NASCAR at Richmond Jul 30, 2023; Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick (45) and NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (8) start the Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway found a lack of cautions all day. The only caution that wasn’t caused by a stage break was when Daniel Suárez spun with ten laps to go.

The lack of cautions was one thing, but something happened that made the Cook Out 400 so historic it never happened before in NASCAR Cup Series history.

In a stat provided by Joseph Srigley, the last-place car finished five laps down. B.J. McLeod finished 36th, and with McLeod’s finish, it’s the closest an entire field finished. Meaning that the last-place car has never finished more than five laps down in Cup Series history.

There are a few reasons why this is so notable and historic. For one, Richmond is only a .75-mile short track. McLeod finishing five laps down meant he was about four miles behind winner Chris Buescher. It would be one thing if last place finished five laps down at a bigger track, but it happening on a short track was more impressive.

The lack of cautions could have helped or hurt the chances of everyone finishing within five laps of the leader. A lack of cautions causes the field to spread out. By the end of the race, 19 cars finished on the lead lap; the only reason why so many cars finished on the lead lap was that many drivers stayed out on the last caution and took a wave around. On the other hand, a lack of cautions also meant a lack of crashes and mechanical troubles. Suárez could continue after his spin, and the other two cautions were stage breaks. The attrition rate was nil, and everyone could race without much issue.

Ultimately, it was a perfect combination of cautions to bunch people up without anyone falling out of the race, and the Next Gen car which kept everyone close. Who knows if this will ever happen again, but if it does, it might happen at one of the road courses coming up in the next few weeks.


About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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