Now, there's one major difference between the Conway Line and the Mendoza Line. In baseball, .200 is the basic threshold for competence. If you fall below the Mendoza line, you're NOT hitting well. The Conway Line however, delineates the lower threshold of excellence. For example, in Formula 1, which uses the same scoring system that we use for the RSWC (more accurately the other way around, Bernie and co. thought of it first), the top third to quarter of drivers in the final standings have tended to wind up above the Conway Line ever since this system was adopted. Basically, if you're pulling down 20% of max points, there is no doubt that your season is going the way that you want it to.
The Conway Line as an Evaluative Measure
Here, again, is the full Race Score World Championship table:
The Conway Line is presented in yellow for your convenience.
Above the Line: Castroneves; Dixon; Hunter-Reay; Andretti; Kanaan; Sato; Franchitti; Pagenaud
The Line: Conway
Below the Line: Hinchcliffe; Wilson; Newgarden; Kimball; Bourdais; Viso; Carpenter; Power; Servia; Rahal; Munoz; de Silvestro; Jakes; Tagliani; Allmendinger; Hildebrand; Briscoe
Not to Mention: Saavedra; Vautier; Beatriz; Mann; Legge; Lazier; Bell; and Daly who have all run IndyCar races this year and scored zero RSWC points.
Comparison to IndyCar Series Points
- The first observation to note is that the "Above the Line" crowd includes Takuma Sato, who is 13th in Championship Points right now. This is mostly attributable to him pulling down max RSWC points twice, and second place points once. With the 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 system, scoring max points keeps you above the Conway Line for five weeks, and second or third keep you there for three. Takuma is the beneficiary (at this point in the season) of banking points early.
- Will Power isn't necessarily doing well in either our little experiment or the IndyCar series championship. He is, however, doing markedly worse here in the RSWC. We can attribute this to Power's regrettable habit of going backwards on the scoring pylon during race events, despite qualifying very well. If you lose positions, you will be punished here at Scoring Indy (although, you won't be punished as severely as you used to before I scored average running position.)
- James Hinchcliffe got hosed by the Old Formula (which was used prior to the Indy 500). For example, when I re-scored the St. Petersburg race, which Hinch won, he jumped up from 12 points to 18. I assume that he'd score better than 8 if I re-scored Sao Paulo, but that race was so weird in terms of lead changes and shuffling at the front, I can't be sure.
The Season via the Conway Line
- Prior to New Formula
- Earlier in the season, we saw a lot of people finishing farther down on the grid, who scored some points. In fact, this period gives us all of Alex Tagliani's points.
- Oriol Servia was right on the Conway Line. Proving (as far as I'm concerned) that he did not deserve to have his season cut short.
- The "Above the Line" crowd looks eerily similar to the season-to-this-point "Above the Line" crowd.
- Indy to Texas
- So, here's the really interesting thing. Helio Castroneves, our RSWC points leader, was not the leader in any of these segments, into which we've chopped up the season. (We've only looked at two so far, but I think we can safely assume that he won't be ahead of Dixon's three wins in the third segment.)
- Conway (unsurprisingly) is ahead of the Conway Line. This can be attributed to the fact that he doesn't run all the races, so when he does run, he's got to bank the points to stay ahead of his namesake line.
- This was Tony Kanaan's most consistent segment of the season: big scores at Indy (obviously) and Texas, and some scratching and clawing to eek out points at Detroit.
- Milwaukee to Toronto
- Scott Dixon, despite being above the Conway Line in each segment of the season, has scored over half of his RSWC points for the season in the last five races. I guess that's what happens, when you have three max point runs in a row...
- I was surprised to see EJ Viso above the Conway Line for this segment of the season. The Number 5 is quietly having a really good run of late.
- I've talked about Marco Andretti's bad luck in what seems like a zillion posts in a row, but look at that. He scores in four straight races, but still falls short of the 20% of the max benchmark. One of these days, his luck will change. It's worth noting that Marco is the worst of the four Andretti Autosport cars during this segment. That's an impressive run of racing for the four-car operation.
The Conway Line by Discipline
- The Hoff Oval Championship
Named for my buddy Hoff, who goes to the 500 every year. He tends to only like turning left...
- All the people you expect seem to be here: Carpenter, Sato, Andretti, the Target Twins, TK, RHR, and Helio.
- The only driver I'm a little surprised to see here is Hinchcliffe, but after Iowa, I don't think I'll be surprised to see him do well at ovals in the future.
- The Guido "Turning Right" Award
Named for me, who has tried to convince Hoff to watch Road/Street races for years.
- Again, the usual suspects tend to be represented here: Conway, Pagenaud, Wilson, Bourdais.
- You've also got the "Power Team" types with Dixon (in dominating fashion), Franchitti, Castroneves, and Hunter-Reay.
- I knew that Marco Andretti had really rounded himself out as a driver, making some great strides on the Twisty Courses. But, it did not truly sink in for me as to how great those strides were until I put this little table together. Impressive work by Marco.
- Another really interesting inclusion here is Josef Newgarden. After having two high-scoring runs at Barber and Sao Paulo, Newgarden has picked up points at one race in each of the double-header weekends.
Well, I hope you enjoyed our little jaunt through multi-colored spreadsheets. Did this little look at the Conway Line give you any new insights into the season? It certainly did for me. Next week, it'll be back to the grind with a Mid-Ohio preview.
See you then!