NASCAR’s first three races, by the numbers

By the numbers, NASCAR couldn’t ask for a better start to the Cup Series season.

Chevrolet might be undefeated through three races there, but there have been three different winners (William Byron, Daniel Suarez, Kyle Larson). It is the 37th time in the modern era that the Cup Series has had three different winners on three different racetracks to start a season.

Those races also came down to the final lap to determine the winner. William Byron was declared the winner of the Daytona 500 over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman through video and photo review when the caution came out on the final lap. Daniel Suarez won by inches at Atlanta in a three-wide finish with Ryan Blaney, and last weekend, it was Kyle Larson holding off a charging Tyler Reddick.


In those three races, the combined margin of victory has been less than half a second. More specifically, NASCAR’s weekly notes and information sent out ahead of this weekend’s event at Phoenix Raceway noted that the first three races had an average margin of victory of .222 seconds. It’s the fourth-closest average margin of victory through the season’s first three races since electronic scoring was introduced in 1993. (The record is .136 seconds from 2022.)

Here are some other notable numbers from the first three races:

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway was the third-closest finish in Cup Series history at .003 seconds. However, it was the closest margin in Cup Series history between first place (Suarez) and third place (Busch) at .007 seconds.

  • There have been 407 green flag passes for the race lead, the most through the first three races of the year since the statistic started in 2005.

  • There have been 28 different lap leaders, the second-largest number of lap leaders through the first three races in a season in the modern era (1972-2024).

  • The Cup Series is averaging 37.7 lead changes per race, the second-most in the modern era.

  • The first three races have produced 23,027 green flag passes, the most through the first three races of the year since that statistic began in 2005.

On the championship point standings side, three races have produced three different leaders (Byron, Busch, Larson). It’s the first time since the 2017 season there have been three different point leaders through the first three races.

Fox Sports is also having a solid start to the NASCAR season. Las Vegas earned 4,359,000 viewers, which was a 9% increase from the 2023 race. The network further noted Cup Series racing is up 7% in average viewership (excluding the Daytona 500) compared to this same stretch last year (4,458,000 viewers from 4,161,000 viewers).

The series moves to Phoenix for Sunday’s race, where Byron won in the spring of 2023. Byron’s margin of victory was .330 seconds over eventual champion Blaney in a race with 10 lead changes between six drivers.

Story originally appeared on Racer