(Cover Photo Credit: spiremotorsportsllc.com)
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.
33rd Place – #77 Car – 370 pts
SPIRE MOTORSPORTS – CHEVROLET
Landon Cassill (17 Races) – Josh Bilicki (16 races) – Mike Rockenfeller (2 races) – Justin Allgaier (1 race)
+4.49 Average Finish compared to Average Start – Whether this is a product of poor qualifying attempts, or smart in-race adjustments, the #77 Car led all charters in this category. And really, isn’t that what all the drivers are trying to do? Finish ahead of their starting position? For some of the smaller teams, this is a win in itself.
11,311.77 Miles Completed in 2022 – While laps completed does paint a certain picture, sometimes a better metric is miles completed. Finishing 4 laps down at Talladega is a bigger deal than finishing 4 laps down at Bristol or Martinsville, for example. While the #77 Car ranked 30th of the charters in this category, it did finish ahead of Chris Buescher, who won a race in 2022.
12.25 Average Finish at Daytona & Talladega in 2022 – It’s clear that the bread and butter of the #77 car this year was Super Speedways. While obviously a smaller sample size, it’s better than quite a few other chartered drivers, including Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick. While this year’s Super Speedways certainly saw their share of carnage and unpredictability, there is something to be said for those who can consistently run well at drafting tracks.
10.28 Points Earned per Race – Unfortunately, it’s not a great number of points to be earning each race. While it certainly won’t be earning anyone a championship in the near future (or ever), it is worth noting that it’s nearly 1 whole point better than the #77 Car did in 2021 (when they had 6 different drivers). Some might say it’s not that significant, others say even baby steps are steps in the right direction.
4th Best Finish in 2022 – The crazy Daytona Night Race that saw Austin Dillon win his way into the playoffs at the last possible second also earned the #77 Car its lone Top-5 of the year. After qualifying 35th, and having an average running position of 22nd throughout the race, it clearly paid to be able to keep your car clean and be at the right place at the right time. It was also Spire Motorsports’ best finish of the year.
Next year, the #77 Car will be piloted by Ty Dillon full-time. Dillon, who drove the #42 in 2022 for Petty-GMS Motorsports, will be the first driver to stay in the #77 Car for Spire Motorsports for an entire season.
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Corey LaJoie!
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