296 cautions in 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
A lot of questions surrounded the NASCAR racing world heading into the new season. Stage racing and a new playoff bonus format were introduced to the sport.
How would that effect the caution rate?
In both negative and positive ways. Caution numbers are up in comparison to the previous racing season. Overall, the number of yellow flags increased by 10%. Each race featured an average of 8.2 cautions.
However, debris caution number are down, significantly.
Yellow Flag Numbers
Debris Caution Numbers
Since the introduction of stage racing in 2017, debris cautions have dropped by 58.9%. You can find the reason for that in several forms.
One, the two stage cautions gave NASCAR a free opportunity to clean the track in 2017. An opportunity that was less frequent during the 2016 season.
Two, stage racing is the replacement for the phantom debris caution. In the past, NASCAR has been regularly critiqued for throwing cautions for debris that only NASCAR officials could see. A ‘bunch up the field’ caution, per say. Now, with the introduction of stage racing, the field is bunched, by default.
Both the 2016 and 2015 season lacked stage racing.