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Splash & Go writes:
"The Pitfalls of Parity"
Posted by Uptight Motorsports Nerd on August 19, 2011
Viewed 493 times


Two cars are having a race. Car A leaves New York for Los Angles traveling 2,500 miles at 100 miles per hour. Car B leaves one-quarter of a second later, traveling the same route at the same speed. Which car will arrive first?

I don't need to tell you that Car A wins by one-quarter of a second; I'm just here to explain why it's bad. When cars race that are not only equal, but identical, the pursuing car cannot overtake the leader.

When we apply this scenario to reality, we can see the ugliest results of the Car of Tomorrow. NASCAR is claiming that lead changes over the course of a season are at an all-time high. I decided to challenge this claim by comparing the 2000 season to the 2010 season. Comparing the sum-total of lead changes in each season is misleading because the 2010 season was two races longer; however, comparing the averages is also misleading because it doesn't compensate for repaved or reconfigured tracks, or realignments in the schedule. I selected 8 races at tracks that were not reconfigured and their races always run to the full advertised distance. I did not include any restrictor plate races because their engine and shock regulations often change from one race to the next, and because the two-car tandem has created a scenario where leading drivers will voluntarily relinquish their lead while the pushing driver cools his engine.

Pocono 2.......25.......19
Phoenix 2......23.......13
Watkins Glen....9.......10
Texas 1........29.......29
Michigan 2.....21.......17
Atlanta 1......30.......31
Dover 2........24.......16
Richmond 1.....21.......12

While there is no real way of accounting for taste, these statistics would indicate racing (if its quality should be determined by lead changes) was more competitive 10 years ago. This competitiveness correlates to brands competing with each other. Sometimes a car would dominate, but sometimes it would only dominate for 20 laps and suddenly go 1.5 seconds off the pace. Identical bodies give us homogenous lap times and a parade; that's not my idea of a good time.

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