Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Barber and IMS Mega-Post

Hey there Internet! It's Guido back with another Scoring Indy Mega-Post. Let's get to it!

An Apology

I really don't want to be constantly doing these Mega-Posts. The goal, especially now that I can generate ARP (and therefore Rees Score) so much faster, is to turn around scorecards in a timely manner. You just have to believe me that my schedule has been Mega-Hectic, so you get Mega-Posts. I am going to score every race this year. That's happening. Hopefully, as we grow into the future, that future will look more like the past, with me doing off-week posts, and really diving in. For now, however, this is what we've got. Sorry.

Barber Scorecard

Here are the scores for the 2018 Honda Grand Prix of Alabama:

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedARPRees ScoreIndex
19Claman De Melo1608013.8517.352.86

Quick Hits

- Rain: Obviously, the rain was the big story of the Barber race this year. This affects our calculations a little. Whenever a race is forced to be run to time rather than distance, we simply take the winning driver's laps completed and use that as 100% of the race distance. So, for this year's Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, we just assumed (for calculation purposes) that the race was scheduled for 82 laps.

- Domination: Looking a the winner's score can (often) tell you what sort of race it was. With Newgarden winning on a 96.08, we can safely say that the day (days?) was (were?) almost entirely his. Now, the Rees Score doesn't always tell the whole story, however, and Sebastien Bourdais ran a smart timed-race strategy (which one would expect from the champ of the all timed races all the time CCWS season in 2007), and put himself in position to do well if things went right (read all about it in my man Eric Hall's race notes here). They, however, did not, and his 2.33 ARP got wasted on a P5 finish, making his Rees Score just a smidge lower than it probably deserved to be.

- P15: Spencer Pigot finished 15th. Why does that matter? I'll tell you later. On to Indy!

IMS Road Course Scorecard

Here are the scores from the 2018 INDYCAR Grand Prix:

FinishDriverGridLedCompletedARPRees ScoreIndex
12Claman De Melo1908511.4146.6510.54

Quick Hits

- P15: I told you I'd tell you later. Well, it's later. I feel like I need to qualify this by saying that I think Spencer Pigot is a good driver. I think he has speed, and I am thoroughly surprised by all the info I'm about to share, but here it is. Spencer Pigot finished 15th. In fact, Spencer Pigot has finished 15th at DRASTICALLY more races than he hasn't this year. Feast your eyes:

St. Petersburg: P15
Phoenix: P14
Long Beach: P15
Barber: P15

Seriously. When I started looking into this, I figured it would be an interesting fun fact based on the two races in this Mega-Post. But, no! Pigot has got his space reserved. What I'm learning from this is that Pigot overachieves on ovals. So, look out for a P14 finish in the 500. Now, not all P15 finishes are created equal, and if I ever get some free time, I'll do a deep dive into Pigot's many 15ths, but for now, let the back-of-the-middle-of-the-pack-ness wash over you in wonder.

- #Overlordsmanship: Years ago, I sold my soul to Will Power. I decided (through a little contest I did on this here blog) that he would be my nominal favorite driver. (I'm not sure I've had an actual favorite since Dario Franchitti was forced to hang 'em up.) Of course, as soon as Power became my "favorite" he stopped winning all the time. Sorry Will. But, I am (by the terms of service that I signed when he became my favorite) forced to mention when he wins. He did. All three of the top three drives bear mentioning however, so let's do that then get out of here to focus on the 500.

- Power: Power started out front (which is advantageous on the IMS Road Course, unless you're Sebastian Saavedra), and ran the first stint at the front, when everyone (in the lead pack) was on reds. He lost the lead to Wickens in the second stint, when the 2018 Rookie of the Year (fight me) strapped on the option tires, while my Australian Overlord took his stint on primes. Power then reclaimed his rightful place at the top of the scoring pylon when he won the race off pit road on lap 59, and he ran out front til the end.

- Dixon: Dixon played smart strategy and general Dixon-ness to a second place finish. The broadcasters seemed shocked to notice him in P3 after the aforementioned yellow-flag stops on lap 59, and with Wickens saving fuel, Dixon managed to get into second on lap 64. Dixon, of course, was also saving fuel, but Scott Dixon is physically incapable of not making a fuel number; so we probably shouldn't be surprised. I've said it before, let's all just sit back and enjoy Scott Dixon: the man's drives are delightful.

- Wickens: Robert Wickens has been the best surprise. I have to admit that I don't follow DTM that closely (read "at all"), and even if I did I doubt that I'd have expected Wickens' transition to INDYCAR to be so smooth. After having watched these first five races, I'm frankly shocked that he hasn't won one. I preemptively named him Rookie of the Year above, and I'll stand by it. Brilliant drive. When I got to watch live, which was mostly during that second stint, I assumed that he was just going to waltz to victory: he looked that good. I'm excited to see what his future is.

Stay Tuned

Well, that's enough for now. Thanks for putting up with the incessant Mega-Posts. I promise the 500 will get its own, as it deserves. I also maintain that I am committed to blogging this entire year. I will not stop. I will not be stopped. I love doing this, and I hope you tolerate reading it. Strap in, it's 500 time.

See you out there,

-- Guido