Cautions up from last year in Cup, while debris cautions at lowest total in years

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Cautions were up 10 percent this past Cup season compared to 2016, while debris cautions were at their lowest total since 2001.

The results come after a year where questions were raised about if stage breaks would impact the number of cautions in a race and if there would be a decline in debris cautions called this season.

There were 296 cautions this season compared to 269 in 2016, according to race reports for each year. There were 298 cautions during the 2015 season — which did not have stage breaks.

The 2017 season featured 21 debris cautions, a decrease of 58.9 percent from the 2016 season when there were 51 debris cautions called, according to Cup race reports.

With two stage breaks per race, it gave NASCAR the opportunity to clean the track if it needed it. Also, the five-minute clock teams had to repair cars damaged in crashes, and the rule that any car that went to the garage after a crash was done, likely kept some vehicles off the track that would have caused subsequent cautions by dropping parts and pieces.

NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan reported in June that since 2001, NASCAR averaged nearly 63 debris cautions per season, reaching a high of 85 in 2005. He also noted that there hadn’t been fewer than 40 debris cautions in a season since 2001 (there were 27 in the 35 races that year).

Also, this past season had 187 cautions for accidents or spins. There were 181 cautions for accidents or spins in 2016, according to Cup race reports.

There were 1,479 laps run under caution this past season compared to 1,466 laps run under caution in 2016, an increase of less than 1 percent. There were 1,608 caution laps run in the 2015 season.

The Kansas race in May and the Dover race in June had the most cautions this past season with 15 each. The Watkins Glen race had the fewest cautions this past season with three.