Friday, May 1, 2009

Matrix visualizations

I wanted to show the data from our last example in a different way. Take a look at these two images below. You can click on them to see larger versions. Again, this is points from the 2008 season, under the Traditional non-chase scoring method for all 36 races.

I have various different tables for Points progression over the full year, as well as the the Points Per Race (PPR) progression during the year. I am trying different versions of coloring the data to highlight different areas, so feel free to explore. Notice how consistent these patterns are. That the PPRs remain relatively constant throughout the year. And how the overall points ever so slowly spread out. See in just 2 races, everybody crossed the 500 point boundary. But it took 5 races for everybody to cross the 1000 point boundary. 5 races for everybody to cross 1500, But 9 races for the 20 drivers to cross the 2000 point boundary. The ever-so-slow yet ever-so-predictable fanning out of the points standings.

In the fourth chart, you can see the orange/yellow boundary at 115 points. For 14th/15th places. Look how consistently straight that line remains over the second half of the season.

Or in the final chart, see the 130 point border around 6th place staying very steady.

In all this what do we learn?
Points Per Race are a much better way to think about points progression, as the PPR relationship holds steady over time, constantly spreading out the different drivers in the rankings.
To improve in the stands, the best way to is to increase your PPR. Even a 5 point PPR increase makes a HUGE difference, as you can see her. Leading that lap, fixing up your car after a crash and picking up another spot or two. Not losing a spot on the final restart. Gaining a spot on pit road a couple times a race. These effects have BIG impacts over time. We already knew that, but these numbers help show it to us more clearly.

Visualizing how Points get accumulated

Following up on my previous posts about Points Per Race (PPR), and how the patterns develop over a season. I wanted to show some graphical examples of this behavior.

In the example today, I considered the 2008 points standings. I counted only the "Traditional" points system, to remove the Chase's effect of reshuffling all the points. I looked at the Top 20 in points each week.

In the first chart, you can see the total points accumulation over the year. It's practically a straight line for each ranking. The only difference is the slope of the points accumulation. But it's a fairly consistent pattern that slowly spreads out the Top 20 over the season.

In the second graph, you can see the Points Per Race. After the first couple races of the year average out, there is a generally consistent level of PPR for each ranking. What it takes to be 5th place or 15th place is reasonably well defined.

You can click on each picture to get a bigger version.