I don?t applaud NASCAR much these days, but I?ve done a little digging and found something they?re doing right. Despite the obnoxious phantom yellows that have plagued racing, the increase in parity, and expensive liability insurance; the total number of caution flags thrown in a race has steadily decreased over the last 5 years.
Since the first modern-era 36 race season in 2001, the most caution filled season was 2005 with a total of 373 yellow flags. 2009 had 305 yellow flags, a decrease of almost 19%, and the lowest since 2002. This hasn?t been a dramatic change, but actually a gradual decline over the latter half of the decade.
The start of the decade was a different story. From 2001 to 2005, caution flags became much more frequent. 2001 and 2002 had roughly the same number of yellows. 2003 and 2004 were also similar, however significantly higher than the previous years. 2005 represented a huge spike in pace car mileage.
I?m not sure what NASCAR is doing to lower these numbers, but I hope they can get back to throwing less than 7 yellow flags per race again.
There?s no need to take my word on this. All of my statistics came from racing-reference.info. These are the complete statistics from the last 10 years that anyone can verify.