Thursday, April 20, 2006

Melanie...lucky or not?

A recent Sunday morning, front page article in the motorsports challenged Denver Post sports section,
featured our(Denver's) favorite drag racing son, I mean daughter, Melanie Troxel. It was good article. The print copy had a good picture of the Skull car. In the article, as always, the writer had to quote "The First Lady of Drag Racing" Shirley Muldowney. (Who else are they going to quote?) Shirley, in her usual non-complimentary, no quarter given tone said "It's hard to tell somebody that I'm not rooting for Melanie, because I'm not, I have to look at her as just a competitor. She's done a good job in the car, but she's had a lot of luck, too. But you take it any way you can get it."

What is luck in drag racing anyway? Driving for your rich dad, not blowing up parts, winning because the guy in the other lane aborted the run, redlit or was horribly late? I don't know. So what to do if you're a drag racing statistician? You go look at the database and see if the observed and perceived results are THE results.

Melanie so far:
Win/Loss 17-3, nine more round wins than the next guy Dave Grubnic
Average Qualifying position 7.0
How is Mel winning, I mean Melanie, (only Tommy can call her Mel).
For Melanie and the Richard Hogan tuned car, no wins on opponent redlights or late lights. She has won 65% of her rounds because the opponent aborted their run, but Grubnic has won 63% and Kalitta 60% that way. Melanie has outrun her opponents 6 times (most in TF) and only been outrun twice by Brandon Bernstein and Rod Fuller each time in the final round. Melanie also leads top fuel with only going up in smoke in eliminations 20% of the time. She's made 20 elimination runs and only went up in smoke 4 times. In those 4 runs where the opponent had an aborted run as well, she won 3 times!

Lucky, with all due respect, NOT!


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