The champion has been crowned and the desert wind has swept away the last bit of confetti from Victory Lane. That means it’s time for a numerical overview of the 2022 season.
I’ll start with a broad overview of who raced, when they raced and where they raced. In the coming weeks, I’ll delve deeper into topics like penalties, accidents and loop data stats. That analysis will focus on comparing drivers, but also comparing the Next Gen car’s performance against the previous car.
45: The number of Cup Series races NASCAR officiated in 2022. That total includes:
- The 36-race season
- The Busch Clash
- Two Daytona Duels
- Four heat races for the Bristol dirt race
- The All-Star qualifying race.
- The All-Star Race
38: The number of points-paying races run in 2022. This includes the Daytona Duels because they award stage points.
28: The number of tracks visited. The Bristol asphalt and dirt circuits each count one and this number includes the temporary track at the L.A. Coliseum.
7: The number of intermediate track races. The proportion of visits to 1.5-mile tracks has decreased steadily since 2011, when the schedule featured 12 intermediate track races.
6: The most superspeedway races in the Cup Series schedule ever. With the transformation of Atlanta, two races shifted from the intermediate to the superspeedway category.
6: The number of road course races. That’s one fewer than the record, seven, which was set in 2021.
3: The number of “other” tracks on the schedule. This category comprises large ovals that aren’t superspeedways, like Michigan, Pocono and Fontana. The series made the smallest number of visits to “other” tracks this year, in part because Michigan and Pocono dropped to one race each this year.
4: The most races in any one state: Virginia. The series raced three times each in Florida and Tennessee. If the Busch Clash is included, California also hosted three races — at three different tracks.
The season of racing
The remainder of this numerical overview focuses on the 36 races that make up the NASCAR season per se.
9,446: The number of laps scheduled to be run in 2022.
9,483: The number of laps actually run in 2022.
- That’s a bonus of 37 laps and 60 miles, all due to overtime.
- Last year, the series ran 66 laps (186 miles) less than scheduled.
- Michael McDowell completed the most laps of the season with 9,380, or 99.91% of all possible laps.
13,011: The total number of miles of racing in the 36 season races.
- The Earth’s circumference is 24,902 miles, which means that Michael McDowell drove the equivalent of a little more than halfway around the world during the 2022 season.
- The number of miles of racing is up from 2021, which totaled 12,595.
437,267: The total number of miles Cup Series drivers logged in 2022’s 36 races.
- That number is down from the 450,039 miles drivers collectively ran in 2021.
- To put this number in perspective, the mean distance from the Moon to the Earth is 238,855 miles. The total distance run on track during the season is just about to the Moon and back.
0: The number of races that started on a Monday. That might not seem worth noting, but the last time a season had no races start on Monday was 2015. Dover started on a Sunday and, due to rain, finished on a Monday.
8.3%: The percentage of races run on Saturdays. This year represents the smallest fraction of Saturday races since 2002.
91.7%: The percentage of races run on Sundays.
- That’s the highest percentage since 1990, when 93.1% of the year’s 29 races happened on Sundays.
- The smallest percentage since 1990 was in 2020, when only 69.4% of races happened on Sunday because COVID rearranged the calendar. But the same percentage of Sunday races were run in 2011 and 2009.
8: The number of races that went into overtime. That’s one less overtime race than in 2021.
0: The number of races shortened by weather and/or darkness.
- There were two rain-shortened races and one darkness-shortened race in 2021.
- The last time no races in a season ended early was 2017.
That’s not to say that weather didn’t affect this season’s racing.
3.5: Number of weather-impacted qualifying sessions. Rain cancelled qualifying at both Atlanta races and the summer Daytona race. Drivers completed the first round of qualifying at Nashville before rain kept the top ten drivers from running their second round.
MORE: NASCAR Power Rankings
3:19:57: The longest red flag of the season for rain, at the Daytona summer race.
- Nashville comes in second for red flags with two delays for rain and lightning totaling 3:09:03.
Cars, Drivers and Owners
62: The number of drivers starting races in 2022. That’s down slightly from 2021, when 68 different drivers raced.
45 different car numbers were run this year.
6: The most different drivers in a single car number. J.J. Yeley drove 17 races in the No. 15 car. Garrett Smithley, Joey Hand, David Ragan, Ryan Preece and Parker Kligerman filled out the rest of the season.
27: The number of drivers who ran all 36 races. Last year, 31 drivers ran all the races.
5 full-time drivers missed one or more races due to injury or suspension.
36.7: The average number of drivers in each race
19: The number of drivers winning races this year, which ties the record for most different drivers in a single season.
- Last year had 16 different winners.
- 2019 and 2022 saw only 13 different winners each.
9: The number of different owners winning races in 2022. That number is up by one from 2021.
- In 2001, the last year in which 19 different drivers won races, there were 13 different winning owners.
- The last time nine different owners won races was in 2017.
- Four organizations that were winless in 2021 won in 2022: Trackhouse, Petty GMS, Richard Childress and RFK. Together, those owners won nine of 36 races.
11: Most races won by a single owner in 2022. Hendrick Motorsports’ four drivers won 11 races total.
- That’s well short of their total last year of 17.
- Joe Gibbs Racing went from nine race wins last year to six this year.
- Stewart-Haas Racing improved from one win last year to three this year.
The season may be over, but there’s still plenty of data to crunch. The results of these analyses tell us not only who had good (or bad) 2022 seasons, but also preview drivers’ likely strengths and weaknesses for 2023.