Loop final notes 2006-11-21

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2006) -- Not only did Jimmie Johnson out-duel Matt Kenseth to win his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship, he also finished the season with the highest Driver Rating. Driver Rating, part of NASCAR's Loop...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2006) -- Not only did Jimmie Johnson out-duel Matt Kenseth to win his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship, he also finished the season with the highest Driver Rating.

Driver Rating, part of NASCAR's Loop Data statistics, uses a formula to rate a driver based on a number of factors including: wins, top-15 finishes, Average Running Position, Average Green-Flag Speed, Most Laps Led and Lead-Lap Finishes.

The close championship battle was not only evident in the point standings, but also in Driver Rating. Johnson finished the season with a Driver Rating of 101.9, only a fraction of a point better than second-place Matt Kenseth who finished with a rating of 101.7.

Johnson's slim points lead over Kenseth is also illustrated in five other Loop Data categories. He leads Kenseth in Average Starting Position with 10.8 to Kenseth's 14.6 and in Average Finish, 9.7 to Kenseth's 9.8. Johnson's Average Running Position of 10.8 was also better than Kenseth's 11.5. Johnson also completed the Fastest Lap nearly 100 more times than Johnson this season. Johnson (1,952) also completed over 100 more Quality Passes than Kenseth (1,820).

Driver Rating Continues to Predict Strong Finishes...

In the inaugural year of Loop Data statistics Driver Rating has proven to be a remarkably accurate tool in predicting a driver's success at a particular venue. Below are the final season statistics on the accuracy of pre-race and season-to-date Driver Rating when using it to predict a driver's finish:

Pre-Race Driver Rating

Race Winner:

* As stated above, the winning driver had the number one pre-race Driver Rating eight times in the first 36 races.

* The race winner has had a pre-race Driver Rating ranking in the top four in 16 of the 36 races (44%).

* The race winner has had a pre-race Driver Rating ranking in the top 10 in 22 of the 36 races (61%).

* The race winner has had a pre-race Driver Rating ranking in the top 12 in 28 of the 36 races (78%).

Top Rated Driver:

* The driver with the top pre-race Driver Rating has finished in the top three 15 of the 36 races (42%) and in the top five in 21 times (58%).

* The driver with the top pre-race Driver Rating has finished in the top seven in 24 of the 36 races (67% of the time).

* The median finish for the driver with the top pre-race Driver Rating was 4.5.

Season-to-Date Driver Rating

Race Winner:

* The race winner has had a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking in the top 12 in 35 of 36 races (97% of the time). The lone exception being Brian Vickers' win at Talladega in October, he was ranked 16th coming into that event.

* The winning driver has had the top season-to-date Driver Rating four times this season (11%).

* The race winner has had a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking in the top five in 15 of the first 36 races (42%).

* The race winner has had a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking in the top 10 in 26 of the first 36 races (72%).

* No one has ever won a race with a season-to-date Driver Rating ranking lower than 16th.

Season-to-Date Leader:

* The driver leading season-to-date Driver Rating has recorded a top-five finish 12 times this season (33%).

* The driver leading season-to-date Driver Rating has recorded a top-15 finish 25 times this season (69%).

Loop Data Analysis from STATS LLC:

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

"Jimmie Johnson finished up his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship season in an impressive fashion. Jimmie Johnson had the best Driver Rating during the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup (108.8) and led the most laps (486 Laps, 15.0%). Johnson also ran the Fastest Lap 321 times (12.2%), the most in the Chase, and spent the most time in the top 15 (2773 Laps, 85.8%). Jimmie Johnson also scored the most points in the Chase (1430).

"For the full year, Jimmie Johnson also led quite a few of the Loop Data statistics. Johnson had the top Driver Rating (101.9) edging out Matt Kenseth's strong performance on the year (101.7). He also had the highest Average Running Position (10.842) and completed the most Quality Passes (1952). He had the best average rank for Fastest Late in a Run (7.441) and the best average rank for Fastest in Turns (8.129).

"The two drivers that didn't make the Chase this year that still finished in the top 10 in Driver Rating were Tony Stewart (97.0) and Greg Biffle (94.9). The good news for them is last year there were also two drivers that ranked in the top 10 in Driver Rating, but failed to make the Chase in 2005. Both those drivers, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch, came back the next year and made the Chase."

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Kyle Busch