Toyota Save Mart 350 (2013) Statistics:

Winner: Martin Truex Jr. (lead 46.36% of the race)

Average Speed: 76.658 mph

Margin of Victory: 8.133 seconds

Lead Changes: 10

Number of Cautions: 7

Caution Laps: 19 (17.27% of the race)

First Caution: 7

Last Caution: 83

Drivers on Lead Lap: 34

 

2014 Driver Statistics

Jeff Gordon maintains the best average finish this year and improving it slightly with his finish at Michigan. Matt Kenseth is still on Gordon’s heals however. With his third win of 2014, Jimmie Johnson has been steadily improving his average finish as well as his position in the points. Tony Stewart has also been getting his summer in order and is slowly climbing the ladder of success; still waiting for Kasey Kahne to follow suit.

 

 

Toyota Save Mart 350 Predictions

This is one of a handful of races that could produce a spoiler in the chase, mainly from Marcos Ambrose or A.J. Allmendinger. However, if they want to get into the Chase, it looks like they will have to beat Jeff Gordon. With the outstanding year Gordon has had thus far and his history at Sonoma, a win at the road course is overdue for him.

 

Dark Horses: Jamie McMurray

 Avoid: Aric Almirola

 

Team Statistics

With their 6th win of the season, Hendrick Motorsports has leapt over Joe Gibbs Racing with the best average finish; they also still have the most wins. Will anyone challenge them? Maybe not this weekend since Hendrick has the most wins at the track. Even though Roush Fenway Racing has the best average finish, the way their season is going, I do not see them contending this weekend.


 

 

Manufacturer Statistics

Chevrolet continues to stretch out their numbers in 2014 and can easily continue that trend this weekend at Sonoma.


 


Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway: Key Statistics

Past Winners:

  • The average race winner has come from starting in the top 12 (11.9 average)
  • 50% of the winners have come from starting P5 – P14
  • Juan Pablo Montoya won the race starting from P32 (furthest back)
  • Jeff Gordon won from the pole back in 2004, the last driver to do so (win from the pole)
  • The winning driver has lead an average 55.5 laps (50.45% of the race)

 

Race Speed (mph):

Average: 75.631

Minimum: 71.012

Maximum: 83.624

95% Confidence Interval: (68.842, 82.42)

Sonoma, our first of two road course races during the year! The average speed of this race has been trending upwards since 2004, even to a level slightly above the average. There is a fairly high correlation (relationship) between the race speed and the number of cautions; the more cautions, the slower the race speed. Assuming there is around the average, or fewer cautions, the trend should hold.

 

Margin of Victory (seconds):

Average: 2.586

Minimum: 0.748

Maximum: 8.133

95% Confidence Interval: (-1.879, 7.051)

Last year, we saw the widest margin of victory at Sonoma which really increases the values prior to then. Before last year’s race, the average was 1.97 seconds. Without last year’s outlier (8.133 seconds), the trending was on a slight uptick, and slightly above average. With last year’s outlier, trending is on a huge upward swing and drastically far away from the average. Assuming last year was an outlier of Sonoma margin of victories, we can look for the margin of victory to be around that 2 second mark.

 

Lead Changes:

Average: 9.3

Minimum: 5

Maximum: 12

95% Confidence Interval: (4.873, 13.727)

There are very few lead changes at Sonoma; if a driver wants the lead, it will come on a restart or pit stops. Trending of the number of lead changes has been on an upswing and just slightly above the average.

  

Cautions:

Average: 6.2

Minimum: 2

Maximum: 8

95% Confidence Interval: (2.827, 9.573)

7 seems to be the lucky number at Sonoma when it comes to the number of cautions as 50% of the races since 2004 have seen 7 cautions. 2012’s 2 cautions is an outlier, but with or without it, trending has been on a slight decline since 2004, but still hovering around the average. I’d stick with lucky 7.

 

Cautions Laps:

Average: 14.8

Minimum: 7

Maximum: 20

95% Confidence Interval: (7.094, 22.506)

The number of caution laps has been fairly constant over the years, with trending being very slight above the average. If you stick with lucky 7 for the number of cautions, they produce and average of 15.8 caution laps.

 

First Caution:

Average: 20.2

Minimum: 2

Maximum: 83

95% Confidence Interval: (-29.9, 70.3)

2004-2007 produced very early caution flags, all before lap 5 (average lap 3.25). 2008-2012, the average was 36.4, which is 11.2 times greater than the first 4 years. The trending has been on an increase, mostly due to 2008-2012 time frame and is well above the average. 2013 went back to an early caution; 2014 races have averaged their first caution 10.31% of the way into the race so if we apply that, we are at an early-ish caution, around lap 11-12.

 

Last Caution:

Average: 96.1

Minimum: 68

Maximum: 110

95% Confidence Interval: (66.443, 125.757)

3 races have gone into overtime at Sonoma and the trending is moving up and closing in on the final caution coming within the final 10 laps, which is slightly above the average. If we use 2014 data, the last caution has come with about 7% of the race remaining, which would put this race’s final caution around lap 102. The average may not be the best indicator this time around.

 

Drivers On The Lead Lap:

Average: 31.2

Minimum: 23

Maximum: 36

95% Confidence Interval: (23.729, 38.671)

The number of drivers on the lead lap at the end of the race has been decreasing ever so slightly over the years, but is still hovering around the average, and that is a good place to be.