Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tony Stewart has a 43% Chance of Winning the Chase

After Monday's win at Watkins Glen, Tony helped himself with an extra 10 bonus points for the chase.

Running through all the numbers, and including bonus points for wins that each driver will have, these are the probabilities for winning the chase for each driver. This table is based on how each driver has performed so far this year. If somebody were to perform their best or their worst during the Chase, then these probabilities might misrepresent that.

But assuming what we've seen so far is a good sample for what we are going to see, then this table is a good approximation.

43% Tony Stewart
15% Jeff Gordon
13% Jimmie Johnson
6% Mark Martin
5% Kurt Busch
5% Kyle Busch
4% Denny Hamlin
3% Ryan Newman
2% Greg Biffle
2% Matt Kenseth
1% Kasey Kahne
1% Carl Edwards
0% Juan Montoya

We see a few interesting points here.

1) If Kyle Busch would qualify for the Chase, he'd be a stronger threat than several other drivers who are already locked into the chase. We already know this from common sense, and it's good to see the math support it.

2) Montoya's "chase racing" strategy has been good enough to qualify for the chase, but it is definitely not going to help him win the title. Again, we know this from common sense - but the numbers show again the fallacy in his strategy.

3) If Tony Stewart keeps doing what he has all season, it will be tough to beat him, despite the fact he'd be losing such a big points lead on the reset.

4) Despite Jimmie Johnson's lead over Jeff Gordon in the points standings and the win column, it is in fact Gordon who has a slightly better shot to win the title.

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