But it wasn’t from a lack effort to get to the front. The Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske drivers led the series in quality passes through 36 races. Gordon ended his final Sprint Cup season with 2, 248 passes, 94 more than Keselowski’s 2, 154.
NASCAR defines a quality pass as passing a car running in the top 15 while under a green flag.
Those numbers are an increase of 423 and 305 respectively over their totals for 2014. Gordon and Keselowski are among nine drivers that recorded more than 2,000 quality passes.
Here’s the top 10 drivers in quality passes for 2015.
- Jeff Gordon – 2,248
- Brad Keselowski – 2,154
- Denny Hamlin – 2,137. Three of his quality passes came in the first Bristol race, which was completed by Erik Jones in substitution of Hamlin.
- Kevin Harvick – 2,084. Harvick had 1,857 (sixth most) during his 2014 championship campaign.
- Jamie McMurray – 2,056. McMurray jumped seven spots from his 2014 ranking.
- Carl Edwards – 2,050. Edwards ranked 18th in 2014 with 1,324 quality passes.
- Jimmie Johnson – 2,039. The six-time champion rose three spots from his 2014 total of 1,738.
- Martin Truex Jr. – 2,032. Nine spots better than his 2014 total.
- Kurt Busch – 2,001. The 2014 stat leader with 2,216 quality passes.
- Matt Kenseth – 1,852. Kenseth improved by one spot over 2014 even though he missed two races due to suspension.