Cautions had been up in 2022 regardless of fewer stage-end and competitors cautions of any yr since stage racing started. The third installment of 2022 by the numbers focuses on the causes (and causers) of cautions.
I divide cautions into these which might be deliberate — like competitors and stage-end breaks — and so-called ‘pure’ cautions. Pure cautions embrace accidents, spins, stalled automobiles, particles or liquid on monitor and climate.
My first graph exhibits that this yr’s 302 cautions are probably the most complete cautions since 2014. That’s regardless of solely 73 deliberate cautions, the fewest since stage racing began.
The 2022 season had 43 extra complete cautions relative to 2021, and 57 extra pure cautions than final yr. That’s probably the most pure cautions since 2016.
Warning classification is subjective. Clearly, a automotive spinning is a spin and automobiles colliding is an accident. But when a automotive spins after which hits one other automotive, is it a spin or an accident? If an accident occurs at a stage break, do you report the warning as an accident or a stage break?
This yr introduced an excellent thornier drawback.
The 2022 season had extra blown tires and wheels coming off automobiles than any season I can bear in mind. NASCAR labeled some incidents arising from blown tires as particles cautions, others as accidents.
To me, a blown tire appears basically completely different from a stray automotive half on the monitor.
The myriad tire and wheel issues prompted me to overview all 302 cautions. I added three further warning classes: wheel points, hearth and tire points.
Tire points had been so labeled provided that a blown tire preceded a crash or spin. Tires that blow due to contact with the wall or flat recognizing aren’t included. If I couldn’t inform for certain that the blown tire got here first, I left the warning in its unique class.
My re-categorization complicates evaluating cautions by class to earlier years. That concern is offset by the necessity to set a benchmark towards which to measure subsequent yr’s knowledge.
The desk beneath compares my breakdown of cautions with NASCAR’s for the 2022 season. I admit that I’m not completely goal, both. However I imagine my categorization higher displays the general nature of the 2022 season.
Essentially the most shocking statistic is the terribly massive variety of spins. Cup Sequence drivers spun between 20 and 27 instances per season between 2016 and 2021. Drivers in 2022 spun 60 instances.
There haven’t been that many spins since 2007, when the sequence recorded 66 spins. That was the primary yr of the Gen-5 automotive; nevertheless, the variety of spins this yr is much like the numbers for the Gen-4 automotive. Followers needed a automotive that was tougher to drive. The spin statistics are a very good argument that they’ve gotten their want.
Drivers in accidents, spins and stalls
I deal with accidents, spins, and stalls as a single class due to the questions on differentiating between them. ‘Incidents’ combines all of the spins, all of the accidents and all of the stalls.
And bear in mind: being concerned in an incident doesn’t indicate that driver brought about the incident.
The graph beneath exhibits all drivers with 12 or extra incidents throughout the 2022 season.
Bear in mind additionally that this rely doesn’t embrace wheel or tire points. A driver crashing as a result of a tire blew is basically completely different from an accident or spin.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ross Chastain had been concerned in probably the most incidents in 2022. Each drivers had 15 accidents. Stenhouse additionally had two spins and a stall, whereas Chastain had three spins. Stenhouse led in caution-causing incidents in 2021 with 17 accidents.
Kyle Busch is available in third in complete incidents, and first in spins with seven. For comparability, no different driver had greater than 4 spins.
No full-time driver evaded incidents completely. Justin Haley was concerned within the fewest: 4. William Byron tallied six whereas Aric Almirola and Michael McDowell got here in at eight every.
Cautions by race
The Coca-Cola 600 was the longest Cup Sequence race in historical past when it comes to mileage. Its 18 cautions helped make it lengthy when it comes to time, too.
However longer races supply extra alternatives to crash. A greater metric is the variety of crashes per 100 miles of racing. I eliminated stage and competitors cautions as a result of deliberate cautions don’t rely on race size.
The Bristol grime race’s 14 cautions had been the third highest complete after the Coca-Cola 600 and Texas’s 16 cautions. However the grime race was the shortest race of the season at 133.25 miles.
That provides the Bristol grime race a whopping 9.0 pure cautions per 100 miles of racing. Final yr, the Bristol grime race was additionally on the prime of the record with 7.4 complete cautions per 100 miles of racing.
Bristol’s asphalt race had the second-most cautions per 100 miles at 3.4 The 2 Bristol races are adopted by COTA (3.0) and Texas (2.8).
What about superspeedways?
The one superspeedway race within the top-10 cautions-per-100-miles graph is the second Atlanta race. The autumn Talladega race had the fewest cautions per 100 miles this yr of any oval at 0.80.
However superspeedways declare extra automobiles per accident. The summer season Daytona race featured 46 automobiles concerned in 5 accidents for a mean of 9.2 automobiles per accident. Some automobiles had been concerned in a number of accidents, which is why the overall variety of automobiles in accidents is bigger than the variety of automobiles racing.
The autumn Talladega race is available in second when it comes to wreckage per accident with a mean of 8.0 automobiles. The spring Talladega race ties with the Bristol asphalt race. Each had a mean of seven.0 automobiles per accident.
Highway America had the fewest cautions of any race in 2022. With solely two stage-break cautions, Highway America had 0.0 pure cautions per 100 miles. Sonoma had 0.72 pure cautions per 100 miles and the Charlotte Roval 0.78.
We usually use cautions as a proxy to rely accidents and spins. The issue is that not each incident causes a warning — particularly at street programs. There have been seven cautions for wheels coming off automobiles, some wheels got here off on pit street. Some drivers limped their automobiles again to the pits after shedding wheels.
And there have been much more spins that didn’t convey out cautions.
Subsequent week, I’ll inform you all about these.