Monday, April 14, 2014

Scoring the Chaos -- Long Beach 2014

Hello Internet! It's Guido here with your Race Scores from the 2014 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. That was one crazy race, so let's see what kind of sense we can make out of it. Here goes:


Long Beach 2014 Scores

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedA.R.PRace ScoreRSWC Points
1Conway173809.6478.5910
2Power140807.3873.378
3Munoz110808.3064.785
4Montoya1608010.7165.636
5Pagenaud60809.7549.64
6Aleshin2008014.8659.624
7Servia1208011.3550.221
8Andretti80809.7843.80
9Saavedra2238015.4454.243
10Huertas2108012.9352.282
11Castroneves908010.4935.53
12Dixon722808.5341.74
13Rahal2307915.0043.13
14Bourdais307713.2214.18
15Hawksworth50779.8718.80
16Wison1006411.3419.31
17Briscoe1806020.3515.20
18Kanaan1305514.3813.30
19Newgarden41554.4912.03
20Hunter-Reay151551.2024.19
21Hinchcliffe20553.156.20
22Sato1505517.042.86
23Kimball1904112.886.74


Observations

- File this under "Something You Don't See Every Day" The three best Average Running Positions in finishing positions 19-21.

- Looking at the top couple of Race Scores, you can see that we're hanging out in the 70s this time around. The 70s usually means excitement and/or chaos. True on both counts.

- Is Jack Hawksworth Marco Andretti circa 2011? He clearly has both speed and guts, but not results. If some results ever show up, you can say that you heard it here first.

- I'm not sure if the results from this one reflect the depth of the IndyCar field, or if they reflect the chaos inherent in much of street racing. We'll see if Aleshin, Servia, Saavedra, and Huertas are scoring RSWC points, as we move to road courses and ovals. That'll go a long way toward providing an answer.


Prediction Review

#TGPLB40 Prediction 1) (We're running this one back from last week) Hawksworth is the highest finishing rookie in the race.

VERDICT - No. No. A thousand times no. Hawksworth got underneath (literally) Josef Newgarden, and finished 3 laps down. 0 for 1 (and I'm no longer sure that Jack can come to my birthday party...)

#TGPLB40 Prediction 2) Mike Conway (Destroyer of Worlds) scores RSWC points.

VERDICT - Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! Conway destroys ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS, and gets lucky vis a vis avoiding trouble and Scott Dixon needing fuel, and gets all the points! 1 for 2.

#TGPLB40 Prediction 3) I'll take Newgarden or Bourdais to win. As usual, you get the field.

VERDICT - Bourdais ran near the front early, but couldn't manage to stay on course. Newgarden could definately have won, but got punted by RHR. 1 for 3.

- #TGPLB40 Prediction 4) Two cars from Andretti Autosport finish higher than any Penske or Ganassi.

VERDICT - This was definitely possible. Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay were major contenders. Look at their Average Running Positions. But, as I noted above, RHR punted Newgarden and Hinchcliffe got collected. This makes me 1 for 4. Ugh. (Maybe Ryan Hunter-Reay shouldn't be invited to my birthday party either...)

- One Last Thing -- I'm clearly being mocked by the entire nation of Columbia. After predicting that the Yellow, Blue, and Red would claim points in the Race Score World Championship at St. Pete, I backed off for Long Beach. Then ALL FOUR COLOMBIANS tally points this race. I am really bad at predictions...


RSWC Update

Here's the updated points table for the Race Score World Championship:

DriverPointsDifference
Power18--
Conway10-8
Castroneves8-10
Montoya6-12
Hunter-Reay6-12
Munoz5-13
Pagenaud5-13
Aleshin4-14
Dixon4-14
Saavedra3-15
Wilson3-15
Huertas2-16
Newgarden2-16
Servia1-17
Sato1-17

- You'll see that the only driver, who has scored points in both races, is Will Power. Note that three point-scorers from St. Petersburgh were taken out in the RHR-Newgarden melee (Hunter-Reay, Newgarden, and Sato).

- This gives Will Power a dramatic lead in the RSWC. In fact, the only two drivers who could catch him in one race are Helio Castroneves and Mike Conway, Destroyer of Worlds.

- That large points gap leaves the points table as a somewhat sub-par indicator of performance so far. So, let's take a look at the Average Race Scores for 2014:

DriverAverage Score
Power82.76
Pagenaud55.13
Castroneves53.52
Servia*50.22
Dixon49.33
Montoya47.03
Aleshin44.73
Conway44.03
Hunter-Reay43.91
Saavedra43.06
Rahal39.07
Wison38.07
Munoz37.52
Newgarden33.97
Huertas32.20
Kanaan29.66
Sato28.57
Briscoe26.25
Bourdais21.91
Andretti18.20
Hawksworth9.44
Kimball8.06
Hinchcliffe7.65
*Denotes running an incomplete schedule.

- This is slightly more helpful. It shows that Will Power has had two VERY good races (but, we knew that already), and also that Hawksworth, Kimball, and Hinchcliffe have had two real disappointments.

- Surprised to see Juan Pablo Montoya so high initially. We'll see if he has more St. Pete-like or more Long Beach-like days in the future? Along with that, is Aleshin really that good, or does the small sample size plus the chaos at Long Beach benefit his average for the moment?

- Newgarden is probably better than a 33.97 at this point in his career.

- Rotten luck for Kimball and Hinchcliffe so far. A couple of race winners from last year that are averaging single-digit scores right now. That's the definition of stumbling out of the gate.


