2024 Darlington I Race Report

The 2024 Darlington race report is a great example of how numbers never tell the entire story of a race. We’ve got side-by-side racing but not a lot of official lead changes, and bold moves, some of which worked and some of which didn’t.

Lead and Caution-O-Gram

As usual, we start the 2024 Darlington I race report with a summary of leads and cautions.

The lead/caution-o-gram for the 2024 Darlington I race report


There were only six cautions for a total of 38 caution laps. That means 15.8% of the race was run under caution.

There were:

  • 2 stage-end breaks for 14 laps
  • 2 spins for 13 laps
  • 2 accidents for 11 laps

Four unplanned cautions is on the low side of cautions for a typical Darlington race. Last year’s races had six and seven unplanned cautions in spring and fall respectively.

Don’t forget that cautions don’t capture the entire race. For example, Kyle Larson’s first contact with the wall didn’t bring out a caution, nor did the Tyler Reddick/Chris Buescher dust-up at the end.

Lead Changes

There were 16 lead changes among 10 different drivers, but most of those lead changes came during the two green-flag pit-stop cycles.

  • 7 leads changed when the leader pit under green for 43.8% of all lead changes
  • There were 5 green-flag passes (31.2%)
  • The leader changed on pit road three times under the yellow flag and once under the green flag.

That’s more lead changes than last fall’s race, which had 13. But it’s fewer than any previous Darlington race since 2020. This race’s five green-flag passes is the most since the spring 2022 Darlington race.

NASCAR reports 31 total green-flag passes for the lead. That’s significantly higher than last fall (20), and on part with the three races prior to last fall.

The total number of green-flag passes throughout the field was 3015 for this race. That’s quite a bit below the 4079 from last fall, but above all other races with the Next Gen car.


This race was reminiscent of 2020, when Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. combined to lead 84.4% of the race, then crashed each other.

There’s a long-standing tradition at Darlington that the driver leading at the end of Stage 2 never finishes well. That’s exactly what happened here as well.

And that’s the 2024 Darlington I race report!

Please help me publish my next book!

The Physics of NASCAR is 15 years old. One component in getting a book deal is a healthy subscriber list. I promise not to send more than two emails per month and will never sell your information to anyone.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.