2023 Nashville Race Report: Lead Changes

The 2023 Nashville Race Report: Lead Changes features three-wide restarts, (mostly) respectful racing up front, and one smashed watermelon.


As usual, we start with the caution- and lead-o-gram for the 2023 Nashville race.

This was a really quick race, which was fine by me. It took just seven seconds over three hours. The first race, in 2021, took three-and-a-half hours, while last year was 3:35:15.

The day was humid, with rain threatening during early afternoon. Luckily for us, the rain never materialized. Once the Sun went down, the breeze picked up and it was a lovely evening.


The race featured only four cautions: two stage breaks, one really ugly accident involving Ryan Blaney, and Brad Keselowski getting hit so hard from behind on a restart that the shifter was knocked out of his hand.

Those four cautions took 24 laps out of the 300-lap race, which translates to 8% of the race run under caution.

Twelve different drivers led laps, with 21 lead changes.


Two green-flag pit-stop sequences led to 11 additional lead changes. Both times, the driver leading at the start of the green-flag pit stops (Ross Chastain) was also leading at the end. This is a great example of how lead change numbers have to be interrogated a little more closely.

Lead Change Breakdown

According to my count, there were:

  • 6 green-flag passes for the lead
  • 1 lead change on a restart
  • 13 lead changes that occurred because the leader pitted and someone else assumed the lead
  • 1 lead change that happened on pit road during a yellow flag

Leader Quality

Out of those 12 leaders, only five had quality leads: Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, Jr., Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, and William Byron. I use ‘quality’ to denote leads that were acquired by virtue of a driver acting (e.g. making a pass) rather than getting the lead because of something someone else did.

This race was quite a difference from the first Nashville race that had 14 lead changes, but Kyle Larson leading 264 of the 300 laps.

And that’s your 2023 Nashville Race Report: Lead Changes!

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