We’re seven races into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, which makes it a great time to look at some of the highlights and statistical oddities from the season so far.
Here are seven surprising statistics from the first seven races of the season.
© Russell LaBounty/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Russell LaBounty
Highest ranked JGR driver
Kyle Busch is seventh in points right now, best among the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers. JGR has struggled this year, with no victories so far in 2017. The team’s other three drivers aren’t doing nearly as well as Busch is: Denny Hamlin is 16th in points, Matt Kenseth 22nd and Daniel Suarez 23rd.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Matthew T. Thacker
Seven races have produced six different winning drivers so far: Brad Keselowski is the sport’s only two-time winner so far in 2017. Also picking up race victories were Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson.
© Logan Whitton/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Logan Whitton
Twice, qualifying was rained out this season. In the five races where qualifying was held, five different drivers won poles: Chase Elliott, Daytona; Brad Keselowski, Las Vegas; Joey Logano, Phoenix; Kyle Larson, Auto Club Speedway; and Kevin Harvick, Texas.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Russell LaBounty
Kyle Larson’s runner-up finishes
Unbelievable as it might seem, Larson has finished second four times so far this year — Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Texas. And, oh by the way, he won at Auto Club Speedway. No wonder he leads the points.
© Nigel Kinrade/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Nigel Kinrade
Chase Elliott’s top fives
Consistency has helped vault Elliott to second in points in this, his second season in NASCAR’s top level. Elliott finished fifth at Atlanta and third at both Las Vegas and Martinsville. Just as important, his worst finish of the year was 14th when he ran out of gas at the end of the Daytona 500.
© Matthew T. Thacker/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Matthew T. Thacker
Key departures from No. 19 team
Unquestionably the biggest shock of the year was the decision by Carl Edwards to walk away from the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team just a month before the season started. Almost as shocking was the subsequent decision by crew chief Dave Rogers to take an indefinite leave of absence.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk John K Harrelson
Laps led by Daytona 500 winner
The only one of the 200 laps that Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch led in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was the last one. Four different drivers led the final four laps, but Busch led the one that paid all the money.
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