Pato O’Ward: Rookie Season Projection

Photo: Mike Young

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 »

Fantasy IndyCar Picks: 2018 Kohler Grand Prix at Road America

Four drivers. $100. Here’s a quick look at Single Seater’s Fantasy IndyCar picks for the 2018 Kohler Grand Prix.

Penske secured a front row lockout in qualifying of Josef Newgarden and Will Power. Newgarden was fastest in two of the three practice sessions and it carried over into the qualifying session as he won his third pole of the season.

Here’s the expected points table for Sunday’s race. If you aren’t sure what expected points are, check out this post first. There are a few tweaks to the model for this week’s race because IndyCar hasn’t raced at Road America enough in recent years to get accurate data for enough drivers. So Road America performance has been supplemented for this race with average finishing position on road courses in general:

In Brief

Scott Dixon has the highest expected points for the race despite his fourth row start. He has been on a great run so far this year with two wins and six top-fives in nine races. Dixon’s average finish on road and street courses is 5.0 as well, which shows in his price. He’s the highest cost driver with a price of $34.

The pole-sitter is third in expected points at 25.8 and comes at a cost of $29, the fourth most expensive of any driver. Rossi will start fourth on the grid with 26.4 expected points. At $32 he is an expensive but worthy pick at Road America if you can afford him.

Further down the grid are Andretti and Hinchcliffe who rank high in expected points but aren’t in the top tier of cost. They will start side by side in Row 8 with comparable expected points values both in the 21 range. The five drivers starting directly ahead of them all have lower expected points.

The Single Seater’s Picks

Using our expected points model, here is the optimal lineup for $100 or less that maximizes expected points with four drivers: 
This is my team for the week! Let me know which drivers you decide to go with in the comments. If you have any Fantasy IndyCar questions, you can leave a comment below or send them at me on Twitter. Best of luck in your leagues this week!

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Photo courtesy of Chris Jones/IndyCar

by Drew

Power Has Been Incredible – When He’s Been on Track

Will Power is third place in the championship right now. In a typical year this wouldn’t be surprising, but considering that he has failed to finish three of the nine races so far this season, this is an amazing feat.

With 321 points, he sits just 13 points shy of second place Rossi and 46 back from the championship leader Dixon. So how’s he doing it?

First, let’s address the DNFs. In the three races Power didn’t complete, he finished 22nd, 21st, and 18th. Those results gave him a combined 32 points or 10 percent of his total points through nine races. This means he has averaged 48 points in the other six races! Even once you account for Indianapolis’ double points, that’s still an average of over 40 points per race – this is equivalent to a second place finish.

Power has been on an absolute tear in the races he has finished this year. Despite completing only 85.8% of the laps run, the least of any driver in the top ten, he is third in the championship. In the races he completes, he is averaging a finish of 3.8. In those same races, he has never finished outside of the top ten and has four podiums.

One way to gauge how efficient a driver is on track is by looking at their points/100 laps. The best drivers who have consistently strong results will usually have a high value for this stat. A driver who DNFs a lot but is very good when he’s on track will also have a high points/100 laps. That is the benefit of looking at efficiency in this way–it equalizes drivers who have completed many laps with those who have not. 

Power has the highest value for this stat out of the entire field:

Power’s points/100 laps value of 31.2 is a full point ahead of Dixon’s, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this means Power has been better than Dixon overall: Power would very much rather be in Dixon’s shoes right now with the championship lead. What it does mean however is that we would expect Power to have a stronger second half of the season (in terms of points scored) than the first half. He has been driving superbly when he’s had the chance to, and that shows in his per 100 lap efficiency.

Power has not had a knack for racking up DNFs throughout his career. In the last ten seasons, the most DNFs Power has had in a season is four in 2017. The odds are he won’t have as many DNFs in the remaining seven races as he had in the first nine, meaning he’ll have more time to be on track and generate high points-returning finishes.

Look for Power to make a second-half season push towards the top spot on the championship table with the way he has been driving.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Owens/IndyCar

by Drew