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Stat Sheet: The Wildest Statistics & Oddities of the 2022 Season

After a multi-year hiatus, Stat Sheet is back as weekly column for NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season in 2023.

But before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve and all attention turns toward the countdown to the Clash at the Coliseum and the Daytona 500 in February, it’s time to take a look at the most intriguing statistics of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Parity galore

  • The Next Gen car provided the Cup Series with 19 winners in 2022, which tied the all-time record for most winners in a season. Previously, 19 winners was most recently accomplished in 2001.
  • No one led more than 1,000 laps all season, as Chase Elliott led the way with 857. That makes 2022 the first year since the beginning of the series’ modern era in 1972 when no one hit quadruple digits.  The previous low came in the 2002 season, where Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the way with 1,068 circuits out front. The last time no one led more than 1,000 was 1960, a year when lap-leader breakdowns are not available for every race.
  • Elliott led all full-time drivers with an average finish of 12.5, a new low in the modern era. Last season once again beat out 2002, when the best average finish was 12.2 by Mark Martin.
See also
NASCAR Expands Clash Field for 2023

Milestone victories

  • 2022 produced five first-time winners (Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick), the first such season since 2011.
  • By winning at Phoenix Raceway, Briscoe became the 200th driver to score a Cup win.
  • With a win in the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt race, Kyle Busch tied Richard Petty’s record of 18 consecutive winning seasons. Busch will have a chance to stand alone with 19 straight in 2023.
  • Busch and Kevin Harvick became the ninth and 10th drivers, respectively, to score 60 Cup wins. Of the 10 drivers to reach 60, four of them (Petty, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Harvick) won 59 and 60 in back-to-back races.
  • Kurt Busch and Harvick became the seventh and eighth drivers, respectively, to win a Cup race more than 20 years after their maiden triumph.
Driver First Win Last/Most Recent Win Timespan
Richard Petty Feb. 28, 1960 July 4, 1984 24 years, 158 days
Terry Labonte Sept. 1, 1980 Aug. 31, 2003 22 years, 364 days
Bobby Allison July 12, 1966 Feb. 14, 1988 21 years, 217 days
Dale Earnhardt April 1, 1979 Oct. 15, 2000 21 years, 197 days
Jeff Gordon May 29, 1994 Nov. 1, 2015 21 years, 156 days
Kevin Harvick March 11, 2001 Aug. 14, 2022 21 years, 156 days
Cale Yarborough June 27, 1965 Oct. 6, 1985 20 years, 101 days
Kurt Busch March 24, 2002 May 15, 2022 20 years, 52 days

Familiar places, different faces

  • Seventeen of the 36 races were won by drivers with less than five career wins, the largest such number in the 21st century.
  • Chastain (two wins) and Christopher Bell (four) had the fewest career wins of any Championship 4 driver since Martin Truex Jr. in 2015 (three).
    • Joey Logano in 2014 (eight) and Elliott in 2020 (10) are the only other drivers to enter the Championship 4 with 10 career wins or less.
  • Chastain made the Championship 4 after finishing 20th in points in 2021. He joins Truex in 2015 (24th in 2014) as the only driver to go from 20th or worse in points to a Championship 4 appearance in the following year after competing in every race.
See also
2022 NASCAR Top Storylines: The Emergence of Trackhouse & NASCAR's Newest Superstar

