Phoenix Spring Race: Passing

As I said yesterday, Phoenix is nothing if not consistent, and passing is no different, whether it’s passing for position or passing for the lead.


NASCAR reports lead changes, but I designed the quality leaders metric to eliminate drivers who took the lead during a caution. Because what we really care about as race fans is passing for the lead, right?

A column chart showing how many drivers pass for the lead at Phoenix under green.
  • The average number of quality leaders is 5.5.
  • The standard deviation is 1.4, which means that 68% of the races had quality leaders between 4 and 7
  • The smallest number of quality leaders was 3, in 2015.
  • The largest number was 8, in 2011 and 2018.
  • There were five races with only 4 quality leaders: 2007, 2008, 2014, 2016 and 2017
  • Expect between 4 to 7 quality leaders this year.

Phoenix: Green Flag Passing

The average number of green flag passes per lap tells us how racy the entire field is, not just the cars at the very front.

A column chart showing passing at Phoenix track-wide under the green flag.

Again, the range is fairly small compared to some other tracks.

  • The average number of passes under the green flag per lap is 5.3.
  • The standard deviation is 1.3, which tells us that, 68% of the time at Phoenix, the number of GF passes per lap is between 4.0 and 6.6.
  • The smallest number was 2.4 in 2016
  • The largest number was 7.3, in 2012.
  • There’s a 95% chance that the number of GF passes per lap will be between
  • Expect between 4 and 7 green flag passes per lap this year at Phoenix.

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