Ryan Blaney details why we saw 11564 green flag passes at Talladega Superspeedway
NASCAR has a new rules package for 2019. The cars have more downforce, at all tracks.
And at tracks larger than 1-mile, they also have 200 less horsepower. Yet, Daytona and Talladega were also run without restrictor plates for the first time since 1987.
I get emails from fans regularly. Rarely are they sent with a positive tone. “Get back to old school racing,” the repetitive emails read.
Why? What was so good about the old school racing?
At nearly every race in 2019, green flag passes are up, way up. The stats don’t lie, the racing is better. It passes the stats test and the eyeball test.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday-Monday at Talladega Superspeedway saw 46 lead changes among 19 drivers.
That number doesn’t even surprise me. We saw three wide racing, from start to finish. They were racing hard, the whole race.
I was expecting it to break records. That’s not a record.
But, it’s a record as far as recent history goes. You have to go back to 2014 to find a race with more lead changes. The May 2014 race at Talladega has it beat with 48 lead changes.
Between 2015-2018, the most lead changes in a single race was 37, which again happened in May at Talladega.
Ryan Blaney led the most laps at Talladega Superspeedway. But, it was a low number, only 35 as so many drivers shared their time at the front of the field.
Ryan Blaney on the race at Talladega Superspeedway
What did Ryan Blaney do better than everyone else?
“Nothing,” Ryan Blaney stated after winning at Talladega Superspeedway.
“Last year and a couple years prior to that, it was a lot easier for the leader to block lanes and control the race. Brad [Keselowski] and Joey [Logano] were great examples of being able to control the whole race with being able to air block and things like that.”
“Nowadays, you just can’t do that. There’s no air bubble, to kind of push the leader out front. So, you can’t play different lanes. You’re just trying to push as hard as you can.”
“I know there was a couple instances where we came off pit road first. We were able to just run the bottom and run it pretty decent. I know we led a little bit, but I didn’t really think about that.”
“There was no one dominating this race. You could look back at this whole race, there wasn’t anyone with a dominantly fast car. It was all about the help behind you and the runs that you could get. And where you took your runs.”
“This speedway racing is so tough with the way the cars are now. You don’t see any domination anymore. Which is probably good for the fans right?”
“I mean, you don’t have anybody leading 100 laps of the race. It’s all mixing up. I don’t know how many green flag passes there were. But, there were probably a lot.”
Green Flag Passes: Data
The below information is provided by loop data. That means that it doesn’t only count passes at the start finish line, it counts passes at every scoring loop around the track.
In 2019, both Talladega races saw nearly double the number of passes.
October 14, 2019
Total Passes: 11564
Most Passes: Matt DiBenedetto (511)
Least Passes: Spencer Boyd (2)
April 29, 2019
Total Passes: 10650
Most Passes: Paul Menard (500)
Least Passes: Michael McDowell (50)
October 13, 2018
Total Passes: 6362
Most Passes: Regan Smith (312)
Least Passes: David Ragan (4)
April 28, 2018
Total Passes: 6932
Most Passes: Kyle Busch (345)
Least Passes: Reed Sorenson (5)
“A little bit more wrecks than I’d like to see. But, you’re just going to have that when people are pushing really hard like they did today,” Blaney continued.
“It’s just circumstantial. We just found ourselves in the lead a little bit throughout the race. Then, we were shuffled back to the front.”
“It’s just kind of the way things are now,” Blaney concluded.