Talladega 2020-31 Race Report

Talladega 2020-31 was a race of attrition and mistakes, which is reflected in the large number of cautions and cars that didn’t finish the race or finished laps down.

Caution-O-Gram for Talladega 2020-31

A caution on lap 1 is never a good omen. Talladega 2020-31 was exciting and frustrating, often depending on who you were cheering for. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers.

NB: All averages and medians for Talladega 2020-31 cover fall races only, between 2000-2020. You can find the spring race report here.

Finishing

  • 56.4% of cars finished on the lead lap in Talladega 2020-31. That’s right at the median.
  • 64.1% of cars finished the race (average: 73.2%)
  • 63.8 green-flag passes per lap (average 78.5%) This is near the bottom of the ‘average race’ window.

Cautions, Accidents and Spins

  • 13 cautions was well over the average of 6.5 and a new track record.
  • If you look at caution as a percentage of the race, this race was 27% cautions, which is also a new track record. On average, only 14% of a fall Talladega race is consumed by cautions, so this is almost twice average
  • There were more accidents and spins (7 accidents and 1 spin) in this race than any fall Talladega race since 2007 with the exception of 2017
Column chart showing the number of Accidents/Spoins in Talladega Fall Races
  • There were more cars involved in accidents (37) and spins (1) than any race since 2005 — again with the exception of 2017.
Column chart showing the numbers of cars involved in accidents and spins at Talladega

Leading/Passing

  • The driver who led the most laps (Logano) accounted for 33% of all laps run, which is the same as the average for Talladega.
  • Of the 9109 green-flag passes, 5253 (57.7%) were quality GF passes, meaning that the car being passed was a top 15 car.
  • There were more quality green-flag lead changes (38) than any fall race since 2013, normalizing all races to the same number of laps.
Column chart showing lead changes at Talladega fall races 2000-2010

I decided to break down laps led even further to understand how cautions and pit stops affect lead statistics. You’ll see that blog later this week.

Penalties

There isn’t usually much to write about penalties, but there were 17 penalties in this race. While the yellow-line-related penalties got the most attention, there were a lot of pit-road penalties.

Column chart breaking down the 17 penalties for Talladega 2020-31
  • Four too many men over the wall and two crew member over wall too soon. That may be due to teams trying to fix their cars and preferring the penalty to not making minimum speed.
  • Three speeding on pit road.
  • Three tire violations.
  • And, of course, four yellow-line penalties, which we don’t see at non-superspeedways.

13 different drivers were responsible for the 17 penalties, with Gase, Logano, Nemecheck and Haley each getting two penalties.

Fastest Laps

Interestingly, no driver posted a fastest lap later than lap 116 (Blaney). Most drivers ran their fastest laps during laps 102-103.

And there you have it: Talladega 2020-31 race report.

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