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By the Numbers: Cup in '11 full of breakthroughs, records, dominance

December 18, 2011, ,

A comprehensive look at the numbers that comprised the 2011 season in the Sprint Cup Series:

.002 -- Margin of victory at Talladega in May, tying Darlington in March 2003 for the closest finish in history. (Watch)

2 -- Times a Daytona race set a record for number of drivers to lead: 22 in the Daytona 500; 25 in the summer event.

Side note: The Daytona 500 had 74 lead changes, one of four tracks to set or tie a record: first Talladega race (88, tied with the previous year); first Martinsville race (31); first Phoenix race (28).

4 -- Times Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson were passed for the final lead change, most of all drivers.

Side note: Brad Keselowski was passed for the final lead change three times in the Chase, most of all drivers, including the last two races.

4 -- Last-lap passes for the win in 2011: Fontana (Kevin Harvick passed Jimmie Johnson); Talladega (Johnson passed Jeff Gordon); Charlotte (Harvick passed Dale Earnhardt Jr.); Talladega (Clint Bowyer passed Jeff Burton).

Side note: In the first three of his four wins in 2011, Harvick led a total of only nine laps. Four of his last eight wins have been last-lap passes.

5 -- First-time winners in 2011, tying the record (2001 and '02) for the most in a 36-race season (since '01). The winners: Trevor Bayne (Daytona); Regan Smith (Darlington); David Ragan (Daytona); Paul Menard (Indianapolis); Marcos Ambrose (Watkins Glen).

Side note: Smith was the only driver to score his first top-10 in 2011.

5 -- Tracks at which qualifying records were set: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Darlington, New Hampshire and Watkins Glen.

Side note: Ryan Newman turned his pole record at NHMS into a victory; he was the only pole-sitter (with time trials) to win the race.

5 -- Races in which teammates finished 1-2: Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin (Richmond); David Ragan and Matt Kenseth (Daytona); Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart (New Hampshire); Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson (Atlanta); Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton (Talladega).

Side note: Teammates started 1-2 in 10 races.

6 -- Wins for Stewart-Haas Racing and Richard Childress Racing, most among all teams. Tony Stewart won five races for SHR with Ryan Newman winning one; for RCR, Kevin Harvick led the way with four wins with Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer with one each.

Side note: Bowyer's win was the 100th for RCR, the fifth organization in NASCAR history to reach that milestone.

7 -- Races to end in a green-white-checkered finish; first-time winners won four of them.

Side note: Four times did the driver at the end of the regulation fail to win: Daytona (David Ragan led, Trevor Bayne won); Charlotte (Kasey Kahne led, Kevin Harvick won); Daytona (Ryan Newman led, Ragan won); Watkins Glen (Kyle Busch led, Marcos Ambrose won). Regan Smith (Darlington), Busch (Michigan) and Jimmie Johnson (Kansas) were the other winners.

Current Streaks

Top-5sTony Stewart4
Top-10sTony Stewart6
Races LedMatt Kenseth8
Lead-Lap Fin.Carl Edwards13
Running at Fin.Carl Edwards64
Top-10 StartsCarl Edwards8

7 -- Top-five finishes in the Chase for Carl Edwards, just the second driver to score that many in a single Chase (Jimmie Johnson in 2009 and '10).

Side note: Edwards also had nine top-10s, joining Kurt Busch (2004), Johnson (2009 and '10) and Kevin Harvick (2010) for the most in a single Chase.

8 -- Drivers who ended a winless streak of 32 races or longer: Kasey Kahne (81); Matt Kenseth (76); Jeff Gordon (66); Brad Keselowski (60); Ryan Newman (47); Kurt Busch (38); Clint Bowyer (34); Tony Stewart (32).

Side note: Jimmie Johnson ended a career-long losing streak of 21 races in the Chase at Kansas. Johnson finished with two wins, his fewest in a full season.

8 -- Times a Joe Gibbs Racing car was sent to the rear of the starting grid due to an engine change. They had six blown engines during points races. JGR eventually closed its engine shop.

Side note: Earnhardt-Childress Racing had seven engine failures in 2011: Richard Childress Racing (4) and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (3).

8 -- Times in the first 13 races the winner started 20th or worse, including the lowest all season (Trevor Bayne: 32nd at Daytona). Only twice in the final 26 races did the winner start 20th or worth (both by Tony Stewart in the first two Chase races).

Side note: The pole winner finished 20th or worse in 14 races, including seven of the last 11 with time trials. However, five of the last eight races were won from a top-five starting position.

9 -- Top-five finishes for Tony Stewart, the fewest by the champion since Bill Rexford had only five in 17 starts in NASCAR's second season of 1950.

Side note: Stewart is the first driver to enter the Chase winless in the regular season and win the championship. His five wins are the most in a single Chase.

9.3 -- Average finish for Carl Edwards, the only driver to sport an average finish in the top 10.

Side note: Edwards had an average finish of 4.9 in the Chase, best of any driver in the eight-year history of NASCAR's playoff format.

9 -- Races led in the Chase by Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, just the third and fourth times that has been accomplished. Johnson also led in nine races in 2007 and '09.

Side note: Kenseth led 875 laps in 2011; he led a total of 353 laps in 2009 and '10 combined.

10 -- Times the driver leading the most laps won, including just four times in the last 17 races and only two in the Chase.

Side note: Tony Stewart led the most laps in four races, including three of the last five (winning one).

11 -- Drivers who made their first series start: T.J. Bell, Austin Dillon, Brian Keselowski, Andy Pilgrim, Andrew Ranger, David Starr, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Steve Wallace, Jason White, Cole Whitt and Josh Wise.

Side note: Stenhouse finished 11th, the only driver with a finish better than 20th.

2011 Leaders

Top-5sCarl Edwards19
Top-10sCarl Edwards26
Races LedKyle Busch26
Avg. StartCarl Edwards9.39
Avg. FinishCarl Edwards9.31

15 -- Weeks during the regular season Carl Edwards led the points, most of any driver. He also led the Chase a leading six weeks.

Side note: Only five other drivers led the standings in 2011: Kyle Busch (7), Kevin Harvick (3), Tony Stewart (3), Kurt Busch (1) and Jimmie Johnson (1).

18 -- Different drivers to win a race in 2011, the most since 2002 and second-most in the 36-race era (19).

Side note: Eighteen drivers also won at least one pole in 2011; five drivers scored the most at three each: Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, the latter three accounting for nine of Roush Fenway Racing's series-leading 11.

24 -- Races in which the final lead change took place with 19 laps or less to go, including seven of the last 11.

Side note: The winner did not lead before halfway in 14 races.

48 -- Laps at Daytona run on one tank of fuel by Trevor Bayne en route to winning the 500.

Side note: At 20 years, 1 day, Bayne is the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500; he's the only driver to win in his first 500 start.

1,455 -- Laps led by Kyle Busch, in excess of 300 more than the next closest driver (Jimmie Johnson: 1,115). Busch also led all drivers with the most laps led in the most races (seven, winning two).

Side note: Busch, who won four races, led all drivers with 45 bonus points.

2,403 -- Points for Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Stewart won the championship on a tiebreaker based on most wins.

Side note: Stewart and Edwards led all drivers with 31 lead-lap finishes in 2011.

10,602 -- Laps completed, out of 10,650 total) by Juan Montoya, most of all drivers (99.55 percent).

Side note: Of the top six drivers with the best laps completed percentage, Montoya had the fewest lead-lap finishes (20).

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