NASCAR

NASCAR Cup Series Standings and Stats Update

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The first five races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season are officially in the books. Martin Truex Jr. emerged victorious in Sunday’s Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. With the win, Truex became the fifth different driver to win a race in five races this season. He also vaulted up into fourth place in the points standings, 56 behind current leader, Denny Hamlin. With five races complete, the sample size for numerous NASCAR stats and data continues to grow.

Like any other sport, stats and numbers help to tell the story of who’s hot and who’s not in the NASCAR Cup Series. The following article provides updated lists, tables and commentary for a number of important NASCAR statistics. These stats will be of browsing interest for any NASCAR fans. They can also serve the purpose of helping NASCAR DFS players and bettors with their handicapping going forward this season. 

With that, let’s strap on our nerd hats and crunch some numbers!

Credit: Russell LaBounty/NKP/LAT Images

NASCAR Cup Series Standings Update

Refer to the table below for the updated NASCAR Cup Series points standings through the first five races of the season. The table also includes additional NASCAR Cup Series stats including Wins, Top-5 Finishes, Top-10 Finishes and Total Laps Led. The table is sortable by driver and statistic for your viewing convenience.

Note: Only drivers running a full-time Cup Series schedule are included in the table.

Car Number Driver Standings Points Wins Top-5’s Top-10’s Total Laps Led
11 Denny Hamlin 236 0 4 4 183
2 Brad Keselowski 197 0 3 3 93
22 Joey Logano 192 0 2 3 198
19 Martin Truex Jr. 180 1 2 3 107
5 Kyle Larson 179 1 2 4 110
9 Chase Elliott 179 0 2 2 73
4 Kevin Harvick 176 0 2 4 17
20 Christopher Bell 167 1 1 3 37
24 William Byron 152 1 1 3 127
1 Kurt Busch 144 0 1 2 2
34 Michael McDowell 140 1 1 3 10
3 Austin Dillon 135 0 1 1 7
12 Ryan Blaney 134 0 1 2 36
37 Ryna Preece 123 0 0 2 0
18 Kyle Busch 115 0 1 2 0
47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 113 0 0 0 1
48 Alex Bowman 110 0 0 2 1
17 Chris Buescher 109 0 0 0 57
23 Bubba Wallace 97 0 0 0 7
41 Cole Custer 86 0 0 0 1
42 Ross Chastain 85 0 0 1 0
6 Ryan Newman 84 0 0 1 0
43 Erik Jones 78 0 0 1 0
99 Daniel Suarez 74 0 0 0 15
14 Chase Briscoe 73 0 0 0 0
10 Aric Almirola 70 0 0 0 0
8 Tyler Reddick 69 0 1 1 7
21 Matt DiBenedetto 62 0 0 0 0
7 Corey LaJoie 50 0 0 1 12
38 Anthony Alfredo 47 0 0 0 1
52 Josh Bilicki 22 0 0 0 0
00 Quin Houff 20 0 0 0 0

NASCAR Cup Series Stats Update

Refer to the table below which includes several different NASCAR Cup Series stats through the first five races of the season. The table is sortable by driver and statistic for your viewing convenience. Commentary on several notable stats can be found below.

Note: Only drivers running a full-time Cup Series schedule are included in the table.

Car Number Driver Average Finish Driver Rating Pass Differential % Laps Led
11 Denny Hamlin 5.2 113.4 +43 16.4
2 Brad Keselowski 8 102.9 -42 8.3
4 Kevin Harvick 8.2 96.2 -28 1.5
19 Martin Truex Jr. 9.4 102.3 +82 9.6
22 Joey Logano 10 106.8 -6 17.8
5 Kyle Larson 10.4 107.8 +69 9.9
20 Christopher Bell 10.6 97.2 +19 3.3
9 Chase Elliott 11 97.4 +62 6.5
34 Michael McDowell 11 76.4 -22 0.9
1 Kurt Busch 13.6 85.8 +6 0.2
47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 14.4 75.1 +1 0.1
24 William Byron 15.2 94.4 +80 11.5
37 Ryan Preece 15.4 69.7 -6 0
3 Austin Dillon 15.6 83.3 -2 0.6
18 Kyle Busch 17.4 88.6 +28 0
12 Ryan Blaney 17.8 79.2 +31 3.9
17 Chris Buescher 18.6 69.2 -30 6.1
48 Alex Bowman 18.8 75.6 +46 0.1
41 Cole Custer 20.6 71.4 -14 0.1
42 Ross Chastain 21 67.1 -9 0
23 Bubba Wallace 21.8 63.1 -21 0.6
43 Erik Jones 22 59.9 +16 0
6 Ryan Newman 22.2 56.9 -43 0
14 Chase Briscoe 22.4 56.9 -31 0
99 Daniel Suarez 22.8 53.7 -8 1.6
8 Tyler Reddick 23.6 61.5 +43 0.6
21 Matt DiBenedetto 25.6 61.2 -38 0
10 Aric Almirola 26 59.2 +8 0
38 Anthony Alfredo 27.8 42.5 -46 0.1
7 Corey LaJoie 28 53 -79 1.3
52 Josh Bilicki 32.6 35.9 -41 0
00 Quin Houff 33.8 31.5 -14 0

