By The Numbers: Chase Elliott Won Watkins Glen But Did The 2019 Package Help Him?

Alright I’m a day late on this and people’s outrage has already started to wane but just a few points to make about the 2019 package at Watkins Glen. Take a look at the loop data real quick.

  • Sunday’s race featured the lowest number of leaders and lead changes. Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. were dominant.
  • Stage racing has essentially killed strategy which resulted in less green flag stops. That led to the second-lowest number of quality passes since 2014.
  • Green flag passes in 2019 landed right in the middle of our sample data. Not the best, not the worst, pretty standard for the most part.
  • 2019 also had the second-closest margin of victory behind 2017 which saw late-race pit stops.
  • Building on the MOV from Sunday .454 was as close as Truex could get. The high downforce package killed any attempt Truex made to pass Elliott.

Fans lauded the battle between Truex and Elliott Sunday after the race. Some even called it “great” but the lead never changed hands. Chase Elliott led the final 28 laps, in fact, he led 80 of the 90 laps. Truex led a single lap and that was during a pit sequence. A great battle generally should consist of the two exchanging passes for the lead. Instead, it was Truex following close to Elliott’s bumper because that’s as close as he could get. That’s not “great” racing, that’s just following the leader. Both cars were very equal however Truex likely could have made a pass if the package was different.

Sunday’s race was good but no one should consider it great. Chase Elliott and his team were great but the race as a whole was merely good. And that’s fine, we need good races and Sunday’s race was still better than anything we’ve seen at Pocono, Michigan, and Sonoma in recent years.

Numbers matter, if you were entertained matter. The two aren’t mutually exclusive but both are important.

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