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Showing posts from April, 2016

Long Beach Win Probability: Pre-Race

Here's the pre-race win probability for the top five qualifiers at Long Beach. The race gets started a little after 4 p.m. today.
Pre Race win prob. for Long Beach:

CAS 24.1%
DIX 12.0
PAG 13.9
KAN 11.1
JPM 9.3 — Single Seater (@thesingleseater) April 17, 2016 I'll be tweeting out live win probability updates throughout the race, so be sure to follow me on Twitter @thesingleseater. You can also read about how win probability (also called win expectancy) works here.

by Drew

How Fast The New Track Record at Long Beach Will Be

There have been two races so far this season, and two lap records have been set. Power ran a 1:00.2450 and claimed the lap record at St. Petersburg, and Castroneves put in a 19.0997 second lap at Phoenix, besting the previous record.

I wouldn't be surprised to see another lap record fall this week at Long Beach. Here's a look at the pole-sitter's speed through the years -- qualifying is usually where the track record is broken.

Dixon bested the previous record by 0.4 mph last year, and I would bet that the record will be beat again this year by an even greater margin. (The new track record at St. Petersburg beat the old by 0.8 mph.)

Expect the new track record to be between 106.9-107.2 mph.

As to who will set that record? My money's on Castroneves or Power, two of the best qualifiers in the field.

by Drew 

A Note About Win Expectancy Early on in the Race

If you haven't read about it already, I've made a win expectancy tracker for IndyCar. Something interesting I came across while developing it...

Below is the win expectancy for the driver in first place at different stages of the race.

You'll notice that the win expectancy actually drops off from the initial 24 percent during the 10-30 percent of the race completed stages. Why would the driver in first be less likely to win the race when 10 percent of the race is completed than when he started on pole (and thus had more of the race left to complete)?

First, I think that the beginning of the race is pretty chaotic and a lot of overtaking happens, so it's pretty easy for the guy who started on pole to get overtaken.

And second (and more likely), if a driver started on pole and knows he has a competitive car, he may not be too worried about leading right away. He'll let the aggressive guy in second place overtake him and then just focus on strategy, conserving fuel an…

Tracking Live Win Expectancy

I've been working on a win expectancy tracker for IndyCar similar to the one FanGraphs uses for baseball. Based on the driver's current position and how much of the race is completed, it calculates the percent chance he will win the race -- using historical data from the 2013-2016 seasons.

It works by finding the win percentage of drivers who were in similar situations in the past. For example, if a driver is running in second place with 60 percent of the race completed, he has a 13.9 percent chance of winning the race. That's based on five drivers in the database (36 races as of writing) being in second place with 60 percent of the race completed going on to win the race.

If a driver has a 23 percent chance of winning, that means 23 percent of drivers in the same situation went on to win the race.

Besides telling how likely each driver is to win the race, it's also beneficial to see which drivers need to make big strategy moves to have a shot at winning. If a driver o…

Vote For the Greatest Driver of All Time (If You Have a Facebook and It's One of These Five Drivers)

The Drive published an article today entitled "We Rank IndyCar's Greatest Drivers of All Time."

It's really just a top five list of the drivers who have the most race wins, so I don't really get it. But anyway, they have a poll setup on their Facebook page where fans can pick who they think the best driver of all time is: as long as it's Unser, Foyt, Dixon, Michael or Mario Andretti.

You can go vote in that poll here.

Five hours in, here's how the votes look:

Driver% of voteFoyt69.7Mar Andretti23.1Unser5.4Mic Andretti1.8Dixon0
by Drew

Did Chevy Really "Sandbag" the IMS Test?

Andretti said after this week's test at Indianapolis that Chevy was sandbagging -- intentionally running slower than they truly could in an attempt to make the two manufacturers look even. The test took place on a cold and windy day, slowing down both the Honda and Chevy cars equally -- so we can't strictly compare speeds from last year to this year.

But we can compare how the leaderboard stacked up with Chevy and Honda at this test against the opening practice of the Indy 500 last year. Honda took the top two places at the open test compared to their high of fourth at the first practice last season.

At this week's test the gap between the third place Chevy of Pagenaud and the first place Honda of Andretti was over 2 mph. The gap between first and 13th place at last year's opening practice was the same. And I don't think the windy and cold conditions causes more disparity among the cars (I could be wrong). Last year's Indy 500 winner, Montoya, ran a 219.102 mph…

Who's On Pace for the Title?

Over the past five seasons, the championship winner has accumulated an average of 569 points. I'll be tracking which drivers are on pace to hit that number by the end of the season. This will give us an indication of who is setting themselves up for a good shot at the championship and which drivers are falling behind. The real winner may have more or less than that this season, but the pace tracker will still be able to tell us how drivers are doing relative to the field. The pace is represented as a percentage of the target (31.6 points per race, adjusted for double points races). 

You can check out the latest pace update here. There will also be a widget in the sidebar (may not be visible on mobile) showing the top performers. 


Championship Update After Phoenix

Dixon took home 53 points from Phoenix last race after leading 155 of the 250 laps. His win, which came under caution, put him in second place in the points -- a five place improvement from where he was at before the race.

Pagenaud's second place finish was good enough to get him to first place in the championship with a four point lead on Dixon. Montoya is nine points out from Pagenaud with 74 points.
Power gained some much needed points (35) after missing the first race, so don't count him out of the championship just yet. The season's still early and there are lots of points left to be earned. That being said, he can't afford three DNF's like he had last season going forward. Every race is going to be important.
Once a couple more races are completed and the standings are less susceptible to drastic change, I'll be including a "one race change" value in these championship updates. 
Here's how the rest of the field shakes out after round two: