The 2022 NASCAR racing season is over and after over 12,000 miles of racing, the stats are beginning to roll in.

It was the first year for the new Next Gen car that drew a great deal of criticism after a number of issues came to light from tires falling off due to unsecured lug nuts, fires from rubber build up, and more injuries – especially head injuries – as the result of a more rigid car.

But there were also a number of good things to come out of the season including a record tying number of race winners, an increase in fans and viewers, and a record setting five first time winners.

The 2022 season also saw the first created race track when NASCAR turned the football stadium of the Memorial Coliseum into a short track for the Busch Light Clash to get the season started.  The Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum will return to open the 2023 season.

and how can anyone forget the pass for the ages with Ross Chastain’s “Hail Melon” when he rode the wall at Martinsville Speedway to pass five drivers and earn a spot in the championship four?

One for the record books:

For just the fifth time in NASCAR’s history, a total of 19 different winners waved the checked flag in 2022 – five of them first time winners.

Rookie Austin Cindric got the season started off with a win at the Daytona 500; Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, and Tyler Reddick also notched their first wins of their Cup Series careers with a win.  Where Chastain and Suarez are concerned it was, it was the first wins for Trackhouse Racing in only their second year of operation.

After 36 races and nearly 13,000 miles of racing, the drivers combined for a record setting green flag passes for the lead with 1,544.  A green flag pass for the lead includes the entire lap, not just crossing the start/finish line.  There were nine tracks – Circuit of the America’s, the both races at Las Vegas, the dirt race at Bristol, the first race in Atlanta, the first race at Darlington, the first race at Kansas, Charlotte, and Nashville – set a new record for green flag passes for the lead with the Coca Cola 600 leading the way with 64.

The drivers also set a new record for overall green flag passes with an increase of over six percent on 2021.

The 2022 season ranks number two in the closest margin of victory at 1.011 seconds.  The 2014 season holds the record with .909 seconds.

While there were some races that finished with less than half of the drivers on the lead lap; overall, the 2022 season set a record for the most drivers finishing on the lead lap in the modern era that begins in 1972.  A total of 59. 46 percent of the drivers finished the race on the lead lap.

The 2022 season is also the first time that three drivers who graduated from the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program won races – Kyle Larson won three, Bubba Wallace won one, and Daniel Suarez won one.

Joey Logano capped off the season by winning his second Cup Series championship in his Team Penske number 22 car; for a 22 in 22.  Logano joins Kyle Busch (who has two championships) as the only active drivers with more than one championship.

During the 2022 Cup Series, the drivers ran a total of 9,483 laps.  But for the first time in many years that no driver lead 1,000 laps.  Kevin Harvick was the first driver to break the 100 laps led with 119.

The top 20 drivers who led at least 100 laps:
Kevin Harvick – 119
Alex Bowman – 137
Erik Jones – 147
Bubba Wallace – 150
Kurt Busch – 182
Chris Buescher – 194
Brad Keselowski – 224
Chase Briscoe – 280
Daniel Suarez – 280
Tyler Reddick – 503
Martin Truex Jr – 572
Christopher Bell – 573
Denny Hamlin – 624
Kyle Busch – 627
Kyle Larson – 635
Ryan Blaney – 636
Ross Chastain – 692
William Byron – 746
Joey Logano – 784
Chase Elliott – 857

We often here the drivers say that there’s one winner and everyone else is a loser.  However, placing in the top 10 consistently can get a driver enough points to put them near the top of the standings.  Ryan Blaney never won a race during the 2022 season but consistently placed in the top five of the standings due to strong finishes.

But who topped the list of drivers to finish races in the top 10?  Landon Cassill, substitute driver Ty Gibbs, substitute driver Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, Cody Ware, Ty Dillon, Corey LaJoie, and BJ McLeod each finished one race in the top 10 this season.

David Ragan, Todd Gilliland, and Harrison Burton each finished two races ranked in the top 10 with Cole Custer earning three top 10’s this season.

The remaining top 10 finishes:
Justin Haley – 4
Ricky Stenhouse Jr – 5
Brad Keselowski – 6
Aric Almirola – 7
Kurt Busch – 8
AJ Allmendinger – 8
Austin Cindric – 9
Chase Briscoe – 10
Chris Buescher – 10
Bubba Wallace – 10
William Byron – 11
Austin Dillon – 11
Alex Bowman – 12
Michael McDowell – 12
Erik Jones – 13
Daniel Suarez – 13
Tyler Reddick – 15
Martin Truex Jr – 15
Denny Hamlin  – 16
Ryan Blaney – 17
Kyle Busch – 17
Kevin Harvick – 17
Joey Logano – 17
Kyle Larson – 19
Chase Elliott – 20
Christopher Bell – 20
Ross Chastain – 21

Joey Logano earned his second championship after finishing in front of Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, and Chase Elliott; but how do the standings look for the top 20 drivers???

NASCAR Cup Series season ending standings:
Joey Logano
Ross Chastain
Christopher Bell
Chase Elliott
Denny Hamlin
William Byron
Kyle Larson
Ryan Blaney
Chase Briscoe
Daniel Suarez
Austin Dillon
Austin Cindric
Kyle Busch
Tyler Reddick
Kevin Harvick
Alex Bowman
Martin Truex Jr
Erik Jones
Bubba Wallace
Aric Almirola