Count ‘em up!
A dozen different drivers have visited Victory Lane this season in the NASCAR Cup Series; tying the 2000 and 2012 seasons for second-most winners through 16 races in the Modern Era (1972-2022); behind only the 2003 season with 13 different winners.
Since inception of the Playoffs in 2004, the most different winners the NASCAR Cup Series has seen during the 26-race regular season was 15 different winners in 2011. Currently, the 2022 season has produced the most different winners (12) through the first 16 races of any Playoff Era season (2004-2022), and with 10 races left in the regular season, 2022 could be the first to reach 16 or more different winners heading into the postseason.
Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez became the 12th different NASCAR Cup Series winner this season with his victory last weekend at Sonoma Raceway. He also became the first driver from Mexico to win a NASCAR Cup Series race and the fifth different foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race; joining Marcos Ambrose (Australia), Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), Earl Ross (Canada) and Mario Andretti (Italy).
Suárez also became the fourth different driver this season to win his first career NASCAR Cup Series event; joining Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (Daytona 500), Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe (Phoenix) and his Trackhouse Racing teammate Ross Chastain (COTA). The record in the Modern Era (1972-2022) for the most first-time Cup Series winners in a single season is five first-time winners and it has happened three times – 2001, 2002 and 2011.
The NASCAR Cup Series will be back on-track next week at Nashville Superspeedway for the Ally 400 on June 26, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, the 17th race on the 2022 schedule. Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and 2021 series champion, Kyle Larson, is the defending Cup Series winner at Nashville Superspeedway.
Next Race: Ally 400
The Place: Nashville Superspeedway
The Date: Sunday, June 26
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
The Purse: $8,065,125
TV: NBC, 4:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 399 miles (300 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 90),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 185), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 300)
Trackhouse Racing is one of the hottest new teams in the series
Well, it didn’t take long for Justin Marks’ vision to take the NASCAR Cup Series by storm, and in Trackhouse Racing’s short two-year history, the organization has risen to be a leading competitor in the #1 form of motorsports competition in the United States – the NASCAR Cup Series.
“What I said first and foremost is I believe with this new car (Next Gen) it’s truly going to be about the people, and the people are going to make this car go,” said Justin Marks following Trackhouse Racing’s third victory of the 2022 season. “The way they (NASCAR) changed the model of the sport a little bit, is you have to invest in your people and keep them motivated, and put talented people in positions, lift them up and empower them. I just believe that.”
A feat many have tried, and few have been able to accomplish so quickly, but co-owners Justin Marks and rapper/entertainer Pitbull have won three of the 16 NASCAR Cup Series races this season; tied for second-most by an organization this year in the series behind Hendrick Motorsports’ five wins. And to boot, both of their drivers, Ross Chastain (COTA, Talladega) and Daniel Suárez (Sonoma), have visited Victory Lane this season and have clicked their tickets to the Playoffs, another first for the new team.
In addition to Suárez’s win this year, he has put up three top fives, five top 10s and has led 203 laps.
Suarez’s teammate Ross Chastain has been running exceptionally well also this season amassing two wins (COTA, Talladega), seven top fives and 10 top 10s.
Don’t expect Trackhouse Racing to slow any at Nashville Superspeedway next week. Ross Chastain finished runner-up in last season’s Nashville race and Suárez finished seventh.
Playoff Bubble: Four spots left open, 10 races to go
With Daniel Suárez becoming the 12th different driver to win this season and earn a spot in the Playoffs, that leaves just four positions open in the 16-driver NASCAR Cup Series postseason field with 10 races left to go in the regular season.
The four drivers currently in the Playoff hot seats that all drivers outside the postseason cutoff are coveting are Ryan Blaney (+95 points from the Playoff cutoff), Martin Truex Jr. (+65), Christopher Bell (+28) and Aric Almirola (+7).
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola is currently in the most precarious position of the four drivers inside the Playoff cutoff, because he is in the 16th and final transfer position on points. But if a driver below him in the standings wins over the next 10 races, he could find himself bounced out of the Playoffs. Almirola currently has a seven-point advantage on his SHR teammate Kevin Harvick who is 17th – the first spot outside the Playoffs cutoff.
