The 2022 Daytona 500 report covers the first point-paying race with the NextGen car — which turns out not to look all that different than previous Daytona 500s.
You can get race highlights anywhere. I’ll focus on a couple things high/low lights
As usual, let’s start with the race-at-a-glance. The lead-o-gram shows 35 lead changes, 13 leaders and 11 quality leaders. As a reminder, the number of quality leaders excludes those who only led during yellow flags. Four drivers (Logano, Byron, A Dillon and Larson) only led one lap, while Harrison Burton and Erik Jones each led 3.
We had 7 cautions for 37 laps (18.5% cautions). That’s not much different than previous Daytona 500s.
The graph below shows that we had about the average number of cautions (recent ranges are 7-9) and that, as usual in the last decade, the majority of the cautions were accidents.
Not as Much Wreckage in the 2022 Daytona 500
While we had an average number of accidents, we had a smaller number of cars involved in those accidents. Only 25 cars were involved in accidents, compared to 31 last year with the same number of accidents. A note: A car can be counted more than once in this tally if it’s involved in more than one accident.
Comparisons with Past Daytona 500s
- There was more than double the number of green-flag passes in 2022 (6,462 passes) compared with 2021 (2,755 passes). The 2022 race was just slightly down from 2020 (6,720 passes). It’s only one race, but this is a good preliminary number.
- 15 cars (37.5%) finished on the lead lap, which is about average for a Daytona 500.
- 12 cars (30%) DNFed, which is the smallest percentage since 2016.
- The margin of victory was 0.036 seconds, or thirty-six thousandths of a second. That’s a fairly close race, even for a superspeedway. Five of the last eighteen races have ended under caution.
- There were 16 penalties, with five of those being speeding on pit road.
- As I noted on Twitter, Hamlin had never DNFd at a Daytona 500 going into the 2022 Daytona 500. That streak was broken when he was taken out in a lap 62 crash. That leaves him with a 16-year streak that includes 3 wins.
- Daniel Suarez also broke a streak: His fifth Daytona 500 is the first he finished. If it hadn’t been for a speeding penalty that sent him a lap down, he might have gotten a better finish. Speeding on pit road was a problem for this team last year. Let’s hope they can figure it out this year.
- The median lap times for the top teams were very close to each other, which isn’t much of a surprise with pack drafting.
- We continue the streak of no one winning the Daytona 500 from the front row since the 2000 edition.
I’ll be looking into pit stops in detail later this week, but if we compare each team’s fastest four-time pit stop, there is a HUGE range of times. I wager we will see this tighten up as the season goes on, but even with everyone having more similar cars, the crew capabilities remain very different.