Monday, November 10, 2008

DNFs coming down over time (but don't tell Derrike Cope)



I looked each year going back to 1978 to find the driver with the most DNFs in each season. I was mainly curious about who the junkiest driver on the circuit was each year (or perhaps, which team had the junkiest equipment). What I amazingly found was a definite trend over time, where the DNFs have been consistently coming down.

First, some assumptions: in a year with drivers tied for the highest DNFs, I considered the driver with fewest starts, so the highest percentage of DNFs appear in the graph. The trend is the same either way. Notice that even on an absolute basis, there are fewer DNFs (single digits the last few years despite having a full 36 race schedule). Note how many brother pairs that have made it on this list: Bodine, Waltrip, Wallace, and the unrelated brothers Robby and Jeff Gordon.

The full table is below. Oh, and by the way, which drivers have led the series in DNFs the most number of years (including ties)? I don't think anybody will be surprised to see Derrike Cope atop the charts on this one. The all-time leader in garbage performances.

4 Derrike Cope
3 Greg Sacks
2 Geoff Bodine
2 JD McDuffie
2 Jimmy Means
2 Joe Nemechek
2 John Andretti
2 Robby Gordon
2 Todd Bodine

In table below, note that 2008 still has one more race remaining.

Year Driver DNFs Starts Percent
2008 Juan Pablo Montoya 9 35 26%
2007 Ryan Newman 9 36 25%
2007 Joe Nemechek 9 28 32%
2007 David Reutimann 9 26 35%
2006 Robby Gordon 9 36 25%
2005 Robby Gordon 13 29 45%
2004 Todd Bodine 18 21 86%
2004 Kirk Shelmerdine 18 18 100%
2003 Derrike Cope 12 18 67%
2002 Joe Nemechek 10 33 30%
2001 Todd Bodine 12 35 34%
2000 Jeremy Mayfield 11 32 34%
2000 Scott Pruett 11 28 39%
1999 Ricky Craven 10 34 29%
1999 Michael Waltrip 10 34 29%
1999 John Andretti 10 34 29%
1998 Kenny Wallace 12 31 39%
1997 Rusty Wallace 10 32 31%
1996 Darrell Waltrip 11 31 35%
1996 John Andretti 11 30 37%
1996 Derrike Cope 11 29 38%
1995 Greg Sacks 11 20 55%
1994 Geoff Bodine 15 31 48%
1993 Jeff Gordon 11 30 37%
1992 Dave Marcis 14 29 48%
1992 Jimmy Means 14 22 64%
1991 Jimmy Spencer 14 29 48%
1991 Derrike Cope 14 28 50%
1990 Rick Wilson 15 29 52%
1990 Rob Moroso 15 25 60%
1989 Jimmy Means 13 22 59%
1989 Greg Sacks 13 20 65%
1988 Derrike Cope 16 26 62%
1987 Harry Gant 21 29 72%
1986 Morgan Shepherd 15 27 56%
1985 JD McDuffie 15 23 65%
1984 Joe Ruttman 14 29 48%
1984 Greg Sacks 14 29 48%
1983 Tommy Gale 15 28 54%
1983 Geoff Bodine 15 28 54%
1982 Lake Speed 19 30 63%
1981 Kyle Petty 18 31 58%
1980 JD McDuffie 15 31 48%
1979 Dick May 17 20 85%
1978 Neil Bonnett 18 30 60%