As usual, we start by looking at the overall race.
We had nine cautions (about average for the Charlotte Roval): 3 planned (1 competition and 2 stage ends), plus five accidents and a debris caution. And everyone saw the debris caution this time. The 18 caution laps accounted for 16.5% of the race run under the yellow flag.
We had 15 lead changes and 10 different leaders. Of those 10 leaders, 8 were quality leaders. There was one round of green-flag pit stops from lap 74 to 81, that interrupted William Byron’s lead.
I’m wondering if we should separate pit-road penalties from other penalties, because we had a LOT of penalties in the 2021 Charlotte Roval: 29. Granted that the Roval has a lot more penalties than most tracks, but this was a new high for the Roval.
It was also a high for the season — by a lot. I get that the Charlotte Roval is a fast course because it makes good use of the oval’s high banks. But so does Daytona and it didn’t have 18 chicane/bus stop issues.
Here they are, broken down by type and flag. Usually, there are more speeding on pit road penalties than anything else. But after Talladega, where there was only one penalty, the teams more than compensated this week.
That brings us to a total of 489 penalties this season — and 216 cautions.
Road courses are tough on the cars. Kyle Larson managed to lose an alternator belt. That gives a crew chief two choices: Replace the battery or replace the belt. About the only place you’re going to be able to replace an alternator belt during a race without losing a lap is a road course.
Below, I show the lap times and track position for Kyle Larson throughout the race. Road courses are sort of nice because there are few enough laps that you can actually see the data points.
His drive to the front is even more impressive if you consider the amount of time he spent on pit road. It’s about 25-30 seconds on and off pit road. Throw in the typical 14-second four-tire stop and the average pit stop should last about 40-45 seconds at the Roval. You can see that Larson’s crew was just at 40 seconds on their first two stops.
In total, Larson had three stops that were just about three times the length of an average stop. And he still managed to win the race.
Winning the race meant that he had to pass a LOT of cars. Below, I show the green-flag passes made (all for position) in green and the number of times the driver was passed for position. The differential is positive when the driver passes more cars for position than pass him. Usually, that number is in the tens to thirties.
Larson’s pass differential was 77. He passed 77 more cars for position than passed him. Logano, Bowman and Elliott also had high pass differentials. Drivers are shown in order of their finishing position.
Who Else Was Fast?
The driver with the most fastest laps won the race, but let’s make sure to point out that Tyler Reddick was only three laps behind Larson.
The last entry in the 2021 Charlotte Roval Race Report is where the drivers were running when they had their fastest laps of the race.
These are shown in order of fastest lap. The drivers who ran the fastest laps of the race mostly ran them when they were up front. Elliott is an exception because I believe he ran those laps whilst he was trying to catch up after making pit stops to repair damage.
And that’s your 2021 Charlotte Roval Race Report!