NASCAR Cup Series Cautions and Crashes


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  • Debris cautions down at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway often has been the apex for debris cautions in the Sprint Cup Series - which made Saturday's Duck Commander 500 an anomaly. The yellow flag flew only twice for debris in the 500-mile race - on Lap 136 and 296 of 334 - tying the fewest number of debris cautions at the 1.5-mile oval over the past six years. The April 19, 2010 race was the last at Texas that didn't include a debris yellow. In the 12 Cup races since then at Texas, there had been average of three debris cautions per race, including a high of seven in the Nov. 2, 2014 race. There were four in the Nov. 8, 2015 race. The Texas race kept in line with a trend of declining debris cautions this season. Through seven races, there have been eight debris yellows, with a high of two at Texas and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Martinsville Speedway had none over 500 laps).(NBC Sports)(4-11-2016)

  • Cautions down sharply this season: Did You Notice? ... No Sprint Cup race has had more than eight caution flags all season? The 51 laps we ran under yellow at Martinsville were the fewest for that track since 1996; overall, the number of slowdowns have dropped significantly for the first six events. Total caution flags for the first six races: 2007: 58, 2008: 66, 2009: 59, 2010: 56, 2011: 56, 2012: 38, 2013: 50, 2014: 54, 2015: 56, 2016: 34. It's a 39 percent decline over 2015, green-flag momentum that began with this year's relatively clean Daytona 500 and continued through Sunday's Martinsville race that featured mostly one-car incidents. The drop is impressive considering the numbers through the years have been fairly consistent: six times over the past ten years we've had between 54 and 59 yellow flags during this opening stretch. What gives? It's a small surprise considering NASCAR's new rules package has made the handling package more challenging for the drivers over a long green-flag run; we've seen more people just "lose it," like Denny Hamlin Sunday than we have in quite sometime. But for every self-induced incident, we've seen a sharp reduction in the number of DNFs and also a pretty strong track record by Goodyear (with the possible exception of Fontana). When your engine doesn't break, your tires hold up and your speeds are controlled chances at running a clean race rise significantly.(Frontstretch)(4-6-2016)

  • Some 2015 season caution stats: If the Cup drivers are so good, why do they tend to wreck more than their counterparts in the Xfinity and Trucks series? Well, OK, the Cup races include more cars (43, compared to 40 in Xfinity and 32 in Trucks) and the races are about twice as lengthy. But still, aren't they supposed to be head and shoulders above the rest? A examination of this year's stats show that Cup races were interrupted by caution flags more than eight times at each event - 8.2 cautions per race. Compare that to 5.5 cautions in Xfinity and 5.9 in Trucks. Cup races averaged just under two multi-car accidents per event, same as the Truck Series. Xfinity: 1.4. Here's a look at some facts and figures that race fans - and maybe an Allstate adjuster - would find interesting from the past season.
    • On paper, Daytona and Talladega can appear safer than the other tracks if you only look at the total number of caution flags. The three series ran a combined five Daytona races, averaging 6.5 cautions per race, and not all of them were for accidents. In four combined races at Talladega, the average was 5.25 cautions. However the quantity of flags was overshadowed by the quantity of cars involved. In the Daytona 500, four of the seven cautions were for accidents. Two of those involved a total of 15 cars, and frankly, that's rather tame compared to the Cup Series' July visit, when the three multi-car wrecks involved nine, seven and 11 cars, including the last-lap craziness that was easily the scariest accident of the year. Talladega, which is a shade bigger with a tad more elbow room, was much safer than Daytona in 2015, but it had its moments. The one multi-car wreck at the second Talladega Cup race included 11 cars. Xfinity and Trucks raced there once each, with a combined 12 cautions and seven multi-vehicle crashes.
    • The two old half-milers were hard on the sheet-metal crews this year. The two Cup races at both Martinsville and Bristol were particularly beastly. The Cup Series flagger brought out the yellow 34 times in the two events at Martinsville - 13 times for multi-car accidents. Nine of those were in the Nov. 1 Chase race, with the ninth being Matt Kenseth's famous (or infamous, depending on your tastes) dumping of Joey Logano. But the Cup cars also did much damage at Bristol, with three of eight cautions flying for multi-car wrecks in the late-August night race. Oh, that was an early-evening hayride compared Bristol's spring race, where seven of the 11 cautions (eating up 117 laps, by the way) were for multi-car mishaps.
    • The "Lady in Black" was in a dark mood for the Southern 500 this year. A season-high 18 caution flags flew at Darlington in September. Five were for multi-car wrecks, most others for single-car issues, and two for debris. Only two for debris after all that.
    • By and large, the cleanest races are at the road courses. Between NASCAR's three series, six races were run at road-racing venues, with only five accidents involving two or more cars. The Sprint Cup cars ran at Sonoma and Watkins Glen, with the only two-car wreck involving Carl Edwards and David Ragan on Lap 80 at Sonoma in June.
    • As for ovals, Texas brought out the best in everyone. In four combined races between Cup and Xfinity, there was just one multi-car wreck. The Truck Series was absolutely orderly in Fort Worth. In the first race there in 2015, there were a few spins, but on the second visit in November, the one and only caution flag was for debris on the track.
    See more stats and info at the Daytona Beach News-Journal.(12-8-2015)

