Sean Wrona

Home Bio Typing Racing Scrabble Cornell C-NS Links TypeRacer db


Racing:

I have been an auto racing fan since the mid-1990s. The first race I watched was the 1994 Pepsi 400, where Jimmy Spencer won his first career NASCAR Winston Cup race despite getting away with using an illegal intake manifold. The first open-wheel race I watched was the 1995 Indianapolis 500, the final Indy 500 before the CART/IRL split. I became a really passionate racing fan in 1997 and purchased a NAPA Almanac of Stock Car Racing, from which I compiled reams of NASCAR statistics. I was primarily a NASCAR fan in the late '90s and early 2000s, but eventually became more of a general racing fan. I launched a NASCAR website as a teenager called Frontrow Racenet on the now-defunct Geocities where I invented a weekly fantasy game originally called Power Ten but later renamed Power Twelve as I added two new categories to the original game in later seasons. This website was perhaps most notable for containing its own most popular driver contest where fans "voted" by endlessly reloading pages associated with their favorite driver while a Geocities counter counted the number of refreshes and I periodically updated it manually. I advertised this contest on numerous driver message boards before realizing that was a cheesy thing to do, but it resulted in one year's most popular driver contest ending up being a battle between the Bobby Hamilton fans and the Chad Little fans, which was certainly amusing. I won 1st place in a fantasy NASCAR game and a pair of headphones against over 600 competitors in 1999 as a 14 year old (unfortunately all links to this are now dead.) I founded the Pace Car Challenge weekly game in 2000 on the Motor Racing Network forum when it was called SpeedFX (although the forum no longer exists, the game is still hosted to this day on RacingStalkers albeit in a very different form), and briefly wrote statistical columns for the now-defunct HK's Race Day site and Stock Car Review.

In my adulthood, all this culminated in my website, race-database.com, for which I entered every Formula One, NASCAR Sprint Cup/Nationwide/Camping World Truck, CART/Champ Car, IRL/IndyCar, American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, MotoGP, Grand-Am Rolex Series, Tudor United Sports Car Championship, and Formula E race through the 2015 season, but I am on hiatus from updating this website at the moment since it eventually became far more tedious than enjoyable to continue to update, not to mention that almost all that data and then some is available on several other sites. I invented several new racing statistics on race-database that had not been used before, average percent led, a self-explanatory statistic which is the best possible measure of racing dominance, cumulative races led, which converts average percent led to a unit-free career total, percent beat, an equally self-explanatory statistic measuring consistency. These statistics allow more direct comparisons between drivers in different eras or even different series. In 2013, I briefly wrote a column for Motorsports Analytics where I invented several other statistical metrics, including natural percent led (which measures dominance based solely on on-track lead changes as opposed to dominance after inheriting the lead due to pit stops or other drivers' misfortunes) and fastest lap percentage (a better measure of raw pace) before creating my own advanced racing statistics website racermetrics.com early in 2015, where I followed up on some of my ideas from Motorsports Analytics as well as coming up with some additional ones. My more recent innovations include the terminal natural leader, which I define as the last driver to take the lead via a green-flag on-track pass for the lead, rank vs. contemporaries, which is each driver's rank on the all-time win list consisting of only the races that driver started, a measure of clutch performance by comparing the average of wins and terminal natural leads with cumulative races led, and methods for adjusting win totals and finishing records for the level of competition or the size of a field within a given era. Most recently, I ranked the top 100 IndyCar drivers of all time (including all Champ Car/IndyCar races, not merely the Indy 500s) in advance of the 100th running of the Indy 500 using many of my more recent innovations. I think I am about to take an extended break from updating this site as well rather shortly, and am more interested in potentially moving on to writing statistical columns for other people's sites again if anyone is interested in my services. Racermetrics attracted some interest (even from a few drivers) but it wasn't a large amount and I didn't feel I was attracting enough interest for the amount of work I was doing particularly as my interests are shifting, although I did enjoy it more than my archival work. Additionally, I personally feel that most auto racing series were much better twenty years ago when I started watching than they are today as most series have moved in the direction of embracing gimmicks to attempt to attract an audience, which ended up backfiring perhaps precisely because of those gimmicks. This places me in the odd position of continuing to love analyzing racing much more than I like watching it, so perhaps I am better served focusing on other interests for a little while. I do invariably switch from one of my obsessions to another on the drop of a hat so I am almost certain I will probably write more columns in the future, but I am probably going to take a break right now.