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From the Marbles

Random facts about the 2012 Sprint Cup Series

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

Needing some random and totally useless NASCAR facts about the 2012 season to tantalize your friends with at your New Year's Eve party? You've come to the right spot! Today, it's the Sprint Cup Series!

Four Sprint Cup Series races featured double-digit numbers of caution flags. Just like in the Nationwide Series, the second race (and first at newly remodeled) Kansas Speedway was the leader with 14 caution flags. The others were Bristol 2 (13), Martinsville 2 (11) and the Daytona 500 (10).

11 races had less than five caution flags. The rain-shortened race at Auto Club Speedway was the only one that featured a single caution (which came when the rain started to fall) and Texas 1 and Sonoma each featured two cautions.

Nine races ran longer than their scheduled distances, while two (Auto Club and Pocono 2) were shortened by rain. The most extra laps in a race came at Martinsville 1, when Ryan Newman won after 15 additional circuits had been tacked on.

In that race, AJ Allmendinger finished second for his only top five of the season, the highest finish for any driver who finished in the top five just once. The others who could only show their finish on a single hand once? Kurt Busch (3rd), Paul Menard (3rd), David Ragan (4th), Aric Almirola (4th), Regan Smith (5th) and Sam Hornish (5th).

Six drivers had 20 or more top 10 finishes. Jimmie Johnson led the way with 24. The only driver of that six who didn't make the Chase? Kyle Busch.

11 drivers scored 10 or more top 5 finishes. And guess what? Kyle Busch (13) is the only one of those too to miss the Chase. The two Chasers not in that top 11? Martin Truex Jr. (7) and Kevin Harvick (5).

17 drivers started on the pole at least once. Mark Martin, Johnson and Kasey Kahne each had four.

15 drivers won at least one race. Nine won more than once. The win leaders in the Cup Series were Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.

The speed might not have been there for Richard Childress Racing this season, but Menard and Harvick completed the most laps of anyone in the Sprint Cup Series. Of the 10,442 laps possible, Menard completed 10,406 and Harvick completed 10,398. The driver who started all 36 races that completed the fewest? David Gilliland with 9,503.

26 drivers started all 36 races. Despite making just 24 starts, Martin finished the season ahead of four drivers who started every race. (Ragan, Casey Mears, Landon Cassill and Gilliland).

Three drivers led over 1,000 laps. Jimmie Johnson led the most (1744), while Sprint Cup Series champion Keselowski led 735. In fact, Johnson led more than 600 laps more than he did in 2011 (1115), while Kyle Busch led nine fewer laps in 2012 (1436) than he did in 2011 (1445).

After leading 903 laps a year ago, Carl Edwards led 254.

No driver boasted an average finish in the top 10, but juuuuuuust barely. Keselowski had the highest average finish of anyone at 10.1, while Greg Biffle is just behind at 10.2. Third? Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 10.4. Sunken by his restrictor plate woes, Johnson's average finish ended up at 11.1.

The lowest average finish for a Chaser? Jeff Gordon at 14.1, half a spot behind Tony Stewart at 13.6.

Kahne was the season's best qualifier. His average starting position was 8.8.

Travis Kvapil was the season's biggest mover during a race, finishing almost 11 spots higher than he qualified. (25.7 vs. 36.6). Of course, when you qualify that poorly week after week, it's kind of hard to go backwards unless you're a start and parker. Martin finished just more than six spots lower than he qualified on average (15.2 after 9.1) and Joey Logano also was a big mover in the wrong direction (17.4 average finish vs. an 11.9 average start).

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