Of the drivers looking for their first NASCAR Cup Series win of the season, three have won previously at Nashville Superspeedway in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Kevin Harvick (2006, 2010 NXS), Austin Dillon (2011 NCWTS) and Brad Keselowski (2008, 2010 NXS).
Playoff Outlook: Drivers Without Wins
|Rank||Driver||Points||Race Wins||Stage Wins||Playoff Pts||Pts From Cutoff|
|14||Martin Truex Jr.||481||0||3||3||65|
|24||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||288||0||0||0||-135|
|28||Harrison Burton #||241||0||0||0||-182|
|29||Todd Gilliland #||239||0||0||0||-184|
Next Gen is giving the fans what they want – great competition
Action-packed racing has been the norm this season thanks to the introduction of the Next Gen car in the NASCAR Cup Series and with 16 races in the books, the stats keep adding up.
A total of 12 different race winners through the first 16 races of the 2022 season ties the 2000 and 2012 seasons for second-most winners through 16 races in the Modern Era (1972-2022); behind the 2003 season with 13 winners.
A total of 10 different pole winners through the first 16 races of the 2022 season are the most since 2014 (11 poles winners).
Of the 12 different race winners this season, four are first-time Cup Series winners: Team Penske’s Austin Cindric (Daytona 500), Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe (Phoenix) and Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain (COTA) and Daniel Suárez (Sonoma). The NASCAR Cup Series record for the most first-time winners in a single season in the Modern Era (1972-2022) is five first-time winners, and it has occurred three times – 2001, 2002 and 2011.
The average Margin of Victory of the first 16 races of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is 0.710-second; the second closest average Margin of Victory through the first 16 races of a season since advent of electronic scoring in 1993; the closest is 2014 with 0.691-second. The first 16 races of the 2022 season have produced a Cup Series record of 12 races concluding with a Margin of Victory of less than a second.
A total of 35 different drivers have led laps in the NASCAR Cup Series through the first 16 races of the season with an average of 10.31 leaders per race; up from last season’s 8.90 (+15.3%). The most average leaders per race since 2014 (11.50).
The average number of lead changes through the first 16 races of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is 21.0; up from last season’s 17.9 (+17.4%) – the most average lead changes per race since 2014 (25.4).
The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has also produced 786 green flag passes for the lead; the series-most through the first 16 races of a season since the Loop Data statistic was initially tabulated in 2007 (the last 16 seasons). The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is averaging 49.1 green flag passes for the lead per race – up +35.3% from the 16-year average of 31.8 per race.
A total of seven tracks have set records in green flag passes for the lead this season; including Circuit of The Americas (30 GFPL), Atlanta Motor Speedway (141 GFPL), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (57 GFPL), Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt (20 GFPL) Darlington Raceway (28 GFPL), Kansas Speedway (41 GFPL) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (64 GFPL). Previous best GFPL totals were – COTA (14 in 2021), Atlanta (44 in 2015), Las Vegas (56 in 2021), Bristol Dirt (8 in 2021), Darlington (tied previous record in 2008), Kansas (tied previous record of 41 in 2019) and Charlotte (48 in 2012 Playoff race).
Plus, the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season has produced 55,452 total green flag passes throughout the field; the seventh-most through the first 16 races of a season since the Loop Data statistic was initially tabulated in 2007 (the last 16 seasons). The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season is averaging 3,466 total green flag passes per race – up +2.53% from the 16-year average of 3,378 per race.
Three tracks this season have set track records in total green flag passes – Atlanta (6,439), Richmond (3,072) and Bristol Dirt (2,703).
NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Stage stats from the 2022 season – Following the 16th race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, all but one fulltime series driver has scored stage points this season – Corey LaJoie is the only driver without a single stage point.
Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Chase Elliott has scored the most stage points with 136 of his total 536 points this season coming from stage points (25.3%).
Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney has won the most stages this season through 16 races with four stage wins.