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Why Was Xfinity at Nashville Such a Cautionfest?

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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Saturday afternoon’s Xfinity Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway was an unceremonious dud in the eyes of some NASCAR fans. The complaints started early as it appeared that the whole race was going to be dominated by Ty Gibb’s No. 19 Toyota. But even he would prove to have no immunity to the real headline of the day: the outrageous number of cautions.

With 11 cautions, which ties an event record, twenty-one of the 38 competing cars in the race were involved in an on-track incident of some kind. This led to a lot of comments online speculating as to why the race was so ladened with cautions. Let’s talk about it.

As seen below, the trouble started early. Before the field could even successfully get through turns 1 and 2, cars went spinning. This first incident collected the heavy hitter, Justin Allgaier in his No. 7 machine for JRM as well as the likes of the No. 29 which triggered the whole mess. It would appear that heading into turn number 1, the 29 car just got loose and slid up the track. This collected his teammate, Ryan Seig in the No. 39. The 7 was collected while trying to miss the wreck.

This next one is (mostly) a single-car incident. It primarily involves Austin Hill in the No. 21 for RCR as he spins and lightly backs his Chevy into the wall. This happened because Ty Gibbs went 3-wide up the middle, pinching the No. 21 to the bottom. From the footage, you can almost see the No. 21 hit the apron, which could have been what got him all out of shape and sent him around.

To compare the incident to the Truck race the night before, Hailie Deegan also clipped the apron which sent her truck around as she, too, backed it into the wall collecting Lawless Allan.

Not even 10-laps in, NASCAR on NBC even poked fun at the ridiculousness that happened on track.

Another big wreck happened 53 laps in, this one taking out race winning contender, Ty Gibbs. The inciting incident for this one would be Austin Hill getting into Ty Gibbs as they battled for the lead. Zooming in on Hill, it would not appear that he clipped the No. 19 of Gibbs, he just drove it in and it wouldn’t stick, sending him sliding up the track. This incident ultimately ended Gibbs’ day and also involved eventually winner, the No. 10 car of A. J. Allmendinger.

As seen in the video below, the No. 98 was all out of shape off the front bumper of Sammy Hill in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. This happened because Riley Herbst of the No. 98 attempted to go where there was no hole. This led to Sammy Smith being forced to back off to avoid a wreck of catastrophic proportions.

Meanwhile, only a few laps later involving the same group, Sheldon Creed in the RCR No. 2 Chevy got into the No. 18 of Sammy Smith. This would ultimately end the 18’s day. Looking closely at the race footage, it would appear that the No. 2 of Creed turned right, hooking Smith who was racing for position on his outside. Think the 2008 incident between Kyle Busch and Dale Jr. at Richmond. By this point, however, fans were pretty sick of cautions so this maybe or maybe not controversial move was lost on the radar. The incident would also collect Brandon jones in the No. 9 Menard’s Chevy for JRM.

The race couldn’t even end properly as yet another wreck occurred Daytona/Talladega style (hmm…maybe Nashville earned its name “superspeedway” after all) as a BIG one took out a majority of competitors coming out of turn-4 on the final lap. This would be triggered by Justin Allgaier sliding up the track and taking much of his competitors with him.

So, what’s going on?

There could be a couple of different explanations as to why so many cautions (or wrecks) occurred in this race. A common criticism I hear is that the Xfinity Series is slowly morphing into ARCA 3.0 after the Truck Series.

While, yes, many of the drivers in the Xfinity Series are not as experienced as our Cup regulars, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to put the blame squarely on inexperience. I live in Tennessee. Granted, it’s upper-east Tennessee, but I was in the same state in which the race was being held. I can tell you that in my neck of the woods, it was sizzling outside and the humidity made it hard to breathe. I can only imagine that down in Nashville, it was even hotter.

Tie in the fact that the concrete surface was baking in the sun all morning and afternoon, one would surmise that it was pretty slick out there. Most of the wrecks above were caused by track conditions and the heat, plain and simple. A driver goes low, expects it to stick, and…there’s just no grip to be had.

The other incidents were due to driver error. Think about the incident which took out Ty Gibbs, Austin Hill, or the almost-wreck with Riley Herbst. The former occurred because Austin Hill clipped the apron which sent him sailing into Gibbs. The latter was due to a poorly-timed, very late block by Herbst on Sammy Smith. These are young drivers and while not ALL of the blame should be pointed towards them, they need to share some of it. The same could be said for the incident between Sheldon Creed and Sammy Smith. If it wasn’t intentional, it was horribly misjudged on Creed’s part.

In The Stands

Brady points a finger on Riley Herbst for nearly causing a crash between himself and Sammy Smith. Yes, that was a bad block.

Charles points out that a number of RCR cars were directly involved in some of the larger crashes of the day. That’s a strange coincidence for sure.

The_Shadow states that the end-game was to break or at least tie the record number of cautions in an event. Well, they did that for sure.

Both Eric Davis and It Won’t End Well For You…(ominous!) echoes the idea that the NASCAR Xfinity Series is becoming ARCA 3.0.

What do you think, NASCAR fans? The race was certainly a slog to get through but why do you think that is? Do you chalk it all up to inexperience or was there something more (the weather?) at play here. Let us know and keep it right here at the Daily Downforce for all your latest NASCAR news and stories.

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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