Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Truth: Speed DOES Matter

When TracksideOnline nails it, they nail it. An except of a recent email received via their (fantastic) subscription service, talking about the Firestone Indylights Series:
"...there are 26 cars practicing for this year's Freedom 100 with JR Hildebrand the early leader in the session at 191.575 miles per hour. Not that it matters but the qualifying record for IMS in a Sprint Cup NASCAR stock car belongs to Casey Mears at 186.293 mph, 48.311 seconds, Aug. 7, 2004."
While many NASCAR fans smugly declare that even the second-tier Nationwide outdraws the Indycar Series, it's worth pointing out that on the track our second-tier series can flat-out demolish the Cup cars.

Those guys can have the crowds. We'll take the speed.

Monday, May 12, 2008

John Andretti In, Jay Howard Out

Lots of Trackforum teeth-gnashing at Marty Roth for putting John Andretti in Jay Howard's car for the Indy 500 time trials next weekend, with the assumption that Marty sat Howard in favor of Andretti and a fat check. However, the fact is the team was struggling to find speed, and neither driver was able to post a time that was anywhere near good enough to get in the show -- and in just 3 laps John Andretti topped 220mph, faster than both Jay Howard and team boss Marty Roth.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Forum Reacts to Danica Running Into Crewman

For those who haven't seen the video yet because you've been trapped under something heavy and this is apparently where you ended up after googling Danica and Pit Accident, here you go:

Horrible accident, and I believe it's no one's fault. But as the TrackForum board lit up with page after page of support for Danica, anyone notice the double standard? We were ready to give Marty Roth a boot to the butt for his *much less* serious accident in pit lane during a race.

Monday, May 5, 2008

TSO Fantasy: Thinking Like Penske

After the disastrous beginning to my TracksideOnline Fantasy season, I decided I needed a little edge heading into Kansas. I ran to my hope chest big steel army surplus locker and grabbed my WWRPD booklet.

And I asked myself: "What Would Roger Penske Do?" The answer is obvious... he'd find a way to turn a limitation into an advantage through innovation.

So I took a look at TSO's Fantasy web page, and recalled a task I've found difficult to perform: selecting 5 drivers that stay under the $1.6M salary cap. Look and the 5 drivers selected below, and notice that you have no way to know how much you are over the cap:

If you click 'Enter Your Picks' at this point, you will get this error:

How much do I need to cut? Clearly, I needed to create my own tool. So I brushed off my HTML skills (kidding, I do this for a living) and created my own entry page which uses nothing but client-side javascript. In my selection tool, all the drivers are presented together:

As I select my drivers, the 'Total Budget' and 'Remaining Budget' numbers recalculate automatically, allow me to play lots of what-if scenarios. Once I reach 5 selected drivers, the rest of the checkboxes automatically disable themselves. Entering the same 5 drivers as I did earlier, I can now see that I'm over budget by exactly $210,000:

So how did this perform for me at Kansas? With some experimentation, I discovered that I could select Kanaan, Castroneves, Andretti, Scheckter, and Hunter-Reay -- a pretty stunning lineup in this league, but with the obvious drawback that I had to pass on the two Ganassi cars. It was a homerun swing which resulted in a strikeout, as Wheldon and Dixon finished 1-2 and Team Racemind had to settle for 183rd spot.

But even Roger doesn't win every time out. Staring up from the bottom of the league, I'll take whatever little edge I can.