By The Numbers: Pocono Is Pocono Regardless Of The Package, Sunday’s Race Was Particularly Brutal

“A bad day fishing still beats a good day at work.” – old southern proverb.

A bad NASCAR race doesn’t beat a good day at work when you’re not at the race track. It’s ok to admit NASCAR races are bad when they’re bad. Sunday’s race at Pocono was particularly bad and it’s perfectly fine to say that. FOX, NBC, Sirius XM, and Jim Utter won’t say it but the majority of fans will.

Sunday’s race at Pocono was one of the worst races in recent seasons. The 2019 high downforce package made passing essentially impossible. Here is the loop data from 2014-2019 for the first Pocono race.

Pocono generally consists of long green flag runs which result in green flag pit stops. Restarts also account for a high number of the passes we see on the chart too. Combine those two together and that is where most of the passing comes from, and there’s a problem with that.

With the second most caution laps passing numbers should be up thanks to the restarts, they were not however. In face the passing numbers of 2019 were the second and third lowest in both categories. The best performing package was the 2014 which is widely regarded as one of the best packages in the Gen 6 era. Yet, here we are.

Fans want to see passing over the course of a run. Unfortunately, very few passes were made after the first two to three laps of a restart. Once the field became single file passing was rarer than a Michael Waltrip win. The only person that was passing Sunday was Kyle Busch, like that time he went around the outside of Clint Bowyer in turn four like he was standing still.

Kyle Busch brings up another point. Fast cars are fast cars regardless of the package. The 2019 package was designed to bunch the field up, encourage passing, and prevent the leader from running away. At Pocono, it did the exact opposite. The field spread out, Kyle led by 8 seconds at one point, and passing was next to impossible. The thing is NASCAR knew this was going to happen, drivers even said it going into Sunday. The Xfinity Series ran roughly the same package here last year and the same thing happened. Kyle Busch won that race too, once a car can get out front it’s nearly impossible to pass unless of course, you are Kyle Busch.

The 2019 package won’t work well everywhere. Add Pocono to the list of places it failed out.

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