Not surprisingly, qualifying position affects stage points. But it’s not as simple as the fastest cars that always make their way to the front. Heads of crews powers the race on stage to balance points and track position.
Stage points will be crucial for the eight drivers trying to reach the fourth championship. At least one of these drivers will make the championship race for points.
winning stage 1
The next generation car has upended expectations in 2022, so we should start by asking if previous years’ results are applicable this season.
It scored stage winners between 2017 – when the stage races began – and 2022, along with their starting positions. Drivers who start the race from the back of the field have their own class.
I omitted the Bristol dirt race because it’s very different from the other races, which leaves 210 races in the dataset.
Phase 1 is largely consistent over the years. For example: From 2017 to 21, 62.6% of Phase 1 winners qualified in the top five. In the first 32 races of 2022And the The ratio is 61.3%.
Each slice in the pie chart below represents the percentage of drivers who qualified for the position and went on to win the first stage. Qualifying positions are listed in order, counterclockwise around the chart. “TTB” indicates drivers who started the race from behind.
Fewer drivers qualify for the back stages to win. One driver corresponds to about half a percent. This is not enough for drivers to distinguish between, say, qualifying 11 or 12.
However, the data shows that the eligible drivers in the top three earned 51.4% of the first stage. The top 10 eligible drivers earned 83.1% of all Stage 1 wins.
The driver has won the first stage only once in 210 stages after being sent back. that was Martin Truex Jr. in Michigan in 2019.
Match drivers and crews should be at peak performance for these next three races. Mistakes will be costly in terms of Stage 1 points.
Winning Phase 2
Stage 2, unlike stage 1, varies greatly from year to year. The table below shows the percentage of stage two winners for different groups of eligible positions for each year.
The importance of starting in the top five or even the top ten in terms of winning stage two has diminished over the years. However, 58.1% of all drivers who won Stage Two this year qualified for the top ten.
But while the top 50% of Stage 1 wins came from the qualified drivers in the top three, 50% of Stage 2 wins in 2022 come from drivers in the top seven.
My working hypothesis to explain the changes from year to year is that crew chiefs took some time to become comfortable with strategizing for stage points. Crew Chiefs who are unable to earn decent Stage 1 Points are now more than willing to give up Stage 1 Points in favor of the Center of the Course.
Starting at the back of the pack isn’t as much of a penalty for Stage 2 as it is for Stage 1. 10 of the 210 Stage 2 (4.8%) from 2017 to 22 were won by drivers who started from the back of the race. area. It’s been done twice this year, both times by Ross Chastain.
How does qualification affect winning six or more stage points in stage two
Winning a stage is usually very important due to the playoff point awarded for each win. The final race is decided by the championship strictly by who gets ahead of the other three drivers, so playoff points don’t matter. There is not much difference between winning a stage and earning nine points.
Since we can’t combine data from different years, and there isn’t enough data for Stage Two winners, I looked at how eligible drivers with six or more points in Stage Two qualified.
In 2022, 51% of drivers who scored six or more points in the second stage in 2022 started racing in the top 10. Nine percent of the drivers won six or more points in the second stage despite starting the race from the back of the field.
Effects of the playoff
The table below shows the total stage points earned during qualifying for every driver in the quarter-finals.
Elliot just beats Denny Hamlin and Brisco. Briscoe, who is 3.8 points per playoff sprint average, needs to ramp up his strategy into going into the third playoff round.
Or cement his place in the final by winning this week in Las vigas (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).