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.
Both of Friday’s practice sessions for the season opener at St. Petersburg have finished up, which means we can take a closer look at the sector heatmaps from each of these sessions.
As a reminder the heatmaps show the percent above or below the field average a driver’s sector time is. Purple is above average (good) and red is below average.