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