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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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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WINNING IN NASCAR IS LIKE COUNTING CARDS

In my previous article about the Watermill Score, I explained how we can simplify the NASCAR points system to just four basic metrics: finishing the race, finishing on the lead lap, top 10s and wins. I also suggested how this allows for smarter gambles by crew chiefs. Another way to think about this concept is to use the analogy of counting cards in blackjack.The point in blackjack is that you have 52 cards in a deck, but only certain cards are worth points. In a simple counting scheme, many car ...

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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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VICKERS, BUSCH ONLY BUBBLE DRIVERS WITH SHOT AT MAKING THE CHASE

With one race left before the Chase field is set, you can almost throw out all of the old probability tables we have discussed before. Obviously, anything can happen in this final race.Fortunately we have a guide: the previous 25 races this season. If we simulate this Saturday night's race at Richmond by taking the results from the past 25 races this year, we can narrow the possibilities of what the standings could look like on Sunday. Most importantly, we can use these numbers to get a good sen ...

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HOW TO WIN A SPRINT CUP TITLE

(Editor's note: All Left Turns stats maven Dale Watermill has done something noteworthy. He has reduced the complicated Sprint Cup scoring system to the four basic factors that lead to success. Teams that accomplish as many of these four goals as possible at every race have the best chance at winning a Sprint Cup title.)Forget, for a second, everything you know about the current NASCAR points system: 185 points for a win, 34 points for last place, 5 points for leading a lap and 5 points for lead ...

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