2021 Spring Richmond Race Report

NASCAR modified the 2021 Spring Richmond race stages to avoid long green-flag runs at the end. But the key to the race was Kevin Harvick’s spin with only 18 laps to go.

The Box Score

  • Thirty-eight cars competed
  • Five cautions (three planned, one spin, one accident)
  • 39 caution laps
  • Nine penalties to nine different drivers
    • Six of the nine were the pit crew’s responsibility
  • Only 14 drivers finished on the lead lap
  • Seven different drivers led; six of those were quality leaders
  • 20 lead changes
  • The margin of victory was 0.38 seconds.

2021 Spring Richmond Caution- and Lead-O-Grams

We always start with this one. Hamlin led the most laps (57% of them), but as I’ve shown previously, the driver who leads the most laps only wins the race a little more than half the time.

2021 Spring Richmond Caution- and Lead-O-Grams

Back in the 2000s, you could count on Richmond having 9 or more cautions. In recent years, that number’s gone down significantly — and remember that we didn’t have two built-in cautions back then.

Five cautions is equal to what we had in 2019 (the last spring race at Richmond), but well below the three-year average of 6.67 and the five-year average of 7.2. This graph is a reminder that you have to look at averages carefully. If you average over the last 10 or 20 years, you’re not going to get a number that’s representative of the track now.

Leading

Another statistic that stood out to me for the 2021 Richmond Spring Race is how few cars finished on the lead lap. Averaging over the last three spring races, you would expect about 60% of the cars to end the race on the lead lap. Only 36.8% did.

A graph of the percentage of cars finishing on the lead lap in Spring Richmond races 2000-2021

Crashing

One of the problems with comparing number of cautions is the addition of stage cautions. Let’s just look at the number of accidents and spins over the years.

The number of incidents is normalized to 400 laps, which is why some numbers are not integers.

You can see a big drop off in the numbers of accidents in the 2010s relative to the 2000s. I wonder if we’ll ever see another spring race at Richmond with 12 cautions.

Passing

The compensation for the lack laps lost to cautions is that we saw an average of 6.6 green-flag passes per lap, much higher than the five-year average of 5.30, and well above the 3.4 GFPPL in 2019.

And there you have your 2021 Spring Richmond race report!

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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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