In the Pits
Chase for the Cup caps competitive season
As the Chase for the Sprint Cup looms just ahead and the top contenders begin eyeing the finish line in Nov-ember and the 2010 season championship, a look at some statistics from the first 18 races demonstrates just how competitive this year has been:
During the first 18 races, there were:
- 7 different race winners
- 12 different pole winners
- 46 drivers led at least one lap
- 31 drivers scored at least one top-10
- The average margin of victory: 1.294 seconds
- Average of 12 leaders per race
- Average of 28 lead changes per race
- Average of 43 green-flag passes for the lead all along the track (highest through 18 races since the inception of Loop Data in 2005)
- Average of 3,613 green flag passes per race (highest through 18 races since the inception of Loop Data in 2005)
- 50 percent of the cars finished on the lead lap
- 78 percent of the cars were running at the finish
- All four manufacturers are in the top 12; three have won at least one race
The above statistics are a big reason for what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons ever. Some more notable happenings:
- The April race at Talladega Superspeedway set two major NASCAR records. There were 88 lead changes among 29 drivers, both of which were all-time highs in the 63-year history of the series.
- After much feedback from competitors and fans, NASCAR re-introduced the rear spoiler to the Cup car this season. The big return took place in March at Martinsville Speedway (race No. 6).
- The implementation of the “multiple attempts at a green-white-checkered finish” rule. This season, NASCAR allowed for three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish (previously, there was only one attempt). Seven races have ended with a green-white-checkered finish; three of them with multiple attempts at a G-W-C (the Daytona 500 had two, Atlanta had two and Talladega had three). Only one race finished under caution (Pocono).
- NASCAR loosened the reins on competitors at the start of this season. The “Have At It Boys” edict created fiercer competition and upped emotion. Over the first half alone there’s been a number of heated feuds: Carl Edwards vs. Brad Keselowski; Jeff Gordon vs. Jimmie Johnson; Joey Logano vs. Kevin Harvick; and Denny Hamlin vs. Kyle Busch, to name a few.
- Richard Childress Racing returns to prominence. After finishing 2009 with all four of its teams failing to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, RCR is back. Returning to a three-car operation, RCR had two drivers in the top 12 and a third hovering on the bubble at the halfway point this year.