Motorsport News

2023, a Year of Late Cautions Turning Cup Races Upside Down

2023 Cup Phoenix I racing - William Byron, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Stewart-Haas Raicng Ford (Credit: NKP)

Different Race, Same Story

  • Three of the first four races of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season have ended in overtime.
    • The Daytona 500, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and now Phoenix Raceway last Sunday (March 12).
  • 2023 joins 2006 as the only other two seasons to have three overtime finishes in the first four races.
  • Every driver that was leading at the scheduled distance ultimately went on to lose the race in overtime.
    • Kyle Busch at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Larson at Las Vegas and Phoenix.
    • Kevin Harvick had the field covered at Phoenix until a caution with 10 to go, but it was Larson out front when the final caution came out with three to go.
  • It’s the second straight race where William Byron took the lead in overtime and went on to win. He won both races after restarting second.
    • Larson got the short end of the stick for the second week in a row after leading at the end of regulation. He lost the lead on pit road at Las Vegas and was passed by Byron on the final restart at Phoenix.
  • Harrison Burton’s spin with 10 laps to go at Phoenix ended a 108-lap green flag run. Aric Almirola’s crash with four laps to go at Las Vegas ended a 75-lap green flag run.
    • Harvick and Larson had their respective races won with near-insurmountable leads in the closing laps, but a late caution doomed both of their chances.

Phoenix by the Numbers

506: The number of laps that Hendrick Motorsports has led in the last two races.

  • 241 at Las Vegas, 265 at Phoenix.
  • That represents 86.1% of the 588 laps run in the last two weekends.

378: The number of laps that Harvick has led in the Cup Series since the start of the 2021 season.

  • That number is less than a quarter of what he led in 2020 (1,531).
  • He led 36 on Sunday. After being the only car to pass the dominant Hendrick duo of Larson and Byron, will 2023 see Harvick return to the top of the scoring pylon more often?

90%: The all-time winning percentage of Cup drivers leading 200-plus laps at Phoenix heading into last weekend.

  • Nine of the 10 went on to win the race. Busch, who finished third after leading 237 laps at Phoenix in November 2012, was the only loser.
  • The extra laps left Larson with 201 laps led on the day, making last weekend only the second time ever where a driver failed to win after crossing that mark.

30%: Larson’s winning percentage when leading 200-plus laps in a Cup race.

  • Larson won dominant performances at Charlotte Motor…

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