When NASCAR announced Stages before the 2017 season it was assumed the breaks would cut down on “debris” cautions. There is a long-standing thought in NASCAR that majority of debris cautions were merely to bunch the field back up not to pick up actual debris. I mean that 3-inch piece of tape really could have done some damage to a car.
In 2017 though the number of debris cautions were down. Not just a little, they were down a monstrous 59%. What a weird coincidence. A mandated caution around the time debris cautions usually happened lowered the number of debris cautions. Hmmm, can’t imagine how that could happen.
The 2017 season featured 21 debris cautions, a decrease from the 2016 season when there were 51 debris cautions called. Just a few less debris cautions that lead credence to the idea that NASCAR was going all Vince McMahon attempting to make the show “better.” Listen, I’m not above debris cautions because they lead to chaos sometimes and chaos is exciting. However, it hurts the integrity of the race and on more than one occasion handed a win to a driver who didn’t deserve to get the flag.
It’s like the NFL saying “we’re going to make the score 10-10, have at it” and then letting the teams play again. It’s not entirely fair but using their mentality the best car or team should still win.
There were 296 cautions this season compared to 269 in 2016, according to race reports for each year. There were 298 cautions during the 2015 season, which did not have stage breaks. Cautions were up this season in part due to stage breaks. With stages, that’s an additions 72 cautions a year, minus the difference in debris cautions is why there were more cautions.
A lot of this is like our government. We’re okay with our government lying to us, they always do. Same thing with NASCAR, we know they’re lying at times. “There aren’t more cautions this year” or “Races aren’t taking longer this year.” Okay fine, but there are numbers to prove this. Stages made races better this year by a small margin, 2018 will be better because teams understand how valuable stage wins will be.
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