Since 1990, starting position hasn’t been as important for winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s spring race. That’s especially true since 2015, when Atlanta’s only race of the year moved from fall to spring.
I’ve gone back to to 1990 in this analysis because the relevance of historical data fades as you go back. Given that tracks can change significantly with temperature, I’ve also limited this analysis to spring races only
Atlanta Spring Race: Wins
Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson are tied for number of wins (3) in Atlanta spring races from 1990-2019.
Drivers who will be on the track this weekend are: Jimmie Johnson (3), Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch, all with two wins.
Atlanta Spring Race: Qualifying
Starting from the front isn’t as important for the the Atlanta spring race as it is for other races. While qualifying well gets you a choice of pit boxes, it’s become easier for drivers who start at the back to make their way to P1 by the end of the race
- No driver won from the pole wince 2006
- Since 2009., no driver has won from P2
- The drivers who came from the back:
- Dale Earnhardt (2000: 35th place)
- Jimmie Johnson (2015: 37th place)
- Oddly enough, two drivers have won from the 19th position in the last four races
- Jimmie Johnson (2016)
- Brad Keselowski (2019)
No, I don’t think there’s anything special about P19.
Atlanta Spring Race Winners: Box Plot
TIL: That a box plot is also called a box-and-whiskers plot, which I just think is amusing.
Plotting the data this way shows that there is a wide range of positions from which the eventual winner starts. In 50% of the races, the leader started somewhere between 2nd and 25th; however, the median is 7, which shows that more of those races are won by starting closer to the front than further away.
And a Pie Chart, Too
Here’s one more way of looking at the data
This chart echos the data from before, but a little more explicitly.
- 44% of the eventual winners started in positions 1-5
- 28% started in P6 to P10 (I know it says P5 on the graph, but it should say P6)
- That means that 72% of the winners started from the top 10
- It’s not that you can’t win this race from the very back, but it’s much less likely than if you start in the top 10