Updated: Feb 7
(Cover Photo Credit: Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
7th Place – Kyle Larson – 2,355 pts
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – CHEVROLET
539 Fast Laps in 2022 – Hendrick Motorsports might not have won the championship, but they were consistently the best team throughout the entire 2022 season. No other Cup Series driver had more fast laps than Kyle Larson did – and the second fastest didn’t even get over 500. Larson averaged just under 15 fast laps per race, which is crazy when you consider the parity that runs through the Cup Series. With the new Next-Gen car tightening the field up a bit, it’s pretty impressive.
2,081 Quality Passes in 2022 – Another stat where Kyle Larson excelled in 2022 is Quality Passes. A Quality Pass is one made under green flag conditions while in the Top 15. The logic here is that a Quality Pass is harder to make than just a regular pass, because the competition gets harder as you move closer to the front of the field. Larson ranks 4th of all Cup Series charters in this category, showing just how dominant he was near the front of the pack in 2022.
327 Less Points in 2022 than in 2021 – It would have been extremely difficult for Kyle Larson to match his amazing 2021 season. He scored 10 wins and won the Championship. However, his fall-off was a lot bigger than many expected. His negative 327-point differential from year to year ranked him 4th among all returning drivers (3rd if you don’t count Brad Keselowski’s 100 pt penalty). At the same time, Larson did score 3 wins and make it to the Round of 12, so it wasn’t a complete failure!
7 DNFs in 2022 – One of the contributors to a slower season for Kyle Larson would have to be his 7 DNFs. When it comes to failures of the car, it’s not quite fair to point the blame at learning the Next-Gen car, because every other team was in the exact same boat. For comparison, Larson only had 2 DNFs in an outstanding 2021 campaign. He’ll want to clean that up in 2023 for sure.
89 Career Top 5s – Over the course of his relatively short Cup Series career, Kyle Larson has amassed 89 Top 5s. That actually puts him on the all-time leaderboard at 50th. His next competition as far as current drivers go is Martin Truex Jr., who has 133 in 33rd place all-time. It won’t take long to have Larson move up that leaderboard, though everyone has an extremely long way to go to catching Richard Petty’s 555.
Kyle Larson fans should be safe to get a No. 5 tattoo, as he is under contract to remain with Hendrick Motorsports until 2026. Larson isn’t likely going anywhere anytime soon.
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – William Byron!
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