It is the worst award in motorsports – the FLOPPER. Robby Gordon took home the hallowed prize in 2008 and he is on pace to do it again. He would be the first back-to-back title winner since Dale Jarrett accomplished the feat in 1988-89. For those of you who are not familiar, FLOPPER is the driver who:
After Bristol, we have had 24 races. So take a look in the dark, deserted part of the standings where the ghosts of David Stremme, Paul Menard and Michael Waltrip hang out. Fortunately for Waltrip, Scott Speed, John Andretti and David Gilliland, they have each missed a race or two in 2009, eliminating them from FLOPPER contention.
See, the FLOPPER award goes not to the absolute worst driver, but to the unique driver who can find the healthy balance between having the skill it takes to qualify for every race, and the skill lacking that makes him the worst of that group.
Here are the current standings after Bristol:
Notice that only 350 points separate the bottom ten drivers, from Kevin Harvick down to Gordon.
Right now Menard is the closest competitor to Gordon. Notice also that I have color-coded each group of drivers every 100 points out. Harvick was fourth in the Chase last year and now infamously makes the top 10 on this table. David Ragan barely missed the Chase last year and now hopes he'll be able to barely miss this new title as well.
This will be a very interesting battle for the rest of the season. Right now Gordon's best hope is that he doesn't run one of the final races. But considering that he is 34th in owner points, more than 200 points ahead of 36th, it is likely that he'll be able to qualify for every race this season. Only time will tell if Menard can find the lack of skill it takes to lose those 60 points he's going to need to reach Gordon.
We'll keep watching to see what happens...
(To read more about the FLOPPER award, click here. All Left Turns contributor Dale Watermill is the editor of 36 Races. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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