Crunching The Numbers: Driver Edition

The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has come to a close with a new (and first time) champion in Kyle Busch. Jeff Gordon finished his final race in 6th place, 3rd in the points standings, with 1 win and 4 poles; just more solid figures to add to his hall of fame resume. Needles to say, the 2015 season was filled with many stories, some good and some not so good, but I am here to break down the numbers of the season; from the races to the drivers, I will provide as much information as possible about how your favorite drivers fared during the course of the season.

Lets start with the Championship 4:

The 2015 Sprint Cup Champion with his beautiful wife Samantha and their bouncing baby boy Brexton.

The 2015 Sprint Cup Champion with his beautiful wife Samantha and their bouncing baby boy Brexton.

Kyle Busch, your 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, won 5 races in 25 starts (11 missed due to the injuries he suffered at the Xfinity race in Daytona in February). That means he won 20% of the races he was entered in, which is the best of anyone in the field. He also earned 1 pole, accumulated 12 top 5’s, 16 top 10’s, and 19 top 15’s, and 2 DNF’s. His average finish was 10.76 (3rd best) and his average start was 8.16 (2nd best). Busch only improved once he entered the Chase.

Kyle Busch's Chase Stats

Kyle Busch’s Chase Stats

Kevin Harvick takes a moment before the race to pose with retiring Jeff Gordon's ride.

Kevin Harvick takes a moment before the race to pose with retiring Jeff Gordon’s ride.

Kevin Harvick finished 2nd in points, won 3 races, earned 2 poles, and had only 1 DNF. He had a season best average finish of 8.67 and the 3rd best average start of 8.36. His numbers are only bolstered by 23 top 5’s, 28 top 10’s, and 30 top 15’s. Entering the Chase, Harvick was the favorite to win, but his struggles started early and he found himself in a must win situation by the 3rd race at Dover; and he did just that. After that, his chase became stronger each week, and he put up a darn good fight in the final race of the season, but came up 1 position short of being the champion.

KH Chase Stats

Kevin Harvick’s Chase Stats

Jeff Gordon poses for one last photo with his family, owner Rick Hendrick, and the entire 24 team.

Jeff Gordon poses for one last photo with his family, owner Rick Hendrick, and the entire 24 team.

Jeff Gordon rounds out his final season as a driver 3rd in points with 1 win, 4 poles, and only 1 DNF. His average finish was 13.69, average start was 11.81, and accumulated 5 top 5’s, 21 top 10’s, and 25 top 15’s during his 36 races. While this season may not have been everything Gordon (and his fans) dreamed of, he still had one incredible season. The pre-Chase races were off to a slow start, but once he entered the Chase, he took off and never looked back. Gordon certainly has nothing to complain about as his final season is one for the history books. He may not have gone out on the very top, but he darn well went out on top and with a bang. Thank you Jeff Gordon, for all you have done for this sport! I know I personally cannot wait to see what you bring to the Fox booth come February.

JG Chase Stats

Jeff Gordon’s Chase Stats

Martin Truex Jr. eagerly awaits to get this rolling in the season's final race.

Martin Truex Jr. eagerly awaits to get this rolling in the season’s final race.

Martin Truex Jr. rounds out the Championship 4, and while he was considered the dark horse throughout the entire Chase, his numbers should tell you otherwise. He may have had 2 DNF’s and no poles, but his 1 victory and average finish of 12.22 made him a top driver this season. His average start of 12.50 is nothing to push aside either. Truex earned 8 top 5’s, 22 top 10’s, and 28 top 15’s on his way to his best finish in the Sprint Cup Series of 4th. While his run at Homestead left much to be desired, he showed drive and passion every week and was determined to show the doubters that he has what it takes to run at the front, especially with a single car team.

MT Chase Stats

Martin Truex Jr.’s Chase Stats

Now on to the rest of the Chasers:
Carl Edwards finished 5th in the standings and narrowly missed being one of the Championship 4, but don’t let that fool you. Edwards won 2 races and 3 poles during his season, while tallying up 7 top 5’s, 15 top 10’s, and 26 top 15’s as well as only 2 DNF’s. His average finish was 13.97 while his average start was 9.14 is the 4th best of all drivers this season. With this being only his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, we can only expect greater things from Edwards next season.

