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.

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