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NASCAR stock market report: Who was up, down in 2021?

Christopher Bell passes Joey Logano with two laps remaining at the Daytona Road Course and holds on for his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory in 38 starts.

Kyle Larson’s championship season was remarkable after missing most of the 2020 season, but he wasn’t the only driver to turn things around on the track.

Six drivers climbed at least five spots in the points in 2021 compared to where they finished in 2020.

Just like the stock market, while some were up, others were down.
Six drivers dropped at least five spots in the points this past season compared to their 2020 finish.

Among the notable risers:

  • Christopher Bell went from Leavine Family Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021 and climbed eight spots in the standings from 2020. He finished 12th in the points this past season. Bell, who said before the season that he wanted to be a factor in races, made the playoffs for the first time after winning the Daytona road course race in the second event of the year.
  • Daytona 500 Michael McDowell gained seven spots in the points, going from 23rd in 2020 to 16th this past season. His first career win earned him a spot in the playoffs for the first time.
  • Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suarez each gained six spots in the points this past season from 2020. Suarez was in his first season with Trackhouse Racing in 2021 after racing with Gaunt Brothers Racing the previous season.

Among those who fell in the points:

  • Cole Custer won a race last year in his rookie season to make the playoffs. He did not win this past season, dropping 10 spots from 16th in 2020 to 26th this past season in the points.
  • Alex Bowman fell eight spots. He was sixth in the points in 2020 and finished 14th in 2021, but one has to look deeper. He won a career-high four races this past season. Inconsistency in the playoffs contributed to the drop in the points this year.
  • Erik Jones fell seven spots after losing his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing and landing with Richard Petty Motorsports.
  • Austin Dillon failed to make the playoffs this past season and finished 17th, placing six spots worse than last year. A look deeper shows that Dillon’s average finish was 14.4 in 2021 — nearly two full positions better from his 2020 average of 16.2

Here is a look at those who gained and fell the most in the points in 2021 from 2020


+33 — Kyle Larson (34th in 2020 to 1st in 2021)

+8 — Christopher Bell (20th in 2020 to 12th in 2021)

+7 — Michael McDowell (23rd in 2020 to 16th in 2021)

+6 — Tyler Reddick (19th in 2020 to 13th in 2021)

+6 — Daniel Suarez (31st in 2020 to 25th in 2021)

+5 — Martin Truex Jr. (7th in 2020 to 2nd in 2021)

+4 — William Byron (14th in 2020 to 10th in 2021)


-10 — Cole Custer (16th in 2020 to 26th in 2021)

-8 — Alex Bowman (6th in 2020 to 14th in 2021)

-7 — Erik Jones (17th in 2020 to 24th in 2021)

-6 — Austin Dillon (11th in 2020 to 17th in 2021)

-5 — Joey Logano (3rd in 2020 to 8th in 2021)

-5 — Matt DiBenedetto (13th in 2020 to 18th in 2021)

-4 — Brad Keselowski (2nd in 2020 to 6th in 2021)