Friday, June 28, 2013


Well, there's no race to preview this weekend. That's strange. The IndyCar Series has been running full bore ever since Indy, and a week off is more than due. This also give us at Scoring Indy a chance to a little bit of a retrospective, looking back at the numbers that surprised us, and the ones that didn't from Indy to Iowa. Away we go!!

Indianapolis 500

Most Surprising: Carlos Munoz - 62.05 -- Now, Munoz finishing well isn't a surprise. The Andretti Autosport cars were hooked up all Month of May long. What is surprising is that a rookie (any rookie) finished P2, had an average running position of 6.56, and a Race Score of 60+. For perspective, the most 60+ Race Scores that have been recorded in any single oval race this year is 4. And, a rookie got one of them. So, I'm not surprised about Carlos Munoz himself, but I'm surprised that an Indy rookie managed it. Well done, Munoz. Well done.

Least Surprising: Marco Andretti - 64.68 -- Andretti is the reason that Munoz's performance isn't a complete smack in the face to all things logical. He had it together for the entire month. It's only a matter of time before Marco wins the 500. Of course, we probably all said that about his dad...

Dual In Detroit Race 1

Most Surprising: Mike Conway, Destroyer of Worlds - 90.53 -- To review, the following things happened. 1) Mike Conway had raced once before in the IndyCar Series in 2013. 2) That race ended after 38 of the scheduled 80 laps at Long Beach and the word "Electrical" on the box score. 3) Mike Conway jumps into the second Dale Coyne Racing car, which finished 22, 24, 14, 25, and 30 in races up to that point. 4) Mike Conway, with limited seat time before qualifying, just slaps Justin Wilson's set up on the car. 5) Mike Conway destroys worlds. Just, an out-and-out impressive drive. Hope to see Conway again this year.

Least Surprising: Ryan Hunter-Reay - 76.63 -- RHR ran well at Barber, and Barber is perhaps the closest analogue to Belle Isle in the series. Now, I know that Barber is a road course and Belle Isle is streets, but they seem to race similarly, at least to my eye. Passes are at a premium. Pit strategy and tire conservation are important. So, when I look at what RHR did back in Alabama, I am not surprised that he ran so well at Detroit.

Dual In Detroit Race 2

Most Surprising: AJ Allmendinger - 1.33 -- I'm just not so sure what to make of the Dinger's part-time foray back into open-wheel racing this year. He was running well at Barber, but that ended poorly. His run at Long Beach ended with mechanical issues. He had a chance to win the Indy 500, but his seat belts came loose. He crashed on the first lap of the Dual in Detroit double header. So, I really thought he was going to have a good showing here. He did not. He crashed on the first lap again. I was surprised. Big ups, however, to AJ for winning the Nationwide Series race at Road America. Still would like to see him back in an Indy Car, however.

Least Surprising: Mike Conway, Destroyer of Worlds - 73.64 -- I saw Race 1, so I am entirely un-surprised by Conway's Race 2 showing. He'd have even won the second race too, if he hadn't been held up by Franchitti, but two podium finishes in one weekend is spectacular. 

Firestone 550k at Texas

Most Surprising: Takuma Sato - 54.11 -- Sato seemed to have been in a little bit of a swoon after Sao Paulo. Indy was Honda-ish. Belle Isle didn't go well either. And, after qualifying I wasn't sure that Texas would be better. But, Taku pulled it together on race night, nursing his tires to a P11 finish, up 10 grid spots from where he started the race. Could have gone Kanaan here, but the Indy 500 winner doing well on an oval isn't terribly surprising...

Least Surprising: Helio Castroneves - 91.31 -- This was, at least, the least surprising number after the first pit stop sequence. It was clear that tire management was going to rule the day. It was clear that Helio was good at it. It was clear that he was going to dominate. And, after we got about 100 laps in, everyone with eyeballs should have agreed.

Milwaukee IndyFest

Most Surprising: Will Power - 59.35 -- Power has been having a very un-Power-ish calendar year. Not only that, but he's not ever been known to perform well when not allowed to turn right. His only oval win is at Texas, basically the Anti-Milwaukee. He's never had a problem with qualifying, so I wasn't surprised when he pulled down the third spot on the grid, but when he held on to it for 250 laps, I must confess myself to be surprised.

Least Surprising: Helio Castroneves - 79.39 -- Here are Helio's Race Scores from Indy to Milwaukee: 59.11; 63.16; 46.51; 91.31; 79.39. If 45 is our informal cut off for "good drive" and 60 is the line for "great," then Helio had his fifth straight good to great race at Milwaukee, it should be of little surprise that he was dominating both the IndyCar Championship and the RSWC at that point.

Iowa Corn Indy 250

Most Surprising: James Hinchcliffe - 98.57 -- The Mayor of Hinchtown wins for the third time this year. That gives him more wins this season than anyone else in the series. The only other multi-time winner is RHR, the defending series champ. Hinchcliffe, however, has been boom or bust on the twisties, and on ovals it's mostly been blah, hanging out mid-pack at Indy, Texas, and Milwaukee. But, Andretti Autosport seems to have Iowa figured. This is a lot like Munoz being most surprising at Indy. I'm not surprised that an Andretti car did this well. I'm surprised that it was this one. One of these days, I'll be right when I pick Marco...

Least Surprising: Tony Kanaan - 60.75 -- TK has another solid, solid run on an oval track. First at Indy, third at Texas, tenth at Milwaukee, and third at Iowa. The best Race Score in that run: 79.74 at Indy, and the worst was a 37.76 at Milwaukee, which almost scored him some RSWC points. I'd wager that the Triple Crown is very much in play at Pocono.

Stay Tuned

We'll try to cook up something a little fun to preview Pocono in a week. In the mean time, I'm going to pretend I know things about Formula One by saying the word "Silverstone" as much as possible in the next two days.

-- Guido

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Still Catching My Breath -- Iowa Review

Hello Internet! This week's race recap is going up on Wednesday (an improvement!!), but I am still catching my breath from the Iowa Corn Indy 250. I enjoyed the racing immensely from the confines of my writing cave, and I thought it was the best ABC telecast I've seen this year. (I used to to radio, and more than once covered a 200 lap bicycle race, so I'm never going to bash coverage. It's hard. But, I will give props. This was their best this season.)

Enough about all that. You come here for numbers. And, numbers you shall receive!

Iowa Corn 250 Scores

Finish Driver Qualifying Grid Laps Led Completed ARS RSWC Points
1 Hinchcliffe 3 2 226 250 98.57 25
2 Hunter-Reay 14 12 0 250 69.82 18
3 Kanaan 8 5 0 250 60.75 15
4 Carpenter 6 4 18 250 59.69 12
5 Rahal 9 6 1 250 59.20 10
6 Pagenaud 11 8 0 250 58.39 8
7 Servia 10 7 0 250 52.79 6
8 Castroneves 1 11 0 250 44.37 2
9 Andretti 4 3 0 250 42.27 1
10 Viso 19 16 0 250 50.06 4
11 Wilson 13 10 5 249 40.21
12 Kimball 17 14 0 249 35.80
13 Vautier 15 13 0 248 32.69
14 Bourdais 22 19 0 248 33.96
15 Newgarden 16 22 0 248 27.60
16 Dixon 5 15 0 247 23.86
17 Power 2 1 0 247 9.19
18 Jakes 21 24 0 247 23.78
19 Saavedra 20 18 0 247 13.63
20 Franchitti 24 21 0 246 18.78
21 de Silvestro 23 20 0 243 9.35
22 Beatriz 18 23 0 183 8.66
23 Sato 7 17 0 162 2.61
24 Tagliani 12 9 0 139 0.07

- Intriguing that the Top 10 in the race wind up scoring RSWC points. Even more intriguing that P1-P7 are in order. I guess that's what happens when one driver leads ALL THE LAPS. Ok, so not all the laps. But, it was close.

- I did, at one point, loudly proclaim on Twitter that Graham Rahal was a destroyer of worlds. In retrospect, the term destroyer of worlds should probably be reserved for Mike-Conway-at-Belle-Isle type performances. In the moment, however, I was watching Graham Rahal both slice and dice through the field. Let us recall that this is Graham Rahal. He has had a TERRIBLE year! George Phillips, who writes at Oil Pressure did an entire post called "Will Graham Rahal Ever Turn Things Around?" Anyway, the point is that Graham was looking MUCH better than he's looked at any point this season. Plus, in my defense, Graham had the second-best Average Running Position in the race. (It's hard to do better than Hinch did...) So, not a destroyer of worlds, but at least a damage-er of asteroids. Well done, Graham.

- Servia did quite well. This man needs a ride next year. #SaveOriol. Seriously

- If it weren't for bad luck, Marco Andretti would have no luck at all. Marco tweeted yesterday that he had a problem with one of his shocks, and thus fell out of contention. Still, he picks up one big-time RSWC point. He goes home for the Pocono race in two weeks, and maybe his luck will change with a little home cooking...

- Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't remark on Ryan Hunter-Reay. Average Running Position of 8.73 (mostly due to having to change his nose). Fell as low as P21 (entirely because he had to change his nose). Charges through the field, and just misses on challenging for the win because of lapped traffic (you have to time these things just right...) Big time run by RHR, which goes a long way toward closing in on Helio for the RSWC lead.

Race Score World Championship Update

Speaking of that, here are the new standings for the RSWC (F1-style points for IndyCar race scores)

Driver RCWC Points Points Back
Castroneves 115 0
Hunter-Reay 109 -6
Sato 76 -39
Andretti 74 -41
Kanaan 74 -41
Pagenaud 68 -47
Dixon 64 -51
Hinchcliffe 55 -60
Conway 43 -72
Newgarden 43 -72
Wison 43 -72
Franchitti 39 -76
Viso 31 -84
Kimball 28 -87
Carpenter 26 -89
Rahal 23 -92
Power 21 -94
Servia 18 -97
Munoz 12 -103
Bourdais 8 -107
Jakes 8 -107
Tagliani 7 -108
de Silvestro 6 -109
Hildebrand 4 -111
Allmendinger 4 -111
Briscoe 1 -114

- Ok, so I lied. I said we were going to score the third heat race. We're not going to. Without a lap chart, we'd have to use the old formula, and the old formula is weird with just ten cars, such as were in the heat. So, we didn't do it.

- Castroneves and Hunter-Reay have distanced themselves a little bit from the field. As recently as the end of the Belle Isle double header there were ten cars within 25 points of the lead. Now, there are not. There are two. The good news is that since Helio and RHR have built up this gap in just three races, it can be erased just as quickly. If Hinch gets consistent; if Marco catches a break; or if Pagenaud can string together some higher finishes; this can tighten up FAST.

Prediction Review

Here we go again...

#IowaCorn250 Prediction 1) A break-out performance for Graham Rahal. Finishes and scores Top 10.

- VERDICT - YES! Yes indeed. Good job, Guido. Maybe you're not terrible on ovals. 1 for 1.

#IowaCorn250 Prediction 2) Takuma Sato finds a way to score some RSWC points.

- VERDICT - Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope. 1 for 2.

#IowaCorn250 Prediction 3) Your winner: Marco Andretti (making it an Iowa sweep for Nazareth, PA)

- VERDICT - Nope. See my comments above about Marco having no luck but for bad luck. 1 for 3.

#IowaCorn250 Prediction 4) Helio Castroneves (buoyed by points in his heat and starting farther back than he should) keeps his RSWC lead.

- VERDICT - Yes, Helio does keep his lead. Barely (and without heat race points), but he does! 2 for 4. I'll take 50% on an oval at this point...

Stay Tuned

With no race this weekend, I'll be doing another "Most Surprising / Least Surprising" post on Friday. Looking back at LOTS of numbers, and pulling out the interesting ones. Should be fun!

See you then!

-- Guido

Friday, June 21, 2013

Looking Forward -- Iowa

Hello Again, Internet! Feels like we were just together reviewing the Milwaukee Indyfest. That's because we were. (See an appeal later in this post, as I try and figure out a way to turn these race recaps around faster.) But, Milwaukee is behind us! Forward! To Iowa!

Iowa 2012

Race Finish Driver Qualifying Grid Laps Led Completed ARS
1 Hunter-Reay 7 7 15 250 65.00
2 Andretti 3 3 3 250 50.60
3 Kanaan 9 19 0 250 68.00
4 Dixon 8 8 76 250 67.20
5 Pagenaud 19 25 0 250 76.00
6 Castroneves 2 2 133 250 58.60
7 Barrichello 15 11 1 250 50.20
8 Carpenter 22 21 0 250 63.00
9 Rahal 10 20 0 250 46.00
10 Wilson 17 13 0 249 41.96
11 Kimball 21 14 0 248 42.90
12 Sato 24 23 0 247 50.72
13 Jakes 25 18 1 245 42.86
14 de Silvestro 13 22 0 244 30.83
15 Legge 23 16 0 243 30.75
16 Tagliani 11 9 0 207 10.06
17 Hinchcliffe 4 4 19 195 0.68
18 Briscoe 5 5 2 178 -2.23
19 Newgarden 12 10 0 178 2.61
20 Conway 20 17 0 123 10.52
21 Servia 18 15 0 98 6.47
22 Hildebrand 14 12 0 95 1.16
23 Power 6 6 0 67 -3.11
24 Viso 16 24 0 67 1.86
25 Franchitti 1 1 0 0 2.00

- Obligatory Disclaimer: This is the Old Formula. The New Formula also accounts for Average Running Position.

- Kind of a Feast or Famine race last year. Very good scores from 1-13. Dismal scores from 16-25.

- I'm curious to see how Iowa plays out this year. I'm hoping to be more dialed-in with my Twitter predictions, and I'm hoping that the heat race format of qualifying (which I think is AWESOME) will give me more of a clue, since we'll have a better look at race setups.

- Can Marco Andretti catch a break? He's been quite good at both Texas and Milwaukee. He just needs a finish. Iowa has been kind to Marco in the past. Will it be in the very near future?

An Appeal

So, here today I've had to publish two posts back-to-back: my Milwaukee review and this Iowa preview. This is because of the sheer amount of time that it takes for me to calculate average running position, which is important to the New Formula. I'll be sending an appeal to our Scoring Indy Official IT Specialist later today. But, let's see if you can help me out with this issue, Internet.

Here's what I currently have to do, in order to calculate average running position. I download the Lap Chart from More Front Wing. I open up a spreadsheet with "Driver" on the Y-Axis and "Lap" on the X-Axis. Then, I manually enter the driver's running position for each lap into the sheet, and the spreadsheet calculates the average.

The problem with this is that I have to enter a lot of data. At Milwaukee there were 5,436 laps completed. That's a lot of data entry. It takes me a LONG time to do this, and I don't like publishing Race Reviews on Friday. So, this is my appeal: Internet, please tell me that there's a better way to do this. Tell me there's a place I can simply look up the Average Running Position. Tell me a better way to get my spreadsheet to do it. Please. Please, please, please.

Stay Tuned

As always, stay tuned to @ScoringIndy on Twitter for predictions once qualifying is done. Also, feel free to tweet me or DM me with answers to my appeal. I'm guessing you don't like having recaps on Friday either...


-- Guido

Looking Back -- Milwaukee

Hello Internet! It's Friday, so you can depend on Scoring Indy to bring you up to date with all your IndyCar quantification needs. A double-dip coming today. First, this post where we look back on the Milwaukee IndyFest. A little later today (a few hours, tops) up will go the Iowa preview. So, that's what's on tap, but the pressing issue is the numbers. Here goes:

Milwaukee Scores

Race Finish Driver Qualifying Grid Laps Led Completed A.R.S. R.S.W.C. Points
1 Hunter-Reay 4 4 65 250 77.11 15
2 Castroneves 18 17 0 250 80.08 25
3 Power 3 3 4 250 59.35 10
4 Viso 5 5 10 250 60.49 12
5 Hinchcliffe 2 2 0 250 50.34 4
6 Dixon 11 11 0 250 55.11 6
7 Sato 15 15 109 250 77.61 18
8 Franchitti 17 23 0 250 57.79 8
9 Wilson 13 13 1 249 45.92 2
10 Kanaan 7 7 0 249 37.76
11 Newgarden 8 8 0 249 36.26
12 Pagenaud 9 9 0 249 35.18
13 Saavadra 6 6 0 248 27.15
14 Carpenter 21 20 0 248 41.30 1
15 Briscoe 19 18 0 248 31.82
16 Rahal 23 24 0 247 31.44
17 Kimball 22 21 0 246 28.01
18 Jakes 12 12 0 245 12.00
19 Beatriz 20 19 0 242 18.72
20 Andretti 1 1 61 176 5.59
21 Vautier 10 10 0 173 2.37
22 Bourdais 14 14 0 152 3.81
23 Tagliani 16 16 0 146 0.37
24 de Silvestro 24 22 0 69 1.60


