Crunching The Numbers: Good Sam 500 at Phoenix

A little reverse birthday gifting going on here as I am giving y’all the gift of numbers and stats for this weekend’s Good Sam 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway. PIR, most recently known as Jeff Gordon Raceway back in the Fall, is a 1.0 mile long  oval, short track (the first of the season). The race is scheduled 312 laps (500 kilometers).

  • Turns 1 and 2 banking: 10°-11°
  • Turns 3 and 4 banking: 8°-9°
  • Frontstretch banking: 3°
    • 1,179 feet long
  • Backstretch banking: 9°
    • 1,551 feet long
    • Dogleg on the backstretch: 10°-11°

Phoenix 1 Track Stats
*No race has ended under caution

The first time the teams visit Phoenix has been early  in the season and is the first time they dip their toes in the sands of the short tracks we have on the schedule. Up until now, the tracks have been long and fast so most of what was seen and learned is superfluous. The only thing that is the same is the rules package. If we compare what we saw last year in the Spring, the race speed was not much off what we typically see, but we did see fewer lead changes and cautions (though we did see more caution laps), as well as a very early first caution. The late final caution set up a sprint to the finish and allowed a few more drivers on the lead lap.

Taking our TARDIS back in time, here is a quick recap of the top 5 finishers from the 2015 races as well as the history of pole sitters:

KH PIR Win2015 Campingworld.Com 500 Top 5 – 3/15/15

Driver Finish Start
Kevin Harvick 1 1
Jamie McMurry 2 3
Ryan Newman 3 5
Kasey Kahne 4 9
Kurt Busch 5 8

 

JR PIR Win

2015 Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 – 11/15/15

Driver Finish Start
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 3
Kevin Harvick 2 8
Joey Logano 3 14
Kyle Busch 4 10
Jimmie Johnson 5 1

 

Past Good Sam 500 Pole Sitters

Year Driver Team Finish
2005 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 12
2006 Kyle Busch Hendrick Motorsports 1
2007 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports 1
2008 Ryan Newman Team Penske 43
2009 Mark Martin Hendrick Motorsports 1
2010 A.J. Allmendinger Richard Petty Motorsports 15
2011 Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Racing 28
2012 Mark Martin Michael Waltrip Racing 9
2013 Mark Martin Stewart-Haas Racing 21
2014 Brad Keselowski Team Penske 3
2015 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing 1

Between all the victories Kevin Harvick has and all the poles, one might think this raceway should be known as Kevin Harvick Raceway. But does all the above information bode well for the driver of the #4?

Past Good Sam 500 Winners:

  • The average race winner’s starting position is 8
    • Jeff Gordon won in 2011 from starting P20, which is the furthest back a race winner has started
  • 36.4% of pole winners have gone on to win the race
    • Kyle Busch: 2006
    • Jeff Gordon: 2007
    • Mark Martin: 2009
    • Kevin Harvick: 2015
  • 45.5% of the winners have come from starting in the top 5
    • 100% of those winners have come from starting on the front row
    • 80% of those winners have come from starting on the pole
  • 54.5% of the winners have come from starting in the top 10
  • Winning drivers have lead an average of 120.8 laps (38.7% of the scheduled 312 lap race)
    • Fewest laps led by race winner: Ryan Newman led 4 laps (1.06% of the race; 378 laps) in 2010
    • Most laps led by a race winner: Kevin Harvick led 224 laps (71.8% of the race) in 2014
  • There have been 9 different race winners from 4 different teams since 2005
  • Pole winners have an average finish of 12.3, leading an average of 54.5 laps (17.5% of the scheduled 312 lap race)

Before jumping to the predictions, here is a quick recap of how the teams (and manufacturers) are doing this season as well as their history at PIR.

Phoenix 1 Manufacturer Stats

1 win a piece for the manufacturers from their top teams thus far this season, and it looks good for Chevrolet to pick up another win this season as they tend to dominate the field at PIR.

Phoenix 1 Team Stats

Now that we know what the past held, time to look into the future! Does the future still look bright for Kevin Harvick? Will Austin Dillon continue his great season thus far? Will any of the rookie shine at the first short track of the season? Take a look for yourself!

Phoenix 1 Predictions

Qualifying is set for Friday, March 11th at 6:45pm (EST) and the field is set to take the green flag around 3:00pm (EST) on Sunday, March 13th. Use the stats well my friends!

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Ashley Hobbs

Birthday: 9 March 1989 (so I do not have to update my age each year)
Location: Florida (Jersey native, born and raised)

What better way to combine 2 of my favorite things, NASCAR and statistics, than providing y'all with an analytical report each weekend during the NASCAR season.

When I am not crunching the numbers, I spend time with my hubby, 3 black cats (Ninja, Daytona, and Chronos), and I watch too much TV, especially Doctor Who. Why yes, I am a geek and proud! So join forces with me and follow my weekly Crunching The Numbers segment. Who knows, I may surprise you!

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