When I put together this week’s early driver rankings for Homestead, part of the process included calculating the average Driver Ratings from all the loop data piled up over the past 15 races by every Sprint Cup driver. (I used the excellent stats wizard at Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet to do this, and I excluded the data from the Talladega II and Watkins Glen races.) One thing jumped out at me: Jeff Gordon ranked #2 in this metric!
Here are the top 5:
- Matt Kenseth
- Jeff Gordon
- Jimmie Johnson
- Tony Stewart
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I knew Gordon had shown speed recently in practice and qualifying at various races, but thanks to his relatively poor finishes in the Chase, I didn’t realize he actually was running really well on race day, too. Thus we see another good example of the perils of results-oriented thinking in the handicapping game.
Anyway, I’d say the 24 team bears watching early next year. If they continue to run fast and get some luck for a change, watch out.
Oh, and look how strong Hendrick Motorsports is with three cars in the top 5 (Kasey Kahne came in #8). Not really a surprise, I suppose, but impressive.
I should’ve expained why Tony Stewart shows up #4 even though he hasn’t been running lately due to injury. To calculate Driver Rating averages, the stats wizard adds up the driver ratings for each driver for each race he ran and then divides that sum by the number of races he ran. Tony Stewart’s lowly sum therefore wasn’t divided by 15, but only by the number of races he ran during those 15 races. I forget offhand how many races that was, but anyway, there you have it.
Good catch Jed! Dale Jr had a really strong Chase as well, and Hendrick pretty much mowed down the competition