Numbers to note following the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – the fourth race of the 2018 Verizon Indy Car Series season.
1.18 – Average running position for race winner Josef Newgarden during the 82 laps of racing at Barber Motorsports Park.
9 – Indy car wins for Newgarden, who has won five of his last 10 Indy car races.
10 – Positions gained by Takuma Sato (18th to 8th), most of any driver. Sato gained nine positions on Sunday, while teammate Graham Rahal improved seven positions (14th to 7th after the restart on Monday)
23 – Laps that Marco Andretti improved his position in the race, most of any driver.
199 – Indy car wins for cars fielded by Roger Penske.
204 – Consecutive starts by Andretti, the fourth-longest streak in Indy car history
228 – Consecutive starts by Scott Dixon, the second-longest streak in Indy car history.
286 – Consecutive starts by Tony Kanaan, extending his all-time record.
347 – Indy car starts for Kanaan which ranks third on the all-time list.
999 – Total on track passes during the first four races of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. It is a 110 percent increase in on-track passing vs. the 2017 season when there were 475 passes in the first four races.
Bonus: Right time to change to rain tires
Both James Hinchcliffe (9th to 3rd) and Takuma Sato (14th to 8th) gained six positions in the final 8 laps of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
But the race was decided by Team Penske’s decision to pit Josef Newgarden for Firestone Firehawk rain tires while Sebastien Bourdais’ one-stop strategy on slick tires began to literally slip away.
Both cars ran similar pace in the dry, but Newgarden’s quicker pace allowed him to build a lead of more than 25 seconds, but while Tim Cindric opted to be the first to go for rain tires for Newgarden, Bourdais and engineer Craig Hampson opted to gamble and hope for a caution as track conditions worsened.
Unfortunately for Bourdais, as the track conditions got worse, so did his pace, the No. 18 Team SealMaster team lost a potential podium finish.
Data scientist and INDYCAR fan Michael Gethers provided this chart on Twitter that illustrates the point.