The Daytona 2021 Road Course deep dive features Chase Elliott. Between the lead-o-gram and a four-road-course-race winning streak, this was his race to lose.
And he did.
Let’s look at why.
Pit Stop Perils
Chase was on the pole and won the first stage. He dominated the race until an accident caused a caution on lap 27. He went in for a yellow-flag pit-stop leading and came out 11th because his crew had to dodge another team’s loose tire.
In the above chart, the lowest bar (the lightest color) is the time taken to get to the pit box. The middle bar is the time in the pit box and the top bar is the time to get to the end of pit road. And, of course, green means green-flag pit stop. The hatches mean that these were all four-tire changes.
Pit stops were consistent with the exception of the one hampered by the uncontrolled tire.
Chase raced his way back to first, however, when the caution flag flew for weather on lap 56, he came back out 11th again due to other cars staying out.
And it got worse from there.
Below, I show Chase’s running position throughout all 70 laps. You can see him come back after the early bad pit stop start to come back from that late-race pit stop — until he got into the grass on lap 59. Things went downhill from there.
Chase ended up with a 21st position finish. Talk about running better than you finish!
This shows how many things affect a NASCAR team’s finish. It’s not just your team being great, it’s other teams not having problems that impact you. Something like the luck of who you end up next to on pit road can make a huge difference.
That’s your 2021 Daytona Road Course Deep Dive. Next, we’ll look ahead to Homestead.