WHAT IS THE WATERMILL SCORE?

Editor's note: Earlier this year All Left Turns introduced the Watermill Score, the four-pronged strategy that Sprint Cup teams should follow in order to win a title. In a follow-up story, we showed how winning a NASCAR title is like counting cards. This third post elaborates on the first two, covering why the Watermill Score is important and how teams can use it to affect race strategy.I. Introducing the Watermill ScoreThere is a startlingly basic relationship that almost fully defines the trad ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: MARTIN AND GORDON STILL HAVE A SHOT

Jimmie Johnson’s crash in Texas shook up the Chase and the championship picture is suddenly more competitive than it was one week ago. Remember, probability is based upon past performance this season predicting future success. My notes with two races to go: 1) Anytime you are trying to pass BOTH David Reutimann and Sam Hornish Jr. on the outside of the same turn on lap 3 of any race – that’s just a boneheaded move. When you have a big points leads in the 34th race of the ye ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON HAS 98.6 PERCENT CHANCE OF WINNING

Jimmie Johnson found yet another way to beat the competition Sunday, this time during a bizarre finish at Talladega. As much as this Mark Martin fan hates to say it, Johnson is going to coast to the title unless he has three bad races in a row. And what are the odds Chad Knaus is going to let that happen?First off, we can officially eliminate Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers from contention. Anybody who is more than 483 points behind can't catch Johnson. After next week's race, anybody 322 points ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON ROUTING THE FIELD

Following Sunday's race in Martinsville we have a new, updated championship probability table. As always, the numbers are determined by using past results from this season to predict future success. 1) With the exception of the already-eliminated Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson's second-place finish added to his lead against all of his Chase competitors.2) There really isn't much to say here, with Johnson pulling off finishes like this. It's going to take a wreck for him to lose this title. And ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: ONLY THREE DRIVERS CAN CATCH JOHNSON

With a win in Charlotte on Saturday, Jimmie Johnson has taken a commanding lead in his quest to win a fourth straight title. 1) Johnson has scored three wins in the last four races.  In each of those wins, he also earned bonus points for leading the most laps. 2) The top four drivers, all in Hendrick-powered equipment, now have a more-than 99 percent chance of winning the championship.  That's up from 94 percent last week.3) Mark Martin and Tony Stewart, by finishing outside th ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON PULLING AWAY

The championship probability table underwent a major shakeup this week thanks to Jimmie Johnson’s win in Fontana. (For a refresher on how probability is determined, go here.) 1) Johnson was the big winner in every department. He won the race, took the points lead and gained 18 percentage points here, moving from a 24 percent chance of winning the title to 42 percent. That almost doubles his next competitor. 2) Fortunately for Mark Martin, his fourth-place finish kept him within striking ...

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CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON, STEWART TIED AND MARTIN RIGHT BEHIND

With three Chase races down and seven to go, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson have emerged as strong favorites, with Mark Martin nipping on their heels and Jeff Gordon still lurking in contention. Championship probability table notes:1) Obviously the big winner in Kansas was Stewart, as he halved the points gap with Martin, and in doing so doubled his percentage chances of winning the title. What was once a two-man race between Johnson and Martin is now a three-man race that includes Stewart. ...

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CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON PASSES STEWART AND MARTIN

 With the Dover race in the record books, just eight races remain until the 2009 Sprint Cup champion is crowned. Let’s take a look at the updated championship probability table, which includes some interesting side notes. 1) The big winner at Dover was Jimmie Johnson, who nearly doubled his chance of winning the Chase. 2) Mark Martin's second-place finish kept him in second place on this table, but his percentage moved up a good chunk, from 18 to 23. 3) Tony Stewart's ni ...

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CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: MARTIN CLOSES IN ON STEWART

Coming off Mark Martin's dramatic win in New Hampshire this Sunday, we have a brand new updated table of championship probabilities. 1) Martin is now only three percentage points behind Tony Stewart, who finished 14th. This is particularly encouraging for Martin, considering he had never won at Loudon before and disliked the track so much he left it off his schedule the last two years.2) Juan Pablo Montoya's strong run moved him higher in the points standings, but his title percentage remains ...

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NUMBERS SAY CUP IS STEWART’S TO LOSE

With the Chase field locked, it is time to put away our Chase qualifying tables and break out our championship percentage probability tables. With 10 races to go, Tony Stewart leads all drivers with a 30 percent chance of winning the Cup.I kicked things off with a simulated model of 14,950 potential outcomes in the next 10 races. (Yes, this is what I do for fun.) Adjust for the current points standings (5,000 through 5,040) and we get percentages for who will end the Chase with the most points.R ...

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