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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Numbers, stats and Torqued Off Tuesday

A few notes about driver ratings:
-Jeff Burton leads all drivers with a 116.9 average driver rating through three races. If not for a late mechanical problem, he would also have three top ten finishes and probably the points lead. Burton is proving that last year was not a fluke. Maybe he simply slumped in 2004-2005.

-Not only has Mark Martin scored three straight top five finishes, but his driver rating was above 100 in all three races. For the next two weeks you will hear nothing from me about "will he or won't he?". I think the rest of the NASCAR galaxy is covering this enough.

-Judging by their driver ratings, David Ragan and Robby Gordon have overachieved so far. Gordon’s average rating is 64.2 with an average finish of 17.7. Ragan’s average rating is 49.0, but his average finish is 19.3. Gordon's popularity rating is also rather low after his poor judgement led to wrecking Casey Mears at Las Vegas.

-Of drivers making three races, Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty have miserable ratings of 29.0 and 30.7 respectively. Not coincidentally both drivers are toeing the top 35 line. At least Petty has had recent success at Atlanta (8th, 17th in 2006).

Top 35 Update:
The water got murkier after Las Vegas for the drivers trying to crack the top 35. Joe Nemechek and Johnny Sauter suffered early crashes. Paul Menard got trapped two laps down because of a speeding penalty, and Sterling Marlin lost an engine late. At least they made the race. David Reutimann, Brian Vickers, Jeremy Mayfield and AJ Allmendinger lost further ground to the pack. If 2007 owners points kicked in today, Nemechek, Sauter, Marlin and Jarrett would be in. Kasey Kahne, Scott Riggs, Dave Blaney and the 21 car (Ken Schrader/Jon Wood) would have to make the race on time.

And then there is Michael Waltrip. He is now averaging -9 points per week. Last year was a disaster, but at least he was able to make the majority of races and had to buy his way into the Coca Cola 600 to appease his sponsor NAPA. It turns out that was nothing compared to 2007. In three Cup races, Waltrip has a -100 point penalty and missed two other races.

Fact of the Week
Last year after three races, there were 12 drivers that had completed 100% of the laps. This year only five drivers have completed 100% of the laps through three races. Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.

My Three Bugs for the Week:
-It seems like every race during the final green flag run, the announcers will say, “The leaders just ran their fastest laps of the day.” This shouldn't be a surprise, yet Larry McReynold's voice rises when he says this. They spend the first 300+ miles fine-tuning their cars, then get fresh tires. Not to mention the fact that it's, well, the end of the race. So to reduce to the simplest terms, the best cars, tweaked towards perfection, are at the front of the pack as the race winds down, increasing the intensity and need to go faster. I don't know if it could get more basic.

-Why Cousin Carl? It doesn't make sense for a nickname. Flipper has meaning. Tony Stewart dubbing Edwards Eddie Haskell works. Aside from the obvious alliteration, Cousin Carl holds zero logic. What is next, Brother Boris? Nephew Nemechek?

-The unofficial office cheerleader. Nearly every office has one. It's the person that organizes the potluck for lunch, decorates other people's desks for birthdays, and asks people to chip in for the Powerball drawing. These things are fine by themselves. Plenty of people enjoy the diversions and they can boost office morale. I also can't take issue with the fact they aren't work related, since 90% of this blog is written during work hours. I may have diversions at work, but when things need to get done I do them right away. The problem is that in my experience, the cheerleader is the first employee to complain about being too busy. Said person might have more time if they weren't always willing to pick up Starbucks for everyone or playing Secret Santa.

What’s bugging you today or this week? Let me know.

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