Racermetrics race-database.com

Top 200 Drivers of 2022 (Part II)

by Sean Wrona

C drivers (150th-101st)

Alex Albon: He is pretty difficult to evaluate because he was utterly dominated by Max Verstappen in 2019-20 before utterly dominating Nicholas Latifi this time around. Having said that, Verstappen is clearly the best and Latifi one of the worst drivers of this era so it's hard to find the correct placement for Albon. He was the 7th highest ranked driver in my F1 teammate model but that didn't do a particularly good job of evaluating F1 drivers this year in my opinion. While he was the second-slowest F1 regular because Williams in general was the slowest team, he was not far behind Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen in speed with a speed percentile of 24.06%, easily dominating Latifi's speed percentile of 6.35%, which was the second-largest speed differential between teammates behind only Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. However, any thought of me placing him in the top 100 was erased when Nyck de Vries matched the team's best finish with a ninth in his one-off debut while filling in for Albon when he had appendicitis. de Vries's speed percentile in that race was faster than any Latifi race and all but three Albon races, indicating to me that while Albon was solid, he wasn't that great.

A.J. Allmendinger: Even though he failed to advance to the Final Four in the NASCAR Xfinity playoffs and failed to win a Cup race, I actually think this was the best year of his NASCAR career. He dominated all his teammates by a huge margin, beating Justin Haley 14-2 in his Cup starts, and Daniel Hemric 21-5 and Landon Cassill 21-6 in his Xfinity starts. All that was enough to place him an astonishing second in my stock car teammate model this year. While normally former Cup veterans dominating Xfinity regular teammates is not worthy of praise, Hemric and Cassill are clearly veteran drivers who have fully matured, so it's not like he was dominating inexperienced teenagers. He led the Xfinity points standings for almost the entire regular season when both of his teammates (including Hemric, who had just won the championship last year) went winless and Cassill failed to make the playoffs. On the Cup side, his consistency was also remarkable. Although top tens are an overrated statistic, it is impressive he managed to post six top tens in a row for a second-year Cup team. He also posted the fastest average speed at the Charlotte roval race and fought for the win at COTA. Although I do think this was his best season and he was also the best Xfinity driver (title or not), I left him out of the top 100 because he didn't lead much in Cup when I do think he had the equipment to do so, he lucked into many of his good Cup finishes especially on the ovals, and cherrypicking Cup races made his Cup record appear better than it would have if he hadn't stayed away from his weaker tracks. I don't think he'll do as well next year with a full-time Cup schedule.

Diego Azar: Another Argentinean driver I probably should have listed last year and did not, he won his second consecutive championship in the Top Race series where all drivers use the same spec engine package to ensure lower cost racing and closer competition. However, although this series is highly regarded, it seems like a lot of the major talents have left as Agustín Canapino won seven championships there in the 2010s and did not compete this year while the two subsequent champions Franco Girolami (2018) and Matías Rossi (2019 and 2020) had also moved on with Franco winning the TCR Europe touring car championship this year and Rossi finishing 4th in Stock Car Brasil. It seems like Azar kind of won this by default as his strongest competition came from rookie Jorge Barrio, but judging by the other champions, the champions of this series do tend to go on to success elsewhere.

Bertrand Baguette: The former Formula Renault champion and IndyCar driver has made a name for himself racing in Japan over the past decade. Although he had a relatively slow start as he never finished in the top ten in Super Formula and failed to finish in the top ten in the Super GT championship his first five years from 2014-2018, he has really improved recently and led Team Impul, owned by Kazuyoshi Hoshino (the greatest Japanese driver of all time) to its first sports car championship since 1994 alongside his teammate Kazuki Hiramine. The team had fallen on some hard times in recent years as it had never finished better than 8th in Super GT since 2015, but Baguette returned them to prominence and was generally regarded as the team leader. He got an assist when Katsumasa Chiyo, who entered the season finale as the points leader was penalized for spinning Tomoki Nojiri, but mistakes count.

