by Garrett Horton
There were no DNF’s due to accidents on Sunday, the second time in the last three races that has occurred.
It was noted during ESPN’s broadcast of the Sylvania 300 that the winner of the second Chase race has gone on to win the championship the last three years. However, winning at Loudon in the Chase hasn’t been a good omen. When Kurt Busch won the inaugural Chase race here in 2004 and Tony Stewart took the checkered flag in last year’s event, it marked the only two times a Loudon winner in the Chase went on to win the championship.
Jimmie Johnson’s average finish at Dover for races where he finished on the lead lap.
Clint Bowyer picked up his fourth career top-5 five at Loudon on Sunday, joining Talladega, Sonoma, and Bristol as the most top-5’s he has at one track.
Denny Hamlin scored his fifth victory of the season on Sunday, the second time in his career he has scored five or more wins in a season driving for Joe Gibbs. The only other driver to do so for JGR was Tony Stewart, who won at least five times in a season on three occasions. Should Hamlin win once more in these final eight races, he will become the first JGR driver to go to Victory Lane at least six times in a season more than once.
Kasey Kahne has nine top-5’s this year, the most he’s had since 2006 when he had 12. He needs four more this year to match his personal best, which was his rookie year when he had 13 top-5’s.
Jimmie Johnson has ten podium finishes this year, more than any other driver.
Denny Hamlin now has 22 career victories, placing him in a tie with current driver Matt Kenseth, and two-time champion Terry Labonte for 30th most all-time.
With Hamlin’s victory at New Hampshire, it now gives Joe Gibbs Racing a total of 100 wins in the Sprint Cup Series. Tony Stewart has delivered the most wins for Gibbs with 33. The current trio of Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano have added 22, 20, and two, respectively. Former JGR driver Bobby Labonte won for the organization 21 times, and Dale Jarrett, who gave Gibbs his first win as owner back in the 1993 at the Daytona 500, won twice for JGR.
After leading 38 laps on Sunday, Tony Stewart’s number of laps led for the season increased to 419. He has led at least 400 laps every year since coming to the Sprint Cup series in 1999.
Denny Hamlin has led 571 laps in the last five races, more than double anyone else in that span (Jimmie Johnson has the next highest total at 228).
The pole sitter of each race has accumulated 845 points this season. If you compare that to the actual point standings, it would be out of the Chase, currently 13th in points. Pole sitter’s this year have won just one race (Joey Logano at Pocono), and perhaps more surprising, only four top-5 finishes, two of which have come in the last two weeks.