Week 4 NASCAR GFT AI Driver Rankings: Logano Jumps to P1

NASCAR Cup Series Week 4 at Phoenix Raceway produces another first-time winner in Chase Briscoe and a number of significant changes in our updated NASCAR GFT AI Driver Rankings. Last week’s top driver in our AI ranking models was Kyle Larson, but Larson’s 34th place finish due to an extremely rare Hendrick engine failure drops him down to P2. Our algorithms do look favorably on consistency as reflected by Joey Logano P8 in Phoenix moving him to the top of the rankings.

Week 4 of the NASCAR GFT Top 25 AI Driver Rankings following the Ruoff Mortage 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 13, 2022. (Image: GFT Digital / gofullthrottle.net)

The Big Movers
With the win in Phoenix, Chase Briscoe jumps 11 places to P3 with Tyler Reddick, who finished 3rd, moving up 8 spots to P10. Trackhouse Racing’s Ross Chastain jumps 6 places to P15 with his 2nd place finish. On the downside, a difficult day for Martin Truex Jr., usually a favorite to win at Phoenix, had hard impact with the wall which ended his day with a 35th place finish and dropping him 8 positions in this week’s ranking to P11.

Predictions for Atlanta?
The data says Joey Logano is the favorite for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. However, our AI models were data starved to meet a solid confidence level with the new configuration of the Atlanta track, new Generation 7 car, limited practice and no qualifying.

How do the Go Full Throttle AI models work? (Repeated for context)

Algorithms
The GFT AI Driver Rankings use our proprietary algorithms utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to dynamically tune and improve accuracy over time. Based on our Pre-Season rankings and the results of The Clash at the Coliseum, the Duels at Daytona, and all the data from Weeks 1–4 of practice, qualifying and racing, our algorithms went to work crunching the data and learning. The complex math also includes inputs such as top speed, qualifying position, stage wins, laps led, and in Super Speedway races — the number of cars each manufacture has entered (likely drafting partners, especially for green flag pit stops).

The Go Full Throttle AI Driver Rankings is a cloud based predictive analytics system that uses our proprietary algorithms utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to dynamically tune and improve accuracy over time. (Image: royalty free via Digital Soup)

How do predictive models work?
Can artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms really make accurate predictions? YES! In fact, our proprietary models accurately predicted 8 out of 10 F1 race wins in 2021, including Max Verstappen’s Driver Championship over Lewis Hamilton. Our NASCAR model was equally as accurate correctly predicting 7 of the drivers making the Round of 8 in the 2021 Cup Playoffs as well as predicting Kyle Larson winning the Cup Series Championship. These models will only get “smarter” in 2022 as more data and “learning” will improve accuracy.

Context is key!
“Artificial intelligence refers to the general ability of computers to emulate human thought and perform tasks in real-world environments, while machine learning refers to the technologies and algorithms that enable systems to identify patterns, make decisions, and improve themselves through experience and data” according to Columbia University’s School of Engineering. But Microsoft’s definition breaks this complexity down even more: “AI and machine learning enable companies to discover valuable insights in a wider range of structured and unstructured data sources. For better, faster decision-making, data scientists use machine learning to improve data integrity and use AI to reduce human error — a combination that leads to better decisions based on better data.” For us motorsports fans, we might use the analogy that artificial intelligence (AI) is the car and machine learning (ML) is the engine — you need both to win.

Dynamic tuning to improve accuracy
When we say “dynamic” we are referring to “near real time” data continually feeding the models. Besides the obvious final race results, as an example, our system will “watch” a number of data feeds looking for trusted information, such as NASCAR live leaderboard with lap times during practice or qualifying results, laps led on race day, and stage points.

What’s next?
In 2022, our goal is to continue to improve the accuracy of the current Go Full Throttle AI Driver Ranking models for F1 and NASCAR Cup that will be published weekly, usually on Saturday to contain the most up to date information ahead of the races on Saturday night or Sunday. We are also in the process of building GFT AI Ranking Models for IndyCar and the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series.

Follow it all on our website https://gofullthrottle.net/ and get regular updates via our Twitter feed.

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association