Playoff Competition Update

Denny Hamlin

The uptick in competition as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series continues into its Playoff “peak” is evident both on track and in the record books. Statistically, the series is enjoying one of its most competitive seasons with new milestones being met with each week of racing.

The Joe Gibbs Racing team turned in another record setting race weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with Denny Hamlin earning his third pole position of the year and teammate Martin Truex Jr. claiming his series best seventh victory of the year.

Hamlin has earned all the JGR team’s pole positions this season. Veteran Kevin Harvick and second-year Cup competitor William Byron lead the series with five poles each.

Truex’s win extended the JGR team’s series best win mark to 17 victories in 33 races – or 51.5 percent of the season. In addition to Truex’s seven trophies, Hamlin has five, regular season champion Kyle Busch has four and Erik Jones has one – all four drivers qualified for the Playoffs and Truex, Hamlin and Busch continue to lead the championship standings.

There have been 13 different race winners representing six race teams. Truex’ .373-secoond victory over Byron last weekend marked the 18th time in 33 races, the Margin of Victory was less than 1-second (54.5 percent).

The average number of race leaders (9.12) is the most since 2014 (10.09). The average number of lead changes (17.55) is at a four-year high. And the Year-over-Year comparison for Green Flag Passes for the Lead is up 48.3 percent over 2018. It’s been up in 22 of the 33 races including all seven of the 1.5-mile tracks such as Texas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s race.

There is an increase in overall Green Flag Passes. It’s up 27.4 percent over last season and been higher in 19 of the 33 races so far.

In the Playoffs, that stats is even more striking. Green Flag Passes for the Lead are up 88.2 percent over last year and Green Flag Passing in general is up 31.1 percent over last year.


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