I’ve summarized the highlights of 2022 cautions at NBC Sports. For those interested in more detailed information, here’s a plot of the 2022 cautions separated by race and type.
There were 302 total cautions in 2022, with 73 planned cautions and 229 ‘natural’ cautions.
I did something a little different this year and broke out tire issues, wheel issues and fire. My intention is to have a benchmark for next year.
As usual, accidents are the largest contributors to 2022 cautions by race. I counted 104 of them.
The only race that had no accidents was Road America, which had only the two planned cautions.
The most caution-causing accidents in a single race were at the second Atlanta race and the Bristol dirt race. But the Bristol race was only 133.25 miles. The Atlanta race was 400 miles. The Bristol dirt race managed to pack more cautions into a much shorter race.
Spins were the real story this year. There were 60 caution-causing spins in 2022 and only 20 last year. This year is 300% of last year’s total spins. I interpret this as evidence that the Next Gen car is harder to drive.
At least this year.
I’ll be watching this stat closely in 2023. If the number stays around the same, it’s time to be worried about the design. If 2023 spin numbers go down, the spins can be ascribed to the learning curve.
I counted a caution as a tire issue only if it was clear that the tire blowing out preceded a crash. I didn’t count it if, for example, a driver flat-spotted his tires, and then one blew. The most cautions caused by tire issues were the eight cautions at Texas. The Bristol asphalt race had six cautions for tire issues.
There were a more tire issues than the 33 that caused cautions. I’ll get to those in a future post.