A Note About Win Expectancy Early on in the Race

If you haven’t read about it already, I’ve made a win expectancy tracker for IndyCar. Something interesting I came across while developing it…

Below is the win expectancy for the driver in first place at different stages of the race.

You’ll notice that the win expectancy actually drops off from the initial 24 percent during the 10-30 percent of the race completed stages. Why would the driver in first be less likely to win the race when 10 percent of the race is completed than when he started on pole (and thus had more of the race left to complete)?

First, I think that the beginning of the race is pretty chaotic and a lot of overtaking happens, so it’s pretty easy for the guy who started on pole to get overtaken.

And second (and more likely), if a driver started on pole and knows he has a competitive car, he may not be too worried about leading right away. He’ll let the aggressive guy in second place overtake him and then just focus on strategy, conserving fuel and tires, etc. Just preparing for the second half of the race where things start to matter more.

If you have any more ideas on it let me know in the comments.

by Drew

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