By The Numbers: Martinsville Nearly Matches Worst Race Since 2014

Brad Keselowski DOMINATED Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville. The 2012 Champ led 446 of the 500 laps en route to his second win of the year. What happened Sunday could have been an anomaly or it could have been a number of factors that all came together to produce one of the most boring short track races this side of Richmond 2014.

So how did Sunday’s numbers stack up against the previous 5 Martinsville spring races? Not well.

Sunday’s race produced the fewest number of leaders, lead changes, and the second fewest number of green flag passes and quality passes. In layman’s terms, not great.

Did NASCAR’s 2019 package contribute to Sunday’s dud of a race? Potentially but remember Sunday’s race featured the 8 inch spoiler and 750 horsepower, not the lower 550 horsepower with air ducts package we saw in Fontana. Another contributing factor is the tire Goodyear brought to Sunday’s race. They may as well have brought rocks for tires because they didn’t wear at all. Once again Goodyear failed to bring a tire that had fall off in it. A number of teams noted how great the tires looked after 70-100 laps.

Combine those two factors with the strength of Brad Keselowski and you have all the makings of a bad race. Corner speeds were too high, the Top 3 were so equal the only way Brad wasn’t going to win was a bump and run by Elliott if he could get there. It wasn’t as bad as 2018 but Sunday’s race wasn’t one that will be remembered.

The Fix?

NASCAR needs to keep the horsepower at 750 for short tracks, shorten the spoiler and beg Goodyear to do their job and bring a softer tire that will wear. Aero shouldn’t matter at a place like Martinsville but it’s hard to argue it didn’t on Sunday.

2015 was statistically the best race which was the first year NASCAR experimented with high downforce. That package consisted of 725 HP and a 6-inch spoiler. Is that the answer? Maybe. However, 2014 was the opposite of the 2015 package and put in essentially the same numbers.

Or perhaps 2019 was an anomaly like 2018. However, back to back bad spring races is the start of a trend and NASCAR can’t afford to have bad short track races.

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