Joe Gibbs Racing Dominates Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske in This Major Stat in 2021 NASCAR Cup Season

Published 04/23/2021, 1:45 PM EDT
Apr 18, 2021; Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) races NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports


After the first nine races of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the giant names such as Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and Team Penske have pretty much divided the wins among themselves, barring Michael McDowell’s win at the Daytona 500.

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Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have three wins each, while Team Penske has two wins under their belt. However, Joe Gibbs Racing has already taken a massive lead in one major aspect or statistic that holds great importance.

In terms of laps led, JGR has already crossed the 1000-lap mark, with 1,108 laps led by their drivers, which includes Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, and Christopher Bell. Out of those 1,108, Hamlin has led the most laps (694) which is also the highest in the season so far.

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Mar 29, 2021; Bristol, TN, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) leads the first lap during the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly, Hamlin is yet to win a race this season, while Bell already has a win, and Truex Jr. has two which is more than anyone else so far in 2021.

Who sits behind leaders Joe Gibbs Racing in laps led?

Showcasing JGR‘s dominance in the laps led metric is the fact that Penske, who sits in second place, has led 652 laps all season which is way less than JGR’s tally. Logano leads the Penske pack, with 314 laps led across the first nine races. Most of those laps came on his way to victory in the Bristol dirt race. Ryan Blaney is the other winner from Penske this season.

Mar 21, 2021; Hampton, Georgia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) passes NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) late in the race to take the lead for the final time at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Hendrick Motorsports is not far behind Penske in that regard, with 601 laps led so far. Kyle Larson, who won at Las Vegas and dominated at Atlanta has led 379 of those laps. William Byron and Alex Bowman have also won a race each this season.

Trackhouse Racing’s strong start; Stewart-Haas Racing’s struggles

While these three teams are usually amongst the winners and always expected to dominate, the team featuring 4th on the laps led metric comes as a big surprise. In their maiden Cup season, Trackhouse Racing and Daniel Suarez have already led 74 laps this year. Suarez already has a top-5 finish in his no. 99 car, which came in the Bristol dirt race.

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Another big team traditionally, Stewart-Haas Racing has struggled a lot this year. Just 18 laps led so far, 17 by Harvick, is a clear indicator of that. Harvick was dominant last year, with nine wins, but has looked far off his best this season.

Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) races for position against driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) and driver Michael McDowell (34) during the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Roush Fenway Racing (57) and Bubba Wallace’s 23XI Racing (30) have led more laps than SHR.

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Joe Gibbs Racing’s dominance largely comes down to Hamlin’s electric run so far. However, the likes of Truex and Bell have also played a huge part in setting things up nicely. With Kyle Busch yet to find his best form, they are in for even better days ahead if he can do that soon.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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