By The Numbers: Michigan Produced The Numbers, Not The Racing

We had to wait an extra 27 hours to see what the 2019 package would look like at Michigan but we finally saw it a little after 5 p.m. eastern time Monday. And folks, it was something.

What we saw Monday was exactly what NASCAR was aiming for with this packaged. Aided by cool temperatures drivers were handed ideal conditions for this package. Unfortunately that permitted cars to run wide-open around the entire track making passing at the front nearly impossible. Numbers show that the package worked. However, numbers mean nothing if fans leave the race unhappy with what they saw.

Monday’s race featured a higher number in both passing categories than any other Michigan spring race since 2014. The number of quality passes (green flag passes in the Top-15) was nearly double the next best performing race. At the end of the day, you always want that number to be higher, passing in the front portion of the field is what fans come to watch. Aided by seven restarts that number was certainly where the sport wants it.

The biggest telling point between was it a good race or was it a bad race isn’t necessarily what the numbers say. It’s how the fans feel when the race is over. Monday’s race showed that passing was very dependent upon momentum and drafting. Driver’s couldn’t follow one another through the corner. We all want drivers to search for lines but with this package, it doesn’t work. Everyone is so dependent on the draft you need to follow the car in front. That really hampered passing at times on Monday.

Passing the leader on Monday was next to impossible. Logano made it happen which was a combination of set up and track position. The #22 car was set up to lead, if he ever got stuck back in 14th he likely would have had a handful. However if he maintained track position like he did then it was easy to stay out front and dominate the race.

Michigan was better than the last few but this package still needs tweaks. Fans are fickle but many voiced their displeasure with what was essentially a plate race on Monday.

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