Joey Logano was probably another favorite during the season (along with Harvick) to win the championship, but he has to settle for 6th in the standings. Logano had the most wins of anyone this season with 6, 2nd best average finish of 9.17, and the best average start of 6.92. To go along with those outstanding numbers, Logano has 22 top 5’s, (1 fewer than Harvick) 28 top 10’s, and 30 top 15’s with zero DNF’s. Those numbers are quite impressive and make one wonder why he failed to be in the Championship 4…

Brad Keselowski finishes the season right behind his teammate, 7th in the standings. Keselowski earned 1 victory this season along with 3 poles and 1 DNF. He racked up 9 top 5’s, 25 top 10’s, and 27 top 15’s. If that is not good enough for you, how about his average finish of 11.06, which is 4th best and his average finish of 10, which is 5th best. We can only look forward to 2016 to see what Keselowski can do to better this season now.

Kurt Busch had a very respectable year, finishing 8th in the standings. With a 5th best average finish of 11.12 and 6th best average start of 10.06, Busch was able to grab 2 victories and 3 poles this season with zero DNF’s to his name. He bolstered his great season with 10 top 5’s, 21 top 10’s, and 27 top 15’s. Though he missed 3 races this season due to some personal things, he was able to put that behind him and have another great season.

Denny Hamlin, the highest placing driver who was eliminated in the Contender Round, winds up 9th in points with 2 wins, 3 poles, and 2 DNF’s. His average finish of 13.61 was enough to give him the 10th best this season while his average start of 11.67 was enough for 8th best. 14 top 5’s, 20 top 10’s, and 23 top 15’s anchor another great season for this Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Jimmie Johnson, the highest placing driver who was eliminated in the Challenger Round, winds up 10th in points. Definitely not one of his best seasons, Johnson still won 5 races and 1 pole, with 2 DNF’s. His average finish was 8th best at 12.78 and his average finish of 12.08 was 10th best (basically the opposite to Denny Hamlin). 14 top 5’s, 22 top 10’s, and 26 top 15’s round out this season for Johnson, who hopes 2016 is prepared better for him.

Ryan Newman finishes 11th this year, 9 positions lower than last year. While Newman was not able to grab a victory or a pole, his 5 top 5’s, 15 top 10’s, 25 top 15’s, and 1 DNF were enough to land him in the top 16 with a shot for the title.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., 12th in the standings, had pretty amazing pre-Chase season, but stumbled a bit in the Chase. He had the 6th best average finish, 11.31 and an average finish of 13.75 during his 2015 season. He earned 3 victories, 1 pole, 16 top 5’s, 22 top 10’s, 27 top 15’s, and only 1 DNF this season. Even though he struggled during the Chase, the 88 team should be proud of where they are and should be improved come 2016.

Jamie McMurray, 13th in the standings, barely missed the cutoff after Dover to move on to the Contender Round. An average finish of 14.86 and average start of 16.28 were accompanied by 4 top 5’s, 10 top 10’s, 25 top 15’s, and 2 DNF’s gave this group a pretty solid year, and they can only build on this for 2016.

Paul Menard, 14th, and the 2nd RCR driver to make the Chase this year, had an average finish of 17.08 and average start of 17.78. 2 top 5’s, 5 top 10’s, and 21 top 15’s helped this team battle through the season and earn their spot in the Chase.

Matt Kenseth, 15th in points, is really only down this far due to this 2 race suspension after his Martinsville actions. His season, overall, was pretty good; after all he earned 5 victories and 5 poles. Along with 12 top 5’s, 20 top 10’s, 21 top 15’s, and 4 DNF’s, Kenseth averaged a finish of 14.32 and start of 11.53. It might not be his best season, but he should be focused on improving in 2016 and should be a bigger figure in the Chase.

Clint Bowyer rounds out the Chasers in 16th in his final season with Michael Waltrip Racing. 2 top 5’s, 12 top 10’s, 17 top 15’s, and 3 DNF’s played into Bowyer’s solid year and another year of making the Chase. His average finish was 18.75 which is slightly better than his start of 20.53.

Remaining Chasers' Stats

Remaining Chasers’ Stats
Gray: Eliminated after Eliminator Round
Blue: Eliminated after Contender Round
Red: Eliminated after Challenger Round

Below is the output of statistics for every driver to run in the Sprint Cup this season. Will you be surprised as to what you find? Did you favorite driver exceed your expectations this season? The answers are right here:

NameTeamMakeAvg. FinishAvg. StartStartsWinsDNFsPolesTop 5sTop 10sTop 15sPointsBonus PointsAverage Points Per Start
A.J. AllmendingerJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet23.0821.5836032037758521.06
Alex BowmanTommy Baldwin RacingChevrolet31.7834.5836060000442212.28
Alex KennedyCircle SportChevrolet34.540.921200000011409.5
Aric AlmirolaRichard Petty MotorsportsFord17.9222.36360203618940126.11
Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet21.0316.97360301512832523.11
B.J. McLeodCircle SportChevrolet34391000000000
Bobby LabonteGo FAS RacingFord29.2537401000060115
Boris SaidGo FAS RacingFord2935.52000000000
Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord11.0610361139252712173133.81
Brendan GaughanTommy Baldwin RacingChevrolet35.7539.258020000000
Brett MoffittFront Row MotorsportsFord32.4435.5625010000422213.61
Brett MoffittMichael Waltrip RacingToyota22.1726.56000011
Brian ScottRichard Childress RacingChevrolet26.922.810030003000
Brian VickersMichael Waltrip RacingToyota2823200000132016
Carl EdwardsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota13.979.14362237152611082730.78
Casey MearsGermain RacingChevrolet23.1423.9236040015754320.94
Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet2825.56010000000
Chris BuescherFront Row MotorsportsFord24.636.85000000000
Clint BowyerMichael Waltrip RacingToyota18.7520.533603021217916725.44
Cole WhittFront Row MotorsportsFord28.723536030001553315.36
Dale Earnhardt Jr.Hendrick MotorsportsChevrolet11.3113.753631116222711982133.28
Danica PatrickStewart Haas RacingChevrolet23.4722.4436040023741220.58
David GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord29.3633.7236030001533614.81
David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFord17281000000701419.47
David RaganJoe Gibbs RacingToyota22.1114.119000112
David RaganMichael Waltrip RacingToyota25.8117.8826060003
Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota13.6111.673622314202311172331.03
Derek WhiteCircle SportChevrolet39421000000000
Eddie MacDonaldGo FAS RacingFord37411000000707
Erik JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota23.678.333000001000
Greg BiffleRoush Fenway RacingFord2019.94360003410869524.14
J.J. YeleyBK RacingToyota34.5337.1234050001000
Jamie McMurrayChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet14.8616.2836020410251052329.22
Jeb BurtonBK RacingToyota36.2938.042804000021607.71
Jeff GordonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet13.6911.81361145212511091830.81
Jeff GreenThe Motorsports GroupChevrolet40331000000000
Jeffrey EarnhardtGo FAS RacingFord37.5422000000000
Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet12.7812.083652114222611553132.08
Joe NemechekFront Row MotorsportsFord33281000000000
Joey GaseGo FAS RacingFord4138.673020000000
Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord9.176.923660622283012994536.08
Johnny SauterBK RacingToyota19361000000000
Josh WiseBK RacingToyota31401000000254310.58
Josh WiseFront Row MotorsportsFord29401000000
Josh WiseGo FAS RacingFord3637.65000000
Josh WisePhil Parsons RacingFord33.2436.1817040011
Justin AllgaierHscott MotorsportsChevrolet27.6926.3936050014588116.33
Justin MarksFront Row MotorsportsFord30351000000000
Kasey KahneHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet18.1414.863603131017939826.08
Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingChevrolet8.678.363631223283013204836.67
Kurt BuschStewart Haas RacingChevrolet11.1210.063320310212711082333.58
Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota10.768.16255211216198633234.52
Kyle FowlerGo FAS RacingFord41401010000303
Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet19.3113.343505121017872824.91
Landon CassillHillman Smith MotorsportsChevrolet30.6432.3936060002000
Martin Truex Jr.Furniture Row RacingChevrolet12.2212.5361208222811642032.33
Matt CraftonJoe Gibbs RacingToyota1841000000000
Matt DiBenedettoBK RacingToyota31.9736.4533010000399212.09
Matt KensethJoe Gibbs RacingToyota14.3211.533454512202110463730.76
Michael AnnettHscott MotorsportsChevrolet32.6634.6935030001398111.37
Michael McDowellLeavine Family RacingFord30.6929.3116010000213013.31
Michael WaltripMichael Waltrip RacingToyota3128.5200000058119.33
Michael WaltripPhil Parsons RacingFord13331000001
Mike BlissCircle SportChevrolet34.542.52000000000
Mike BlissGo FAS RacingFord3538.138000000
Mike WallacePremium MotorsportsToyota36161000000808
Paul MenardRichard Childress RacingChevrolet17.0817.78360102521972327
Reed SorensonFront Row MotorsportsFord344310000007418.22
Reed SorensonPhil Parsons RacingFord36.8341.176000000
Reed SorensonTommy Baldwin RacingChevrolet36421000000
Reed SorensonXXXTreme MotorsportsChevrolet32141000000
Regan SmithChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet1671000000000
Regan SmithStewart Haas RacingChevrolet16.33323000000
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway RacingFord24.2823.58360301310712219.78
Ron Hornaday Jr.The Motorsports GroupChevrolet42341010000202
Ryan BlaneyWood Brothers RacingFord25.3114.516050124000
Ryan EllisCircle SportChevrolet40421000000000
Ryan NewmanRichard Childress RacingChevrolet13.5315.2536010515251102530.61
Ryan PreecePhil Parsons RacingFord3738.3330000003507
Ryan PreecePremium MotorsportsChevrolet3742.52000000
Sam Hornish Jr.Richard Petty MotorsportsFord24.3325.3336020034709119.69
T.J. BellPhil Parsons RacingFord37431000000707
Timmy HillPhil Parsons RacingFord39.4342.577010000000
Timmy HillTommy Baldwin RacingChevrolet3940.65010000
Tony StewartStewart Haas RacingChevrolet24.7818.3336050038695319.31
Travis KvapilCircle SportChevrolet37.5422000000000
Travis KvapilGo FAS RacingFord33.5412000000
Trevor BayneRoush Fenway RacingFord25.8127.9236030024655018.19
Ty DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet21.827.85000001000
Will KimmelGo FAS RacingFord38.541.520000001105.5

