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Showing posts from March, 2016

How important is qualifying position in IndyCar?

Saturday is always deemed an important day in the racing world. It's the day qualifying takes place for the following day's race, and the grid is set according to speed. But does it really matter where you qualify? How much of an impact does it have on the race? And does the type of track matter? 

To figure out if it does indeed matter, I looked up the race winner of every IndyCar race at all tracks the series is heading to this year (2016) and noted their starting position. To start, I only looked at road/street courses because they are harder to pass at than ovals -- I'll be doing the same for ovals later. Making and graphing a histogram for all of the starting positions of race winners produces the following:

Starting from pole position gets you the race win 24.1 percent of the time compared to 12 and 13.9 percent from second and third places respectively. That means that the difference between starting in second and first is a 12.1 percent chance of winning. The increase…

How Our Race Predictions Work

Single Seater will be "forecasting" each race of the 2016 IndyCar season, with win probabilities posted to the site after qualifying is over. These will be up either late Saturday or early Sunday morning -- if a driver scratches from a race, an additional update will be posted.

How It Works Our model is a simple one, only taking into account three variables. I chose a simple model for two main reasons: It's easier to update and keep track of. There aren't 20 different variables I have to gather together to make a prediction, so I can easily post them for each race.There is so much randomness in racing. Crashes, mechanical failures, caution flags -- these can all have a drastic affect on the race, and they're almost impossible to predict. Instead of trying to with a ton of variables, I just skip over it altogether. Also, it helps to distinguish the signal from the noise -- data that isn't very predictive. I've chosen variables that are historically very predi…