  • More cautions in Sprint Cup races this season: NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers have crashed more often this season than at this point in each of the past two years as they continue to understand the new car. Such incidents also have led to significantly more cautions than a year ago and changed the racing. Through 13 races this season:
    - There have been 52 cautions for accidents according to NASCAR race reports.
    There were 29 cautions for accidents at this time last year. In 2011, there were 51 cautions for accidents.
    - There have been 28 cautions for multi-car accidents compared to 17 last year.
    - There have been 68 cautions for accidents and spins this year. That total was 36 a year ago.
    - Ten of the 13 tracks had more accidents this year than in last year's race.
    - There have been 104 cautions this season compared to 73 at this time last year.(See full post at Motor Racing Nework)(6-6-2013)

  • Decrease in Cautions During 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season: The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season had a significant decrease in the number of cautions compared to the previous three season. There were 216 cautions during the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Here's a caution breakdown for the last four years.

    Year 2012 2011 2010 2009
    Cautions 216 278 265 305
    Caution Laps 1,129 1,358 1,325 1,447
    Laps Run 10,442 10,550 10,778 10,492
    Miles Run 13,719.676 14,236.738 14,537.508 14,107.391
    Miles Under
    1,529.952 1,813.507 1,839.510 1,972.568
    Most Cautions in a Race
    2012 - 14 (Kansas2)
    2011 - 18 (Martinsville2)
    2010 - 15 (Martinsville2)
    2009 - 17 (Darlington)
    Fewest Cautions in a Race
    2012 - 1 (Fontana)
    2011 - 3 (New Hampshire2)
    2010 - 3 (Richmond2)
    2009 - 3 (Michigan1, Indianapolis)
    Most Caution Laps in a Race
    2012 - 87 (Bristol2)
    2011 - 108 (Martinsville2)
    2010 - 103 (Bristol2)
    2009 - 73 (Martinsville1)
    Most Miles Under Caution
    2012 - 105.000 (Daytona1)
    2011 - 150.000 (Daytona1)
    2010 - 100.000 (Daytona1)
    2009 - 99.718 (Darlington)
    Race Extended Due to Caution
    2012 - 10
    2011 - 7
    2010 - 7
    2009 - 5
    Races Shortened Due To Weather
    2012 - 2
    2011 - 0
    2010 - 0
    2009 - 3
    Year 2012 2011 2010 2009
    Cautions 216 278 265 305
    Accident 102 139 140 146
    Spin/Stalled 29 47 46 53
    Debris 58 59 49 70
    Oil/Fluids 17 17 16 14
    Rain 3 9 5 12
    7 6 6 9
    Other 0 1 3 1
    (Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports and Dodge)(11-27-2012)

