How things can change in a year for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers

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For as great as Martin Truex Jr.’s season has been with a record-tying 14th top-10 finishes in the first 15 races of the season, another example of his big turnaround this season with Furniture Row Racing is to look at where he ranked in the points a year ago.

No driver has had as big a turnaround in the points from this point a year as Truex. A year ago, he was 25th in the standings with 331 points. Heading into Sunday’s race at Sonoma Raceway, he is second with 561 points.

Kurt Busch also has had a significant jump. A year ago, he was 26th in the standings with 315 points. This year, he’s 11th with 426 points – in three fewer races. Busch missed the first three races because of a NASCAR suspension and still has 111 more points this year.

For others, things have not gone as well a year later.

Kyle Busch was 10th last year at this time and is 29th this year after missing the first 11 races as he recovered from injuries suffered in an Xfinity Series crash at Daytona International Speedway.

Among drivers who have competed in every Sprint Cup race this season, Kyle Larson and Tony Stewart have each fallen the furthest in the points. Larson was eighth in the standings a year ago with 454 points and is 18th in the standings with 361 points this season. Stewart was 16th in the standings with 402 points last year. He’s dropped 10 spots to 26th in the standings this season with 269 points.

For all the changes, though, some things remain about the same. A year ago at this time, Paul Menard was 13th in the standings with 420 points. This year, he’s 12th in the standings with 421 points. Also, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third in the standings last year with 514 points. This year, he’s fourth in the standings with 508 points.

Here’s a look at those who have climbed and fallen the most from this point a year ago:

DRIVERS WHO HAVE CLIMBED THE MOST IN POINTS SINCE THIS TIME LAST YEAR

1 – Martin Truex Jr. … gained 23 spots

2 – Kurt Busch … gained 15 spots

3 – Jamie McMurray … gained 13 spots

4 – Kasey Kahne … gained 10 spots

5 – Danica Patrick … gained 9 spots

5 – David Ragan … gained 9 spots

7 – Kevin  Harvick … gained 8 spots

8 – Aric Almirola … gained 7 spots

9 – Joey Logano … gained 4 spots

10 – David Gilliland … gained 3 spots

 

DRIVERS WHO HAVE FALLEN THE MOST IN POINTS SINCE THIS TIME LAST YEAR

1 – Kyle Busch … lost 29 spots

2 – Kyle Larson … lost 10 spots

2 – Tony Stewart … lost 10 spots

4 – Jeff Gordon … lost 9 spots

5 – Carl Edwards … lost 8 spots

6 – Austin Dillon … lost 6 spots

7 – Ryan Newman … lost 5 spots

8 – Greg Biffle … lost 5 spots

9 – Matt Kenseth … lost 4 spots

10 – Jimmie Johnson … lost 3 spots

10 – Clint Bowyer … lost 3 spots

10 – Casey Mears … lost 3 spots