This was the first year that most people noticed a decrease in the number of cautions, but (as I’ve pointed out), 2012 is merely the latest in a six-year trend of decreasing cautions. The same downward trend is evident in the Nationwide Series. This year is perhaps notable for it being so extreme.
The data clearly shows the trend: The question, of course, is why?
ust out of curiosity, I decided to do a similar analysis on the Nationwide Series caution record as I did on the Cup record. My intent was that if there was something specific to the Cup series – the new car, the Chase, etc.), it would show up because the Nationwide would follow a different trend. Not at all! Remember that I’m plotting number of cautions per 100 miles run
The question of why it is so difficult for cars to pass each other at 1.5 mile and 2 mile tracks is getting more and more attention. Carl Edwards put it succinctly:
“I firmly believe, and NASCAR hates it when I say this, that we should not be racing with downforce, sideforce and all these aerodynamic devices. We do not need splitters on the race cars and giant spoilers. I have not been around long enough to say something definitely, but it is pretty common sense: if all the cars are very similar and all the drivers are within a tenth of a second of each other but are relying on clean air and downforce, then by definition if the guy in front of you is disturbing the air then your car is not going to be able to go as fast as it could in clean air.”
Statistics Reported Without Comment
An usual number of teams “ran out of gas” or had engine troubles during the Talladega race. The TV analysts had some ready answers for what might have caused these problems. Their extemporaneous theories tend to elicit sighs from engine builders, who know that problems can rarely be diagnosed at the track – and even more rarely by someone who hasn’t looked at the car.
A wonderful aspect of blogging is that we’re not called to have answers on the spot like the television broadcasters and we have the leisure of time. Let’s examine some of those theories.
Most of the issues we were talking about at the start of the year regarding the measures NASCAR has taken to eliminate or reduce the two-car draft are still in play, so I thought I’d put the most important in one place as you start getting ready for Talladega this weekend.