CONGRATULATIONS TO PAUL MENARD, YOUR 2009 FLOPPER AWARD WINNER

 
By starting his car at Sunday’s race in Homestead, Paul Menard took home the 2009 FLOPPER (Finishes Last in Overall Points while Participating in Every Race) award. Much like his counterpart at the top of the standings, there wasn’t much doubt who was winning the hardware going into the final weekend of the season. The title was Menard’s to lose – and it proved to be the only thing he did not lose this season.
 
Mr. Menard follows in the footsteps of legendary drivers like Richard Petty, Dale Jarrett, Darrell Waltrip and Harry Gant. Former winners of the award also include Kyle Petty, Sterling Marlin, Ken Schrader, Brett Bodine and Bobby Hamilton. You see, Paul Menard, you are in elite company, and although a FLOPPER award might seem dubious … sorry, I have no way of finishing that thought. It’s very dubious. The full list of past winners is available here.
 
Of the 31 drivers who started every race, Menard took home a few statistical titles:

  • The only driver without a top 10
  • The worst starting average (31)
  • The fewest lead lap finishes (12)
  • Of course, fewest points scored (2,979)

Interestingly enough, Menard was able to improve his finishing position by an average of four places over his starting position. That’s the second-best improvement of all the people on this list. So, he has that to hold onto.

Special kudos go to A.J. Allmendinger, who managed to go the whole year without leading a single lap. Good job not pushing it.

Michael Waltrip retired from driving full-time at the end of the season. Surprisingly, he was NEVER able to win a FLOPPER title. He missed races in three of the last four years, and that’s what held him back.

Now the question becomes, who will win the FLOPPER in 2010? Anybody have a guess? Venture them below in the comment section.

(All Left Turns contributor Dale Watermill is the creator of the Watermill Score and the FLOPPER Award and edits the racing statistics blog 36 Races. E-mail him at 36races@gmail.com.)

Related links:
Title race would be close under different point system
Winning in NASCAR is like counting cards
Chase bonus points are meaningless
Jimmie Johnson has most points at Chase tracks this season
The Watermill Score: How to win a Sprint Cup title
Replacing crew chiefs has not helped Dale Earnhardt Jr.