Restarts Have Been Unusually Competitive, but That Won’t Last Much Longer

The 2016 NASCAR Cup Series season ended with the biggest statistical disparity in double-file restart retention rates of the last five years, dating back to 2013 when rates were first calculated on MotorsportsAnalytics.com. After three races in 2017, restarts numbers have normalized, but suggest a more competitive landscape.

Cars restarting from the first seven rows in the preferred groove are successfully defending their restart positions 70.71 percent of the time, presently within the usual 70–79 percent range, but also the lowest percentage we’ve seen to date. Meanwhile, the non-preferred groove is proving more amenable to its tenants, who retain position 52.86 percent of the time, up from 48 percent over 36 races last year.

Is this an early sign that the practice of double-file restarts is less imbalanced? Let’s not get too excited … Read More

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