Something to consider

As we have a small break before the Denver race, I thought I would give you an update on some interesting stats from the 2011 season.

If you make it to Bandimere this year, it’s going to be beautiful and green.  We have been having monsoonal moisture every day for about two weeks.  If you want something exciting to do after the race on Sunday night, hang a right from the track and head over the beautiful Red Rocks amphitheater and see Chicago with the Colorado Symphony...it starts at 7:30 p.m.

First, let's talk speed. Three years ago, in 2008, NHRA chopped 320 feet off the track for the fuel cars, starting at Denver.

So, where do the average speeds rank today?  For Top Fuel, 305.22 is a notch below 2003's average of 306.38 and a notch above 1999's average speed of 303.71.  In Funny Car, 2011 average speeds are comparable to 2000 and 2002 average speeds. (see charts).  Charts are sorted by average mph.

One thing I like to do is check the health of the classes.  One way I do that is by the number of drivers qualifying. My thinking is the more drivers qualifying means more teams have the means to race and there is some parity to the racing.  While some "big" teams will continue to be at every event and more than likely qualify at each, other teams are getting into the show as well and are competitive.

Let's start with PSB - six events so far this year and 22 unique qualified drivers.  Eleven events for the rest of the pros and for PS - 23 unique drivers, FC - 24 and TF - a whopping 33 drivers qualifying -- and the season is just roughly half over.

Reaction times, the driver's favorite stat, and guess who has the best one in Top Fuel?  Wrong, not Spencer Massey. Try Luigi Novelli's .014 in the first round against Del Worsham at Norwalk.  Spencer has the best average reaction time with a .056 average.  Perfect light shout outs to Angie Smith, first round Atlanta; Gerald Savoie, second round E-town; Greg Stanfield, first round Topeka and Mike Edwards, second round Chicago. Guesses or not...duly noted!

One more interesting set of stats in regards to reaction times, each pro class has had a final round decided by a holeshot. It doesn't happen a lot and it’s especially odd for every class to have at least one this year.  Whether it was deep staged, shallow staged or whatever, the stats come out as a holeshot.

Final round holeshots so far in 2011:
PSB - Matt Smith 6.900/.023 over Karen Stoffer's 6.889/.034 at E-town
PS - three of them!
Greg Anderson 6.670/.011 over Erica Enders 6.659/.031 at Chicago
Jason Line 6.554/.058 over  Greg Anderson 6.545/.086 at Gainesville...Yikes!
Vincent Nobile 6.625/.007 over Roger Brogdon 6.624/.009  at Houston...now that is close!
FC - Robert Hight 4.056/.060 over Matt Hagan 4.023/.105 at Pomona
TF - Spencer Massey 3.821/.065 over Del Worsham 3.815/.080 at Englishtown

I'll throw in a couple of trivial items as well...Mike Neff is 4-0 against BOTH of the Pedregon brothers this year (4-0 against each...ouch!).  

Go to the Las Vegas race, look at the qualifying sheet for pro stock...take the last names of the 15th and 16th qualifier and you have a famous movie star!  Who is it?

Finally, Bob Vandergriff has been racing fuel cars 17 years, since 1994...never won an event, qualified for 215, and added one more final round this year to his total of 13 (0-13 lifetime in final rounds).  It's currently the longest streak of not winning an event in the pro ranks.  Good luck, Bob, with your new crew chief...we are all pulling for ya!