I’ll have a piece out on Sunday at NBC Sports examining at which drivers (playoff and non-playoff) are having the best playoffs thus far. One component of that assessment is green-flag speed.
In the NBC Sports piece, I use average green-flag speed ranking, but there’s quite a bit to be learned by digging down past just the average
Whisker Plots of 2022 Playoff Green-Flag Speed
I’ve plotted the eight playoff drivers in order of average rank from the best on the left to the worst on the right.
The red line shows the median: the middle of the eight scores. Half the driver’s scores are lower than the median and half are higher.
Colored boxes represent half of each driver’s races, while the lines and whiskers show the extent of the other 50%
For example, Byron ranked between second and 12th for all eight races. In four of those races, he ranked between third and ninth. The other four were less than three or more than nine. Byron’s median was 4.5 and the average rank for the eight races was 6.0.
Denny Hamlin, Ross Chastain and Ryan Blaney each have a green diamond over their box and whiskers. Those are data points so far out from the median that they get flagged. If this was an experiment, I would be rechecking those data points to see if someone made a mistake.
Since I know the numbers are right, it means that these data points denote exceptional races. In other words, these drivers each had one really bad race. Blaney’s solid bar, for example, runs from 8.0 to 13.5, but he ranked 36th in green-flag speed at one race. That’s why his average is 13.7, even though his median finish is lower than Chastain’s.
And if you ignore Chastain’s Roval results, he would rank third instead of seventh.
The smaller the block and the closer the whiskers, the most consistent a driver is.
Chastain is the most consistent driver in terms of green-flag speed. His highest rank was fourth and his lowest 11th — except for that one really bad race.
Of course, consistency isn’t always a good think. Blaney is consistent, but around a median of about 9.5
Christopher Bell’s has one of the longest bars. His median value is 2.5, but the bar extends up to 16. That’s because had a bang up first-four races and then failed to rank better than 15th in the second four races. The 27th rank wasn’t tagged as an outlier because it wasn’t sufficiently far from other finishes he had.
I hope that sheds a little additional light on the 2022 playoff green-flag-speed rankings.
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