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'In The Loop' At California Speedway Loop Data Provides Insight To Scouting Sunday's Auto Club 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2007) -- Greg Biffle's heartache at the end of last year's Auto Club 500 was surpassed only by the brilliance he ...

'In The Loop' At California Speedway
Loop Data Provides Insight To Scouting Sunday's Auto Club 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2007) -- Greg Biffle's heartache at the end of last year's Auto Club 500 was surpassed only by the brilliance he showed in navigating California Speedway's 2-mile terrain.

Biffle led a race-high 168 laps -- but finished next-to-last because of a blown engine. It was the most laps any driver has ever led at California without winning the race.

If it's any consolation, Biffle -- who has one California victory (2005) -- must feel like he can dominate the race as long as his car can hold up.

And the Loop Data supports that position. That's the beauty of the data. In a way, it accounts for bad luck. Though a driver may finish at the back of the pack because of engine trouble, an accident or other problems, if he performed admirably prior to the problem he'll earn high marks data-wise.

Loop Data's inherent forgiveness results in a comprehensive assessment of a driver's day; it's based on much more than the driver's finishing position.

Over the past four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at California, Biffle has an average finish of 17.3 but he still sits second in Driver Rating with a 108.0. Maybe even more telling of how well Biffle ran overall is his Average Running Position: 10.237.

Matt Kenseth was the beneficiary of his teammate's troubles. Kenseth won his 11th career race at last year's Auto Club 500, and boosted his Driver Rating in the process. Kenseth now holds the top Driver Rating at California (110.1), which can often be an accurate tool when analyzing a race.

A look at the pre-race Loop Data shows that Roush Fenway Racing could be the team to beat at California Speedway. Along with Biffle and Kenseth, Carl Edwards has incredible numbers at California. With a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup-best Average Finish of 4.4 at California, Edwards' name is all over the Loop Data statistics.

One category Edwards ranks particularly high in is Fastest Green Flag Speed -- a telling stat, especially at California. A track known for long green flag runs -- there were only seven cautions for 26 laps at last year's race -- Edwards and his Roush Fenway teammates could hold a distinct advantage.

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As for the Daytona 500, the Loop Data nailed it again. Stewart came into the race as the Driver Rating king, and if not for that accident, might well have found himself in Victory Lane. The same could be said of Kurt Busch. Busch had a pre-race Driver Rating of 88.2 (ninth-best), and he led the most laps (95).

Below is the top 10 Season-To-Date Driver Rating coming out of the Daytona 500:

Fast Facts

Season-To-Date Driver Rating
1. Jeff Burton (109.3)
2. Kevin Harvick (109.0)
3. Kyle Busch (102.4)
4. Kurt Busch (102.3)
5. Mark Martin (101.3)
6. David Stremme (97.1)
7. Matt Kenseth (93.5)
8. Tony Stewart (92.5)
9. David Gilliland (90.7)
10. Carl Edwards (88.1)

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards , David Stremme , David Gilliland , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Roush Fenway Racing