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Dr. Diandra: What loop data can — and can’t — tell us about passing NASCAR weekend schedule for Texas Motor Speedway Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Red Farmer: Still racing — and winning — at almost 90 years old NASCAR viewer’s guide for Texas Motor Speedway

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Drivers expressed a strong opinion about the patency of the Next Gen car after Bristol. Kevin Harvick as well as Denny Hamlinamong other things, he considered that the car made it too difficult to overtake.

Brad Keselowski agreed that it was difficult to pass, but believed that it supposed be heavy.

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The passing complaints surprised me. NASCAR cycle data reports 2,690 green flag passes at the fall 2022 Bristol race. That’s 980 more than the 1,710 green flags registered at last year’s autumn Bristol race.

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So the drivers are wrong? Perhaps their comments reflect accumulated frustration from a long night of so many hardware problems?

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The numbers don’t lie. But they also don’t give up their truth easily.

Cyclic data

Each car carries transponder which emits a signal unique to that vehicle. Wire loops built into the track (and into the pit road) record each of these signals. The loops fix the exact position of the car on the track and its position relative to other cars.

The chart below shows green flag passes by race in the 2022 season. Since the races are of different lengths (and the tracks are of different sizes), it is difficult to compare the data.

But super speedway racing stands out because it has thousands more green flag passes than other types of races.

I have always been skeptical about passing metrics on super fast tracks. These extraordinarily large numbers simply tell us that two or three lanes of cars changed positions frequently. It does not measure passing in such a way as to cover races.

What I didn’t realize until I dived into these numbers is that they are not quite what you think they are on other types of tracks.

According to the loop, Chase Elliott made more green flag passes than any other driver in Bristol. But did it really take him 154 passes to get away from 23?rd second?

Although Elliott’s transponder has swapped 154 times with other cars’ transponders, not all of these events can be called “passing”.

I think of a pass as taking a position and holding it longer than immediately. But that’s not what cyclic data is for.

Old school data

NASCAR does not release detailed hinge data. What am I Can access is the working position of each driver on each lap. Using this data, I developed another type of pass metric.

I’ll use Kyle Larson As an example. Bristol is a good race for this type of analysis because there were no green flag pit cycles. Precise counting is confusing enough as it is.

The following chart shows Larson’s running position versus the number of laps. Warning circles are shaded in yellow, although you can probably infer warnings by repositioning.

Scatter chart showing Kyle Larson's position versus number of laps in the autumn Bristol 2022 race.

I explored each segment with a green flag, noting Larson’s positions at the start and end of each segment and how many times he changed position between them. The table below shows the results.

Table summarizing the positions gained and lost for each green flag segment at the 2022 Bristol Autumn Race.Larson started fifth at Bristol and finished fifth. In 420 green flag laps, he made 31 passes and 15 passes. This gives a gear differential of +16, which means that he gained 16 positions more than he lost.

If he scored so many positions, how did he end up fifth? He lost 16 positions during the pit stop cycles. This is not the number of positions he lost on the pit road. These are lost positions, including factors such as the absence of other riders.

Cyclic data attributes 109 green flags passed to Larson. It’s not that one number is wrong and the other is right: they measure different things.

More passable or not?

At this stage of the metric, I am confident in my results only with riders who finished on the lead lap. Five riders accomplished this feat at the 2021 and 2022 Bristol Fall races. I compare their passing data in the table below.

Table comparing Dr. Diandra's passing performance with cycle data for the 2021 and 2022 Bristol Fall races.

My metric shows an 11.9% increase in throughput, while cycle data on the same set of drivers shows a 55% increase. If you think of my passing pass metric and the loop data as a measure of attempts, it shows that this year drivers had to make more pass attempts for each successful pass than they did last year.

According to this indicator, the drivers are right that it is more difficult to overtake.

But they pass.

At this point, it’s impossible to tell if the Next Gen car itself is the limit or the level of competition that has already produced 19 different winners this season.

Welcome to the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Round of 16.

Next up is Texas Motor Speedway, which will host the first event of the second round of the playoffs. In May, Ryan Blaney won the all-star race there.

A dozen riders will continue to fight for the 2022 championship in Sunday’s 334 lap race. The second stage will continue on October 2 at Talladega Superspeedway and end on October 9 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

MORE: Toyota Chief: ‘We cost Kyle Busch a third championship shot’

Chase Elliott leads in points entering the weekend. Below the cut line are Chase Briscoe (-4 points), Alex Bowman (-6) Daniel Suarez (-6) and Austin Sindrik (-7). After the Roval race, the bottom four riders are eliminated.

This weekend also kicks off the Xfinity playoffs.

Here’s a look at the TMS schedule for the weekend:

Texas Motor Speedway (Cup and Xfinity)

Weekend weather

Friday: Sunny and hot. High 97.

Saturday: Sunny and hot. High 97.

Sunday: Mostly sunny. Shower or thunderstorm possible. Maximum 96. Chance of rain 15%.

Friday, September 23

(All time Eastern)

Garage open

  • 13:00 – 18:00 – Series of Cups
  • 15:00 – 20:00 – Xfinity Series

Saturday, September 24

Garage open

  • 8:30 – Xfinity Series
  • 9:30 – 15:00 – Series of Cups

Activity Tracking

  • 10:30 – 11:05 – Xfinity Series workout (US network, NBC Sports app)
  • 11:05 am – Noon – Xfinity Series Qualifier (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 12:35 pm – 1:20 pm Cup Series workout (USA Network, NBC Sports app)
  • 13:20 – 14:30 – Cup Series Qualifier (USA Network, NBC Sports app)
  • 3:30 pm Xfinity Series Race (200 laps, 300 miles; USA Network, NBC Sports App, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, September 25

Garage open

  • 12:30 – Cup Series

Activity Tracking

  • 3:30 pm Cup Series Race (334 laps, 501 miles; USA Network, NBC Sports App, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

The NASCAR Cup Series playoff roster is much lighter than Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Eliminated in the first round of the playoffs Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Bush as well as Austin Dillon.

On Sunday, six Chevrolet drivers, four Ford drivers and two Toyota drivers will advance to the Round of 16 – this group includes three former champions (Chase Elliott, Joey Logano as well as Kyle Larson) and one newcomer (Austin Sindrik).

MORE: NBC Sports NASCAR Power Ranking

It’s a real mix, just like the round itself. After Texas, the playoffs move to Talladega Superspeedway and then Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval for the next race.

Sunday’s 500 mile race (3:30 pm ET) will air on USA Network TV.

Take a look at the drivers to view on TMS:


Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 1st
  • Last three races: 2nd at Bristol, 11th at Kansas, 36th at Darlington.
  • Texas Past: Career Best – 4th

Elliott returned to first place after Saturday’s run in Bristol with a second-place finish. Texas isn’t one of his best tracks, but he finished seventh in that race a year ago, despite starting from behind due to numerous bad checks.

Joey Logano

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Last three races: 27th at Bristol, 17th at Kansas, 4th at Darlington.
  • Past in Texas: Won in April 2014, finished in the top 10 three times in the last four races.

MORE: NASCAR executive responds to Kevin Harvick’s comment

Logano will be the favorite to reach the 1/8 finals, but from the very beginning he has not won a single race …


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