- Now, THIS is why I started writing this blog! look at the variety of Race Scores there in the Top 10. Here are the most interesting stories from the numbers for me:

- Helio Castroneves -- Finishes second. Doesn't lead a lap. BUT moves from P17 to P2. Has an Average Running Position of 5.84. Gobbles up all 25 RSWC Points. 

- Dario Franchitti -- "But, Guido," you say. "There are so many more interesting stories," you say. "You're just a huge Franchitti fanboy," you say. "So what?" I say. I've been fascinated by the "under-performance" of both Franchitti and Power this year (don't worry, I'll get to Will). This weekend, I thought that both of them had closer to vintage performances than they've had all year. Franchitti took a car that qualified back in 17th and that moved to the back of the pack for the start, and despite not really having a Top 10 car (his average running position was 12.39), he brought it home in P8. That's a pretty darn good run.

- Will Power -- Power looked even more vintage-er (yes, more vintage-er) than Dario. He ran up in the Top 5. He podium-ed an oval. HE PODIUM-ED AN OVAL! Don't count Will out the rest of the year. Ever.

- Takuma Sato -- Finishes 7th in the race. Finishes 2nd in the RSWC Points. Leads 109 laps. Gets bit by fuel strategy. If it were anyone other than Sato, I'd say he would make a push to contend for the RSWC by the end of the year. But, I just can't trust him yet.

Prediction Review

- #IndyFest Prediction 1) I was right about Andretti. Top 5 finish; Top 5 Race Score.

- VERDICT - My two least favorite words are "electrical" and "mechanical." Marco had it. He HAD IT! And, then he didn't. And, my dismal streak on ovals continues. 0 for 1.

#IndyFest Prediction 2) More cars finish on the lead lap than did at Texas.

- VERDICT - Kinda a gimme. Think of this as training wheels for my oval predicting career. But, I'll take it. 1 for 2.

#IndyFest Prediction 3) Josef Newgarden gets on the podium.

- VERDICT - Not so much. He was up as high as P4. He had a couple of Top 10 runs. I suppose if "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, everyone would have a Merry Christmas. 1 for 3.

#IndyFest Prediction 4) Helio keeps his RSWC lead, but it shrinks.

- VERDICT - Halfway. He keeps the lead and actually grows it. 1.5 for 4. One of these days I'll get a hang of ovals.

Speaking of the RSWC...

Race Score World Championship Update

Driver RCWC Points Points Back
Castroneves 113 0
Hunter-Reay 91 -22
Sato 76 -37
Andretti 73 -40
Dixon 64 -49
Pagenaud 60 -53
Kanaan 59 -54
Conway 43 -70
Newgarden 43 -70
Wison 43 -70
Franchitti 39 -74
Hinchcliffe 30 -83
Kimball 28 -85
Viso 27 -86
Power 21 -92
Carpenter 14 -99
Rahal 13 -100
Munoz 12 -101
Servia 12 -101
Bourdais 8 -105
Jakes 8 -105
Tagliani 7 -106
de Silvestro 6 -107
Hildebrand 4 -109
Allmendinger 4 -109
Briscoe 1 -112

- I thought I would have witty observations. Instead I have questions. Here they are:

- Can Helio be caught? (Ok, that's a bad question. He obviously can. The question is "Will Helio be caught?")

- How high will Mike Conway finish? (I fully expect more races from him, when we go back to twisties.)

- How many series regulars will finish behind Munoz?

- Power or Franchitti, who finishes higher? (Maybe I'm stuck in 2010...)

- Will Ed Carpenter get up into the Top 10, and thereby validate my earliest ever prediction?

Stay Tuned

Will Iowa sort any of this out? Iowa preview coming up soon! See you then!

-- Guido