Daytona 500: In the Loop

'In The Loop' At The Daytona 500 Loop Data Provides Insight To Scouting Sunday's Race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2007) -- The restrictor plate can limit horsepower, but it can't do a thing to talent. And according to the Loop Data -- ...

'In The Loop' At The Daytona 500
Loop Data Provides Insight To Scouting Sunday's Race

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2007) -- The restrictor plate can limit horsepower, but it can't do a thing to talent.

And according to the Loop Data -- statistics gleaned from scoring loops embedded around the race track -- plenty of drivers have the talent it takes to win Sunday's Daytona 500.

Tony Stewart -- with his name atop the Driver Rating standings as well as many of the speed standings -- clearly excels at Daytona InternationaI Speedway. As does Jimmie Johnson, whose name is also impressively peppered throughout the Loop Data stats book coming into the 500. Of course there also are the "usual suspects" in the high-speed intrigue of restrictor-plate racing: Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

All four of those drivers have top 10 Driver Ratings at Daytona, based on the last two years' races.

It's no coincidence, then, that all four also have wins at Daytona.

Stewart's Driver Rating (see bottom of release for explanation) may hold the most weight when analyzing the Daytona 500. Last season, the stat was a phenomenally accurate tool when used in advance of a race.

A look at the past could be useful when looking toward the future. A top Driver Rating, which Stewart owns, often bodes well.

An important stat to look at, especially at Daytona, is the Speed in Turns. Because drivers rely so heavily on the draft, it's not so much how a driver performs on the straightaways, but how he performs in the turns -- where ground can be made up dramatically -- that make a major difference in how he finishes.

Another stat that clearly leads to quality performance is Fastest Laps Run. The Top 10 in that category is littered with last year's Top 15 drivers. Over the last four races at Daytona, Kevin Harvick has run the highest number of fastest laps with 27.

Of course, consistency always plays a major part in the battle, and the war. Whether it is a single race or over the course of an entire season, drivers always strive to be consistent.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson