So, we’re only four races into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. There is still a wealth of interesting data to mine.
Here are eight quirky stats in advance of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 (FOX, 3 p.m. ET) at Auto Club Speedway.
Nigel Kinrade/LAT Photo USA
The first four races of the year have produced four different winners — Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman. Keselowski and series points leader Kyle Larson are the only two drivers with three top-five finishes in the four races. Those two and Joey Logano are the only drivers with three top 10s.
No driver likes to see his or her name appear in this category, but already five drivers have two DNFs in just the first two races of the season — Matt Kenseth, 20th in points; Danica Patrick, 29th; Jeffrey Earnhardt, 35th; Corey LaJoie, 37th; and Gray Gaulding, 39th.
John David MercerJohn David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Derrike Cope has returned to the Cup Series this year after being out of NASCAR’s top division for more than a decade. The last time he led a Cup race was the 2004 Brickyard 400, some 451 races ago.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.ukBarry Cantrell
Right place, right time
Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500 by leading only one lap – the last one. It was his first victory at a restrictor-plate track in 64 attempts.
Joe Gibbs Racing
Kyle Busch has led 132 laps so far this year, but he’s the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to lead any laps in 2017. Last year at this time, the four JGR drivers had led 402 laps, with Busch leading 134, Denny Hamlin 105, Matt Kenseth 97 and Carl Edwards 66.
Kevin Harvick is ranked seventh in points, which makes him the highest-ranked driver in points who hasn’t posted a top-five finish so far this year. Yet despite having no top fives, Harvick has led a whopping 30.92 percent of the total laps run this year.