Numbers are a constant in NASCAR. Whether it’s car numbers, car count, certainly speed, and on-track intervals, NASCAR is filled with numbers.
Going into 2018, veterans like Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman will be the leaders of the numbers game. Going into the 60th annual Daytona 500, several milestones will be reached, thanks to a rash of retirements and exits by high-profile drivers over the past few seasons.
Career starts and consecutive starts are where you will find them. Here’s a look at how the numbers will read at the drop of Sunday’s green flag:
613: Kurt Busch’s career starts, giving him the most starts of active drivers in the series. He takes the mantle from Matt Kenseth (650) and recently retired Dale Earnhardt Jr. (631).
611: Kevin Harvick’s career starts, putting him second on the active drivers list.
585: The career starts made by Newman, third among active drivers.
The next few on the list are Johnson (580), Jamie McMurray (547), Kasey Kahne (505) and Kyle Busch (463). Again, these numbers include the Daytona 500.
Additional career starts being made at Daytona:
435: Denny Hamlin
434: Clint Bowyer
400: Paul Menard
250: Michael McDowell
245: Aric Almirola
191: Danica Patrick (also her final NASCAR start)
185: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
105: Matt DiBenedetto
Johnson and Newman not only lead the series in consecutive starts – they are tied. The two started their full-time careers in 2002 and neither has missed a race since.
Here’s how the top 10 drivers in consecutive starts shake out:
577: Jimmie Johnson
577: Ryan Newman
569: Kevin Harvick
545: Jamie McMurray
505: Kasey Kahne
433: Clint Bowyer
433: Martin Truex Jr.
397: David Ragan
381: Paul Menard
325: Joey Logano
And finally, a Daytona 500-related number.
5: The number of drivers who will compete in the Daytona 500 for the first time Sunday: Darrell Wallace Jr., Justin Marks, William Byron, Gray Gaulding and Mark Thompson.