Chase for My Heart

This was not a great week for the drivers in the Chase for My Heart. In a 23-car field, positions 16-23 were occupied by drivers vying for my affections. I'm not sure if I should be personally offended by this, but I will say that the guest list for my birthday party is rapidly shrinking. But, enough negativity, here's how the Chase for My Heart shook out for Long Beach:

ChaserLBH (Race Finish)
Power2
Munoz3
Pagenaud5
Andretti8
Castroneves11
Dixon12
Rahal13
Bourdais14
Wilson16
Briscoe17
Kanaan18
Newgarden19
Hunter-Reay20
Hinchcliffe21
Sato22
Kimball23
Key:BEST
SAFE
ELIMINATED

- Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Sato, and Kimball are officially out.

- So, this leaves us with the following twelve drivers still alive to be my new (and completely arbitrary) favorite driver: Will Power, Carlos Munoz, Simon Pagenaud, Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais, Justin Wilson, Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan, and Josef Newgarden.

- Also, it appears that there is some justice in the universe. Hunter-Reay's punt of Newgarden puts RHR out of the Chase, while Newgarden sneaks past in the twelfth spot.

- Be sure to follow all of the Chasers in action on April 27 at the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama. I'll be cutting the field down from 12 to 8 after the race. This time, the deciding factor will be Average Running Position. I need a favorite driver who can put the car up front and keep it there. Or, put it up front and get crashed, whichever the case may be.


Stay Tuned

Well, that's all the trouble that I'm going to cause this week. I'm about to hit major "radio silence" for Holy Week. So, I'll sign off, as I said on Friday, by wishing you all a Blessed Easter (slightly early) and/or a pleasant weekend. I'll see you again before Barber!

-- Guido

Friday, April 11, 2014

Long Beach Preview

Hello Internet! It's Guido, coming back to you with another Scoring Indy update! This week we prepare for the Grand Prix of Long Beach, by taking a glance at last year's numbers, and how things look to shape up for the weekend ahead. Let's jump to it!


Long Beach 2013

Here's how things looked last year:

FinishDriverQualifyingGridLedCompletedRace Score
1Sato44508086.81
2Rahal111108064.81
3Wilson252408086.11
4Franchitti11278055.76
5Hildebrand121208055.56
6Servia181808062.96
7Andretti262508073.15
8Pagenaud171708053.70
9de Silvestro201908054.63
10Castroneves6608025.93
11Dixon272608060.19
12Jakes131308031.48
13Newgarden161608033.33
14Beatriz232208041.67
15Bourdais151508024.07
16Power33280-0.60
17Vautier192708031.48
18Carpenter242308028.70
19Tagliani222107921.24
20Kanaan88078-6.85
21Kimball99078-8.70
22Viso1010053-3.61
23Allmendinger1414051-1.37
24Hunter-Reay22149-17.16
25Conway55038-12.04
26Hinchcliffe77034-11.25
27Saavedra2120011.70


Observations

- These scores were produced by my Old Formula, which did not account for average running position. I haven't inputted everything necessary to re-score the race yet. This means that they won't be apples-to-apples with this year's numbers or with the numbers from St. Pete (either in 2013 or '14). This will also be the case at Barber unless I get that inputting done.

- These numbers can tell us a few things, however. Here are some tweet-length capsules:

Wilson -- Front to back in 2013. Can he qualify better? Where will he run? Podium certainly possible.

Sato -- Speed is there, just like St. Pete. Can he harness it? Will the strategy work like last year or last race? No attack, no chance...

Rahal -- A rare podium in 2013, how will the new team members put it together this time. Last week wasn't great.

Servia -- 4 of last 5 at Long Beach were Top 10. Late start to the season. Will he unload fast, or have to find it on the track? Could be a surprise.

Dixon -- 1 Top 10 here EVER. I don't expect it to change, but I didn't expect him to be good Round 1 either. Can the 2013 champ hang around the top?

Power -- Was 2013 the exception? Was St. Pete the exception? Will we see the dominant Power of old? I think so, but I've been wrong before.

Have another favorite driver that you want a 160-character preview of? Just tweet me @ScoringIndy and let me know.


Chase for My Heart

This is also the first round of the Chase for My Heart, wherein I pick a new (and VERY arbitrary) favorite driver before the green flag flies at the Indy 500. At Long Beach, we'll go from 16 Chasers down to 12, and I'll make that decision based on where they finish the race. I know, I'm all about not placing too much of a premium on finishing position, but you have to keep your car in the top half of the field to win me over. So, your Chasers are:

- Will Power
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Helio Castroneves
- Scott Dixon
- Simon Pagenaud
- Tony Kanaan
- Takuma Sato
- Justin Wilson
- Josef Newgarden
- Ryan Briscoe
- Sebastien Bourdais
- Graham Rahal
- Carlos Munoz
- James Hinchcliffe
- Charlie Kimball
- Marco Andretti

I'll be keeping a close eye on these drivers throughout the race on Sunday. Of course, this is a solid majority of the field, so I guess I'll just be keeping a close eye on the race on Sunday.

Easter Announcement

Finally, I'm sure that many (most? almost all?) of you know that Sunday, April 20 is Easter this year. I think many (though probably less) of you also know that I'm a Lutheran pastor. That means that during Holy Week, I don't have a lot of free time. I'll still try to post the Race Scores from Long Beach early in the week, and give you quick updates on the RSWC and the Chase for my Heart, but there probably won't be a post going up on Good Friday. I hope you all have a blessed Easter; and if that's not your thing, I hope you have a nice weekend. I'll be fully back in the saddle on April 25, getting us all up to speed for the Grand Prix of Alabama.


Stay Tuned

Be sure to follow me @ScoringIndy on Twitter. I'll be posting Race Predictions after qualifying. Twitter will also probably be the easiest way to reach me with questions/comments during the next week. I'll see you back here soon with Race Scores. See you then!

-- Guido