I’m doing this one to maintain consistency. The race format was like no other so it makes any comparison nearly worthless, but here goes.
First, congratulations to Kyle Busch on his 60th career win in the Cup Series and his 18th straight season with one or more wins. 9th on the All-Time Cup win list, he now trails Dale Earnhardt by 16 win. His 18 straight seasons with one or more wins ties him with Richard Petty.
Busch, who was critical of Cup racing on dirt, found himself the lucky beneficiary of a slide job gone bad when Chase Briscoe’s banzai move took out leader Tyler Reddick in the final turn of the final lap.
Reddick completed a 360 degree spin, collected his Camaro and almost beat the trailing Busch back to the line. He missed his first victory by 0.330 seconds and had to settle for another second place finish. Briscoe was less fortunate as his Hail Mary move for the win resulted in a 22nd place finish.
NASCAR saw it’s first NEXT GEN dirt 250 lap race punctuated 14 times for 82 laps of caution along with a most untimely red flag. There were 6 lead changes among 5 different drivers with Briscoe taking the point twice. Runner-up Reddick led 99 laps to top all leaders.
Race winner Busch led one lap, the most important one.
The average speed was 34.973 mph… quite a bit different from what we’ll see this coming weekend at Talladega.
Here is how the remainder of the numbers from the race broke down.
Race length-250 Laps
Caution Flags-14 for 82 laps (32.8% of race)
Green Flags-15 for 162 laps (67.2%)
Green Flag Passes-2703 (16.1/Green Flag Lap)
Quality Passes (P1-P15)-901 (33.3%)
%Quality Passes vs %Quality Positions-33.3% of passes in the front 41.6% of field. This means the bulk (1802) of Green Flag passes took place in P16 or lower
Green Flag Passes For Lead-20
Green Flag Lead Changes-5
Lead Changes-A Closer Look. As mentioned earlier, there were six lead changes among five different drivers. The Lead Changes broke down as follows-
1 Caution Flag Lead Change
5 Green Flag Lead Changes
One Caution Flag Lead Change. Since the pit stops for this race we’re non-competitive (how you came into the pits is how you lined up) the Caution Flag Lead Change occurred when Kyle Larson pitted after Stage Two and gave the lead to Daniel Suarez, who chose to stay out during that Caution.
Five Green Flag Lead Changes. There were three Green Flag Pit Stops that occurred on the Restart after the Caution period ended, including a gutsy pass by Tyler Reddick as he shot the gap between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano at the start of Stage 3.
The other two Green Flag Lead Changes occurred when the Leader wrecked or was wrecked from the lead, giving the lead over to a trailing competitor.
In the first instance, Chase Briscoe had a tire go down, spun and gave the lead to Kyle Larson. Everyone knows the other instance, where Briscoe took out the leader Reddick on the final turn of the final Lap.
0 Racing Lead Changes… again. For the second race in a row there were no Racing Lead Changes-Green Flag Lead Changes without benefit of restart or leader turning over the lead due to pitting or wrecking. Once a Green Flag Run got passed the third lap, the fans saw no one pass another driver for the lead. This ties a season low for RLCs.
0-Martinsville, Bristol (Dirt)
Hard to believe… There was so much action. So much excitement and drama or so it seemed. Unfortunately, that’s how the numbers broke down.
The numbers that count
- 3000-the number of Easter Eggs used in the race’s Easter Egg Hunt
- 61.2-percentage of 31,688 voters in the Jeff Gluck “Good Race” who voted “YES” it was a good race.
- 36-number of clogged grills that had to be cleaned out at the impromptu Competition Caution
- 20-reported percent increase in ticket sales over last season’s Bristol Dirt Race
- 10-The number of minutes early the race was started because of inclement weather in the area.
- 4.007-millions of viewers who tuned into Sunday night’s race on FOX. Most watched Spring Bristol Race since 2016 (which had 5.456 million viewers).
- 3-Races in a row without a runaway wheel
- 3-the number of Dirt Races in a row with the announcement for a 2023 Dirt Race. Will the third time be a charm?
- 1-Big bullet dodged when the race was able to restart after being red flagged for rain.
- 0-Punches thrown during the Briscoe-Reddick post-race “meeting”. Briscoe deserved and expected it. Reddick exhibited an immeasurable amount of maturity, grace and restraint in not doing so.
So that’s a wrap on the 2022 Bristol Dirt Race. Ir provided an unexpected finish along with some unexpected numbers. About the only thing that wasn’t unexpected was the announcement we’re going to do it again next year.
On to Talladega for the next phase of the Great NEXT GEN Experiment. We’ve seen how it takes to high banked, short track dirt. Let’s see how it does on the high speed, high banks, big track. Talladega is always filled with its own uncertainty and adding a new car to the mix will only escalate the uncertainty.
Can the Big Track produce more Racing Lead Changes than Daytona or Atlanta? We’re going to find out. The one thing I think we can all agree on-the streak of races with 0 Racing Lead Changes ends at two.
Thunder On… and Stay Safe!
Credits: Nascar.com, Jayski.com, Racing-references.com and Tobychristi.com
Photo Credit (cover); Logan Riely / Getty Images