Best Drivers by Track Type 2000-2020

Today’s analysis is the last in the track-type series. Today, we’ll look at the best drivers who drove at least 50 races in their careers and at least one race in the time period 2000-2020.

Overall Historical Finishes

We start by looking at the average finishing position for each driver before breaking the numbers down into driver type.

Career average finishing positions for drivers who drove at least 100 races and at least one season between 2000 and 2020
  • Dale Earnhardt has the best overall finish at 11.1
  • Jeff Gordon trails him in second at 12.5
  • Harvick is right on Gordon’s tail in third at 12.7
  • A reminder that Chase Elliott is the one driver on this list who is still developing.

Average Finish by Track Type

Now we’ll break down those numbers by track type, the same way we did on Monday. I’ve arranged the drivers with the best average finish on the left.

A grouped column chart that shows the career finishing positions of drivers on the different types of tracks from 2000-2020
  • Dale Earnhardt is… well, Dale Earnhardt. He holds the short-track record and the superspeedway record.
  • Harvick’s got the intermediate track record
  • Marco Ambrose hold the road course record, but his overall average isn’t high enough to end up on the graph above.
  • Jeff Gordon was tops on the 2-mile non-superspeedway tracks.

To summarize, I made a table that shows the top five best drivers at each track type.

A table showing the top five drivers for each type of track.
  • I colored in the squares of drivers who appear more than once in the top five.
    • Earnhardt shows up in four of the five track types. To be fair, he only raced Fontana four times. His average at these tracks was 13.1, whereas leader Jeff Gordon had 11.1. (That puts Earnhardt 8th in the overall list.
    • Just about everyone else shows up twice: Harvick, Gordon, Hamlin, Johnson, Edwards, C. Elliott and Stewart.
  • There are some interesting commonalities in the table
    • All the drivers in the top 5 for short tracks are series champions.
    • The same is true for intermediate tracks with the exception of Edwards. Edwards lost the Championship by one point, so I’m not too surprised for his name to be up there.
    • Four of the five top drivers at ‘other’ tracks were champions. The fifth was Edwards. See above.
    • It’s only in the road courses and the superspeedways where we see names of drivers who weren’t champions and, in some cases, never contended seriously for a championship.

That wraps up this series of posts. Now we turn our attention to Daytona!

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