More Fun with Numbers: The 50-Win Club by ProQuest


For the no-longer-active Bernstein, I had to go back a few Media Guides to find his information. Because Glidden has been inactive for some time, and when he was racing even recently he was only part-time and not included in the Media Guide, I had to count through our listing of events to determine his total, and that number is only accurate if he didn't skip an event for some reason, which I don't think he did.

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									                                          LAUNCH PAD with Phil Burgess                                                    presented by

                                 More Fun with Numbers: The 50-Win Club
                                            s I may have   comparing them all and decided on the most             first wins in the Sportsman ranks, and although I

                                 A          hinted here
                                            last week, I
                                  love stats. Heck, to
                                                           basic measure I could think of: How long it took
                                                           to get to 50 wins.
                                                               It’s a favorite measuring stick of my other
                                                                                                                  had their Pro records, I couldn’t find out how
                                                                                                                  many events they had attended as Sportsmen.
                                                                                                                  Coughlin sent me some guesstimates, so I used
                                  work in this job, you    favorite sport — hockey — to see how many              those to compile his number, but, short of looking
                                  kind of have to at       games it takes a player to reach 50 goals in a         through every issue of National DRAGSTER in
                                  least like them          season (not so easy anymore). “The Great One,”         the late 1970s and early 1980s, I had no way of
                                  because we’re            Wayne Gretzky, owns the record and probably            determining Amato’s pre-Top Fuel appearances.
                                  surrounded by them.      always will with a stunning 39-game achievement            The situation is pretty similar for Sportsman
                                  Career wins, career-     in the 1985-86 season.                                 heroes such as Austin, Rampy, Fletcher, Manzo,
best performances, average reaction times, 60-foot                                                                and Newberry. Without going back to each event

times, win-loss ratios, true-win margins, best
packages, and so on … sometimes it seems as if
                                                                Getting 50 of anything                            of their 50 wins — and for Manzo and Newberry
                                                                                                                  that spanned more than 20 years, into the 1970s
this job requires a math degree as much as a                    is pretty huge,                                   — it was impossible to know how many events
journalism diploma.                                        whether it’s Wallys or                                 they attended because sometimes even our ND

    On the surface, stats are stats, a series of                                                                  stats wouldn’t show that. I thought about calling
numbers that are concrete. They come from an               walleyes.                                              them, but the odds of them keeping such records
official source — whether it be timers, the win light,                                                            is pretty slim. That’s why you’ll see an
or the record books — and you can’t really change              The NHRA Communications Department                 unfortunate “n/a” in that field in my story.
them. What you can do, however, is manipulate              does an amazing job of keeping career statistics           How else to compare them? How about the
them. Once you have all the stats, you can sort and        on our Full Throttle Series drivers and for the last   length of time it took to get from No. 1 to No.
study them in multiple ways to try to wring new            several years has published a detailed year-by-        50? Well, again, it’s kind of flawed because
information from them. Thank you, Excel.                   year accounting of their appearances and               Schumacher did his winning in a 24-event
    Larry Dixon’s 50th win at the Full Throttle            accomplishments, so for almost all of the active       schedule and Glidden when the schedule was in
Drag Racing Series event in Houston was one of             drivers — such as Force, Anderson, W.J.,               single digits, but I went through it anyway.
those milestone accomplishments that deserves to           Schumacher, and
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