Race Weekend Central

Numbers Game 07-30-2012

by Garrett Horton

Greg Biffle had his best finish on Sunday since he won Texas back in April.

After going 11 races without a top-10 following his win at Martinsville, Ryan Newman has quietly put together a three race streak finishing in the top-10. He finished seventh on Sunday.

Martin Truex, Jr. needs five more top-10’s in 2012 to set his career high for a season. His personal best came in 2007, when he posted 14 top-10’s. With 15 races remaining, he has already accumulated ten.

Hendrick drivers have combined for six wins in 2012 after having only five all of last year. Jeff Gordon, who had three of those five wins in 2011, is the only winless Hendrick driver this year.

Kyle Busch snapped a dry spell of seven finishes outside the top-5, with his runner-up result at the Brickyard. You have to go back to Memorial Day, where his third-place finish at Charlotte was his last top-5.

It has been 15 races since Carl Edwards’ last top-5 finish. After posting two in the first five races of the season (fifth at both Las Vegas and Fontana), he has not had one since. Sunday was a complete nightmare for Edwards with early engine problems dropping him well off the pace and an eventual 29th-place finish.

Current replacement for AJ Allmendinger and 2006 Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish placed 16th on Sunday, his best finish driving for Roger Penske this year.

On any race week, chances are that at least one of the top-5 starters will finish in the top-5. That is the current trend anyway, as the last 17 races have seen at least one top-5 starter end up finishing in one of the first five positions.

Juan Montoya, who won the Indy 500 in 2000 and dominated the 2009 and 2010 races here, was never a factor in this years running, and could only manage a 21st place finish.

David Stremme, he has been a start and parker for most of the year, posted a 24th place finish on Sunday, the best effort for Inception Motorsports yet.

Despite all of Jimmie Johnson’s accomplishments, he has never posted 25 top-10’s or more in a single season. Well, if he maintains his current pace, he will end the season with 27 top-10’s, as he is finishing there in three out of every four races this year.

Matt Kenseth’s early exit from the Brickyard was easily his worst finish of the year. Prior to Sunday, he hadn’t finished worse than 22nd.

BONUS F-1 Edition (In spirit of the “Senna” documentary that aired Sunday night on ESPN, here are a few of statistical nuggets from Aryrton Senna’s career.)

Senna captured three F1 championships in his 11 year career, just one of eight drivers in the series history to have won at least three.

Senna’s 41 career victories ranked second most at the time of his death, only behind rival Alain Prost. Both Senna and Prost have since been passed by Michael Shumacher, whose 91 victories are the most all-time.

Senna had 65 poles, a record he held up until 2006, when Schumacher broke it by winning four that year to make his total 68. No other driver has more than 33.

Senna’s 80 podiums rank third all-time, just behind Schumacher and Prost.

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