harvick, etc.), it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.

 

This weekend marks a return to Atlanta Motor Speedway, a 1.54-mile quad-oval that was built in 1960.  It is known for being one of the fastest intermediate tracks on the NASCAR circuit, and for the extremely abrasive track surface which can make tire wear a very big factor in strategy decisions.

 

The race will be 325 laps (for a total of 500.5 miles), with stage breaks occurring at 105 – 210 – 325, and a competition caution at lap 25.  The fuel window is approximately 58-62 laps.

 

NASCAR has run 1,865.70 miles so far this year, with only 3 drivers having raced all of them – Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.

 

Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Atlanta:

Chase Elliott

10.00 over 5 races

Kyle Busch

13.82 over 22 races

Kyle Larson

13.83 over 6 races

Kurt Busch

14.55 over 29 races

Brad Keselowski

14.58 over 12 races

 

Bottom 5 Career Average Finishers at Atlanta:

Michael McDowell

33.80 over 10 races

Ross Chastain

30.50 over 2 races

Ryan Preece

30.50 over 2 races

Corey LaJoie

30.00 over 3 races

Matt DiBenedetto

27.60 over 5 races

 

Atlanta Motor Speedway is an Intermediate Track.

 

Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Intermediate Tracks:

Kevin Harvick

11.75 over 361 races

Brad Keselowski

12.56 over 213 races

Kyle Busch

12.74 over 292 races

Chase Elliott

13.00 over 97 races

Denny Hamlin

13.22 over 276 races

 

Dale Earnhardt has the most wins at Atlanta with nine, followed by Cale Yarborough with seven.  As far as current drivers go, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch each have three wins, and Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski each have two. 

 

Notable drivers who have not won at Atlanta:

Martin Truex Jr.

(has won at 15 other tracks)

Joey Logano

(has won at 15 other tracks)

 

No current driver has Atlanta listed as their BEST track, and William Byron is the only driver to list Atlanta as his WORST track.

 

No current drivers have ever scored their first Cup Series win at Atlanta – will that change this weekend?

 

Based on their point pace, let’s have a look at who’s having a better year than last year.

 

Drivers Faring Better than in 2020

Christopher Bell

+452 pts

Michael McDowell

+406 pts

Denny Hamlin

+395 pts

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

+223 pts

William Byron

+188 pts

 

Drivers Faring Worse than in 2020

Aric Almirola

-548 pts

Matt DiBenedetto

-465 pts

Erik Jones

-305 pts

Kyle Busch

-291 pts

Tyler Reddick

-282 pts

 

While some drivers may be doing better this year than they did in 2020, how does this year stack up against their entire career?  This statistic does not include rookies, as this is their first full year in the Cup Series.

 

Drivers Having their BEST Career Year

Denny Hamlin

5.20

Brad Keselowski

8.00

Martin Truex Jr.

9.40

Chase Elliott

11.00

Michael McDowell

11.00

Austin Dillon

15.60

 

Drivers Having their WORST Career Year

Quin Houff

33.80

Tyler Reddick

23.60

 

In 2017, NASCAR introduced the concept of Stage Racing, which pauses the race at certain intervals and awards bonus points for the top 10 at that moment.  Here are the Top-5 Stage Point earners so far this year:

 

Stage Point Leaders:

Denny Hamlin

77 pts

Brad Keselowski

52 pts

Joey Logano

50 pts

Chase Elliott

43 pts

Ryan Blaney

33 pts

 

For those that aren’t aware, the Manufacturer Standings are calculated by awarding points to the highest finisher for each manufacturer according to their finishing position.  (40 for 1st, 35 for 2nd, 34 for 3rd, etc.)  No stage points or playoff points count.

 

Manufacturer Standings

Chevrolet

180

Toyota

180

Ford

177

 

Here is the same formula, but used on a team-vs-team basis:

 

Chartered Team Standings

Joe Gibbs

180

Hendrick

174

Penske

151

Stewart-Haas

144

Front Row

134

JTG-Daugherty

134

Chip Ganassi

132

Richard Childress

117

Roush-Fenway

104

Richard Petty

78

23XI

76

Spire

74

Trackhouse

71

Wood Brothers

58

Rick Ware

47

Live Fast

40

StarCom

20

 

 

 

The race begins Sunday, March 21th at 3:00 pm EST (12:00 pm PST) – Enjoy the race everyone!

 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @StatChat_RR

 

Is there an error? Is there a stat missing that you’d like to see? Let us know!