2023 Sonoma Lead Change Report

The 2023 Sonoma Lead Change Report features Martin Truex Jr. and… And, well, that’s pretty much it aside from Denny Hamlin getting into the wall and a couple of spins at the end of the race.


With the death of stage breaks at road courses, the lack of cautions isn’t all that surprising. After all, Sonoma is nothing like the Indy Roval, where every restart knocks out a few cars.

The lead/caution-o-gram shows how Hamlin dominated stage 1 and Truex dominated the rest of the race.

Although there were six different leaders, Ross Chastain and Michael McDowell each only led one lap. Elliott led by virtue of staying out.

There were really only three drivers of relevance this race Truex, Hamlin, and Kyle Busch.

Lead Change Report

Here’s a table of the lead changes, colored to highlight green-flag passes.

If you’re a big fan of green-flag passes, thank Truex, because he made all three green-flag pass in this race.

There was one sequence of green-flag pit stops, from laps 74 to 80. It was stretched out in terms of number of laps because some drivers stayed out, hoping for a caution. You can see how the lead cycled around from Truex to McDowell to Elliott and back to Truex.

So although there were 10 lead changes, three happened during GF Pit stops. I’d call this a seven-lead-change race. But that’s still more than last year.

Laps Led

As a reminder, I call the laps that a driver didn’t actively earn (meaning inherited leads) as ‘NQ’ for non-quality. That’s sort of from NASCAR’s Loop Data, but I should probably go to earned and unearned.

Regardless of what I call it, the Laps Led Table is below for the 2023 Somona Lead Changes report.

This is another way of counting that sheds a little more light on the situation. Even though Kyle Busch led 17 laps, he led because of others’ actions (i.e. pitting) rather than for a proactive move on his part. No judgement here, just trying to clarify what happens.

I haven’t yet figured out how to make sure to count laps from green-flag pit stops cycling around as earned, but I’m working on it.

There was a lot of good racing at Sonoma. It just wasn’t (mostly) for the lead.

And that’s the 2023 Sonoma Lead Change Report

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