StatChat - NASCAR Cup Series @ Phoenix


We are four races into the season, and so far we have four different winners. Will this be the race that crowns our first repeat winner of the season? We may only be 1/9th of the way through the season, but there are some trends that are starting to form that may help paint a picture of how the rest of the season may go. This weekend, the Cup Series makes a trip to Phoenix Raceway for the Instacart 500, and also perhaps for a sneak peek at who can bring the speed to this track and challenge for a championship at the end of the year. Let’s get the StatChat started: Phoenix Raceway, while also the site of the Championship Race in November, is the Cup Series’ first visit to a short track in 2021. It is a 1.022-mile (though NASCAR scores it just as one mile) oval with a distinctive dogleg just past the start/finish line. The NASCAR Cup Series has been racing at Phoenix since 1988, but has undergone a few reconfigurations in the time since. The race will be 312 laps (for a total of 312 miles), with stage breaks occurring at 75 – 190 – 312, and a competition caution at lap 30. The fuel window is approximately 90-95 laps. NASCAR has run 1,553.70 miles so far this year, with only Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin having run all of them. Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Phoenix: Kevin Harvick8.92 over 36 racesKyle Busch10.52 over 31 racesDenny Hamlin11.03 over 31 racesChase Elliott11.80 over 10 racesKyle Larson12.00 over 13 races Bottom 5 Career Average Finishers at Phoenix: Quin Houff34.33 over 3 racesCorey LaJoie33.14 over 7 racesMichael McDowell31.75 over 20 racesRyan Preece29.80 over 5 racesTyler Reddick26.00 over 2 races Phoenix is a Short Track Top 5 Career Average Finishers at Short Tracks: Kyle Busch11.61 over 152 racesDenny Hamlin11.85 over 146 racesBrad Keselowski12.56 over 109 racesChase Elliott12.96 over 48 racesKevin Harvick13.23 over 198 races Kevin Harvick is by far the winningest driver at Phoenix, with 9 wins to his credit. Jimmie Johnson is a distant second with 4 wins, with Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch each having 3. Notable drivers who have not won at Phoenix: Brad Keselowski(has won at 17 other tracks)Martin Truex Jr.(has won at 14 other tracks) No current driver has Phoenix listed as their BEST track, and no current driver has it listed as their WORST track. No drivers have ever scored their first Cup Series win at Phoenix – 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 Michael McDowell+528 pts

Christopher Bell+475 pts

Denny Hamlin+379 pts

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.+201 pts

William Byron+138 pts Drivers Faring Worse than in 2020 Aric Almirola-701 pts

Matt DiBenedetto-569 pts

Ryan Blaney-417 pts

Erik Jones-318 pts

Alex Bowman-280 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 Hamlin5.75Michael McDowell8.00Brad Keselowski9.00Kyle Larson11.25Ryan Preece12.75Austin Dillon15.25 Drivers Having their WORST Career Year Quin Houff34.25Tyler Reddick22.25 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 Hamlin62 ptsBrad Keselowski37 ptsChase Elliott35 ptsJoey Logano31 ptsMartin Truex Jr.29 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 Chevrolet148Ford142Toyota140 Here is the same formula, but used on a team-vs-team basis: Chartered Team Standings Hendrick142Joe Gibbs140Front Row120Penske116Stewart-Haas113Chip Ganassi110JTG-Daugherty109Richard Childress97Roush-Fenway85Richard Petty61Spire6123XI55Trackhouse55Rick Ware43Wood Brothers35Live Fast33StarCom15 The race begins Sunday, March 14th at 3:30 pm EST (12:30 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!