No practice or qualifying suggested this race might be different than the typical Darlington race. Would they make more mistakes than usual and be more aggressive? Or would they be a little more restrained and cautious?
And talk about time away. Matt Kenseth returns after not driving a Cup car since the end of the 2018 season. The oldest guy in the field brings back a top ten.
And Now, the Numbers…
I didn’t break out Spring/Fall because the number and timing of Darlington races has changed a lot over the years. I’m am, however, showing you the lead totals per 100 miles. That ensures we’re not comparing 400 mile races with 500-mile races.
The graph labels are the year followed by the race number 2010-11 was the 11th race in the 2010 season. You can infer from the number whether you’re looking at Darlington lead changes for a spring or a fall race.
The red stars are races that ended in a green-white checkered finish. The grey star is a race cut short by rain.
The number of green-flag lead changes at Darlington last Sunday is the second smallest at 3. The only race with fewer was two green-flag lead changes in 2018 — and that was a 500-mile race.
It was so good to see racing. And a nice break to have even some die-hard pessimists restrain themselves from filling the internet with nitpicking!
Come back tomorrow for some information about cautions. After two months away, you might expect more cautions than average.