Loop Data update 2006-08-28

Matt Kenseth Closing in on Series Point Lead * Kenseth widens gap in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' Driver Rating * Who's hot in the "Race to the Chase" DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2006) -- Matt Kenseth had another dominant performance on ...

Matt Kenseth Closing in on Series Point Lead

* Kenseth widens gap in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' Driver Rating

* Who's hot in the "Race to the Chase"

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2006) -- Matt Kenseth had another dominant performance on Saturday night, leading 117 laps en route to victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Kenseth became the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver to record consecutive wins this season; in the process, he cut Jimmie Johnson's point lead to only seven points.

Additionally, Kenseth's victory helped improve his lead in the Driver Rating category, he now leads series leader Johnson by four points with a rating of 104.6.

Johnson and Kenseth also top the Average Running Position chart. Johnson leads with an average position of 11.037 but is trailed closely by Kenseth who has an average position of 11.073.

Both drivers also have similar passing numbers. Johnson has completed 1,701 Green Flag Passes to Kenseth's 1,731. While both drivers have good Quality Pass statistics, Johnson has the edge, completing 1,310 Quality Passes compared to Kenseth's 1,190 Quality Passes. Having a higher number of Quality Passes means that Johnson is passing cars running in the top 15 while more of Kenseth's passes have come over a car running 16th or lower.

While Johnson's passing statistics are slightly better than Kenseth's, Kenseth has the edge in Laps in the Top 15. Kenseth ranks first completing 80.1% of his total Laps in the Top 15 compared to Johnson who ranks fourth with 71.6% of his Laps in the Top 15.

Kenseth also has more Laps Led than Johnson. Kenseth has led a total of 853 laps or 12.6% of the laps run this season compared to Johnson's 364 or 5.4%.

Who's Hot and Who's Not in the Race to the Chase ...

Kevin Harvick has had the best Driver Rating thus far in the Race to the Chase -- the 10 events prior to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup -- with a rating of 108.2. Over the first eight races of the Race to the Chase he has also accumulated more championship points (1,233) than any other competitor. Additionally, Harvick has completed the most Laps in the Top 15 over that same stretch with 1,598 or 84.6%. He also has the best Average Finish in the Race to the Chase with a 6.1.

Matt Kenseth has the second-best rating in the Race to the Chase -- 105.3. He has recorded the second-most Laps Led in the Race to the Chase with 326, and has recorded two wins, four top-five and four top-10 finishes.

Mark Martin has seen his fortunes dip during the Race to the Chase. Martin's Driver Rating of 81.1 ranks him 15th in the Race to the Chase. Martin has also seen his Average Finish suffer and now has an Average Finish of 16.5. Martin has led only one lap over this span and has completed only 47.6% of his Laps in the Top 15.

Loop Data Analysis from STATS LLC:

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

"With the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rapidly approaching, many of the top drivers are hitting their stride. The first eight positions in Driver Rating during the Race to the Chase, led by Kevin Harvick (108.2), are held by drivers currently in contention for the Chase, with only Dale Earnhardt Jr. (11th, 85.5) and Mark Martin (15th, 81.1) falling outside the top 10. Matt Kenseth has the second best Driver Rating (105.3) and has the most wins, two, during the span. Jeff Burton has turned the most Fastest Laps (158) during the period and has led nearly one-quarter of the laps (24.9%, 470 of 1888). Kyle Busch has the second most points (1,172) to Harvick (1,233), both on the strength of six top-10 finishes in the past eight races (best in the series, along with Denny Hamlin). With the log jam of drivers from fourth to 10th being separated by only 48 points, coupled with Kasey Kahne's strong performance at California in February, the current Chasers will need to continue their strong performances to stay in contention for the Chase."

Loop Logic ...

* Johnson and Kenseth are the only drivers with an Average Finish inside the top 10. Johnson has an Average Finish of 8.6 and Kenseth has an Average Finish of 9.6.

* Kenseth has kept himself running with the leaders more than any other driver. Kenseth has completed 5,430 (80.1% of all laps) Laps in the Top 15. Jeff Gordon has the second most Laps in the Top 15 with 5,260 (77.6%).

* Kurt Busch has the second most Quality Passes with 1,208 (71.3%) of his passes coming over a car running in the top 15.

NASCAR Loop Data Statistics -- Glossary & Definitions

Average Running Position -- Sum of driver position on each lap, divided by the laps run in the race.

Box Score -- Key statistics that summarize a driver's race performance.

Closers -- The number of positions a driver improves over the last 10 percent of the race.

Consecutive Laps With A Pass -- Number of consecutive laps with at least one pass.

Consecutive Passes Without Being Passed -- Number of consecutive passes without being passed.

Fastest Drivers By Straightaway -- Ranks each driver by average speed on each straightaway.

Fastest Drivers By Turn -- Ranks each driver by average speed in each turn.

Fastest Drivers Early In Run -- Ranks each driver during the first 25% of laps run in a typical full green-flag segment.

Fastest Drivers Late In Run -- Ranks each driver during the final 25% of laps run in a typical full green-flag segment.

Fastest Laps Run -- Number of laps that the driver had the fastest car on the track for that lap.

Fastest On Restarts -- Shows average speed on the first two laps under green-flag conditions.

Laps Driver Improved Position -- The total number of laps where a driver improved his position during a race.

Passing Breakdowns -- For each driver, shows how many and what percentage of passes were made by each turn and each straightaway, including the total number of passes.

Quality Passes -- Number of times a driver passes another car running in the top 15 under green-flag conditions.

Speed In Traffic -- The speed when there is another vehicle within one car length under green-flag conditions.

Time Trailing At Finish -- The time that each driver finished behind the race winner. Average green flag lap time is used to calculate cumulative time for drivers not on the lead lap.

Top 5 Drivers Performance Graph -- Graphic showing the progressive performance of the top-five finishers at different intervals throughout the race.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin