Friday, May 31, 2013

Indy 500 -- Out with the Old, In with the New

Hello Internet! Scoring Indy is going to be a-humming for the next few weeks here. Tons of race previews. Tons of race recaps. Tons of data entry (wait, that's just me...) But, today I'm going to show all of you why all that data entry is worth it. Here's what the Scoring Indy Score Grid would look like with the Old Formula still in place for the 500:

Old Formula

Race Finish Driver Grid Laps Led Completed Race Score (Old)
1 Kanaan 12 34 200 75.17
2 Munoz 2 12 200 51.48
3 Hunter-Reay 7 26 200 59.53
4 Andretti  3 31 200 51.69
5 Wilson 14 0 200 57.58
6 Castroneves 8 1 200 45.70
7 Allmendinger 5 23 200 43.63
8 Pagenaud  21 0 200 59.09
9 Kimball 19 0 200 53.03
10 Carpenter  1 37 200 31.98
11 Servia 13 0 200 37.88
12 Briscoe 23 0 200 50.00
13 Sato 18 0 200 39.39
14 Dixon 16 1 200 33.58
15 Beatriz 29 0 200 50.00
16 Vautier 28 0 200 45.45
17 de Silvestro 24 0 200 36.36
18 Viso 4 5 200 4.28
19 Power 6 16 200 7.03
20 Jakes 16 5 199 16.43
21 Hinchcliffe 9 7 199 3.35
22 Daly 31 0 198 31.68
23 Franchitti 17 0 197 7.71
24 Tagliani 11 1 196 -3.91
25 Rahal 26 0 193 15.10
26 Legge 33 0 193 22.36
27 Bell 22 1 192 3.57
28 Newgarden 25 0 191 4.75
29 Bourdais 15 0 178 -11.30
30 Mann 30 0 46 6.06
31 Lazier 32 0 44 4.88
32 Saavedra 27 0 34 1.74
33 Hildebrand 10 0 3 0.99

Yes, TK has the best score. Good. He led the second-most laps and won from P12 on the grid. This matters. And, we see lots of good performances (as indicated by an Old Score of 35+). But, there is a lot missing from this. So, let's look at what happens when Average Running Position gets invited to the party:

New Formula

Race Finish Driver Grid Laps Led Completed Race Score (New) RSWC Points
1 Kanaan 12 34 200 79.74 25
2 Munoz 2 12 200 62.05 12
3 Hunter-Reay 7 26 200 69.88 18
4 Andretti  3 31 200 64.68 15
5 Wilson 14 0 200 56.36 6
6 Castroneves 8 1 200 59.11 8
7 Allmendinger 5 23 200 51.79 4
8 Pagenaud  21 0 200 59.27 10
9 Kimball 19 0 200 50.58 2
10 Carpenter  1 37 200 48.93
11 Servia 13 0 200 47.07
12 Briscoe 23 0 200 49.81 1
13 Sato 18 0 200 43.36
14 Dixon 16 1 200 43.94
15 Beatriz 29 0 200 44.54
16 Vautier 28 0 200 43.44
17 de Silvestro 24 0 200 35.58
18 Viso 4 5 200 27.34
19 Power 6 16 200 29.49
20 Jakes 16 5 199 21.96
21 Hinchcliffe 9 7 199 23.29
22 Daly 31 0 198 29.25
23 Franchitti 17 0 197 24.27
24 Tagliani 11 1 196 19.59
25 Rahal 26 0 193 25.25
26 Legge 33 0 193 20.77
27 Bell 22 1 192 18.80
28 Newgarden 25 0 191 8.95
29 Bourdais 15 0 178 6.21
30 Mann 30 0 46 6.38
31 Lazier 32 0 44 4.28
32 Saavedra 27 0 34 3.34
33 Hildebrand 10 0 3 0.99

So, there's the new formula. (We'll get to the Race Score World Championship in a bit...) But, let's take a look at who the New Formula helps and hurts, when compared to the old one.


If you've been following along with the blog the last month or so, you've seen me tweak things and come up with this new formula. If you're not a long-time reader, you can go back here or here and experience the magic for yourself. If not, here's the short description.

- The Old Formula accounted for 1) Finishing Position; 2) Leading Laps; 3) Gaining Positions; and 4) Finishing the Race

- The New Formula keeps all that but also adds Average Running Position as an equal factor to Finishing Position and Gaining Positions.

- The New Formula tends to score higher than the Old Formula. A "good" score with the Old Formula was about 35.00. With the New Formula it seems to be closer to 45.00.

- Beware, numbers ahead! Feel free at any time to skip ahead to "My Honda Theory"


So, here are the people helped in a big way by the New Formula in the 97th Indy 500:

- Munoz, Hunter-Reay, Andretti, Castroneves, Carpenter, Dixon, Viso, Power, Hinchcliffe, Franchitti, Tagliani, Rahal, Bell, and Bourdais

- When I say that these drivers were helped in a "big way," I mean that their New Formula Race Score is more than 10.00 better than their Old Formula score. This indicates that their Average Running Position was better than their finish. A striking example is Alex Tagliani. Things were going VERY well for Tags until lap 168. He lost laps, never climbed out from behind it, and finished in P24. His Average Running Position, however, was 11.58 (better than three drivers, who finished in the top 10).


Here are drivers whose New Formula Race Score is less than 5.00 points better than their Old Formula Score:

- Kanaan, Wilson, Pagenaud, Kimball, Briscoe, Sato, Beatriz, Vautier, de Silvestro, Daly, Legge, Newgarden, Mann, Lazier, Saavedra, and Hildebrand

- Here are drivers, who (mostly, the last four hardly count, since their scores were tiny anyway...) benefited simply by being running at the end of the race. Connor Daly is probably the most striking example of this. Daly ran laps down for good portions of the race (due to being on fire twice in the pits), but was running when the checkered flag waived, unlike say Dario Franchitti, who was helped by the New Formula. Daly finished P22 to Dario's P23 giving him a MUCH better score under the Old Formula, due to gaining positions. Franchitti, however, had an Average Running Position of 14.77, which is far better than Daly's 25.87. Thus, Franchitti benefits from factoring in Average Running Position, and Daly suffers.

My Honda Theory

Enough mathematical minutia. Here's why I think that Honda cars and drivers did as poorly as they did in the 500:

- They can't handle the extra qualifying boost, and qualified too far back.

- That's it. It's that simple. I consulted with Another IndyCar Blog author, Eric Hall (who is my go-to in the blog world for almost everything, but especially technical matters). He told me that the Hondas were (by and large) running low downforce configurations that maximized speed, but don't deal terribly well with dirty air.

- This makes sense if you look at the speed charts. Several Hondas did VERY fast laps.

- So, why didn't that speed take them to the front? Here are the factors as I see them.

1) Andretti Autosport cars were TUNED IN. It is hard to get to the front, even if you're the best car out there when there are cars already up front as good as the Andrettis were.

2) The low downforce configurations just didn't let them move up in traffic as well as they should have.

2a) I feel pretty strongly about 2. It's also what happened to Ed Carpenter. Watch the start of the race again. Ed opens up a lead. No one opened up a lead all race. Ed also said that he was running low downforce. So, good in the open, and bad when shuffled back into traffic. That's why Ed never got back up to the front, and that's why the Hondas never got there in the first place.

3) This leads me all the way back to qualifying. In qualifying and on Fast Friday, the turbo boost gets turned up. We've seen this for two years now: the Chevy cars have dominated those two days. Then, when the boost comes back down, the Hondas look good again on Carb Day. Last year, they were good enough to get back to the front, due to fuel mileage and other concerns. This year, the Chevys were just too good. 

Prediction Review

Let's rip off this band-aid...

#Indy500orBust Prediction 1) Katherine Legge is at least the second best Schmidt car.

- VERDICT - Nope. She lost laps early, and her teammates kept it clean. 0 for 1.

#Indy500orBust Prediction 2) Oriol Servia is top 5. #SaveOriol

- VERDICT - Nope. P11. #MaybeHe'llDriveThe4WithJROut. 0 for 2.

#Indy500orBust Prediction 3) Dinger finishes as top Rookie.

- VERDICT - Nope. Wrong-ness, thy name is Munoz. Dinger was looking good for me until his belts came undone. But, Munoz was GOOD. 0 for 3.

#Indy500orBust Prediction 4) I'll take Dixon, Dario, Power, Andretti, Carpenter, and RHR in the RSWC. You can have the field.

- VERDICT - Nope. I get 33 (Thanks Marco and Ryan). You get 68. 0 for 4.

Clearly, I got "or Bust"

Big Weekend

Two races this week at the supposedly more race-conducive Belle Isle circuit. Will it rain? Will the grids for the two races be markedly different? (They will if Franchitti still has that same speed, no grid penalty for Race 2...)

Follow @ScoringIndy on Twitter for race predictions and blog updates. Two predictions for Race One as soon as I figure out what the grid looks like. Two predictions for Race Two coming up after Race One. That's all for today!

-- Guido

Let's Play Two!

Hello Internet!

Coming up later today, the Indy 500 recap blog (complete with a comparison of the old and new formulae; a theory about Honda's performance in the 500; and an admission of how terrible my predictions were). But, for now a look back at last year's attempt to race at Belle Isle and/or the world's longest Bondo commercial. To the spreadsheet!

Belle Isle 2012

Race Finish Driver Qualifying Grid Laps Led Completed A.R.S. (Old)
1 Dixon 1 1 60 60 100.00
2 Franchitti 17 14 0 60 75.00
3 Pagenaud 4 4 0 60 48.00
4 Power 2 2 0 60 40.00
5 Servia 19 16 0 60 67.00
6 Kanaan 15 18 0 60 61.00
7 Hunter-Reay 6 6 0 60 36.00
8 Kimball 20 20 0 60 60.00
9 Conway 14 15 0 60 45.00
10 Tagliani 3 3 0 60 18.00
11 Andretti 23 22 0 60 53.00
12 Carpenter 25 21 0 60 50.00
13 de Silvestro 22 25 0 60 47.00
14 Hildebrand 21 19 0 59 35.80
15 Newgarden 16 12 0 59 20.03
16 Briscoe 8 7 0 59 3.28
17 Castroneves 9 8 0 59 1.28
18 Viso 5 5 0 59 -9.57
19 Rahal 7 17 0 58 0.47
20 Sato 12 11 0 38 1.23
21 Hinchcliffe 13 13 0 38 -0.13
22 Wilson 11 10 0 28 -2.73
23 Jakes 24 23 0 26 6.43
24 Bourdais 10 9 0 24 -7.60
25 Barrichello 18 24 0 11 0.53

- All in all, not a lot to say about last year's race. The track fell apart, and we're lucky no one got seriously injured.

- Notable, however is that Dixon scored a 100.00 for leading every lap and winning from the pole. So, that's something you don't see every day.

- Again, just not a lot to be said, except to remark on how on a track where "you couldn't pass" half of the top 10 finishers started outside the first five rows, and only two drivers from the top 10 grid spots finished more than one lap down. So, maybe you could actually gain positions on the old track...

- I still think that the new one will be MUCH better.

Driver Shuffle

With all that about last year's race out of the way, I want to take a look at the driver changes that are coming up for the Dual in Detroit.

- Briscoe in for Hildebrand - If you have a Twitter account, follow anyone IndyCar related, and were breathing yesterday, you know about this. Panther Racing and JR Hildebrand agreed to terminate JR early, and Ryan Briscoe was brought in to drive the Number 4. Hildebrand has had one good race (Long Beach) and four awful ones this year. Briscoe has been in one race (the 500) and was quite good (you'll see how good later, when I post the 500 review). I thought it was a shame that Ryan Briscoe didn't have a ride this year. I'm sad to see JR out of the saddle, but to be honest the results haven't been there for a while... (Objective data sometimes makes me sad...)

- Conway in "for" Beatriz - I have the quotes because I think everyone assumed that the second car at Coyne would be a ride-share situation. I think Conway is a good pick here. He has good pace on the twisty courses, and performed well at Belle Isle last year (see above). I hope this isn't the last we see of Bia this year, as she had a very nice run at Indy. Memo to Dale Coyne: run three cars for the Triple Crown events. Put Bia in one of them. Odds are, you won't be disappointed.

- No one in for Seriva - This is a shame. An utter shame. By the way I measure things (RSWC points, mostly) here is a list of drivers, who were having worse years than Oriol Servia going into the 500 (it doesn't change much after the 500, by the way): Will Power, Dario Franchitti, Charlie "Quietly Having a Great Year" Kimball, Tristian "Rookie of the Year" Vautier, Sebastien Bourdais. The list goes on, but I hope you see my point. Oriol is out-performing a LOT of talented people this year. I hope he gets some seat time somewhere during the rest of the year.


That's all for now, the Indy 500 recap should go out this evening. Twitter predictions after I stare at qualifying results from the first race this weekend for a while. Doing two should be interesting. I reserve judgement on what kind of interesting until after I see it...

