After 18 races, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is officially halfway complete.
This weekend at Kentucky Speedway marks race 19 of 36, the climb down the mountain after an 18-race incline. At no other point this season (and in none before now) has the series been as ripe for going under the magnifying glass.
So, uh, hey! Let’s go by the numbers for the Cup Series season thus far.
2: First-time winners in the Cup Series thus far this season; congratulations, Justin Haley and Alex Bowman! In the last two weeks, they’ve marked the first two drivers to go back-to-back with first-time wins in the series since Casey Mears and Martin Truex Jr. did so in 2007. Now, how does this stack up to other years? 2018 also saw a pair of first-timers — Chase Elliott and Erik Jones. Should a third join Haley and Bowman’s ranks, it’d be the best first-time winner count since… OK, 2017. Maybe it’s not that interesting after all.
7.3: Kyle Busch‘s average finish in 2019, best in the series (and potentially the best in his career, should it hold, beating his 8.3 mark in 2018).
27: Matt Tifft‘s average finish in 2019, worst in the series among full-time competitors running for points. Hey, not everyone’s rookie season is gonna be one to remember.
0: Wins for Kevin Harvick. He’s only had three winless seasons in his entire Cup career, and the last time that happened was 10 years ago in 2009.
441: Laps led by Harvick, putting him fifth among all lap leaders this year.
15: Top 10s for Busch thus far. That puts him on pace for 30 by season’s end, which would make him the first driver with 30 top 10s in a season since Jeff Gordon in 2007.
5: Cup debuts in 2019 (Haley, Tifft, Tyler Reddick, Quin Houff and Bayley Currey. Austin Theriault and Andy Seuss are scheduled to make it seven at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In 2018, 10 drivers debuted; 13 did so in 2017.
5,143: Laps completed by Ryan Newman, putting him third among all drivers in 2019 (and just four laps behind leader Busch). He’s only led one of those laps.
10: Different drivers Rick Ware Racing has fielded in its two full-time cars and one part-time car in 2019 (Theriault and Seuss will make 12).
34: Worst starting spot for a winner in 2019 (Haley, Daytona International Speedway).
1: Times a driver won from the pole (Logano, Pocono Raceway). In 2018, five different races saw pole winners emerge victorious.
32: Drivers who have attempted in every race in 2019. Think back to NASCAR’s heyday; did you ever expect this small a number? Then again, check the Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck series; it’s not a Cup-only problem.
37: Drivers who have at least one Cup point accrued. In 2018, that number was 50.
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