Average Finish

The average finish statistic is the mean finishing position of the drivers across all races in 2021. Denny Hamlin leads the field with an average finish just outside of the top-5 at 5.2. Four other drivers join him with a top-10 average finish including the most recent winner, Martin Truex Jr. (9.4). Oddly enough, none of the other drivers (including Hamlin) have won a race yet this year. This would seem to suggest more winners are soon to come. Consistently throwing down strong finishes will eventually result in being the best car on the track.

If Truex Jr. is the only race winner with a top-10 average finish, it begs the question of where the other winners reside in this NASCAR Cup Series stats category. In order from best to worst, Kyle Larson (10.4) heads up the quartet which also includes Christopher Bell (10.6), Michael McDowell (11) and William Byron (15.2).

Denny Hamlin NASCAR Cup Series stats
Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Driver Rating

The Driver Rating statistic is often one of the best indicators of exactly how well a NASCAR Cup Series driver is performing. With so much happening within a race, it makes sense to have a quantifiable statistic that is based on a combination of factors. The Driver Rating formula combines the following:

  • Wins
  • Finishing Position
  • Top-15 Finish
  • Average Position While Running on the Lead Lap
  • Average Speed Under Green
  • Fastest Laps
  • Most Laps Led
  • Lead-Lap Finishing Position 

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A maximum of 150 Driver Rating points are available in a single race. Of course, it would require a perfect run to obtain a full 150. Through five races on the season, we see Denny Hamlin leading all NASCAR Cup Series drivers with a rating of 113.4. He is joined on the north side of 100 by Kyle Larson (107.8), Joey Logano (106.8), Brad Keselowski (102.9) and Martin Truex Jr. (102.3). Driver Rating is typically the best indicator of overall success beyond victory lane. For bettors and NASCAR DFS players, it is a stat worth monitoring closely throughout the season.

Pass Differential

The Pass Differential statistic indicates how many positions a driver has won or lost by way of passing over the course of a race. Those who have completed a greater number of green flag passes than they have been passed will have a positive number in this NASCAR Cup Series stats category. On the contrary, a driver who has been passed more times than he has passes completed will have a negative number. 

Instacart 500 winner Martin Truex Jr. leads all NASCAR Cup Series drivers with a +82 pass differential. He is joined by William Byron (+80) in having a sizable gap over all other drivers. Both Truex and Byron have notched race wins this year. The driver with the third-best pass differential, Kyle Larson (+69), has also been to victory lane.

There are a number of surprises when it comes to the Pass Differential statistic. One that jumps out is Aric Almirola. Outside of Phoenix, it has been a brutal first five weeks for the No. 10 team. Despite their struggles, Almirola has a +8 pass differential. On the other side of the equation, Joey Logano sticks out as a surprising negative at -2. Despite leading a bunch of laps and being in contention to win on multiple occasions this season, Logano lags behind in this NASCAR Cup Series stats category. Kevin Harvick (-28) and Brad Keselowski (-42) are two other drivers who you wouldn’t expect to see in the red.

Percentage of Laps Led

The percentage of laps led is calculated by dividing the sum of laps that a driver has led by the total number of laps that they have completed. Joey Logano tops all NASCAR Cup Series drivers on the season, having led 17.8% of his completed laps. Denny Hamlin (16.4%) being in second on this list means that the two drivers to lead the greatest percentage of laps are both yet to win a race. Only one other driver has led more than 10% of laps this season. A dominant run on his way to victory lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway sees William Byron check-in at 11.5%.


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