The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series steamrolls into an open week coming off three consecutive races featuring record-breaking competition.
The first three events – at Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas – have resulted in some of the tightest and varied competition in series history. For instance:
· There has been an average of 41 lead changes per race, most ever through three races.
· There has been an average of 16 different leaders per race, most ever through three races.
· Three different race winners; first time since 2007 there hasn’t been a repeat winner in the first three races.
· 32 drivers have led at least one lap, most ever through three races.
· There has been an average of 4,609 passes and 55 passes for the lead all around the track, both averages second-most through three races since the inception of Loop Data in 2005.
· The average margin of victory is 0.834 seconds, the closest in three years.
“We had a very dynamic Daytona 500,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. “Obviously the competition has never been better. That’s been brewing and going in the right direction for a number of months.”
Each race has seen a significant record fall.
· The 22 different leaders was a track record.
· The 74 lead changes was a track record.
· There were 16 cautions, most all-time at the track. The 60 caution laps tied a track record.
· The 28 lead changes was a track record.
· Carl Edwards broke the qualifying record, with a lap of 137.279 mph
· Matt Kenseth broke the qualifying record, with a lap of 188.884 mph.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have also enjoyed strong starts – and storylines – to its respective seasons.
Both series feature a host of new faces contending for the drivers’ championships, including Reed Sorenson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jason Leffler, Justin Allgaier and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Matt Crafton, Clay Rogers and rookie Cole Whitt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
There have been an average of 15 leaders per race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the most since 2006 – and that includes a race (Phoenix) which had zero lead changes thanks to a dominant run by Kyle Busch. Additionally, Danica Patrick continued her NASCAR development, becoming the highest-finishing female in national series history with her fourth-place finish at Las Vegas.
Two races into its season, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series saw a storybook opening winner in Michael Waltrip at Daytona, 10 years to the day of his 2001 Daytona 500 victory. At Phoenix, Kyle Busch won, becoming the fastest driver to 25 victories in NASCAR national series history.