NASCAR’s rain delayed race Monday at Dover produced some of the best racing we’ve seen at the track in awhile. While that’s not saying much it was a turn from what we’ve seen in the past there. Unfortunately Stage 3 happened and any sort of excitement was immediately tossed right out the window.
Stage 1 and 2 at Dover were relatively entertaining. You had battles for the lead. Alex Bowman and Martin Truex Jr. coming from the back. A couple of different strategies. By all accounts the first 240 laps were pretty entertaining by Dover standards which are lower than Holmes & Watson expectations. Stage 3 was exactly what we all expected with this package, a parade.
Here are the numbers, read over them, dissect them, and form your snarky comment.
Positives NASCAR would like to point out:
- Second most green flag passes in the last 6 years.
- Third most quality passes in the last 6 years.
- Most leaders in the last 6 years.
Negatives no one in the sport wants to talk about:
- Fewest number of lead changes in the last 6 years.
- Largest margin of victory in the last 6 years
Breaking It Down
As soon as this was posted to twitter dot com (@ApexOff) people immediately attacked it by pointing out green flag stops and less cautions inflated the numbers. My guys, we know that.
However the number of green flag stops helped a little but look at 2015 when there were 2,278 green flag passes and only 1 more caution. With the same higher downforce package they managed to produce 700 more green flag passes with less green flag laps.
Which brings us to this, loop data doesn’t always tell the story. Last week’s race at Talladega had rather subdued loop numbers but everyone agreed the race was fantastic. Richmond had terrible numbers and people agreed the race was terrible. Dover this week had decent numbers but it certainly wasn’t a great race. Loop data is subjective. We can make it look good when we want it to and look terrible when we need it too.
This package has worked at Bristol, Talladega, and Texas (a little) other than that it has not. In terms of numbers or entertainment. Unfortunately it’s not going to work at most tracks. Higher corner speeds kill passing, facts. Adding more downforce has never made racing better. What we saw Monday was what we expected. Stage 1 had good moments but it exploited the package early with Elliott leading and everyone else running behind. Stage 2 was surprisingly good with the battles for the lead and Bowman/Truex passing people left and right. Stage 3 was exactly what we expected. A parade, a follow the leader line where everyone complained about their inability to pass.
Dover isn’t a great track. Whatever package NASCAR brings to the track generally fails to produce a good show. The 2019 package is just another you can add to the list. A number of teams said it raced like a 1.5-mile intermediate. The Wood Brothers summed it up perfectly:
If you want to look at the loop data charts from every race click HERE
Follow us on Twitter @ApexOff