Monday, July 11, 2016

The Iowa Scorecard -- 2016

Hey there Internet, it's Guido here again with another Scoring Indy update. If you were waiting a long time for numbers from Road America (I told you why here), then your antidote has arrived! The Verizon IndyCar Series ran the Iowa Corn Indy 300 LAST NIGHT, and I've got the scorecard in under 24 hours. That's really good for me, and it's good for you too. Here it is:

The Scorecard

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedR.R.P.Race ScoreIndex

Quick Hits

- First Quick Hit: Newgarden dominates! This is (by any of our metrics here at SI (I think I'll keep using those initials, there's no other major sports information outlet with that acronym, right? No? SIndy? I like SIndy)) the most dominant drive we've seen all season. Best Race Score -- Check. Best Happiness Index -- Check. And, here's the thing. I know for a fact that we shot low! Newgarden's R.R.P. was 1.78. That's his average running position in a sample of 40 laps. Newgarden led 36 of those laps, which is 90%. However, Newgarden actually led 94% of the race. Mathematically, his R.R.P. is worse than his A.R.P. I know it is, and if his Average Running Position ever gets released, I'll try and generate his "true" Race Score. UPDATE: Newgarden's ARP was released. It was 1.37, making his "true" Race Score 98.95 and "true" Happiness Index 32.29.

- Cross-Promotion: When I want to read excellent blogsmanship in the area of IndyCar racing, I go read Oil Pressure. I've read that blog since before I started my own. George Phillips expresses his opinions eloquently, and is much more timely with his posts than Yours Truly. Anyway, one thing I really like about Oil Pressure is the poll at the end of each post. (I'm trying out a poll at the bottom of this post myself.) This week in his reactions to Iowa post, George asked whether James Hinchcliffe, Alex Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Mikhail Alesin, or Will Power had the best non-Newgarden weekend. Well, Happiness Index is here to help. The answer is Hinchcliffe, not close. Now, you can add in non-race factors like Pagenaud's points lead, but I think it is safe to say that Hinch should be second-happiest with his drive, after Newgarden.

- Controversial Opinion Time / Index MVPs: The Index MVPs (drivers whose Happiness Indices tell us the most) are Will Power and Scott Dixon. Power and Dixon had similar races, starting outside rows 4 and 5, respectively. Each had an R.R.P. between 4.6 and 5.6 (ie within one position). And, finally they both led an inconsequential number of laps. (Dixon is scored as leading lap 250, which occurred during a yellow-flag stop. Josef Newgarden both entered and exited the pits first, but because Dixon's pit was AFTER the start/finish monitor and Newgarden's was BEFORE, car #9 is considered to have "completed" the lap first, even though an observer would say that Newgarden never lost the lead.) Anyway, Power and Dixon received similar Race Scores: 67.31 and 68.60, but the metrics put Dixon much further ahead with an Index of 7.99 to Power's 3.67. So, numbers-wise, Dixon had the better day. I say controversial opinion, because eye-test wise, Power's run to the second step of the podium in the closing laps was impressive. If I hadn't already devised my poll-testing poll for this week down at the bottom of the post, I'd put up a poll about this question: who really had the better race. Expect future polls to be more like that.

Stay Tuned

So, that's all for this week. With Toronto coming up on Sunday, there will be plenty more numbers to get to soon! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter @ScoringIndy, and vote in my fun poll! It's right down there!

I'll see you out there!

-- Guido

The weekly Scoring Indy poll question will... free polls

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Road America Scorecard -- 2016

Hey there Internet!! I'm back! Sorry for the delay with posting these scores from the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America in beautiful Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (I'm biased, I know). But, I was out of town and out of touch with the whole of the internet from June 26 through like Sunday, so I think I've done a really good turn around here actually. We'll be back to normal turn around speed after Iowa. But, let's get to the numbers.

The Scorecard

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedA.R.P.Race ScoreIndex

Quick Hits

- First Quick Hit: I haven't ACTUALLY watched this race yet. During one of my brief bouts of internet access during the week I was gone, I downloaded the radio podcast on the IndyCar app (love that feature), so I've experienced the race, but I still haven't had the 3 hours to get my actual eyeballs upon it. I will. I promise. Now, on to racing related hits.

- #Overlordsmanship: Will Power just Will Power-ed all over this race. The level of dominance that this race sounded like Power displayed was the unbeatable sounding aura that I remember from him during his run of second-place series finishes from 2010-2012 (which for me felt more dominant than his series win in 2014). The level of impressive that this race was is evidenced by Power's 30.39 Happiness Index, a fun new stat here on ScoringIndy that I'll keep promoting all Quick Hits long.

- ECR's Big Day: I wasn't terribly bullish on Ed Carpenter Racing going into the weekend. Spenser Pigot has had decent races index-wise since joining ECR as "Twisty Ed" (my nickname for the revolving door of road course ringers that run the 20 car when it must turn right. Ed Carpenter, like Derek Zoolander is not an ambi-turner). However, Pigot's time as Twisty Ed hasn't generated much in the way of finishes. Josef Newgarden, on the other hand, was coming off of breaking himself in Texas. I didn't if know he would "have it" this weekend, and qualifying seemed to prove me right. Pigot and Newgarden, however, conspired to prove me wrong in the race, with Top 10 finishes and Indices in fairly appreciable positive numbers.

- Index MVP: The Index MVP from this race, that is the driver whose Happiness Index best helps explain his race is Conor Daly. Daly had the race of his year: running up front without the help of some of Dale Coyne's spectacular strategery (Will Ferrell says it best: here). This time, it was all Daly. He qualified high. He ran high. Then, late in the race he got optimistic (again, haven't actually seen it yet) and got his race cut short. Thus, he landed a Race Score of 8.39. Now, normally, I would have no idea what to make of an 8.39. It looks bad. And, it is bad. He finished P21 after all. But, here's where Happiness Index comes into play. That 8.39, while being a bad Race Score, is actually 2.33 over the baseline for that position. So, while Daly did finish second to last, the numbers tell us it was a quite good second to last.

Stay Tuned

Well, that's all the trouble I'm going to get into this week. How do you all like the way that I'm displaying the Index column? Does the green work for everyone? Should I be doing something else to make good and bad Indices stand out? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @ScoringIndy. Until next time, enjoy the racing. I'll be back after Iowa with a scorecard, and maybe some number dives in the near future.

See you out there!

-- Guido