NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 49: Mike Forde

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NASCAR statistical guru Mike Forde was the guest on the latest NASCAR on NBC podcast, analyzing the Round of 8 and discussing how teams delve into numerology for advantages.

Forde explained the evolution of Loop Data, the statistics gleaned from scoring loops that were added to every track a little more than a decade ago. Its advent helped create a new category called driver rating, which compiles several statistics (such as average running position, average speed, average running position) generated by Loop Data.

While Loop Data mostly remains a niche interest, Forde said there has been increasing interest on social media (“fantasy players really devour that stuff”) and from NASCAR teams. Kyle Busch has been known to highlight his perfect driver ratings in postrace news conferences, and crew chiefs dispatch PR representatives to check with NASCAR’s Integrated Communications Department to check on discrepancies.

“NASCAR doesn’t’ get the credit for being as analytic as it is,” Forde said. “Teams have data analysts. We have data analysts. Something as simple as pit stall selection, the crew chiefs have the average finish of every single pit stall. … They’re begging NASCAR for (more stats).”

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

Here are time codes for easy referencing while listening to the podcast.



NASCAR America: Is there cause for concern with Jimmie Johnson’s performance thus far?

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It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.

The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.

He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.

And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?

NASCAR America: Mark Martin is definitely a Kyle Larson fan

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching  Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson involved in minor fender bender while leaving Fontana

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Kyle Larson‘s spectacular weekend at Auto Club Speedway — winning both Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup event — left him feeling good.

But shortly upon exiting the facility, Larson and several others were involved in a fender-bender right outside the Speedway. Larson was a passenger, not the driver.

No one was injured, Larson tweeted.

But somehow, isn’t that strange fate?

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson’s Fontana win shows continued maturing as a driver

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Kyle Larson finally broke his streak of three straight runner-up finishes with his win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, the crew discussed his win as well as his maturation as a driver.