Speedy Awards: 'Excuse Me, Coming Through' net positions gained

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At the end of September, the Verizon IndyCar Series handed out its season awards at its Victory Lap event in Indianapolis. But IndyCar.com isn’t finished distributing the special, hard-earned honors we're calling the Speedy Awards.

We've been diving deep into the analytics of the 2018 season to find the driver who had the best year according to the loads of data gathered by INDYCAR's elaborate timing and scoring computers at every event. Analysis of raw loop data helps us decide the winners of several awards. The driver with the most Speedy Awards at the end of this series will be crowned the Speedy "Driver of the Year."

This week, we recognize the Speedy Award for “Excuse Me, Coming Through." We know that TAG Heuer already recognized the driver who improved the most positions from the start of a race to the finish at all the events, with its "Don't Crack Under Pressure Award" that went to Graham Rahal. But this Speedy Award rewards the driver who had the highest number of net improved positions throughout the season. In this tabulation, a driver was credited for each race lap in which he advanced at least one grid position, but was deducted for each lap in which he lost one or more spots.

The finalists are:

Charlie Kimball, Carlin

Charlie Kimball tied Zach Veach for the series lead in total laps with at least one position gained, 298. That means the Californian picked up at least one place on an average of 17.5 laps per race in 2018. 

Conversely, Kimball had 105 laps where he lost a position, giving him a net total of 193 laps when he gained a position this season. Kimball was also the top driver in most laps where he improved his position at the first race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear and the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway.

Tony Kanaan, AJ Foyt Racing

Tony Kanaan’s 290 laps of gaining at least one position ranked third among drivers behind fellow nominee Kimball and rookie Veach. Combined with the 107 laps when he lost a position, Kanaan finished with a net total of 183 laps gaining a position. The veteran was the top driver in most laps improving his position at the second Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix race and the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Since he won TAG Heuer award, Graham Rahal was likely to be a nominee for this Speedy Award. Rahal had a total of 280 laps where he gained a position and only 97 laps where he lost a position, which was second only to teammate Takuma Sato for fewest laps losing a spot among drivers who started all 17 races. Rahal’s 183 net laps with a position gained tied Kanaan for second.

And the winner of the “Excuse Me, Coming Through” Speedy Award is Charlie Kimball, whose consistency of moving through the field in each race gave him the nod over Kanaan and Rahal. Check in next week for another Speedy Award presentation.

Previous Speedy Awards announced:

Alex Zanardi “Overtaker of the Year”

Closer

Restart King

Most Valuable Pit Crew

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