Loop update 2006-09-19

HMS Teammates Look for Rebound at Dover DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2006) -- This week the drivers on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series head to Dover International Speedway. The "Monster Mile," as it has become known, poses one of the toughest ...

HMS Teammates Look for Rebound at Dover

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2006) -- This week the drivers on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series head to Dover International Speedway. The "Monster Mile," as it has become known, poses one of the toughest challenges to the drivers battling in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Two Chase drivers who must be looking forward to Dover are Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. Both drivers had trouble in last Sunday's race at New Hampshire International Speedway, causing them to fall to ninth and 10th in the series standing, respectively. The good news is that they have both been successful at Dover. Johnson has three wins and Busch has recorded three top-five finishes there in as many starts.

Loop Data previewing this weekend's action at Dover shows that Busch has the second-best Driver Rating at that track (data compiled from 2005 and '06) with a 116.6 while Johnson ranks fourth with 110.5.

Helping Busch is his ability to run in the top 15. Of the laps he has ran at Dover since 2005, 96.6% have been in the top 15 compared to Johnson's 72.3%. Busch also leads Johnson in Percentage of Quality Passes. Busch has completed 76.6% of his passes over a car running in the top 15 while only 50.5% of Johnson's passes at Dover have come over a car running in the top 15.

Busch and Johnson have also scored more points at Dover than any other drivers the last two seasons. Busch has averaged 168 points per race at Dover while Johnson is at 166 points per race.

Another Chase driver looking to make a move in the standings this weekend is Mark Martin. Martin has the third-best Driver Rating at Dover with a rating of 113.9. He has completed 98.0% of his Laps in the Top 15 and has a Quality Passing Percentage of 89.9%.

SPEED STATS: Where does speed matter at Dover?

Denny Hamlin finished 11th earlier this season at Dover. This weekend he needs to do better, if he's to retain his second-place position in the standings, much less overtake leader Kevin Harvick.

His quest for improvement at Dover should perhaps start with speed.

In the June race at Dover, Hamlin ranked outside of the top 35 in all speed-related Loop Data categories -- 38th in Fastest Drivers Early in a Run; 42nd in Fastest Drivers Late in a Run; and 43rd in Speed in Traffic.

PASSING ZONES

The "Monster Mile" at Dover International Speedway generates some of the best racing on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. The Frontstretch is where the most passing happens. Turn 4 ranks second.

Passing Thoughts ... * Kyle Petty has completed the most Green Flag Passes at Dover with 160. Petty has been passed 116 times, giving him a Passing Differential of 44.

* Greg Biffle has more Quality Passes than any driver at Dover with 102, giving him a Quality Passing Percentage of 89.5%. Biffle is the only driver to have more than 100 Quality Passes.

* Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a Passing Differential of -37 at Dover, the lowest of any Chase driver.

LOOP LOGIC Others Drivers to Watch ... Who has a chance to be a spoiler this weekend? Loop Data reveals other notables:

* Greg Biffle: Ranked first in Driver Rating 116.8. ... Has completed 92.5% of his Laps in the Top 15. ... Has a Passing Differential of 29. ... Has run the Fastest Lap 127 times at Dover, more than any other driver.

* Ryan Newman: Ranked seventh in Driver Rating 102.4. ... Has the best Average Starting Position of second at Dover. Has a Quality Passing Percentage of 94.1%. ... Has completed 94.1% of his Laps in the Top 15.

From STATS LLC (the company that compiles NASCAR's Loop Data) ...

"Mark Martin and Kyle Busch have put up some impressive numbers at Dover over the past few years, though neither has won in that time. Mark Martin has finished third, fourth and ninth on his way to posting the second-most Fastest Laps (126) on the high-banked oval. Kyle Busch has posted a pair of second place finishes, followed by a fifth this spring and had the best Speed on Restarts (145.759 mph). Martin and Busch ran one-two in a number of categories including Speed in Turn 2 (138.092 and 137.398), Average Running Position (5.237 and 5.258) and Percentage of Laps Run in the Top 15 (98.0% and 96.6%). Busch was able to one-up his elder in Driver Rating where Busch was second best (116.6) and Martin was third (113.9). Greg Biffle holds the best Driver Rating at Dover (116.8) and will be looking to upset the Chase parade, while Martin and Busch will be looking for another strong, consistent performance at the Monster Mile." -- Stefan Kretschmann, STATS LLC.

FAST FACTS

Driver Rating at Dover (Based on loop data since 2005)

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
1. Greg Biffle 116.8
2. Kyle Busch 116.6
3. Mark Martin 113.9
4. Jimmie Johnson 110.5
5. Matt Kenseth 105.7
6. Ryan Newman 102.4
7. Kurt Busch 100.0
8. Elliott Sadler 98.5
9. Jeff Burton 96.1
10. Clint Bowyer 91.7

Chase Drivers at Dover
1. Kyle Busch 116.6
2. Mark Martin 113.9
3. Jimmie Johnson 110.5
4. Matt Kenseth 105.7
5. Jeff Burton 96.1
6. Kevin Harvick 85.1
7. Denny Hamlin 84.5
8. Kasey Kahne 78.5
9. Jeff Gordon 75.1
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 74.7

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Kyle Petty , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Clint Bowyer , Elliott Sadler , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin