Two practice sessions took place at COTA today ahead of IndyCar’s first race at the circuit this Sunday. Practice one was relatively slow on track with all drivers doing ten or fewer laps, but the second session of the day saw more people come out and run quality laps.
Pato O’Ward is one of the best drivers to come out of Indy Lights in recent memory. Although racing in a limited field of eight or nine cars for most races, O’Ward was dominant in 2018 winning nine of the seventeen races and holding pole position for nine as well.
This season he’ll run in 13 races with Carlin Racing starting this weekend at COTA and including the Indianapolis 500. O’Ward has one start in IndyCar that came at Sonoma in 2018 where he qualified fifth and finished eighth for an impressive debut. Read More »
In 2018, only three races were won by drivers starting outside of the top ten. Qualifying has always been recognized as a pivotal part of the race weekend as it is what sets drivers up for a good result on Sunday.
Using data from 2008-2018 which includes 187 races, I took a look at three interesting questions related to starting position and how races play out.
New for 2019, I will be keeping track and updating Expected Points (xPts) for every race and for the season as a whole. xPts is the number of points we would expect to see a driver earn in a race given how he ran as judged by their average track position (ATP) and ATP25. The last 25% of the race is given extra weight as it is when the race is finally coming down to the wire and performance is more crucial. If two drivers both had an ATP of 5 but one had an ATP25 of 3 and then other an ATP25 of 18, while they both had good days from their general ATP, we would still expect the former to score more points than the latter.
The third and final full length practice session has finished up at St. Pete and now teams will head out and qualify this afternoon. A few red flags came out this morning that took away some practice time, but every driver still got some solid time on the track on the black tires.