There was a lot of debate about the end of the Kansas 2020-33 race. Some loved watching Harvick try (and fail) to pass Logano. Others felt Harvick’s inability to pass was a clear indictment of the rules package.
What do the numbers say?
The Lead-O-Gram shows that the guys who got lead tended to stay there unless they lost the lead during pit stops or restarts.
You can see how Harvick and Elliott dominated Stage 1, Hamlin Stage 2 and Harvick and Logano Stage 3. A few other drivers led, but those were your main contenders for Kansas 2020-33.
So let’s look at the leaders and the details of when and how they led.
We had 17 lead changes and 11 distinct drivers who lead the race.
However, four drivers (LaJoie, Newman, Byron, Kyle Busch) only took the lead during yellow, so we’re left with 7 quality lap leaders.
Joey Logano took the lead twice: once on a restart and once as the result of a yellow flag. Kudos to his pit crew, but he never made a green-flag pass for the lead.
You can see the same thing if we look at the number of lead changes and when they happened.
There were only six green-flag passes for the lead in this race. The rest were either under caution or restarts.
But if you look at the six passes, three of them (Keselowski, Busch, Dibenedetto) happened between laps 125-133. What was going on then?
You can tell the answer from the plot (below) of Joey Logano’s lap times.
Green flag pit stops.
That leaves us with just three legitimate green-flag passes for the lead in this race: Harvick, Elliott and Hamlin.
And if we remove the three who only led because of spread-out green-flag pitstops, we’re down to only having had four quality leaders in this race.
But There Was Passing
That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of passing. There was an average of 11.5 green-flag passes per lap, a little down from 2019 (12.5), but up from 2017 and 2018 (10.7 and 10.9).
And we had the largest number of quality passes (passing a car in the top 15) of any fall race in the last 10 years: 1244. That’s 45% of all passes in the race.
There was a good amount of passing in this race — just not upfront. Whether you thought it was a “good race” or not might have depended where you were looking.
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