Thursday, March 20, 2014

Most Laps Led In the Last 30 Years

Here is a list of the top-10 lap leaders from the past 30 seasons (1984 - 2013).

Rank Driver Laps Led Total Starts
1 Jeff Gordon 23621 725
2 Dale Earnhardt 21502 518
3 Rusty Wallace 19951 697
4 Jimmie Johnson 15234 435
5 Mark Martin 12831 831
6 Tony Stewart 12634 521
7 Bill Elliott 11044 712
8 Kyle Busch 9879 329
9 Matt Kenseth 8811 508
10 Geoff Bodine 8055 514

Analysis: There are a couple of numbers that stand out to me: Dale Earnhardt's 21,502 laps led in 518 starts and Kyle Busch on pace to lead almost 20,000 by the time he hits 650 starts. For Busch to do that would be very impressive, and it would still be less than what Earnhardt did for two decades. The problem is I feel this information doesn't really tell a whole lot because it spans over the course of 30 years. Competition was different then compared to now. I will say it was interesting to see Geoff Bodine make the top 10. If you were born in the 90's or later, or simply didn't follow the sport until recently, you might just assume Bodine was always a back marker. This table is a reminder that Bodine was quite good - one of the better drivers - in the 80's.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Most and Least Accident Prone Racers

Note: This is a re-post from a few weeks ago and does not include the updated numbers from Daytona. 

I thought this was interesting.  I looked up the career DNF totals for 27 of the drivers expected to compete full-time in 2014. I broke it down into total DNF's and also filtered it to just crash related DNF's.   The crash DNF percentage is on the far right.  This doesn't include drivers who have been start and parks for the last few seasons. The two big takeaways are Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick.  Harvick, who was known for being aggressive in his early days after taking over Dale Earnhardt's seat, has just nine DNF's due to accidents in 466 starts!  Patrick, on the other hand, has almost equated that same amount in only 46 starts, with already seven accident related DNF's.   Sheet1
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RankDriverCrash DNFsTotal DNFsStartsCrash DNF %
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1Kevin Harvick9214661.9%
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2Ricky Stenhouse12412.4%
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3Carl Edwards10213373%
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4Clint Bowyer11202893.8%
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5Greg Biffle17344024.2%
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6Paul Menard11172554.3%
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7Marcos Ambrose9191914.7%
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8Denny Hamlin14252914.8%
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9Brad Keselowski8101615%
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10Matt Kenseth26455085.1%
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11Jimmie Johnson22394355.1%
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12Tony Stewart28405215.4%
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13Dale Earnahrdt Jr.28535055.5%
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14Joey Logano10161835.5%
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15Kyle Busch21353296.4%
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16A.J. Allmendinger13171916.8%
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17Kurt Busch33524717%
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18Casey Mears27543807.1%
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19Jamie McMurray29434027.2%
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20Jeff Gordon56987257.7%
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21Martin Truex23372977.7%
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22David Ragan20292547.9%
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23Ryan Newman36584408.2%
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24Aric Almirola9171078.4%
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25Kasey Kahne34493609.4%
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26Brian Vickers283828010%
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27Danica Patrick774615.2%
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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Daytona 500 Rain Delay Review - 38 Laps In

Decided to kill some time during this rain delay and look at how a few drivers are doing close to the 100 mile mark.

Kyle Busch: He struggled in the qualifying race Thursday night due to his splitter dragging, and as a result, had to start way back in 37th.  However, the car is really fast today, and it took just a handful of laps to reach the top 10.  He led the last six laps before the delay and looks like he might be the guy to beat.

Denny Hamlin: The undisputed favorite going in after winning the Shootout last week and his qualifying race Thursday, Hamlin has been a contender so far.  He led 10 laps early, and would have had led more had his engine not started to overheat due to trash on the grille.  He was able to fall back in traffic where the dirty air knocked the trash off, and his temperatures fell back to normal.  So far, Kyle and he look to have the fastest cars.

Kurt Busch:  While Hamlin and Kyle Busch have been fast, it’s been Kyle’s brother Kurt who has led the most laps so far.  He got shuffled out of the draft shortly before the rain delay, so we will have to see how he can do coming back up through the field.

Matt Kenseth:  The two-time 500 winner and man he led the most laps in this race last year has struggled.  After starting in the inside of row 1, he wasn’t able to stay up front and fell back to mid-pack.  During his first pit stop, Kenseth spun out on pit road, which cost him even more track position.  He is currently being scored in the 27th position.


Kyle Larson: The rookie who some expect to be the next big star has had a terrible start to this years 500.  He got in the wall a couple of laps in and had a tire go down shortly after.  The green flag stop cost him a lap, but it only got worse.  He brought out the first caution around lap 20 when he lost control of the 42 Target Chevy, causing some splitter damage.  His problems have happened early though, and after the caution for Martin Truex's blown engine, he was able to get the free pass and is back on the lead lap.