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Race 5: Auto Club 400 (All About The Statistics)

Posted by Amy in NASCAR

(Photo source: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Race winner for the Auto Club 400 is Kyle Busch, getting his 200th win in all series. I’m glad that he got it over with because frankly I am tired of hearing about it and I honestly think Kyle was tired of hearing about it. I don’t understand why they take this magical 200 wins in all series number and put all this emphasis on it. It would be like taking Tony Stewart and tabulating all of his dirt car wins into his cup wins and putting that number out there. And don’t even get me started about comparing him to Richard Petty. Richard Petty and Kyle Busch aren’t contemporaries. How many you raced in a season and what you raced are different. It would be like comparing my SAT scores to the SAT scores of someone of the same age taking them today. The test has dramatically changed since I took the SATs so it wouldn’t be a fair comparison, just like NASCAR’s premier series has changed over the years.

Do not mistake me though. I’m most definitely not saying that Kyle isn’t a talented driver. On the contrary- he is quite the wheelman and just watching him come up through the field after his pit road speeding penalty in Fontana is a testament to that. Many drivers wouldn’t have the courage to pull the moves to weave through traffic and take the chances that Kyle took coming up the field.  Kyle has a take no prisoners attitude on the track, and that is something I enjoy watching and cheering for.

I think that if you want to look at statistics, you have to look at more modern era drivers and do cup wins. If you are curious here are some of what you could compare all “modern era” NASCAR drivers and their cup win rankings:

Jeff Gordon: 93

Jimmie Johnson: 83

Kyle Busch: 53

Tony Stewart: 49

Kevin Harvick: 45

Kurt Busch: 30

Brad Keselowski: 28

Dale Earnhardt Jr: 26

Martin Truex Jr: 19

Some of these “modern era” drivers are already retired (Gordon, Stewart and Earnhardt, Jr).

If you want to get even more hardnosed about comparing stats you could do it for their first 17 seasons since Kyle is in the midsts of his 17th season:

Jimmie Johnson: 83

Jeff Gordon: 82

Kyle Busch: 53

Tony Stewart: 48

Kevin Harvick: 45

Kurt Busch: 27

Dale Earnhardt Jr: 26

Martin Truex (has just started his 16th season): 19

These would be a fair statistical analysis.  But this 200 in all series stat versus Richard Petty 200 Cup series wins aren’t fair.  Plus it’s not fair because they are not contemporaries- since Richard Petty stopped racing in 1992 and Kyle started racing in 2003. In no way could you call them contemporaries. But I have gotten off on a big nerdy tangent haven’t I? When Richard Petty raced, the cars were stock cars pulled off of showroom floors for a majority of his time behind the wheel.  The cars didn’t have “packages” enforced by the sanctioning body that dictated every little setting on the car. Different eras. I was scrolling through twitter Saturday, and someone called it comparing Kyle’s stats to Richard’s stats are like apples to a basket of mixed fruit, and that is the best way to describe it I think (I am sorry I don’t remember who tweeted it).

We can instead talk about cup qualifying and how NO ONE made a completed run.  That is sad.  It seems to be a product of this new package.  I didn’t watch qualifying because I was working, but I don’t blame fans for booing. Why would you want to spend time hanging around the race track all day, buying food and drink, and not see the last qualifying run?  I know NASCAR states that they are going to fix this before we get back to the next mile and a half track. But what will they do? Require that you take your qualifying run at the beginning of the session? Make it so if you don’t complete a qualifying run in the final round you start in the back (why is this already not the rule I ask you).  Clint Bowyer tweeted that he couldn’t tell if he was down a cylinder or if it was just the package- which could be a problem.  Personally, I never minded single-car qualifying, but I seriously doubt they will go back to that.   What says you? How can NASCAR fix the qualifying, so we don’t end up like this past Friday with no one wanting to be the first car out?

I will say that I enjoyed the five-wide salute.  It was awesome.

Five-wide Salute before the Autoclub 400. (Photo Source: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Next week we are at one of my favorite tracks to watch: Martinsville.



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