Hendrick domination continued at the 2021 Sonoma race. But how come no one is talking about the record carnage?
Lead- and Caution-O Grams
As usual, here are the caution- and lead-o-grams for the 2021 Sonoma race.
Looking at the lower graph first, there were a lot of lead changes during green-flag pit stops, but most of those maintained the lead even after the cycle was over. That makes for seven leaders and seven quality leaders.
2021 Sonoma Cautions
The caution-o-gram shows 8 cautions for 18/90 laps, or 20% of the race run under yellow. Three of those cautions were competition or stage-end cautions, but there were four accidents. That’s unusual for Sonoma at least, recently.
Here’s a vertical bar graph showing the number of accidents and spins from 1989-2021 at Sonoma. The box chart at right shows the median and the extremes.
In the last two years we ran this race, we had no accidents, so four accidents is something of a step up. It’s definitely above the median value of 2.4.
But what’s really striking is the number of cars involved in accidents at the 2021 Sonoma race. We set a record!
We don’t usually see cars torn up the way we saw cars torn up last Sunday at Sonoma. Normally, I plot these for 2000-2021, but since this was a record for that timespan, I thought I’d go back a little further. Sure enough the largest number of cars involved in accidents before last Sunday was almost 10, in 1993. And if you include accidents and spins, the maximum was a little more than 10, in 2010. We had 14.7 cars involved (15 in 92 laps) in 2021 Sonoma.
A new! track! record!
Are drivers just getting more aggressive the closer we get to the cutoff? Or are people making more mistakes?
Lead Laps and Completions
Despite the record number of cars hitting other cars and barriers, The 2021 Sonoma race had the highest percentage of cars finishing on the lead lap since 1989.
The last three runnings of this race saw and average of 60% of the cars finish on the lead lap. We got 89.2% for 2021 Sonoma, which tells us that, although cars were damaged, many of them were repairable.
There was more green-flag passing than either of the last two runnings of this race. The number of quality green-flag passes was comparable to that in 2017, where there was more overall passing.