We see from this chart that Kevin Harvick earned the most points during the season. Harvick also earned the most bonus points during the season as well as had the highest points per race; basically, Harvick dominated this season. Where Kyle Busch fits into the picture to capture the championship is that he earned the 3rd most points per race. Even with 11 fewer races, he earned enough to make it all the way to the Championship 4 and then capitalized on his momentum to capture it all.

Now, before we wrap up this season, we must take a look at how each team did, as well as the manufacturers.

 

2015 Team Stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Manufacturer Stats

 

 

 

 

Joe Gibbs Racing was clearly the dominant team winning 14 races (38.89% of the season) and 12 poles (33.33%). Team Penseke, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, did combine for a fantastic 7 wins, but they also boasted the best team average finish <strong>and</strong> start in 2015; this team is always fast and competitive and next season should not be any different. Jumping over to the manufacturers, it is clear why Chevrolet once again won the 2015 Manufacturer’s Championship, but Toyota did not make it easy on them. As for Ford, they can only look forward to improving in 2016 and try to keep up with Chevrolet and Toyota.

There you have it folks; a wrap up of the 2015 season for your drivers and teams. Soon, I will be reviewing the season, and by that I mean taking a look at the numbers on the tracks; that should be fun! During the off-season, we will dive a little bit more into the Chase contenders seasons to show you how they made it as far as they did. As we get closer to the Daytona 500 (February 21, 2016), we will preview who we believe will make the Chase and who will come out on top by season’s end.

 

 

Happy-Thanksgiving-Turkey-02

 

Ashley Hobbs

Birthday: 9 March 1989 (so I do not have to update my age each year)
Location: Florida (Jersey native, born and raised)

What better way to combine 2 of my favorite things, NASCAR and statistics, than providing y’all with an analytical report each weekend during the NASCAR season.

When I am not crunching the numbers, I spend time with my hubby, 3 black cats (Ninja, Daytona, and Chronos), and I watch too much TV, especially Doctor Who. Why yes, I am a geek and proud! So join forces with me and follow my weekly Crunching The Numbers segment. Who knows, I may surprise you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *