Daytona 500: Highest and Lowest Positions of Each Driver

Maybe not anyone can win the Daytona 500, but it turns out that almost anyone can lead it. That’s what the graphs showing the highest and lowest positions reached by each driver during the race tell us.

Given how it ended, I didn’t really feel much like analyzing the data for the Daytona 500, but these two graphs caught my eye and I figured I would share them.

Intellectually, I know the right thing is to respect Ryan Newman and his family’s privacy, but my heart just wants to know how he’s doing. Sending the best to him and his family. I like the idea of donating to his and Krissie’s charity, Rescue Ranch to show support.

Highest Position During the Race

While processing the race data for the Daytona 500, I thought my program had made a mistake because the column from the loop data that readings in highest position looked like solid ones. I went back to NASCAR’s official report to check. It wasn’t all ones, but I was surprised by how many ones there were.

A column chart showing the highest positions reached by all drivers in the 2020 Daytona 500

The driver names are small, but that’s not really the point. All but seven of the drivers on track led the Daytona 500 at some point. Brennan Poole was the real exception, having only gotten as high as 8th.

Most of the other teams that didn’t reach P1 at some time were also part of the lowest 15 drivers in qualifying time.

Lowest Position During the Race

There’s not as much uniformity here: Not everyone took a turn at running P40. Notable, though, is that the only driver who never fell below 30th place was Brad Keselowski.

Next week’s positing may be a little spotty because I’m traveling, but I’ll pick up with a real race recap after Las Vegas.


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