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Showing posts from September, 2016

Power Cleared For Sonoma

Most people figured this would be the case, especially with two weeks before the final race, but now it's official. Will Power was cleared after having concussion-like symptoms and will race in Sonoma.

The important parts about all of this are (a) Power is okay and (b) he can participate in the test on Thursday at Sonoma. That'll not only help us get an early indication of how this final race is likely to play out, but it'll also give Power a chance to find that extra speed he'll need to take the title fight to Pagenaud.

by Drew

Power Needs Pagenaud To Pull a Montoya

There's just a 16 percent chance that the points lead (and championship) will shift to Power in the last race of the year. Pagenaud has looked strong all season leading wire to wire and sits with a 43 point lead heading to Sonoma. That's the fourth biggest lead a driver has held heading into the last race in the past eleven years. Of the drivers who had a larger points lead, only one ended up losing the title: Montoya in 2015.

A Quick Model Update -- 9,000 More Simulations, Please

Our IndyCar Championshipmodel has been updated and will now run 10,000 simulations of the remaining races instead of the previous 1,000.

This will help improve the accuracy of the model, especially early on in the season when more championship possibilities are at play. As it sits right now, there are only two contenders for the championship, so simulating the remaining race 1,000 times works just fine. It's really more of a benefit for next season than this one.

The graph on the site has been updated after running these 10,000 simulations.

by Drew

Championship Update: That's Not What Power Wanted

Watkins Glen was pretty much a disaster for Will Power. 
He got taken out of the race after coming together with Charlie Kimball on lap 38, resulting in a 20th place finish for the Aussie. Not only did the crash end his race, it may have ended his championship hopes too. 
Here's how the odds look with one race remaining. Pagenaud pretty much has this locked up barring a DNF out in Sonoma along with a top-four finish for Power. 

You can read about how our model works here, and the latest forecast can be found here.
by Drew

What If Power Had Started At St. Pete?

If you haven't already read about how we're forecasting the 2016 IndyCar Championship, you can read about it here. Our latest forecast is here.

One of the benefits of having a model is that we can play with it to see how the championship odds would be different if certain events happen/happened. That's what I'm going to be doing today.

Will Power didn't race in St. Petersburg because he had concussion-like symptoms, so he scored zero points in round one. What if he had just (carefully) whipped the car around the track once? Coming in and retiring after the first lap would have put him in P22, securing him eight points. Here's how the championship odds would be different:

Current odds for Power to win: 29.3%
Odds if Power had scored eight points in round one: 32.1
Change: +2.8

What about if the first race hadn't happened at all? That would put Power 15 points ahead of Pagenaud in the points standings right now. Here's how that would change the picture:


Championship Update: Pagenaud's Lead is Looking Strong With Two to Go

After a crazy Saturday night at Texas that saw the win decided by 0.008 seconds, Pagenaud heads to Watkins Glen in firm control of the championship. His title odds sit at just over 70 percent with two races -- both road courses -- left to go, according to our model.

Both Power and Pagenaud said after the race that they were playing it safe out there, trying to avoid losing the championship instead of going out and winning it. While that strategy may be fine for the leader, Power lost eight points to his rival and teammate by finishing four places behind him. The play-it-safe tactic will have to be left behind this week by the Aussie.

Power has a 29.3 percent chance of winning the championship, primarily because of the double points on offer out in California. That ensures that the title won't be decided this weekend.

This leaves the field with a 0.6 percent chance of pulling the ultimate upset.

Oh and for those of you who are looking forward to a championship that will be extremel…

How The IndyCar Championship Model Works

For the past couple days I've been working on a model that gives the odds of each driver winning the IndyCar championship. In this article I'll do my best to explain how it works and what it means for the title race this season.

The Model The basis of the model is the probability of each driver finishing in each position. Using data from the current season, I found what the odds were that Power would finish in first, second, third, etc. I did that for all drivers with a chance of winning the championship with two races remaining. I chose to only use data from this season as a way of 1) accounting for momentum and 2) not diluting the model with data from a prior season when 14 races have already been run this year, which is a fairly good sample size for IndyCar. In the future I plan to include past season's data on a weighted scale, valuing the current season more than recent ones while still including them in the model. 
As you might imagine, not every driver finished in ev…