Watkins Glen: In the loop

Jeff Gordon The Top Closer; Stewart An Ace At The Glen DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2007) -- There's a reason why NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader Jeff Gordon needs a telescope to see second-place Denny Hamlin. He's better -- far better...

Jeff Gordon The Top Closer; Stewart An Ace At The Glen

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 8, 2007) -- There's a reason why NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader Jeff Gordon needs a telescope to see second-place Denny Hamlin. He's better -- far better -- than any other driver during crunch time.

Gordon leads all drivers in the 'Closer' statistical category, picking up a net total of 80 positions during the last 10% of races -- a prime reason he finds himself comfortably leading the series standings.

Gordon has more than double the amount of Closer positions of the second-place drivers in the category. David Gilliland and Robby Gordon are tied for second with 39 positions improved.

Gordon has picked up a total of 318 points because of an end-of-race combination of clutch performance and pit strategy. His lead in the series standings over Hamlin is 366.

New faces will pepper the field Sunday, as road course aces such as Boris Said, Patrick Carpentier, Scott Pruett and Ron Fellows get rare seat time.

But at Watkins Glen, a familiar name has consistently run up front -- Tony Stewart.

His stats over the past two years -- which were finishes of first (2005) and second (2006) -- tower over the field. He ranks first a number of key Loop Data. Below is a sampling of is Watkins Glen stats:

Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen (2005-2006)
Driver Rating: 140.1
Average Running Position: 2.5
Fastest Laps Run: 53
Laps in the Top 15: 182 of 182
Laps Led: 90

Stewart holds track-best marks over the past two years in a number of categories, including Driver Rating. In 2005, he earned a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 -- only five drivers have accomplish the feat. Below are the race-best numbers from Watkins Glen in two key Loop Data categories:

Driver Rating

Driver                     Date    DR

1. Tony Stewart 08/05 150.0
2. Tony Stewart 08/06 130.1
3. Kevin Harvick 08/06 126.4
4. Robby Gordon 08/06 119.0
5. Jimmie Johnson 08/05 117.7

Average Running Position
Driver Date ARP
1. Tony Stewart 08/05 1.511
2. Tony Stewart 08/06 3.444
3. Jimmie Johnson 08/05 3.467
4. Robby Gordon 08/06 6.344
5. Ryan Newman 08/06 7.567

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Robby Gordon , Ryan Newman , Patrick Carpentier , Ron Fellows , Scott Pruett , Jimmie Johnson , David Gilliland