Talladega Race Report

A battle on the last lap always makes a race better. And we didn’t lose anything having had to skip qualifying. So how did our drivers do? Here’s the Talladega Race Report.

Cautions

The Caution-O-Gram for the 2020 Talladega race report

The Caution-O-Gram didn’t show a whole lot of action until the third stage. All three accidents happened in stage 3, with one caution for a spin in stage 2.

Talladega Race Report: Summarizing cautions for 2020 Spring Talladega

There were 8 cautions for 33 laps. Accidents accounted for both the most number of cautions and the most number of laps for caution. That’s saying something given our struggles with rain this weekend!

Just a Little More Time Under Caution than Average

Given the weather, you might think that this race would rank high in percentage of race spent under caution, but at 17.3%, it’s just a little higher than the average over the last 20 years of 15.6%

Talladega Race Report: A column chart showing percentage race under caution at spring races since 2000

Accidents and Spins

We tend to think of Talladega as being a place where there are a lot of accidents, but that’s not really the case. Normalizing the data to reflect the same number of laps we ran on Sunday/Monday, we see that this race was pretty average with three accidents and one spin.

The mean number of accidents for a race this length is 3.48 (std dev=1.58) and the mean number of spins is 1.24 (std dev = 0.54).

Talladega Race Report: A column chart showing accidents and spins at spring races since 2005

A Very Small Number of Cars Were Involved in Accidents

What’s really interesting is that only seven cars were involved in the three accidents and one in the single spin. That’s a low for the last twenty years except for 2001, in which there were no cautions.

Talladega Race Report: A column chart showing the numbers of cars involved in accidents and spins

The mean number of cars involved in accidents at a Spring Talladega race is 22.6, but with a standard deviation of 10.2, so this stat does qualify as exceptional.

That helps explain why we had a much larger fraction of cars than usual finish the race: 87.5%

Talladega Race Report: box plots showing the numbers of cars finishing on the lead lap and finishing the race at all.
The red lines show the values for the 2020 Talladega Spring race.

Leading and Winning

I looked for colors that would make this prettier, but with this many lead changes, it’s sort of hard. you can, however, see how Logano and Hamlin dominated in stage 1, and Blaney in stage 2 and part of stage 3.

Talladega Race Report: Lead-O-Gram for 2020 spring

Average: GF Passes Per Lap, % Laps Led

We had about the same number of green flag passes per lap as average, and the driver leading the most laps (Blaney) led about a third of the race.

Talladega Race Report: Column graph breaking down lead changes for spring 2020

More Green-Flag Lead Changes

If you like lead changes, you love superspeedway racing. There were 57 lead changes, with 8 taking place under yellow flags and 6 on restarts. That’s a lot more passing than we’ve seen in the last decade.

Talladega Race Report: A column chart breaking down the lead changes for spring 2020

Nineteen Leaders, but…

There were nineteen official leaders, but five of those drivers only led yellow-flag laps. Thirteen of the nineteen drivers led fewer than 5 laps.

Talladega Race Report: A column chart breaking down who led yellow and green-flag laps in spring 2020

The driver who leads the most laps doesn’t always win, but he did this time. Stenhouse, Jr. came in second, and he led only a few laps.

Quality Leaders

We’re left with 14 quality leaders, which is on the high side of the last handful of races.

Summary

We’ve had a trend of a larger number of cars finishing the race since we got back from the COVID break and a smaller number of accidents than usual. It’s hard to tell whether that has to do with drivers trying to stay out of trouble given the limited resources they have or not.

Despite having (again!) weather delays, the end of the race made up for waiting for it to start. That’s your Talladega race report.

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