The 2020 season may have been interrupted at the end of Week 4, but drivers have already started to develop streaks.
Some are good; some are bad. After all, racing is a zero sum game and every driver who gets to the front does so at the expense of someone else.
Here is a look at some of the more meaningful streaks:
Kevin Harvick is the only driver to sweep the top 10 this year. He survived the Daytona 500 in fifth and has not stumbled since. Counting last year, he is riding a current streak of nine consecutive top-10s. Harvick has started in the top 10 in all nine of those races.
Kyle Larson might well have joined Harvick if he had not been knocked into the Auto Club wall by Denny Hamlin. Instead, he has three top-10s in the first four races with a best of fourth at Phoenix.
Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola, and Kurt Busch each failed to score a top-10 in the first two weeks, but they charged back at Auto Club to score back-to-back top-10s. Kyle has been the strongest over the past two weeks with back-to-back top-fives.
Joey Logano has the most wins so far in 2020 with a victory in the Pennzoil 400 at Vegas and the FanShield 500k at Phoenix, but he has not yet been able to back up one top-10 with another.
Hamlin also has two top-10s with a victory in the Daytona 500 and a sixth at Auto Club.
Alex Bowman is the other winner at Auto Club, but that is his only top-10.
No one else has earned more than one top-10.
In order to be in a position to score top-10s, drivers have to remain on the lead lap. Harvick has been the top driver in this regard recently – and by a wide margin with 16 consecutive races dating back to last year at Darlington Raceway.
Hamlin has six consecutive lead lap finishes. Chris Buescher is third with four.
The Daytona 500 produced a ton of carnage and dropped a lot of drivers down the order, but Aric Almirola, Bowman, Ky Busch, William Byron, Matt DiBenedetto, Johnson, Keselowski, and Logano have been on the lead lap at the end of the three unrestricted speedway events.
There is an old adage in racing that in order to finish first, a driver must first finish. The following drivers have the best running at the end streaks.
Hamlin crashed out of last spring’s Talladega race, but he has been running at the end of every event since then. That is a streak of 30 races.
Harvick’s lead lap finishes mirror his running at the end streak with 16 races.
JJ Yeley failed to advance into the Daytona 500 through his qualification race, but he has been running at the end of 16 straight races as well.
Michael McDowell’s active streak sits at 15.
Like this year’s Daytona 500, last fall’s Talladega race was another streak killer. Bowman, Buescher, DiBenedetto, and Erik Jones now have nine consecutive races in which they were running at the end after they reset in Kansas.
Daniel Suarez’s streak also extends to Kansas last fall, but he missed the Daytona 500 and has eight straight.
Bubba Wallace also has eight.
Almirola and Clint Bowyer have seven consecutive races where they were running at the end.
John Hunter Nemechek has never failed to finish a race through seven starts.
Corey LaJoie has been a solid value for six races.
Larson qualified fifth last fall at Phoenix and has started among the top 10 in every race since.
Logano had an equal streak going until he qualified only 13th last week on that same track.
Suarez has finished better than he started in every race this year.
Almirola and Christopher Bell have finished worse than they started every week.
2020 Stats through Week 4