Alexander Rossi

The Verizon IndyCar Series recently handed out its season awards at its Victory Lap event in Indianapolis, but isn’t quite done handing out awards.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll dive deep into the analytics of the 2018 season to find the driver who had the best year according to our data.

And even though my co-workers insisted that I follow Will Power’s lead and name them after me since I'm the “INDYCAR Numbers Guy,” I’ve opted to call them the Speedy Awards over the Arni Awards.

Analysis of raw loop data in several categories will help us decide the winner of each award and the driver with the most awards will be crowned the Speedy "Driver of the Year."

Today, we’ll look at passing and hand out the Speedy for the “Alex Zanardi Overtaker of the Year”.

Why Zanardi? Why not? He was always passing someone back in the day.

In 2018, there were nearly 5,000 on-track passes and the finalists for “Alex Zanardi Overtaker of the Year” accounted for almost fifth of that number. And it didn’t matter if it was on a oval or a road course. These three drivers made it a show watching them each race.

The finalists are:

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion was among the busiest passers of the season, recording the most passes at Long Beach and ranking among the top five at Indianapolis, Texas and Portland.

For the season, he recorded 257 passes, which ranked third among all drivers and he was one of the most efficient passers of the year with nearly 70 percent of the passes he was involved falling in his favor.

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

As part of his standout 2018, Rossi was the series leader is total on-track overtakes (321), overtakes for position (159) and passing efficiency (71 percent of his passes fell in his favor). Rossi was the top passer at St. Petersburg, ISM Raceway, Toronto, Pocono and Sonoma, and tied for the top spot at Barber and Texas.

And while he admitted he put himself in tough situations by qualifying poorly at some races and falling back early and needing to fight back, watching Rossi at every track was the highlight of nearly every race

Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport

As impressive as it is for a rookie to make the list of finalists for Overtaker of the Year, Veach was actually more impressive on the track. As part of his second-half surge, Veach was the top overtaker at Gateway and was among the top three passers at Iowa, Portland and Sonoma.

His 261 on-track passes were only second to Rossi.

But the winner of the Alex Zanardi Overtaker of the year is Rossi.

Leading the series in both on-track passes and position passes was more than enough to give the driver of the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda his first Speedy Award of 2018.