The numbers are staggering on the reconfigured NASCAR track
NASCAR threw the traditional playbook out the window. That includes the cars and the track, both of which contributed Sunday’s thrilling show, like nothing previous.
View the Atlanta Motor Speedway passing numbers below.
The first Cup race took place on the new track took place on Sunday. Did you miss it? You missed a critical moment for the future of NASCAR. If you saw it, you’re here to confirm the eyeball test.
In the 1990’s, NASCAR built cookie-cutter ovals near major cities across America. One by one, the short tracks were removed, in their place sat near identical 1.5-mile tracks. Just to irritate the hell out of the hardcore race fans.
In recent years, NASCAR has been adding favor to their schedule. They’ve been addressing the issue.
Slowly, the 1.5-mile tracks have been losing race dates for road courses and tracks like Nashville Speedway. The race inside the LA Coliseum back in February highlighted that point. The series also has tentative plans to tear up the 2-mile of Auto Club Speedway, replacing it was a 0.5-mile short track.
Yet, Atlanta Motor Speedway went a different route with their repave. In just a few short months, the track tore up the old asphalt. In it’s place, they narrowed the racing surface and increased the banking from 24 to 28 degrees.
The layout was tested in the digital world of iRacing. In fact, multiple configurations were tested, before ever laying real-world pavement.
Months ago, the track released a video, showing pack racing. The fans were confused and the drivers didn’t think it would work. And it turns out, the iRacing promo video from the digital world was exactly what we saw in the real-world.
Turns out, they have a winner.
NASCAR rules played a part too
New for 2022, NASCAR has the Next Gen car. The chassis and the parts bolted to it are identical from team to team. And even from track to track. The days of teams developing cars specific to each style of race track, are over.
With the launch of the NASCAR Next Gen car, the playing field is as level as ever. And for the first time, NASCAR added a superspeedway package to Atlanta’s rules.
New for Sunday, the cars were fitted with a tampered spacer. That reduces horsepower to numbers similar to Daytona and Talladega (both 2.5-mile tracks). At the same time, they brought a 7″ spoiler, instead of the traditional 4″ spoiler used at the other 1.5-mile tracks.
It’s the first time a superspeedway rules package was used on a 1.5-mile track. It’s designed to make the draft play a bigger role in the race.
A mini-Daytona has been born.
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Green flag passes
And fans were thrilled with what they saw. With the numbers below, what’s not to like?
First, the track set a new record for lead changes. The race had 47 lead changes, at the line with 20 different drivers taking the lead (at the line – traditional data). Both of those are new records for the race track.
Sunday’s race featured a staggering 141 green flag passes for the race lead (loop data). The next highest Atlanta race in recent years came in 2019 with just 35 passes.
6,438 green flag passes for position took place throughout the field (loop data). The next closest back in 2020, featured just 2,966 total green flag passes.
Chase Elliott alone had a race high of 324 green flag passes on Sunday.
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Race Date | Total Passes | Green Pass for Lead
March 20, 2022
March 21, 2021
July 11, 2021
June 8, 2020
February 24, 2019
February 25, 2018
Note: All numbers above are based on scoring loop data.