  • Slight Increase In Cautions During 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season: The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season had an increase in the number of cautions compared to 2010, but less than the 2009 total. There were 278 cautions during the 36-race Sprint Cup season just completed compared to 265 in 2010. The 2009 total was 305. All 36 races reached the scheduled distance with seven extended by late-race cautions which set up a green-white-checkered finish. Here's a caution breakdown for the last three years provided by Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports.
    Season, 2011, 2010, 2009
    Cautions: 278; 265; 305
    Caution Laps: 1358; 1,325; 1,447
    Laps Run: 10,550; 10,778; 10,492
    Miles Run: 14,236.738; 14,537.508; 14,107.391
    Miles Under Caution: 1,813.507; 1,839.510; 1,972.568
    Most Cautions in a Race
    2011 - 18 (Martinsville2)
    2010 - 15 (Martinsville2)
    2009 - 17 (Darlington)
    Fewest Cautions in a Race
    2011 - 3 (New Hampshire2)
    2010 - 3 (Richmond2)
    2009 -- 3 (Michigan1, Indianapolis)
    Most Caution Laps in a Race
    2011 - 108 (Martinsville2)
    2010 - 103 (Bristol2)
    2009 - 73 (Martinsville1)
    Most Miles Under Caution
    2011 - 150.000 (Daytona1)
    2010 - 100.000 (Daytona1)
    2009 - 99.718 (Darlington)
    Race Extended Due to Caution
    2011 - 7
    2010 - 7
    2009 - 5
    Races Shortened Due To Weather
    2011 - 0
    2010 - 0
    2009 - 3
    Caution Breakdown
    Seasons, 2011, 2010, 2009
    Cautions, 278, 265, 305
    Accident, 139, 140, 146
    Spin/Stalled, 47, 46, 53
    Debris, 59, 49, 70
    Oil/Fluids, 17, 16, 14
    Rain, 9, 5, 12
    Competition Yellow, 6, 6, 9
    Other, 1, 3, 1
    (Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports)(12-16-2011)

  • 40 Fewer ServiceMaster Clean Cautions This Season: The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season had a significant decrease in the number of cautions compared to 2009. There were 265 ServiceMaster Clean cautions during the regular-season, 36-race schedule just completed compared to 305 in 2009. The number was 56 less than the 321 cautions in 2008. ServiceMaster Clean, well known internationally for its cleaning and restoration services, is completing its second season as the official sponsor of caution periods at the 19 International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks, as well as Dover International Speedway. ServiceMaster Clean participated in 33 of the 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the season (Pocono and Indianapolis are not part of the program). When there was a problem on the track and the yellow flag was displayed, the company's familiar yellow vehicles were dispatched to clean the track.
    All 36 races went the scheduled distance, but two (spring races at Martinsville and Texas) were postponed until Monday due to rain. Only two other events (Michigan2 and Richmond2) were interrupted by a caution for rain. Five of the first nine races were extended beyond the scheduled distance for a green-white-checkered finish, but only two in the last 27 races. See the following charts:

      2010 2009
    Cautions (36 races) 265 305
    Cautions (33 races*) 246 283
    Caution Laps (36 races) 1325 1447
    Cautions Laps (33 races*) 1242 1374
    Laps Run (36 races) 10778 10492
    Laps Run (33 races*) 10214 9960
    Miles Run (36 races) 14537.51 14107.39
    Miles Under Caution (36 races) 1839.51 1972.568
    Most Caution in a Race 15 (Martinsville2) 17 (Darlington)
    Fewest Cautions in a Race 3 (Richmond2) 3 (Michigan1
    Most Caution Laps in a Race 103 (Bristol2) 73 (Martinsville1)
    Most Miles Under Caution (Race) 100.000(Daytona1) 99.718 (Darlington)
    Race Extended Due to Caution (36 races) 7 5
    Race Shortened Due to Weather (36 races) 0 3

