NASCAR: Kyle Larson leads all playoff drivers in one strange stat

Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR playoffs (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Kyle Larson is the only driver locked into the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4. But he strangely leads all remaining drivers in DNFs.

When the NASCAR Cup Series regular season concluded, it was somewhat surprising that Hendrick Motorsports’ Kyle Larson only had two wins to his name in 2023 — and none since April.

The speed was there for Larson and the No. 5 team all season, but they simply hadn’t been able to convert it into trips to victory lane nearly as often as they would have liked to. Among his most notable would-be victories happened at Darlington Raceway in May, when his race ended with late contact.

Larson entered the playoffs with more DNFs than all other playoff drivers, but he opened up the postseason with redemption in the form of his first ever win at Darlington to advance to the round of 12.

Despite another DNF at Texas Motor Speedway, he made it out of the round of 12 — the round that had been his “kryptonite” in many past seasons — and into the round of 8.

And for the second time in the last three NASCAR Cup Series seasons, he won the round of 8 opener to become the first driver to lock himself into the Championship 4.

Larson secured his second career Championship 4 spot with a nail-biter win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, the only driver from last year’s Championship 4 who made it to this year’s round of 8.

The win resulted in Larson’s odds to win a second championship shortening from +350 to +160 at FanDuel Sportsbook, which is now offering fans an instant $200 just for betting $5. The move makes him the clear favorite with two races remaining in the round of 8.

Odds and availability are subject to change, so lock in your $200 payday now before it’s too late!

But inconsistency has been the theme of Larson’s season. His average finish of 14.7 is his worst since 2019, he can score no more than 19 total top 10 finishes, which would match his worst since 2019, and he can record no more than 26 total lead lap finishes, which would also match his worst since 2019.

And above all, he still leads all remaining drivers in DNFs — by far — with seven. No other round of 8 driver has failed to finish more than three races this year.

In fact, only one driver in the entire series has more DNFs than Larson, and that is Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, who sits in 29th place in the point standings.

But will Larson’s speed, which has him sitting atop the standings with a series-high 1,031 laps led, be on display when it matters most in the Championship 4 at Phoenix on Sunday, November 5?

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

The round of 8 is scheduled to resume this Sunday, October 22 with the 4Ever 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NBC is set to provide live coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!