What is a NASCAR Driver Rating?

Driver Ratings

When reading about NASCAR drivers inevitably someone mentions this driver’s Driver Rating and compares it to another driver’s rating. Sounds cool to compare drivers but what are these ratings and why are they important in a sport where there truly is only one winner?

The whole thought behind Driver Ratings is that comparing race wins just doesn’t tell you how good a driver is at any particular track or race. Since there is only one race winner how does one compare those who don’t win?

NASCAR came up with driver ratings so that these comparisons can be made. These ratings are calculated by NASCAR using a somewhat complex formula. The formula is dominated by the average running position on the lead lap during green flag racing. This is why the driver rating, unlike finishing position, is not heavily impacted if the driver has a late race crash or engine failure.

If you are interested in reading about exactly how NASCAR calculates the Driver Ratings, go here.

To simplify, if a driver leads every lap, is the fastest, and wins the race, the maximum driver rating they can achieve is 150. Although it can be done it is rare for a driver to do this. Typically if a driver can achieve a rating of 120 or more they have had one heck of a race. If a driver’s average driver rating for a race is 120 or more then it can be expected that they will perform well at that track. It also means that more often than not they dominate the racing at that track.

On some tracks the Driver Ratings show that the competition is more evenly matched. This is especially true at the restrictor plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega. In the ratings for those tracks you will find that not only does the best driver have a low rating (91) but the ratings of the top ten or more are very close: 10 points apart from 1 to 10 vs 29 at a nonrestrictor plate track.

Since NASCAR calculates the Driver Ratings and provides them to the media you are assured that the ratings match between those media people you like to follow.

Using driver ratings to choose which drivers for your Fantasy NASCAR team is a great way to dial into a winner.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

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