2021 August Daytona Race Report

The 2021 August Daytona Race Report features a shaken-up finish, a lot of damaged cars and a disqualification. Let’s look at the first running of the last regular-season race at the unpredictable superspeedway.

Caution- and Lead-O-Grams

As usual, we start with the graphical overview of the race.

The Lead- and Caution-O-Grams for the 2021 August Daytona Race

The first seven-eighths of the race was relatively quiet, with one accident about halfway through and three planned cautions.

The last eighth of the race was were most of the action happened. Those last twenty laps illustrate why trying to predict a winner at a superspeedway is a fool’s errand.

Ten of the 15 drivers who led laps were involved in one or more accidents in the 2021 August Daytona race. Chase Elliott crashed out of the lead.

A Race of Attrition

While we often see unexpected winners at the Summer Daytona race, this year’s race winner was a repeat of last week. But the top ten is filled with names we don’t normally see, including B.J. McLeod’s first top ten in Cup ever. Ryan Preece managed to get fourth place despite having been involved in two of the five accidents.

And accidents played a huge role in deciding the finish here. This race eats cars. Not just in 2021, but in the last 15 years. In 2013, 60 cars were involved in accidents. That makes this race’s 34 cars seem low, but it’s actually about par for the course over the last seven years.

The Summer Daytona race has turned into a car-eating extravaganza, as shown by this vertical bar graph and accompanying boxplot.

The number of cars that didn’t finish the race, or limped home laps down was predictably large. Only 15 cars finished on the lead lap.

How drivers finished relative to the lead lap for the 2021 August Daytona race

Until Ryan Blaney grabbed the lead, it looked like Chris Buescher might have won the race. It’s a good thing he didn’t, because his car was disqualified after inspection and we would have had a win negated. That leaves us with 13 DNFs and one disqualification.

I guess this is one way to get rid of all the Gen-6 cars that won’t have any value next year.

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