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 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…

How NASCAR’s “Enhanced Schedule” Affects the Race Teams

NASCAR’s enhanced schedule compresses three days on on-track activity into two. It’s designed to save teams time and money, but how will it affect the racing? What is an “Enhanced Schedule”? If you’re wondering why NASCAR used the moniker ‘enhanced’ for compressing what used to be three days of Monster…

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…

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