Darlington Lead Changes

Despite all the changes in procedure for racing, I’m back to my regular schedule of post-race analysis. Today we’ll look at Darlington lead changes.

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.

A bar chart breaks down green-flag and yellow-flag lead changes at Darlington

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.

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