Chase loop update 2006-11-14

JOHNSON LEADS CHASE POINTS -- AND CHASE DRIVER RATING DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2006) -- You couldn't have scripted a better scenario for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season finale. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth rank first and second...

JOHNSON LEADS CHASE POINTS -- AND CHASE DRIVER RATING

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2006) -- You couldn't have scripted a better scenario for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season finale. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth rank first and second in the series standings and season-to-date Driver Rating, respectively.

Johnson currently holds a 63 point lead over Kenseth heading into the season finale this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The close points race is also reflected in season-to-date Driver Rating. Johnson's Driver Rating of 102.0 leads over Kenseth's rating of 101.6.

Current points leader, Johnson, has out-performed every driver in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, including Kenseth.

Johnson's Chase-specific Driver Rating of 110.3 is nearly five points higher than Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s second-best rating of 105.5. Kenseth's Driver Rating of 92.5 ranks fifth-best. Helping Johnson amass the highest Chase-specific Driver Rating has been his ability to finish near the front of the pack on a weekly basis. Johnson has one win in the Chase and has the most top-five finishes during the Chase with five. He's also tied for the second-most top-10 finishes during the Chase with five.

Johnson also has led several other key Loop Data statistical categories during the Chase. He has led the most laps during the Chase (16.3%) and has completed the Fastest Lap 13.1% of the time. Additionally, Johnson's Average Finish of 11.0 is best among Chase drivers.

Most impressive, Johnson has gained the most points during the Chase of any Chase driver with 1,287. Kenseth has gained the second-most points during the Chase with 1,219. Johnson has averaged 143 points per event compared to Kenseth's 135.4.

Driver Rating Continues to Predict Strong Finishes...

Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have combined to lead season-to-date Driver Rating for 27 weeks this season. The season-to-date Driver Rating has been remarkably accurate in predicting strong performance. In fact, a strong statement is that the driver with the top season-to-date Driver Rating going into a race can reasonably be predicted to finish in the top 15 of the upcoming race as long as the driver does not encounter any problems with the car or involved in an on-track incident.

Here are some statistics on the accuracy of season-to-date Driver Rating when using it to predict a driver's finish:

Race winner:

* The race winner has had a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking in the top 12 in 34 of the first 35 races (97% of the time). The lone exception being Brian Vickers' win at Talladega in October, he was ranked 16th coming into that event.

* The winning driver has had the top season-to-date Driver Rating four times this season (11%).

* The race winner has had a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking in the top five in 14 of the first 35 races (40%).

* The race winner has had a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking in the top 10 in 25 of the first 35 races (71%).

* No one has ever won a race with a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking lower than 16th.

Top rated season-to-date driver:

* As stated above, the driver with the top season-to-date Driver Rating has won four times this season (11%).

* The driver with the top season-to-date Driver Rating has recorded a top-five finish 12 times this season (34%).

* The driver with the top season-to-date Driver Rating has recorded a top-15 finish 24 times this season (69%).

Loop Data Analysis from STATS LLC:

From Stefan Kretschmann of STATS LLC (the company that compiles NASCAR's Loop Data):

"Jimmie Johnson now leads in Driver Rating along with the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Johnson holds a slight lead in Driver Rating over Matt Kenseth (102.0 to 101.6) and has had the strongest Driver Rating during the Chase (110.3). The numbers are even more impressive over the last five races where Johnson has posted a Driver Rating of 127.1 and an Average Running Position of 4.262. He's led at least one lap in each of the last seven races and posted at least three of the Fastest Laps on the track in each of the past eight races. He's consistently been the Fastest Driver Late in a Run (average rank of 7.515, best in the series) and has completed the most Quality Passes (1,900) on the year."

Loop Logic ...

* The average top Driver Rating for 2006 is 107.9. The median finish for the top rated season-to-date driver is 10th.

* The average season-to-date Driver Rating for the winning driver in 2006 is 95.7. The average pre-race Driver Rating rank for the winning driver is 6.824.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson , Brian Vickers