For the sixth consecutive season, NASCAR has pored over a seasons worth of Loop Data and filtered out the top statistical performances of the 2012 season. After a painstaking review, a select committee created awards to recognize those drivers who numerically excelled this season. Those awards have evolved into arguably the most coveted prize in all of NASCAR. They are ... The Loopies.
Loop Top Dogg: This award yearly goes to the driver who led the most Loop Data categories. Winner: Jimmie Johnson (led 13 of 15 categories).
Quantity of Quality Award: This award goes to the driver who led the Sprint Cup Series in Quality Passes, which are passes of cars in the top 15 while under green flag conditions. Winner: Brad Keselowski.
Most Improved Driver: The driver with the biggest improvement in Driver Rating from 2011 to 2012. Winner: Greg Biffle (85.9 to 99.5). Least Improved Driver: The driver with the biggest drop in Driver Rating wins this Loopie, and it goes to Carl Edwards with an asterisk. Edwards actually only had the third-biggest drop 16.8, from 101.0 in 2011 to 84.2 this season. But it was the biggest drop among drivers who didnt switch teams.
Coffees For Closers Award: The Closer statistic measures the positions gained or lost in the last 10 percent of races. The top Closer this season: Ryan Newman, who improved 68 total positions in the last 10 percent of races this season.
Worst Closer Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt lost 41 spots in the last 10 percent of races this year, among the worst of any driver.
Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award: Stefan Kretschmann works for Stats, LLC in Chicago, and is considered the godfather of Loop Data. We started this award last season to honor a driver who has been statistically strong throughout the Loop Data Era (2005-present). Jimmie Johnson took home the inaugural Lifetime Achievement trophy. The 2012 winner is Kyle Busch, who has landed an unparalleled 20 perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 throughout NASCARs three national series.