Jeff Gordon tops among drivers running on lead lap in 2015


In his final two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series, four-time champion Jeff Gordon led the series in one particular stat category.

It wasn’t wins, top fives or top-10 finishes.

Over his last 72 races as a Cup driver, Gordon led the circuit in percentage of laps spent on the lead lap. Of the 10, 425 laps he was eligible to complete in 2015, Gordon was on the lead lap for 9,777 of them, or 93.33 percent of the time.

In 2015, the No. 24 failed to finish just one race, the second of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The other 35 races saw Gordon finish off the lead lap just five times (Las Vegas, Watkins Glen, Bristol II , Michigan I and Indianapolis).

Here’s a look at the top 10 lead-lap finishers who were eligible for all 10, 425 laps (36 races) of the season, excluding Kurt Busch (33 races), Matt Kenseth (34 races), Kyle Larson (35 races) and Kyle Busch (25 races).

The term “overall” is used to reference a driver’s position on the list in reference to Kenseth, Larson and Kurt Busch’s numbers. Kyle Busch was not among the top 38 drivers in the stat category after missing the first 11 races to injury.

Percentage of Lap Run on the Lead Lap

  1. Jeff Gordon – 9,777 laps (93.33 percent). In 2014, Gordon led the stat at 94.77 percent.
  2. Kevin Harvick – 9, 718 laps (93.16 percent). Harvick bettered his stat from 2014 by 4.93 percent, when his was sixth on the list in his championship campaign. Like Gordon, Harvick only suffered one DNF. He finished off the lead lap in seven races.
  3. Jamie McMurray – 9, 522 laps (91.20 percent). McMurray improved by five spots overall from 2014 on the way to his first berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
  4. Carl Edwards – 9, 441 laps (91.13 percent). An improvement of seven spots overall for Edwards in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing. The No. 19 recorded two DNFs (Sonoma, Daytona II) and finished off the lead lap in five races.
  5. Brad Keselowski – 9, 443 laps (90.52 percent). Without Kurt Busch’s numbers, Keselowski stayed put from 2014 in fifth (9, 387 laps; 89.05 percent). The No. 2 failed to finish just one race, the Daytona 500, while finishing off the lead lap in five races.
  6. Martin Truex Jr. – 9, 097 laps (87.61 percent). In his renaissance season, Truex improved by 15 spots overall from 21st in 2014. The No. 78 had two DNF’s and five finished off the lead lap.
  7. Joey Logano – 9, 121 laps (87.41 percent). The wins leader for 2015 dropped five overall spots from 2014 (9, 375 laps; 92.35 percent). The No. 22 finished every race, but finished off the lead lap in four.
  8. Jimmie Johnson (8, 988 laps; 86.11 percent). The six-time champion jumped eight spots overall from last season (8, 475 laps; 80.40 percent). Johnson recorded only one DNF (Charlotte II) and finished off the lead lap eight times.
  9. Ryan Newman – 8, 765 laps (83.88 percent). Despite equaling his top five total from 2014 and earning one more top-10 finish, Newman fell eight spots overall from third last year (9, 526 laps; 90.37 percent). Newman recorded one DNF and finished off the lead seven times.
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 8, 614 laps (82.53 percent). Earnhardt dropped six spots from 2014 (9,000 laps; 85.38 percent). The No. 88 finished all but one race (Phoenix I) and finished off the lead in eight races.