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