Yes, you read that headline correctly. Last Sunday’s amazing 500 mile race at the Auto Club Speedway featured 2,537 on-track passes for position. That’s more than 10 moves per 33 second lap!
This incredible situation came about because officials mandated an increase in downforce prior to the race. The idea was to make cars easier to drive but the result was that everyone got bunched together like cyclists in a peloton. Drivers regularly found themselves four or five wide coming down the back straight and there was never a moment for them to relax.
Although it can be thrilling to watch, pack racing like that puts the drivers at greater risk of a massive chain-reaction accident and plenty of them were unimpressed. Safety concerns are likely to ensure that downforce settings are tweaked to prevent a repeat so the new record of 80 lead changes in one race might stand for some time.