Simon Pagenaud

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 analytics to find the driver who had the best year according to our data.

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

Tony Kanaan isn’t done racing Indy cars yet, but the popular Brazilian is known for his tremendous restart ability.

Drivers often say they’ll need a “Tony Kanaan start (or restart)” to have a chance to move up from the rear of the field, so in TK’s honor, we’re calling this Speedy Award the “Tony Kanaan Restarter of the Year.”

To come up with the rankings, we measured the lap times of a driver’s first two laps after a restart at each event they competed in.

The finalists  all ranked higher than the award’s namesake  are:

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series champion earns his first Speedy category nomination. Dixon averaged 125.561 mph over the 17 events he competed in and ranked second among all drivers on road and street courses with an average speed of 105.860 mph. He had the fastest average restarts at Belle Isle-1 and Toronto.

Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske

Pagenaud, who ranked as one of the best closers of 2018, had the highest average restart of all drivers at 127.389 mph. He ranked sixth among all drivers on oval restarts (198.116 mph) and fifth on road/street courses (105.267 mph). He had the fastest average restart at Texas.

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Rahal ranked second in average speed on restarts at 127.321 mph despite not being ranked among the top five on either road/street courses. The winner of the TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award” often used restarts effectively to move his way through the field.

Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

Rossi ranked fifth in average speed on restarts at 125.001 mph and had the fastest average restart at four races – Long Beach, Belle Isle-2, Mid-Ohio and Pocono. He ranked sixth among all drivers on road/street restarts and oval restarts.

And the winner of the Speedy as top restarter is: Simon Pagenaud.

Pagenaud was the guy who, like Tony Kanaan, was coming fast after a restart regardless of course. His consistency and his highest average speed gets him this award. Maybe we should start talking about "Simon Pagenaud restarts."

Previous awards:

Alex Zanardi “Overtaker of the Year” 

Closer of the Year