Close but no cigar

  • Denny Hamlin at Pocono Raceway was the first driver to be disqualified from a Cup win in the modern era. In the same race, Elliott became the first driver in that era to win a Cup race while leading zero laps.
  • Drivers who led the most laps only won 13 of the 36 Cup races in 2022.
  • Despite a record-tying number of Cup winners, Ryan Blaney (636 laps led) and Truex (572) were not among them.
    • Blaney and Truex led the ninth-most and 11th-most laps of winless seasons in the modern era.
    • And in addition to going winless, Truex became the second driver one year removed from a Championship 4 appearance to miss the playoffs entirely, joining Logano in 2017.
      • Gordon in 2015 and Carl Edwards in 2016 are both exceptions, as they both retired from full-time competition following the event.
Driver/Winless Season Laps Led
Harry Gant 1981 1,169
Jeff Gordon 2010 919
Kyle Larson 2018 782
Mark Martin 1996 702
Kasey Kahne 2004 692
Geoff Bodine 1985 692
Harry Gant 1986 646
Neil Bonnett 1984 641
Ryan Blaney 2022 636
Matt Kenseth 2008 604
Martin Truex Jr. 2022 572
Alan Kulwicki 1989 564
Chase Elliott 2017 560
Greg Biffle 2009 551
Jeff Burton 2010 539

The drought is over

  • With a win at Bristol Motor Speedway in September, Chris Buescher snapped a 222-race winless streak, the second-longest in Cup history.
  • Erik Jones (109 races) and Austin Dillon (79) broke two-plus-season winless droughts along with Buescher.
  • Suarez’s first win at Sonoma Raceway came in his 195th Cup start, the longest wait for a maiden victory since Michael McDowell‘s 2021 Daytona 500 triumph in his 358th start.
Driver Win That Began Drought Win That Ended Drought Races
Bill Elliott Darlington, Sept. 4, 1994 Homestead, Nov. 11, 2001 226
Chris Buescher Pocono, Aug. 1, 2016 Bristol, Sept. 17, 2022 222
Martin Truex Jr. Dover, June 4, 2007 Sonoma, June 23, 2013 218
Clint Bowyer Charlotte, Oct. 13, 2012 Martinsville, March 26, 2018 190
Jeff Burton Phoenix, Oct. 28, 2001 Dover, Sept. 24, 2006 175

Dominant trifecta

  • In Championship Weekend at Phoenix, all three polesitters (Zane Smith, Ty Gibbs and Logano) went on to lead the most laps, win the race and win the championship.
  • The last time all three polesitters had won the race in the same weekend was Aug. 25-27, 2000, where Joe Ruttman at Chicago Motor Speedway (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), Harvick at Bristol (NASCAR Xfinity Series) and Rusty Wallace at Bristol (Cup) all won after starting first.

The 2023 season will kick off on Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX for the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The first points-paying race will be the Daytona 500 on Feb. 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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Funny how the stats say Clyde Jr. had the “most” wins. He didn’t, one was a complete freebie thanks to JGR. Is there an asterisk after that gimme? He in effort and actual racing tied Logano. Funny stat. LOL. But nobody reporting on his “wins” in 2022 mention the freebie. My observation thus far.


The only one to mention thus far is this author.

WJW Motorsports

Joey is a worthy champion kb – liked or not by most, there is no need to defend him on that front. You – his number one fan on here – doing it shows you don’t really believe it legitimate either. On the other hand, the format to crown him remains an embarrassment and is worthy of constant and unrelenting scorn by any of the 5 or 10 actual fans left. I can’t believe so many are still willing to play along with the fiction – but that seems to be the norm for so many things now across our once fine “nation”.
The season by the way was beyond disastrous. The failure of the new car front and center. Horrible officiating across the board, and formalizing the “event” concept by which they will stage stunt races in areas that don’t care about them (hey folks – come see the circus in town – this weekend only!!!). The media is downplaying it by focusing on 1.5s and parity – but that is just window dressing. That they saw a guy driving at one of the Meccas of the sport, as if he was still in his Mom’s basement on his Playstation, as a great thing to behold rather than the abomination it was speaks volumes.

Bill B

Amen, on that second paragraph. Agree 100%.
(But that video game move by Chastain was still awesome, abomination or not).


Also last I checked 12.2 average finish bests 12.5. So that stat between Elliot and Mark Martin is down right wrong.


as a stat nerd, I love this! Thanks!

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