    Reason 2010 2009
    Cautions 265 305
    Accident 140 146
    Spin/Stalled 46 53
    Debris 49 70
    Oil/Fluids 16 14
    Rain 5 12
    Competition Yellow 6 9
    Other 3 1

    2010 races interrupted by rain (Martinsville1, Texas1, Michigan2, Richmond2). Martinsville and Texas were run on Monday while Michigan and Richmond were interrupted only briefly, but completed as scheduled. 2009 races interrupted by rain (Daytona1, Fontana1, Charlotte1, Loudon1, Michigan2, Bristol2, Charlotte2) 2009 races shortened due to rain (Daytona1, Charlotte1, Loudon1).(ServiceMaster Clean)(12-19-2010)

  • Sprint Cup Crash and Spin Roundup (after 36 races):
    # of accidents, driver
    1 - Brendan Gaughan, Patrick Carpentier
    3 - Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth
    5 - Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick
    6 - Clint Bowyer
    7 - Denny Hamlin, Scott Speed
    8 - Robby Gordon, AJ Allmendinger, Jeff Gordon, David Ragan, Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart
    9 - Bobby Labonte, Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Regan Smith, Martin Truex, Jr., Jeff Burton
    10 - Ryan Newman
    11 - Jimmie Johnson
    12 - David Reutimann
    13 - Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, the six drivers of the #83 Toyota
    14 - Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Juan Pablo Montoya
    15 - Joey Logano, Elliott Sadler
    17 - Sam Hornish Jr.
    19 - Marcos Ambrose
    (see full story at The Motorsports FanHouse, maintained here since, these are approx numbers)(11-21-2010)

  • Less crashes in 2009: For the second consecutive year, crashes and spins were down in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Not since 2002 have there been fewer on-track incidents in the sport's top series, according to numbers compiled by USA TODAY. The results are surprising, given that NASCAR made double-file restarts the norm during the second half of the season, a move to spice up competition at the risk of additional mayhem. There were 195 crashes and spins during NASCAR's 36-race season (5.4 per race) compared to 211 (5.9) last year - an 8.5% drop and the lowest since 2002 (5.2). A closer look at the facts and figures for crash data from the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season:
    " 83% of drivers who started Cup Series races in 2009 got their cars to the finish line.
    " Accident damage accounted for 97 of the 258 cars (38%) that failed to finish races this season. All but one other non-finisher was the result of mechanical failure. One car was parked.
    " Among drivers who drove all 36 races, Matt Kenseth showed the greatest improvement in avoiding accidents. In 2008 Kenseth was involved in 15 incidents and failed to finish three races due to damage. He logged only four incidents this season and his only two DNFs were due to engine trouble. However, Kenseth missed the Chase for the first time in 2009, even after winning the season's first two races.
    " Not surprisingly, Martinsville Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, the three shortest tracks on the circuit, recorded the most crashes and spins in 2009.
    "NASCAR's longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, was one of three events to record only one crash or spin this season. The rain-plagued race, typically NASCAR's longest of the season, only went 227 of a scheduled 400 laps (340.5 of a scheduled 600 miles). The others were the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway and the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, relatively wide two-mile ovals that mirror one another.
    " According to NASCAR, competition improved. There were 2,272 more green-flag passes in 2009 than there were in 2008 and 38 more green-flag passes for the lead (863-825) this year.
    " Despite an unusually large margin of victory (25.686 seconds) in the second race at Texas Motor Speedway, the average margin of victory in 2009 was 2.003 seconds, closer than the 2.216 margin in 2008.
    " This season, 52% of race qualifiers finished races on the lead lap, up from 48% a year ago.
    " The caution flag came out an average of 8.4 times per race, down from 8.8 times in 2008 and 10.4 in 2005.
    Drivers with the highest total of crashes and spins in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series:
    2009 -- David Stremme
    2008 -- Sam Hornish Jr.*
    2007 -- David Ragan*
    2006 -- J.J. Yeley*
    2005 -- Michael Waltrip
    2004 -- Robby Gordon
    2003 -- Steve Park
    2002 -- Steve Park
    (* = rookie)(compiled from USA Today and see the Crash Database there)(12-18-2009)

