2023 New Hampshire Practice Report

The 2023 New Hampshire Practice Report is a surprise. Michael McDowell, who said himself that he ‘sucks here’ lead practice as far as fast lap. But fastest lap isn’t the only important parameter when it comes to racing.

Fastest Lap

The best practice times by driver for the 2023 New Hampshire Practice Report

McDowell led practice, but Martin Truex Jr. was just two-thousandths (0.002) of a second slower. Then there’s a gap of 0.08 seconds to Ross Chastain, who put down the third best lap of practice.

From third to last is roughly a one-second gap. The last four drivers were well off the pace. Excluding them, there’s a little more than three-quarters of a second between third and 32nd.

Average Lap Times

NASCAR provides data for average lap times over five-lap increments. Here’s the graph of best lap averaged over 5 consecutive laps.

The consecutive part is important because you need to know that the driver ran all the laps on the same tires. Five- and 10-lap averages tend to be most useful for comparison because for most drivers because not all drivers run a lot of consecutive laps.

The best practice times over five consecutive laps by driver for the 2023 New Hampshire Practice Report

The spread from best (Truex) to worst is 0.9 seconds. Note that the spread between McDowell and Truex has increased, in addition to reversing. Truex logged a 30.237-second average and McDowell a 30.304 seconds.

The slideshow below shows the averages over all the laps possible.

Comparing Averages

The graph below shows all of the averages NASCAR releases on a single graph.

While this looks a little like one of those Funfetti cakes, here are the things I took away from the graph.

  • McDowell was the only driver to run 25 consecutive laps. His time fell off by 0.72 seconds over 25 laps and 0.67 seconds over 20 laps.
  • Now look at Truex, right next to McDowell. Truex had much less fall off over 10 laps than McDowell did.
  • Find Harvick immediately to the right of Allmendinger. A.J. is my touchstone because he has the longest name, so he’s easy to find. Note that after 25 laps, Harvick — who had the 17th fastest single lap — is faster than McDowell.
  • So is Ty Gibbs, right next to Harvick.

That’s why the consecutive lap averages are so useful. Being fast for one lap doesn’t mean anything if you burn up your turns and you’re well off the pace by lap 20.

And there’s your 2023 New Hampshire Practice Report!

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