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

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