  • Less wrecks in 2008: Accidents and spins in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series fell to their lowest levels in five years, USA TODAY database research shows. The taller, boxier, sturdier new-generation car, which began full-time duty this season after a 16-race trial in 2007, was involved in 211 incidents resulting in a caution, according to data compiled from NASCAR race reports. That's a 12% drop from last season and marked the lowest total since 2004, when the 10-race, playoff-style Chase began. Wrecks during this year's Chase also fell 33% from 89 in '07 to 60 this year, the lowest in the playoff's five-year existence. One huge surprise was Rookie of the Year Regan Smith, who had the third-lowest accident rate (12%) and became the first Cup rookie to finish every race. Rookie Sam Hornish Jr., a former Indianapolis 500 and three-time IRL IndyCar Series champion, topped the list with 20 accidents in 34 starts (59%). Drivers with the highest total of crashes and spins in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, according to USA TODAY database research:
    2008 -- Sam Hornish Jr.*
    2007 -- David Ragan*
    2006 -- J.J. Yeley*
    2005 -- Michael Waltrip
    2004 -- Robby Gordon
    2003 -- Steve Park
    2002 -- Steve Park
    See more at USA Today.(12-16-2008)

  • 2007 Crash Data: Accidents and spins soared during the 2007 NASCAR Chase for the Nextel Cup, USA TODAY database research shows. Fueled by a track-record number of cautions in races at Martinsville Speedway (21) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (14), a total of 89 incidents were recorded - the most since NASCAR's 10-race playoff was instituted in 2004 - and a 14.1% increase from last year's 78 crashes and spins. A total of 240 accidents/spins were recorded during the 2007 season, the most since 253 incidents in 2005. #6-David Ragan is listed with the most at 22; then #7-Robby Gordon with 16. #29-Kevin Harvick had the least of the drivers running all 36 races, with 3.(see full story and database at USA Today)(12-20-2007)

  • Passes Double at "New" Bristol: NASCAR's Loop Data shows green flag passing during Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway more than doubled that of the spring race at Bristol - from 991 passes in the spring to 2,147 passes Saturday night. The consensus opinion held by the drivers at the conclusion of the race rang loud and clear: the new surface at Bristol Motor Speedway met - and exceeded - expectations, as the addition of a second and third racing groove greatly increased the number of passes - and thusly, the competition. Take a look at the total passing numbers from the spring and this past weekend:
    2007 Green Flag Passes at Bristol
    Spring, Location, Summer
    184, Frontstretch, 529
    128, Backstretch, 487
    313, Turns 1 and 2, 571
    366, Turns 3 and 4, 560
    991, Total, 2,147
    The 2,147 green flag passes Saturday is a 108% increase over the spring race at Bristol. The individual numbers also grew. Below is a look at the top five in Green Flag Passes at the spring race and the top five this past Saturday night.
    Bristol Green Flag Passes - Spring:
    1. Kevin Harvick, 52
    2. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 47
    3. Jeff Burton, 46
    4. Jeff Gordon, 37
    5. David Stremme, 37
    Bristol Green Flag Passes - Summer
    1. J.J. Yeley, 107
    2. Jamie McMurray, 105
    3. Reed Sorenson, 87
    4. Robby Gordon, 80
    5. Martin Truex Jr., 80
    Kevin Harvick's top mark of 52 Green Flag Passes in the spring would have tied him for 18th with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in this past weekend's race. Tony Stewart, who finished fourth Saturday night and clinched a spot in the Chase for the Cup, gave the new track at Bristol high marks: "Guys were running over each other to pass each other," said Stewart. "It's the most fun I've had at Bristol in my career. I can't give it a better grade than an A-plus."(NASCAR PR)(8-28-2007)

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