Action-packed racing was the goal for the NASCAR Cup Series Next Gen car and through the first two races of 2022 season, it has passed the eye test. But what’s even more encouraging, is that the statistics are backing up the great on-track competition that the fans have come to expect at a NASCAR event.
The 2022 DAYTONA 500 produced 104 green flag passes for the lead, becoming just the fifth DAYTONA 500 to eclipse 100 GFPL mark since the inception of the Loop Data statistic in 2007; joining the 2014 (177), 2010 (170), 2017 (137) and 2019 (110). The event was also won by a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate for the first time in the race’s history.
Auto Club Speedway also had some great action on-track this season. The Wise Power 300 produced the third-most lead changes (32) in the NASCAR Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway all-time; behind 2014 (35) and 2008 (33). The race also tied the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series race for the sixth most green flag passes for the lead at Auto Club Speedway with 33 GFPL.
“I think the playing field has definitely been leveled,” said Austin Dillon in his media availabilities leading up to Las Vegas this weekend.
23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace off to best season start of Cup career
Mobile, Alabama’s Bubba Wallace is off to the best start to a season in his NASCAR Cup Series career. The 23XI Racing driver rallied to his second career runner-up finish in the DAYTONA 500 to start the 2022 season, and then followed it up with a 19th-place finish after a wild Auto Club Speedway to find himself ninth in NASCAR Cup Series driver standings heading to Las Vegas this weekend.
Now the 28-year-old, Wallace, is a mere 20 points back from the series standings lead and is looking to roll the dice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to keep his good luck this season alive.
Wallace has made eight starts at Las Vegas in the NASCAR Cup Series amassing one top-10 finish.
Team Penske’s Cindric becomes first rookie to hold Cup points lead more than one race
Records are meant to be broken and Team Penske’s Austin Cindric is well on his way to etching his name into the record books.
With his out-of-the-box win in the season-opening DAYTONA 500 and then his 12th-place finish last weekend at Auto Club Speedway, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate has become the first rookie in series history to hold the points standings lead for more than one race (Daytona, Auto Club). Prior to this season, seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson was the only rookie to hold the NASCAR Cup Series driver points standings lead during their rookie season but did so following just the Kansas Speedway race in 2002. Cindric currently holds an eight point lead over second place Joey Logano in the NASCAR Cup Series driver standings.
Cindric also leads the 2022 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over second place Todd Gilliland (-55) and third place Harrison Burton (-72).
Cindric now turns his attention to Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he will be making his NASCAR Cup Series track debut this weekend. He has made eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Las Vegas putting up three top fives and five top 10s.