The 2023 spring Kansas race report focuses on a huge number of lead changes and why I count them a little differently than NASCAR does.
I’m not saying that one way is better than the other, just that you have to know what the numbers you’re comparing mean.
Counting Lead Changes
Sometime in the past few years, NASCAR changed a rule (or maybe just their interpretation of that rule.) Let’s say that Car A and Car B are on the front row for a restart. Car A is the control car (i.e. in P1).
Car B cannot pass Car A until Car A starts the race; however, Car B can beat Car A to the start-finish line.
In the diagram below, I compare the lead changes as they come from NASCAR to my count.
I’ve highlighted three cases in which the P2 driver beat the P1 driver to the start-finish line, but the P1 driver led the next lap. Each one of those situations was two lead changes.
Because the rule used to be that whoever was leading on the last yellow flag lap before a restart got credit for leading that lap, I count differently than NASCAR. My only intent in doing that is only so that current numbers count the same thing as previous numbers.
Pit-Stop Lead Changes
The other issue raised recently is that green-flag pit stops increase the number of lead changes. (Yellow-flag pits stops often do as well, but usually less than green-flag stops.) I highlighted the lead changes that happened during the one round of green-flag pit stops at Kansas.
I classify each lead change to understand how it happened. The lead changes labelled ‘ONPR-YF’ or ‘ONPR-GF’ are when a driver took the lead while on pit road. Any lead change labelled ‘inherited’ is when a driver inherited the lead because the car or cars in front of him pitted.
Tyler Reddick ended up with the lead after an accident.
What It All Means
I count 17 green-flag passes for the lead when counting by laps. That’s awesome regardless of how many total passes there were in the race.
There were 8 inherited lead change, five changes on pit road and one lead change on a restart. I happen to think there’s nothing wrong with changes on pit road, although it’s a bit much if that’s the only type of changes you have in a race.
Of course, I can’t leave the 2023 spring Kansas race report without showing you my signature plot.
You’ll also notice that I classified a couple of the cautions a little differently. For example, the caution was thrown for Kyle Busch spinning, but he spun because of contact ahead of him. I classified that as an accident.
But we still had 12 different drivers lead the race, and the race was won on a last lap pass. No matter how you count, Kansas was a great race.
And that’s the 2023 spring Kansas race report!