Texas II: Chase loop post race update

Johnson leads Chase Points - and Chase Driver Rating DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 6, 2006) -- The 165-point deficit is history, erased by a classic late-season rally. Jimmie Johnson -- the points leader when the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup...

Johnson leads Chase Points - and Chase Driver Rating

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 6, 2006) -- The 165-point deficit is history, erased by a classic late-season rally. Jimmie Johnson -- the points leader when the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup began -- has the lead again.

Johnson's rally has also resulted in him having the best Chase-specific Driver Rating (108.7). The rating is an amalgam of several key categories gleaned from NASCAR's new Loop Data statistical package, which illustrates how races -- or in this case championships -- can be won or lost.

Johnson has been the most dominant driver in the Chase, and it shows across the board in Chase-specific Loop Data. His Average Start position of 7.3 is the best among Chase drivers, during the Chase's eight races thus far. Johnson has led 17.2% of the laps run in the Chase, more than any other Chase driver. Additionally, he has recorded the Fastest Lap 11.6% of the time in the Chase.

Helping Johnson wrest away the Chase lead from Matt Kenseth has been his ability to run near the front. Johnson has kept his car in the top 15 85.1% of the time compared to Kenseth's 55.4%.

Driver Rating Continues to Predict Strong Finishes ...

The trend of strong finishes for the top-rated pre-race drivers continued at Texas with Tony Stewart; for the seventh consecutive week the winning driver had a pre-race Driver Rating ranking in the top 10. In fact, Kevin Harvick was the last driver to win with a pre-race Driver Rating outside the top 10 -- at New Hampshire in September. Harvick's pre-race Driver Rating at New Hampshire was 91.1, ranking him 12th.

Stewart held off Johnson late in the race on Sunday to record his second victory in as many weeks. Stewart, who was on two tires compared to Johnson's four, ran a lap recorded at 187.188 mph -- the fastest speed recorded during the final lap of the Dickies 500.

Loop Data Analysis from STATS LLC:

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

"Jimmie Johnson has dominated the field during the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Johnson has the highest Driver Rating among all drivers over the past eight races (108.7) and put down the most Fastest Laps (251) than any other driver, including Tony Stewart (100.9 Driver Rating and 207 Fastest Laps). Johnson is the only driver to average a starting position inside the top 10 (7.3) and has finished in the top-two each of the past four races. Johnson has also led the most laps in the Chase (456) followed by Tony Stewart (430). Johnson has to be cautiously optimistic with how he's done at Phoenix (best Driver Rating (105.6) among the Chasers) and Homestead (second worst Driver Rating among the Chasers (55.6), but had top-tens in the 3 previous years, pre-dating the Loop Data System)."

Loop Logic ...

* The average top Driver Rating for 2006 is 128.5. The median finish for the top rated pre-race driver is fourth.

* The average Driver Rating of the winning driver in 2006 is 98.7. The average pre-race Driver Rating rank for the winning driver is ninth.

<pre> FAST FACTS

Loop Data -- Chase Drivers

Driver Rating NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series

                        Chase    Season-to-Date
1. Jimmie Johnson       108.7    101.4
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.   105.5     94.9
3. Jeff Gordon          102.8     99.3
4. Matt Kenseth          94.0    102.2
5. Kevin Harvick         93.4     96.0
6. Jeff Burton           91.2     95.6
7. Kasey Kahne           90.4     93.0
8. Kyle Busch            82.8     92.2
9. Denny Hamlin          81.4     91.1
10. Mark Martin          80.5     88.5

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin