Richmond Raceway hasn’t put on the most spectacular races in the last handful of years. In
“The Action Track” as they once attempted to call themselves is simply too fast to be a short track. Aerodynamics shouldn’t matter at a “short track” but they do at Richmond. NASCAR’s high downforce package increased corner speeds and made it nearly impossible to pass Saturday night. Don’t believe me? Numbers never lie;
NASCAR’s 2019 Richmond spring race featured the fewest number of leaders, lead changes, green flag passes, and quality passes. That’s not great, some would venture to say that’s actually bad. People will point out that the margin of victory was the closest since 2014 and you’re not wrong. But what’s the point of being close if you can’t pass?
Martin Truex Jr. didn’t have the fastest car at the end, Clint Bowyer did. Except the #14 couldn’t get by the #78. Actually no one could get by anyone when you look at the numbers. Quality passes are green flag passes for position in the Top 15. Saturday night there were only 395 of them, there were 400 laps in the race. A race simply shouldn’t have that.
High downforce killed the racing at Richmond. People will say that it’s an anomaly, that it doesn’t prove anything because every race is different. Fair criticism however when you look at night races in the spring they numbers are relatively close. They’re close enough to know what the standards are. The 2019 version of this race was outside of the standard.
Listen, I saw a lot of people attacking Steve O’Donnell using our original tweet with these numbers. Remember his job is to sell the sport, but also remember that they’re learning about this package at each track like the rest of us. High downforce won’t make the show better at every track, Richmond is one of those tracks.
Next up is Talladega two weeks from now and based on what we’ve heard with this package we could see a ton of passing. Like always we’ll have the table up as soon as we can after the checkered flag.
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