The 2022 Spring Atlanta Race Report covers a new kind of racing at a new kind of track.
Warning: It’s ugly, at this graph usually is for superspeedways.
We had 11 cautions for 65 laps, which is about 20% of the race running under caution. The average green-flag run was 21.7 laps
- 8 accidents
- 2 debris cautions
- 1 competition caution
There were no stage-end cautions thanks to some well-timed accidents.
We had 46 lead changes with 20 different leaders.
We had 18 penalties at the race, with 6 for speeding. That’s a larger-than-usual number of penalties for a spring race at Atlanta, but it’s not the largest. The 2015 spring race featured 21 penalties.
New Track Records
This version of Atlanta is a new track. Everything that happened at yesterday’s race was a new track record. You cannot compare yesterday’s race with any previous race at Atlanta.
Nonetheless, I’m going to do it, just to see how the new track compares with what we normally see at this track.
A Lot More Accidents and Cars Crashed
Unsurprisingly, pack-type racing produces more accidents and more damage to cars.
The eight accidents are more than total accidents+spins we’ve seen at any recent spring Atlanta race.
Remember that NASCAR doesn’t count last-lap crashes in their accident totals. Dustin Long was there and counted: Thirty-one of the 37 cars in the race were in at least one accident. For a series that has talked so much about saving the teams money, this race moves in the opposite direction.
Finishes and DNFs
Interestingly, This version of Atlanta looks much more like the Atlanta of the late 1990s-2000s when it comes to finishes.
We had a much higher percentage of cars finishing on the lead lap (23/37=62%), although we did have a comparable percentage in 2010.
Also, a much larger percentage of cars did not finish the race. There were 12 DNFs (32.4%).
Margin of Victory
The margin of victory at the 2022 spring Atlanta race was 0.14 seconds, which is not the smallest MoV: we had 0.03s in 2005, and sub-1/100th of a second margins of victory in 2000 and 2001.
My Overall Thoughts
- The team that paved Atlanta Motor Speedway did an outstanding job. They had a vision, they carried it out and the track did exactly what they wanted it to do.
- Yay for getting rid of three feet of the infield grass. Grass is a real hazard when you’re traveling that fast.
- No one got airborne, which is great.
- On the negative side, the race was too long, especially when a full 1/5th of the race was cautions.
- The purpose of the NextGen car was to keep costs under control. This race crashed up a lot of cars. Even though it may be cheaper to repair them than it would have been with the Gen-6 car, it’s still time and money for the owners.