-- Guido

Monday, May 20, 2013

Emotions from Guido

Hello Internet! I’ve been inspired by Hoff. So here’s me.

The 500 and I have an interesting history. I don't come from a "racing family." Don't get me wrong, I love my family, but they don't get racing. So, I don't have roots at 16th and Georgetown. The 500, however, is still a part of my history:

- It’s Indy 500 Week during the last month of second grade.

- It’s not knowing why there were 35 cars in 1997, but feeling that it was wrong.

- It’s feeling like CART was evil and not knowing why.

- It’s feeling like the IRL was somehow inferior to the aforementioned CART, but not knowing why.

- It’s feeling scandalized when there was “another race in Michigan”

- It’s knowing that “Reunification” was a big deal even without following the sport.

- It’s asking everyone who showed up late to staff training at camp: “Who won the race?”

- It’s listening to Franchitti’s second win in my parents’ lake house when we had tickets but didn’t go.

- It’s listening to Franchitti’s third win from the stands with Hoff and his dad, and watching Dario, Dixon, and TK form up out of Turn 4 to take the checkers.

- It’s “Back Home Again in Indiana” for someone who hasn’t lived there in six years.

- It’s Hornish passing Marco.

- It’s Emmo drinking orange juice.

- It’s Emmo apologizing later for drinking orange juice.

- It’s JR crashing in Turn 4 in 2011, putting the DW in DW12.

- It’s Sato crashing in Turn 1 in 2012, putting Dario on either side of Dan.

- It’s knowing that something has tradition.

- It’s experiencing only a fraction of that tradition.

- It’s making myth out of men, women, and machines.

- It’s the 500.

See you on Friday/Saturday for Twitter predictions. I’ll see if I can get Hoff to make some too…

-- Guido

The 500 is an Emotional Thing

Hello Internet. This week, my buddy, Hoff, invades the blog-space to emote at you about the 500. Hoff is a big part of the reason I started this blog (well getting Hoff to follow the IndyCar Series during months that aren't May is). Anyway, it's awesome. Read on! 

-- Guido

PS Twitter Predictions for the #Indy500orBust coming up after Carb Day. Stay tuned to @ScoringIndy on Twitter.


Hello Internet!  With a lack of much real data to look at during May Guido asked me, Hoff, to step in and write something a little more... soft for you.  Before I delve into what I think Indy’s all about let me give you a little background on myself.  I grew up on the westside of Indianapolis and I've been going to the race so long that I can’t remember which was my first. (I feel like I remember Emmo winning in 1993 but that might have been from TV) I’m not a huge racing fan (It took me longer than I care to admit that there were, in fact, other IndyCar races) I now live in Iowa.

This last point is more important than it might seem at first.  I live in Iowa.  Guido asked me to jot down some feelings about the Indy 500 today and this fact, living in Iowa, now completely colors the way I view the race. 

When I was a kid it was about exactly what you would expect it to be about it.  Fast cars, loud noises, and toy cars.  Never forget the toy cars. At age 10 this was a crucial part of raceday.  As all things do this changed as I got older.  There were the years where I’d rather run around and talk to girls, the years where it wasn't cool to like racing, and eventually the years where I admitted to myself that I did like racing. 

What I’m getting to is that, while the Indy 500 has meant a lot of things to me over the years, now more than anything it’s Back Home Again in Indiana.  As a 10 year old Indianapolis native I wasn't even paying attention to what the old guy I had never heard of was singing but as a 28 year old living in Iowa (told you this was important) it brings tears to my eyes.

The Indy 500 is going home.  It’s spending time with my dad, who is a very quiet guy, until you get him to the track.  It’s he and I going on the never-ending search for beer (real beer, not yellow fizzy water) that comes in cans.  It’s falling asleep on the couch watching the tape delayed (Yeah, ABC runs the race on tape delay in Indy) race that you just returned from.  It's tradition.  These aren't the traditions that most people think of when they think of the 500 but they’re the ones that are important to me.

I don’t know if I've given you a very good idea of what the race is if you've never been, but I’m not sure I can.  For an event that sees a quarter of a million people show up every year it’s very personal to me and I don’t think I’m alone.  If you’re thinking of going next year I suggest you do it.  Grab some family and a best friend or two and start your own traditions.  You probably won’t get to kiss the bricks but after a few years (and you choose the right people) that won’t matter.

-- Hoff