Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Barber Scorecard -- 2016

Hey there Internet! Things have been a little busy here at Scoring Indy worldwide headquarters. But, we've finally got the numbers in place from the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama. We'll do the scorecard, and some quick hits. Let's get to it!

The Scorecard

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedA.R.P.Race Score

Quick Hits

- How about Pagenaud? I didn't know how this whole Penske thing was going to work based on last year's results. But, this year he has been on fire. When Dixon notched a 93.09 at Phoenix, I said, "let's all just sit back and enjoy Scott Dixon." Well, after four races this year, let's all just sit back and enjoy Simon Pagenaud.

- Qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park was brutal for Andretti Autosport. The race, on the other hand, was not so bad. Hunter-Reay and Andretti should rightly be happier with their drives (as is evidenced by their Race Scores) than Top 10 finishers Dixon and Kimball. (Granted, Dixon got punted and probably wouldn't have had a Race Score that low otherwise). Rossi also had a nice day, with the best Race Score in the back half of the field.

- What makes the Andretti stuff even more fascinating is that there was basically one pit strategy in play in this race. Everyone (the only exception being Bourdais, who had the penalty) stopped three times. That means that RHR, Marco, and Rossi all moved up those positions "on their own." Solid stuff.

- Finally, Juan Pablo Montoya. Just, Juan Pablo Montoya. From last to P5, with the seventh-best Average Running Position. SEVENTH BEST. He started LAST. That is certifiably nuts. I love racecar.

Stay Tuned

We'll get a couple of weeks into the month of May before we have another race, so expect things to be a little more sporadic here at Scoring Indy. I'll let people know as things come up on Twitter, so be sure to follow me there @ScoringIndy. You'll get blog updates and the OCCASIONAL throw-away opinion. See you out there!

-- Guido

Monday, April 18, 2016

Phoenix & Long Beach 2016 Number Dives

Hey there, Internet! It's Guido here with another Scoring Indy update. This time, we'll do some number dives from the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix (hereafter referred to as "Phoenix"). We'll try to figure out just how good Max Chilton is, and we'll talk about Josef Newgarden's slog to P6. After that, we'll jump into the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (hereafer "Long Beach"). And, there, we'll look at Charlie Kimball's rebel pit strategy as well as Takuma Sato's mellow drive up to P5. Let's get to it!!



First up, Max Chilton. I'm going to use him as a test case for the rookies at Phoenix. Here's what Chilton's scorecard looked like out in the desert:

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedR.R.P.Race Score

Finish -- 7
Started -- 8
Running -- 7.97

I realize that I showed you all of that twice, but I needed you to notice the clustering. In a race that saw a fair (not extreme, but fair) amount of shakeup, Chilton finished where he started, which is also where he ran. In general, Chilton has managed to perform almost exactly to the level of his equipment. The other rookies were similarly effective at Phoenix, with Rossi ever so slightly under-performing and Daly slightly over-performing.


Here's what Josef Newgarden's day looked like in Phoenix:

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedR.R.P.Race Score

Now, you might look at that and say: "Hey, looks pretty solid to me. He outperformed his start. He outperformed his running position. What's the big deal?"

Well, the big deal is that Newgarden had the car to do even better. Newgarden was never outside the top three in any practice session, and while the number 21 did not qualify terribly well (for a car that was never outside the top three in practice), I had him tabbed in my pre-race notes as someone, who would be on the move. Well, Newgarden was on the move, just backwards.

First, Newgarden had a fueling problem, so he had to make an unscheduled pit stop. Then, later in the race, Newgarden found himself on Charlie Kimball's chopping block (get it, "chopping" and "block?" I'm great at puns!) Anyway, Kimball, would be penalized for the move, but Newgarden again fell to the back of the lead lap, after pitting for a new nose.

So, all that happens, and Newgarden STILL outperforms his starting position, and VASTLY (due to the getting shuffled to the back) outperforms his running position. Well driven, sir.

Long Beach


Now we move to Long Beach, America's Monaco, the narrowest and twistiest and hardest-to-passiest of street races. Doesn't matter. Love it anyway. And, Charlie Kimball should love it too. Here's his scoreline from last weekend:

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedA.R.P.Race Score

This race, for Kimball, looked a lot like his singular win in the Verizon IndyCar Series: that being Mid-Ohio in 2013. In that race, the drivers at the top of the grid, decided that their best option would be to save fuel and try to make the race in two stops. Kimball, who started fifth, decided to pit early, sacrificing the ability to make it on two stops for the ability to stand on the gas.

Fast forward to Long Beach 2016. Kimball did not practice well. Kimball did not qualify well, not even making it out of Q1. So, he goes back to his trusty three-stopper, bailing on lap 6, in order to get off-sequence. This let Kimball finish four spots higher than he started, and pull down the best Race Score outside the top ten. Unfortunately for Kimball, his strategic edge didn't do more for him, since the race stayed green and he started so far back. Still, a caution-free race like this, gives us an opportunity to see the impact of strategic choices. Would have been interesting to see someone like Power, who started P6, bail early and go for a three-stopper.


So, I'm going to test the Sato Theory here. The idea being that if Sato doesn't think he can win, he does disproportionately well. Here's his line:

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedA.R.P.Race Score

Here, we see Sato starting P8, and following basically the same two-stop pit strategy that everyone above Charlie Kimball chose. And, Sato basically spent the day running around in the company of the likes of Montoya, Power, and Kanaan; rather than challenging the up front peloton of Pagenaud, Dixon, and Castroneves. It led to a solid day from Sato, who almost passed Montoya for P4 at the end (and would have gotten him if there were more laps to run).

Sato Theory intact! I've got my eye on you.

Stay Tuned

The Honda Grand Prix of Alabama is this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. Our man, Takuma Sato has been blistering in practice. Another chance to test the Sato Theory? We'll see! And, I'll see you next week with the scorecard! Later.

-- Guido

The Long Beach Scorecard -- 2016

Hey there Internet!! The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was yesterday, that means it's time for the Scoring Indy Scorecard / Quick Hits. Here we go!!

The Scorecard

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedA.R.P.Race Score

Quick Hits

- Kimball made the best of the (rarely invoked) three-stop strategy, putting up the best Race Score number outside of P1-9. We'll take a deeper look in the Number Dives (Phoenix and Long Beach are getting combined).

- Drivers who out-performed their equipment (Finishing higher than ARP): Montoya, Sato, Kimball, Bourdais, Chilton. Low numbers are to be expected in such an un-eventful (and I'm not saying it like that's a bad thing) race.

- The one of those, who really surprised me, was Chilton. I thought he had a bad race. The numbers look mighty good. Well, they look mighty good for P14.

- The "boring" (again, not a bad thing for me) nature of the race probably contributed to Takuma Sato's sterling performance. We'll also put the "Sato Theory" to the test when we do the Number Dives.

Stay Tuned

Number Dives later this week. Barber this weekend. And, I'm the undisputed twisty king of Blogger Alley on the Indycar fantasy game. We don't need to talk about the ovals... See you soon, Internet!

-- Guido