Every week NASCAR publishes Driver Ratings for the upcoming race. These are determined from Loop Data statistics which is based on several statistical components mixed together in a mathematical formula.
Below is an explanation of the NASCAR Driver Ratings formula, which is broken down into three different sections.
The “Primary Statistics” are those that are most important to the formula – and therefore awarded the most points.
The points assigned to each “Primary Statistic” are based on the point structure in place when the Driver Rating was developed in 2005, and use the points structure in place from 2004-2006. In the interest of continuity, the formula still uses the old points structure, even though the point structure was changed in 2007.
In the formula, the first place driver earns 180 points and the 43rd-place driver earns 34, with the increments in between the same as NASCAR’s points distribution scale. Each statistic is then “multiplied” or “weighted” depending on its importance to the formula. All ties in the “Primary Statistics” are broken by finishing position.
“Primary Statistic” points are then added together.
|Average Running Position1||360||68||2|
Example: At Darlington, Jimmie Johnson’s Average Running Position ranked fourth. His point total would be 160, the point total of a driver who finished fourth in a race. In the Driver Rating formula, Average Running Position is important, and multiplied (or weighted) by two. Johnson’s total for that particular Primary Statistic would be 320.
Bonus points are given for reaching certain goals. Below are the goals and the bonus points for each. (Note: All ties in “fixed bonus points” result in the bonus being added to all applicable drivers.)
Each “Fixed Bonus Points” total is then added together.
|Fixed Bonus Points|
|Leading Most Laps||10|
|Lead Lap Finish||5|
|Average Running Position better than 10.01||5|
|Average Running Position better than 6.01||5|
|Average Running Position better than 2.01||5|
Example: At Darlington, Kyle Busch earned every “Fixed Bonus Points” except for Average Running Position better than 2.0. Therefore, in this section, he earned 55 points.
Example 2: At Darlington, both Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch had an Average Running Position better than 6.0. They would each receive five points for having better than 10.0 and another five for having better than 6.0. Each would get a total of 10 for their Average Running Position.
These are bonus points that are dependent on two statistics a driver earns in a given race – green flag laps led and green flag fastest laps.
The two stats are added together and then divided by the total green flag laps the driver has run in the race. The resulting number is then multiplied by 100.
The maximum number of points a driver get can in this section is 100.
Example: At Darlington, Greg Biffle led 94 green flag laps and had 33 green flag fastest laps run. He ran 217 green flag laps in the race. The formula here is 94 + 33 = 127. Then: 127 / 217 = .585. Then: .585 x 100 = 58.5.
When all three sections are tallied, the points from each section are added together (the maximum number possible is 900 points) and then adjusted by dividing by six, which makes a perfect Driver Rating 150.0.
|Total Possible Points||900||139.8|
|Adjusted Driver Rating||150.0||23.3|
Also, if a given race has less than 43 participants – the points awarded are adjusted accordingly to prevent inflated ratings. This is by design with reference to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series which has a standard field of 36 trucks.
Below is an example of how Jeff Gordon’s Driver Rating was calculated for the 2008 race at Darlington Raceway:
Driver Rating Example: Jeff Gordon at Darlington, 2008
Below is the formula used to tabulate Jeff Gordon’s Driver Rating at Darlington this season. Gordon, who finished third, scored a Driver Rating of 116.5, which was third-best in the race.
|Primary Statistics||Value||Rank||Pnts||Factor||Total Points|
|Average Running Position 1||4.381||4||160||2||320|
|Average Speed||165.394 mph||3||165||1||165|
|Fastest Lap||172.166 mph||9||138||1/9||15.3|
|Total for Section: 665.3|
|Fixed Bonus Points||Achieved?||Pts Worth||Pts Earned|
|Leading Most Laps||No||10||0|
|Lead Lap Finish||Yes||5||5|
|Average Running Position better than 10.0||Yes||5||5|
|Average Running Position better than 6.0||Yes||5||5|
|Average Running Position better than 2.0||No||5||0|
|Total Points for Section: 25|
Variable Bonus Points: (GF Fast Laps + GF Laps Led) / GF Laps X 100
Formula: (11 + 18) / 326 X 100 = 8.9
Total Points for Section: 8.9
When sections are added together: 665.3 + 25 + 8.9 = 699.2
Then divide by 6, per the formula: 699.2 / 6 = 116.5
JEFF GORDON’S DRIVER RATING IS 116.5