Darlington Cautions and Accidents

How did Sunday’s race compare to historical Darlington cautions and accidents? Would the lack of practice and no qualifying mean more accidents or fewer?

In this blog, I’ll compare the cautions, accidents and spins in last Sunday’s race to the historical record from 2000-2020.

Darlington Cautions

Note: When dealing with absolute numbers, I normalized cautions to a 400-mile race. That’s essentially counting 4/5 of the cautions for the 500-mile races. Why a 400-mile race? Because that’s what we ran Sunday.

A column chart showing the percentage of races run under caution at Darlington 2000-2020

Over the last twenty years:

  • An average of 13.5% of a Darlington race is run under caution.
    • The highest percentage was 23.7% (2015)
    • The lowest percentage was 6.5% (2006)
    • 19.5% of Sunday’s race was run under caution, which puts it in the top 5 caution-filled Darlington races. It’s on par with the 2004 and 2009 races, which had 19.9% and 19.8% respectively
  • There are an average of 7.6 cautions for a 400-mile race.
    • The normalized high was 14.4 (2015)
    • The normalized low was 4 (2013)
    • Sunday’s race had 10 cautions, which is the third highest number of normalized cautions at Darlington

Accidents and Spins

Out of 10 cautions, 7 were due to accidents or spins. Again, I’ve normalized these numbers to a 400-mile race.

A stacked column chart breaking out Darlington accidents and spins
  • On average, a 400-mile Darlington race has 4 accidents
    • The lowest number of accidents was the Fall 2002 race, with 0.8 accidents.
    • The highest number was 2015, where there were 12 accidents .
    • Sunday’s 5 accidents put it a little above average.
  • A 400-mile Darlington race has an average of 1.4 spins
    • A number of races had only one spin.
    • The most spins in a race was 4.
    • We had 2 spins Sunday, placing us a little above average.

This race had 7 cars involved in accidents, which is a little less than the average of 8.

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