Final Rankings: Charlotte I, 2017

Kevin Harvick photo

Happy Harvick took over the top spot in my final Charlotte I driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final driver rankings for tomorrow night’s race at Charlotte. I compiled them by crunching the practice and qualifying data from Charlotte on Thursday and Saturday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Martin Truex Jr
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Chase Elliott Continue reading

Early Rankings: Charlotte I, 2017

kyle larson photo

Kyle Larson tops my early Charlotte I driver rankings (photo courtesy nascar)

Update: I’ve posted my final Charlotte I driver rankings, which improve upon the below early rankings.

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Cup race at Charlotte. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Cup races (excluding Daytona and Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races;
  • the loop data for the past four races at Charlotte;
  • the loop data for the past eight races at the other tracks in the Large Ovals track group (i.e., Fontana, Kansas, Atlanta, Texas, Chicagoland, Michigan and Kentuck);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Charlotte; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past eight races at the aforementioned Large Ovals.

Plus, I tweaked the results obtained with the above with data pulled from the All Star and Open prelims and races. The results:

  1. Kyle Larson
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Jimmie Johnson
  5. Martin Truex Jr
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Denny Hamlin
  10. Chase Elliott Continue reading

Final Rankings: All Star Race, 2017

Martin Truex Jr photo

Martin Truex Jr. remains my pick to win tonight’s All Star race in my final rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final rankings for tonight’s Open and All Star races at Charlotte. I compiled them by crunching the Friday practice data from Charlotte, and then melding it with the historical data.

I’m posted the All Star and Open driver rankings together because we don’t know yet which Open drivers will make the All Star race, and I won’t make another rankings post between the Open and the All Star race. This way you can see now how my numbers say the Open drivers compare with the All Star drivers. The for-sure All Stars are red; the Open drivers are black:

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Jimmie Johnson
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Joey Logano
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Chase Elliott
  10. Kurt Busch Continue reading

Early Rankings: All Star Race, 2017

Martin Truex Jr photo

Martin Truex Jr. tops my early All Star Race driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Cup All Star and Open races at Charlotte. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Daytona and Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races (excluding Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races at Charlotte;
  • the loop data for the past eight races at the other tracks in the Large Ovals track group (i.e., FontanaKansasAtlantaTexasChicagoMichigan and Kentucky);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Charlotte; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past eight races at the aforementioned Large Ovals.

Note: This early list doesn’t include whoever gets into the All Star race via the fan vote, winning segments in the Open or winning the Open.

The rankings for the All Star race:

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Kyle Larson
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Kyle Busch
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Kurt Busch Continue reading

Early Rankings: Kansas I, 2017

Martin Truex Jr photo

Martin Truex Jr. tops my early Kansas I driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas. I compiled them by crunching:

  • The loop data for the past 15 Sprint Cup races (excluding Daytona and Talladega);
  • the loop data for the past four races;
  • the loop data for the past four races at Kansas;
  • the loop data for the past seven races at other tracks in the Large Ovals track group (i.e., Michigan, Kentucky, Fontana, Charlotte, Texas, Atlanta and Chicagoland);
  • the practice and qualifying data for the past four races at Kansas; and
  • the practice and qualifying data for past seven races at the aforementioned Large Ovals.

The results:

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Chase Elliott
  8. Kyle Larson
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Denny Hamlin Continue reading

DraftKings Lineups: Talladega I, 2017

Ricky Stenhouse Jr photo

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. appears in 29 of my top 30 optmized DraftKings lineups. (photo courtesy nascar)

I’ve used my lineup optimizer to compile my top 30 DraftKings NASCAR driver lineups for today’s Talladega I race. To compile them, first I plugged my final driver rankings for the race and the starting lineup into my driver points projection model to project how many DraftKings points each driver will score at Talladega I. Then I ran those points projections through a knapsack-problem optimizer algorithm I created in Google Sheets with the OpenSolver add-on, which churned through all possible driver combinations to calculate the 30 best lineups for the race.

The lineups are sorted in descending order of total predicted points scored, and the total predicted points have been rounded to the nearest hundredth. I posted them in a PDF file you can download and view for $3. Here’s the link: Talladega I 2017 DraftKings Lineups

Note: No guarantee comes with my lineups, rankings, predictions, etc. Use them at your own risk. To get a feel for how the lineups look, check out my Kansas I 2016 DraftKings lineups.

Good luck!

DraftKings Driver Values: Talladega I, 2017

kurt busch photo

Kurt Busch offers top DraftKings value at Talladega today. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my DraftKings driver points and price/point predictions for today’s Talladega I race. To predict how many DraftKings points each driver will score today, I plugged my driver rankings for today’s race into my projection model, and the starting lineup. Then, to calculate each driver’s price/point, I simply divided each driver’s price by their predicted points.

The below table lists all drivers running today, and it’s sorted from lowest price/point to highest. If you’re on a small-screen device, scroll the table horizontally with a finger drag to see all the columns.

The table: Continue reading

Final Rankings: Talladega I, 2017

brad keselowski photo

Brad Keselowski remains my pick to win at Talladega today in my final driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Here are my final driver rankings for today’s Cup race at Talladega. I compiled them by crunching the qualifying data from Talladega on Saturday, and then melding it with the historical data:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Ryan Blaney
  6. Kurt Busch
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  8. Denny Hamlin
  9. Kyle Busch
  10. Trevor Bayne Continue reading

Kentucky Derby 2017: the Wisdom of an Expert Crowd

churchill downs racing photo

Churchill Downs and its famed twin spires will host the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. (photo courtesy churchill downs)

I’ve been watching the Kentucky Derby every year since I was a wee lad, and every year I struggle to figure out which horse(s) to bet on. I’ve got a pretty good handle on NASCAR handicapping, but I don’t know jack about horse racing.

Tomorrow will mark the 143rd running of the Derby. This year I put in a little more effort into my pre-race research than usual, and I thought I’d share the results. These aren’t my numbers or data, but they should get you in the ballpark. It’s not just the wisdom of crowds, it’s the wisdom of an expert crowd—that might be even better, right?

OK, first I’ve compiled the opening odds of Mike Battaglia (Churchill Downs’ handicapper), Mike Watchmaker (the Daily Racing Form’s handicapper) and the Bovada sportsbook into a spreadsheet. I then calculated the average odds from all three sources on each horse, and I’ve sorted the spreadsheet from best average odds to worst. If you’re on a small-screen device, scroll the table horizontally with a finger drag to see all the columns:
Continue reading

Early Rankings: Talladega I, 2017

brad keselowski photo

Brad Keselowski tops my early Talladega I driver rankings. (photo courtesy nascar)

Update: I’ve posted my final Talladega I driver rankings, which improve upon the below early rankings.

Here are my early driver rankings for this week’s race at Talladega. I compiled them by crunching the loop data for the past four plate races and the qualifying data from past four plate races. Those metrics reflect speed, the ability to pass and the ability (and inclination) to run a lot of laps up front.

The results:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Ryan Blaney
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Chase Elliott
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Kyle Busch
  8. Ricky Stenhouse Jr
  9. Austin Dillon
  10. Kyle Larson Continue reading