NASCAR returned to Darlington this Labor Day Weekend for the (sometimes) traditional Southern 500. This race remains one of the most anticipated races on the schedule each year. One for the throwback weekend theme, and second for the flat out nature of racing Darlington requires.
2019 was no different however the package this year changed up the approach to the race a bit. The Darlington of old where running centimeters off the wall was the norm. The new Darlington saw drivers using way more of the apron in the past. Darlington stripes were at a minimum Sunday night because drivers didn’t need to run the wall with this packed and the minimum amount of horsepower they had.
The loop data numbers from Sunday were pretty on par with the previous races here.
Sunday’s race featured the second-lowest number of lead changes (13) and the second-lowest number of green flag passes (2,039). The lead changes bit doesn’t matter as much but this package was promoted as a passing package. Having green flag passes be the second-lowest over the last 6 years isn’t ideal.
The rest of the numbers were rather pedestrian. They all fall within the same parameters as the other numbers in that category. Quality passes are all somewhere in the 700’s apparently that’s just what Darlington does.
Margin of Victory was the largest over the last 6 years for a couple of reasons. There was no late-race restart or even one within the last 30 laps. Then you have Kyle Busch who was under a second behind Erik Jones when he bounced off the wall letting Jones gap he and Larson by over 4 seconds.
Darlington is one of the tracks the 2019 aero package shouldn’t have been used at. 550 HP with aero ducts isn’t what Darlington needs. The track needs high horsepower numbers and nothing else. The Southern 500 is a drivers race. Tire fall off, throttle management, and high horsepower, that’s what makes this race great.
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