May 4, 2009

Week 20 Unified Power Rankings

Jenson Button has come out the gates faster than any other driver in 2009. In his first four Formula 1 starts of the year, he's recorded three victories and swept the top five in a series that is hotly contested at the front of the pack. Rubens Barrichello has also swept the top five in his first four Formula 1 starts of the season to be his chief rival as the series gets ready to head to Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Among NASCAR drivers, Tony Stewart stands at the top of the charts. A victory in the Nationwide Series and six top-fives in 14 combined starts among NASCAR's Big Three has removed all doubt about his success now that he is an owner/driver.

The IRL has not yet run four races, so there is insufficient data to include their drivers in this formula.

Here are the remaining top-50 drivers.

RankDriverPrimary SeriesPoints
1Jenson ButtonFormula 1107.25
2Rubens BarrichelloFormula 193.75
3Tony StewartNASCAR Winston Cup91.92
4Kurt BuschNASCAR Winston Cup91.20
5Jeff GordonNASCAR Winston Cup89.90
6Timo GlockFormula 186.75
7Denny HamlinNASCAR Winston Cup82.64
8Kyle BuschNASCAR Winston Cup81.26
9Ron Hornaday JrNASCAR Trucks80.80
10Jason LefflerNASCAR Busch80.44
11Carl EdwardsNASCAR Winston Cup79.79
12Jimmie JohnsonNASCAR Winston Cup79.10
13Ryan NewmanNASCAR Winston Cup78.82
14Jeff BurtonNASCAR Winston Cup78.33
15Clint BowyerNASCAR Winston Cup77.08
16Greg BiffleNASCAR Winston Cup76.29
17Juan MontoyaNASCAR Winston Cup75.40
18Jarno TrulliFormula 174.50
19Matt KensethNASCAR Winston Cup74.47
20Brian VickersNASCAR Winston Cup74.43
21Dale Earnhardt JrNASCAR Winston Cup73.64
22David ReutimannNASCAR Winston Cup73.50
23Mark WebberFormula 173.25
24Sebastian VettelFormula 173.00
25Matt CraftonNASCAR Trucks71.80
26Kasey KahneNASCAR Winston Cup71.40
27Kevin HarvickNASCAR Winston Cup71.22
28Brad KeselowskiNASCAR Busch70.69
29Mark MartinNASCAR Winston Cup70.55
30Fernando AlonsoFormula 170.25
31Jason KellerNASCAR Busch69.89
32David RaganNASCAR Winston Cup69.61
33Marcos AmbroseNASCAR Winston Cup69.60
34Joey LoganoNASCAR Winston Cup68.11
35Casey MearsNASCAR Winston Cup67.90
36Mike SkinnerNASCAR Trucks67.33
37Johnny Benson JrNASCAR Trucks67.00
38Scott Lagasse JrNASCAR Busch65.11
39Lewis HamiltonFormula 165.00
40Nico RosbergFormula 163.50
41Reed SorensonNASCAR Winston Cup63.50
42Regan SmithNASCAR Winston Cup63.40
43Steve WallaceNASCAR Busch62.89
44Jamie McMurrayNASCAR Winston Cup61.80
45Martin Truex JrNASCAR Winston Cup61.40
46Brendan GaughanNASCAR Busch61.22
47Chad McCumbeeNASCAR Busch61.20
48Michael McDowellNASCAR Busch60.50
49David StremmeNASCAR Winston Cup59.90
50A J AllmendingerNASCAR Winston Cup59.80

The combined Power Rankings are based on a formula called percentage points. In a 50-car field (based on entries attempting to qualify) in the Nationwide Series, a driver earns 100 points for a victory, 98 points for a second-place and so on until the 50-th best car (slowest qualifier) is assigned two points. Because the competition level for the NASCAR Cup, Indy Racing League and Formula 1 series is greater, the starting point is 110 points. The Craftsman Truck Series starts with 90 points for a victory. Some marquee races, such as the Daytona 500, Indy 500, World 600 and the Monaco Grand Prix command a starting point of 125 points.

F1: FIA publishes McLaren report

FIA has published a complete report of the Lewis Hamilton incident in the Australian Grand Prix and the ensuing three-race suspended penalty. The transcript can be views at

Our View: And you thought decisions by NASCAR could be confusing. At least, FIA has tried to completely clarify their stance, which should reduce frustration among fans.

F1: Uncertainty breeds excitement in Spain

Most Formula 1 teams tested in Spain during the off-season, but with four point-paying races under their belt, uncertainty reigns among teams. That also makes this an exciting race, however.

Our View: "The schedule for the first four races was very tough for everyone, so going back to Europe almost feels like a fresh start," Lewis Hamilton said. Check out for more quotes and comments about the Circuit de Catalunya.

IRL: Tagliani on Indy 500 entry list

Alex Tagliani has a ton of experience, but he will be happy to receive the designation of a rookie for this year's Indy 500, according to

Our View: Tagliani has made 121 CART and five IRL races, but this will be his first trip to the Brickyard. In one previous oval track race in this series last year at Chicagoland, he managed only a 12th-place finish, so you may want to concentrate on drivers with more experience on this track type.

F1: Spanish GP Avg. Finishes

The Spanish Grand Prix is just around the corner and here is a little help to set your roster.

Lewis Hamilton tops the average finish charts for the Spanish Grand Prix, although he has yet to win and started only two previous races. He finished second in 2007 and third in 2008. Las year's winner Kimi Raikkonen might not be your best choice this week since he has only the seventh best average result.

Spanish Grand Prix Average Finish
Last Five Years

Driver5 Yr Avg FinishAvg StartAttempts
Lewis Hamilton2.504.502
Robert Kubica4.004.502
Fernando Alonso5.003.205
Felipe Massa5.407.005
Michael Schumacher6.004.003
Giancarlo Fisichella6.809.805
Kimi Raikkonen7.405.405
Mark Webber7.676.003
Jenson Button8.0012.254
Jarno Trulli8.806.005
Rubens Barrichello8.809.805
David Coulthard9.8013.205
Nico Rosberg10.3313.003
Takuma Sato10.7514.254
Ralf Schumacher11.508.254
Heikki Kovalainen12.007.002
Nick Heidfeld12.0011.605
Tiago Monteiro14.0017.502
Juan Montoya 14.337.003
Christian Klien14.5015.002
Anthony Davidson14.5018.002
Mark Weber15.0015.002
Christijan Albers16.0017.673
Vitantonio Liuzzi16.6713.333
Adrian Sutil17.0020.002
Scott Speed18.5019.002

Spinning key to Richmond success

Apparently one key to success at Richmond in the Crown Royal 400 was spinning, according to Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray and Marcos Ambrose each scored top-15 finishes after spinning in separate events.

Our View: Add to that list sixth-place Sam Hornish Jr., who didn't spin himself, but was responsible for wrecking Ambrose and Kevin Harvick, and a clear pattern developed from Richmond. The new car is incredibly durable, which is going to make handicapping short tracks a lot easier.