The ‘bunch up the field’ caution trend is down
In 1990-2000, NASCAR averaged a debris caution every two races. In 2001, those numbers began to rise.
It peaked in 2005. NASCAR had an astonishing amount of 2.4 debris cautions/per race in 2005.
In 2015, the NASCAR debris cautions went down slightly. That year NASCAR averaged 2 debris cautions per race.
Now, NASCAR is stage racing. It turns out that has also caused a sudden drop in debris on the racetrack.
NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan has reported that only 16 debris cautions have waved in the 2017 NASCAR season. That’s the lowest number since 2000. In the first 25 races of 2000, NASCAR threw 9 debris cautions.
At Michigan International Speedway in June, several drivers called NASCAR out on their continued use of debris cautions. Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr both commented.
“It’s a shame that so many drivers and teams day was ruined by the results of another ‘debris’ caution towards the end of the race today,” stated Tony Stewart after Michigan International Speedway.
Sonoma Raceway was the next race. Stewart-Haas Racing went to victory lane and Tony Stewart reversed his comments. There was a lot of debris on the track, NASCAR ignored it. Tony Stewart then approved the sanction for ‘letting the race play out’.
“It was nice to see that the race actually got to play out,” Tony Stewart stated after Sonoma Raceway.
Since Sonoma (10 races ago), NASCAR has only had 4 debris cautions. So it appears that NASCAR listened to Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr and the fans. Debris cautions are no longer ‘bunch up the field’ cautions.
Instead, debris cautions are for actual debris.
Author: Shane Walters