2021 NASCAR Preview: Short Tracks

I saved my favorite kind of racing for last. Everyone’s talking about road courses this year, but short tracks make up a third of the circuits in the season. So, before we pull all the different types of race courses together, let’s find out who’s really good at the tracks less than a mile-and-a-half.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

2021 Driver Career Records

Let’s start by looking at how drivers have done over their careers at short tracks.

A column chart showing driver average finishes for 2020 at short tracks
  • Kevin Harvick did the best this year, with an average finish of 5.8
  • Number two was Joey Logano, at 7.0
  • Tracks under a mile-and-a-half were one of the two types of tracks Chase Elliott really needs to improve at. He’s 8th here, with all of the major contenders ahead of him.
  • Kyle Busch, despite the disappointing year he had in 2020, still comes in at an average finish of 10.8

2020 vs. Career Average Finishing Positions

Comparing average finishing position for 2020 and career-wise
  • Harvick did much better in 2020 relative to his career-long average of 12.5
  • Logano and Keselowski also had good years at short tracks.
  • Hamlin performed at about his average.

Winning

Below, I show you the drivers with the highest win rates in 2020

A column chart showing wins, top 5s, and top 10s for the 2020 season short tracks
  • Although Logano had the second highest average finishing position, his win rate was only 5th best.
  • Even though Chase Elliott’s finishing position wasn’t as high as some of the other drivers, he won 15% of these races this year.

Coming Up

Next post (Monday), I’ll put all this data together to discuss which drivers you should watch at which types of tracks tracks, plus how they compare to the best drivers of the last twenty years.

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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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