Winning vs. Consistency: The Delicate Balance of the NASCAR Playoffs
The NASCAR playoffs determine the season’s champion. Is the champion the guy who wins the most races? Or the guy who runs up front the most?
There’s no scientific way to answer this question, but there is data. NASCAR has modified their playoffs to try to create a suitable balance between winning and consistency. Have they succeeded?
The 2019 Rules Package: The Tapered Spacer
NASCAR announced the 2019 rules package last week. Reactions from fans ranged from wait-and-see to despair to a surprising amount of anger.
The Roval is Just a Really Fast Road Course
This weekend marks the very first time NASCAR has run a race on the Charlotte Roval: a combination of the oval track we run in May with select portions of the road course in the infield. It’s a unique situation because, unlike most road courses, this one is contained. Fans will be able to see the entire course. Everyone is looking forward to seeing something new on this one-of-a-kind hybrid track.
The NASCAR Playoffs and Preordination
Preordination (n): The action of determining an outcome or course of action in advance; The fact of being determined in advance. The Oxford Living Dictionary You’d think with my interest in data that I’d be the type of person who loved brackets, right? While scientists usually have some idea of how…
Sciencing Out NASCAR Rules Changes
Rules changes in NASCAR are tricky. There’s really no way to test them before implementing them. You’re relying on the judgement and experience of the NASCAR team, with input from race teams, drivers, Goodyear and tracks. How to Test Rules Packages? Robert Gauthier (@yetticrg) tweeted a question to me (You…
Do Road Courses (Like Restrictor Plate Tracks) Level the Playing Field?
NASCR only goes road course racing twice a year (plus a roval, this year). Does the road course offer all drivers a better chance of winning, the way plate tracks do?
Let’s All Stop Wringing Our Hands About Having Only Seven Distinct NASCAR Race Winners
Much has been made of the fact that NASCAR has only had seven distinct winners this year — and that three drivers (Harvick, Kyle Busch and Truex, Jr.) have won 14 out of 19 races this year. What exactly — if anything — does the small number of distinct winners…
Fire: A Motorsports Safety Challenge
While NASCAR has made significant advances in protecting drivers from crashes, protecting them from fire is a much different — and much more scientifically challenging — problem. I was reminded of that by how Ryan Blaney’s night ended at the Coca Cola 600. Fire Safety and Racecars: A Brief History…
Jumping the (Air) Gun
(Air) Gun Control A lot’s changed on Pit Road this year. In addition to cutting the over-the-wall crew to five people, NASCAR decided (by majority vote of the Team Owners’ Council) that they would provide air guns to all teams. Not everyone was in favor of this. Rob Kauffman tweeted that Chip…