What To Expect from Indy

Each track has its own characteristics. What can we expect this weekend for the Cup Race at Indy?

More Damage Than We’ve Seen

The thing that stood out to me on the first pass through the cumulative data for Indianapolis is the amount of time spent under the yellow flag. This is especially notable recently.

What to Expect at Indy: A column chart showing the percent race under caution

The average since 2000 is 19.6% of the race run under yellow. In the last five races, that’s 25.9%.

Because There Are a Lot of Cautions?

Especially in the last five races. The average number of cautions since 2000 is 7.5 for a typical 160-lap race. But for the last five years, it’s 10.

What to Expect at Indy: A column chart showing the numbers of cautions at Indy

But It’s Not Just Cautions

At some races, we’ve got competition cautions and stage-end cautions that take up a lot of the race. At Indy, expect crashes.

What to Expect at Indy: Accidents and Spins

Again, plotted per 160 laps, as that’s the typical race, we’ve had between 5 and 10 accidents in each of the last five races.

Those Crashes Catch Up a Lot of Cars

The number of cars involved is also high. Not a lot of single-car accidents at Indy lately.

What to Expect at Indy: A column chart of the number of cars involved in accidents and spins

Sure, the data are a little skewed by the 2017 race, but even with Kevin Harvick having dominated last year (leading 74% of all the laps), there were still 14 cars involved in accidents.

A Few Statistics

Since 2000

  • Only 57.8% of the cars finish on the lead lap at Indy on average
  • 84.3% of the cars have finished all the laps of the race (on average, again)
  • Indy has an average of 14.3 green-flag passes per lap (since 2005, when that data started being reported
  • One driver often dominates, but not always. Last year, we had Harvick lead 73.8% of all laps, which is a high. The year before, the lap-leadingest driver only led 23.1% of all laps, which is a low.
  • The average margin of victory is 1.4 second.
About Diandra 443 Articles
I'm a recovering academic who writes about the intersection of science and life. I'm interested in AI, advanced prosthetics, robots and anything that goes fast. Author, THE PHYSICS OF NASCAR and Editor, BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY

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