2021 NASCAR Preview: ‘Other’ Tracks

Fontana (the old Fontana), Pocono, Indy and Michigan are larger than intermediate tracks, but not superspeedways. The number of such tracks is going way down in 2021, which means that drivers who did well at them won’t be as well rewarded this year.

One of the interesting things about this group is that Michigan and Pocono were two of the tracks where we had double headers this year.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Career Average Finishing Position

The graph below shows the drivers active in 2021 with the best career record at these ‘other’ tracks.

A column chart showing 2021 drivers' career average finish at 'Other' tracks
  • Harvick leads the group here with an average finishing position of 11.9
  • Close behind is Chase Elliott at 12.1

2020 Finishes

The next graph compares how drivers did in 2020 to their career averages. As we found with the intermediate tracks, most drivers with average finishes below 20 did better than their career average

A column chart comparing how drivers did at 'Other' tracks in 2020 to their career averages
  • Harvick did a whole lot better in 2020 than his career average, so he’ll be one of the drivers disappointed with the decrease in the number of these tracks by almost half.
  • No one else was as good as Harvick here, but these tracks were a strength for Aric Almirola, who had just under a P7 average finish.
  • As I noted for intermediate tracks, Matt DiBenedetto’s change of equipment really allowed him to improve relative to his career average.

Wins

With an average finishing position of 2.5, it shouldn’t be surprising that Harvick won most of these tracks. Out of the six races, Harvick won four, Hamlin one and Bowman one.

A stacked column chart showing how well 2021 drivers did at 'Other' tracks in 2020
  • Not only does Harvick have (by far) the best win rate, he didn’t finish out of the top ten in a single one of these races.
  • Even though Kyle Busch didn’t win a race in this category, he still finished in the top ten in all the races he finished.
  • Chase Elliott isn’t complaining that there are fewer ‘other’ tracks in 2021: they weren’t one of his strengths.

All-Time Greats

Let’s put these numbers in some context by looking at the career average finishing positions of drivers who drove at least one race at these ‘other’ tracks between 2000 and 2020.

A column chart showing the career average finishing positions for drivers who ran at least one race between 2000 and 2020 on 'other' tracks

Although Harvick is the best current driver at these tracks, Dale Earnhardt leads this list with an average finish of 10.3.

Carl Edwards trails in second at 11.7.

Next up is our final category: short tracks.

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About Diandra 451 Articles
I'm a recovering academic who writes about the intersection of science and life. I'm interested in AI, advanced prosthetics, robots and anything that goes fast. Author, THE PHYSICS OF NASCAR and Editor, BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY

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