NASCAR Sprint Cup Race

July 8, 2010 The competition over the first half has been tight, especially at Talladega, which saw a NASCAR record 88 lead changes among 29 drivers. Here are some more competition numbers:

· 7 different race winners

· 12 different Coors Light Pole winners

· 46 drivers led at least one lap

· 31 drivers have scored at least one Top 10 this year

· Average Margin of Victory of 1.294 seconds

· 11 races with an MOV under 1 second

· Average of 12 leaders per race

· Average of 28 lead changes per race

· Average of 43 green flag passes for the lead all along the track (highest through 18 races since the inception of Loop Data in 2005)

· Average of 3,613 green flag passes per race (highest through 18 races since the inception of Loop Data in 2005)

· 50% of the cars finished on the lead lap

· 78% of the cars were running at the finish


1) Kevin Harvick:

· Harvick's Surprising Dominance Continues

There was no way to predict this from Harvick. Zero. None. Last year, he was out of sight, and literally out of mind. And maybe out of a team. After 18 races in 2009, Harvick was 26th in points, out of any consideration for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and likely to leave the only team he has known - Richard Childress Racing. Fast forward one year. Everything's different. Harvick has won twice, is the points leader by a hefty margin over Jeff Gordon (212 points) and recently signed a contract extension with RCR. There's no reason to think it'll end any time soon. Harvick is strong at Chicagoland, scoring wins in the track's first two races --- 2001 and 2002.

2) Jeff Gordon

· Gordon Moves To Second, But Still Winless

Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon has been so close to nabbing elusive win No. 83, which would tie him for fifth all-time with Cale Yarborough. He leads the series with nine top fives, but still - zero wins. One more race without a victory, and Gordon will move into uncharted territory. He currently has a 47-race winless drought, which matches a career long stretch. He also suffered a 47-race drought prior to last season's win at Texas. It could end this weekend, a big milestone one for Gordon. Gordon, who will start his 600th series race (all of them consecutively), won at Chicagoland in 2006.

3) Dale Earnhardt Jr.

· Earnhardt Jr. Moves Into The Top 12

After a six week stint hovering outside the top 12, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally moved back into a coveted Chase position with a fourth-place finish at Daytona. He is now 11th. His momentum might carry him even higher. Earnhardt has finished inside the top 10 in three of the last four races, and in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, last Friday returned to Victory Lane for the first time since 2008.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Race 400
Chicagoland Speedway

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