Mirko Bortolotti: He was the fastest driver in DTM this year, which would normally be worthy of a top 100 placement. However, considering that, he had a fairly disappointing season as he finished 4th in points, failed to win, and posted only a 0-2 lead change record. He definitely had a number of opportunities to win, particularly the first race at the Nürburgring where he won the pole before immediately being passed by Felipe Fraga at the start. However, he caught back up and attempted to pass him for the lead with ten laps to go. Unfortunately he ended up spinning both drivers out while Sheldon van der Linde inherited the win. Although he failed to win any races this season, his speed was readily apparent elsewhere as he was the fastest driver in the GTD class at the 12 Hours of Sebring as well.

Kurt Busch: In a year where most of the big Gen X and early millennial NASCAR stars declined significantly, Kurt was largely an exception to this. By Ryan McCafferty's metrics, he was actually better than last year but I think he was slightly worse. Regardless, he was good for his usual one win a year, tenth-place season and he got his traditional win at Kansas and his setup knowledge probably helped elevate 23XI Racing and Bubba Wallace's performance as well, but unfortunately, a qualifying crash at Pocono left him with a concussion and put him out for the rest of the season. Although he may still make more NASCAR starts in the future and I hope he does, he stepped away from full-time competition in 2023 and his career as a relevant Cup driver is likely over. Although he definitely outperformed Wallace in the races where they both competed together, I would say Wallace's cumulative record over 36 races was pretty identical to Kurt's record over 21 races, including winning the other Kansas race. Even though Kurt was better, the total amount they achieved this year was about the same, so I placed them in the same tier.

Kyle Busch: He had one of the most bizarre seasons of his career as in the first half of the season, he started out both more consistent and dominant than he had been at any point since the first half of 2019 and it seemed like he had fully recovered and returned to form after his 2020 and 2021 slump due to a lack of practice. At one point late in the first half of the season, he actually led my teammate model this year. However, after he rejected Joe Gibbs Racing's initial offer for a new contract while hoping to attract a sponsor and a better deal, no such sponsorship emerged and Busch's season had a stunning collapse. By the end of the season, he had fallen to 11th in my model based on consistency and 12th in Ryan's based on performance. He had a number of inexplicably slow races (particularly on the road courses), and in the races where he was fast in the remainder of the season he was also ridiculously unlucky (blowing an engine in the Southern 500) or nabbed for cheating (Pocono.) At some point he seemed to throw in the towel and ended up recording what was clearly the worst season for a JGR driver even though he was still likely more talented than the other three. I thought about still rating him in the top 100 for a while for his early season dominance and consistency, but what dissuaded me from that is the fact that he had 0 TNLs for the first time in his Cup career and he had a lot of opportunities to win in the clutch. His only win came when Chase Briscoe spun Tyler Reddick out of the lead at Bristol (had he lost that race, he would have even missed the playoffs.) However, he was the last driver passed a staggering five times. An 0-5 TNL record seems to be unworthy of placement on the main top 100 list (particularly considering he was inconsistent too.)

Bastian Buus: The rising 19-year-old Dane made an auspicious debut in his rookie Porsche Supercup season, finishing fourth in the championship and winning two races. He also competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany, a series that features almost entirely the same drivers and placed fourth in the championship there as well, winning one race. The same three drivers: Dylan Pereira, Larry ten Voorde, and Laurin Heinrich finished ahead of him in both championships, although they finished in that order in Porsche Supercup and in the reverse order in Porsche Carrera Cup. But Buus was definitely highly competitive with even the best of these drivers immediately, as he only finished four points behind Pereira (the Porsche Supercup champion) in the Carrera Cup and only one point behind Heinrich (the Porsche Carrera Cup champion) in Porsche Supercup. While I think both of these series have fallen in esteem a little bit in recent years, Porsche Supercup particularly is still pretty well respected and for him to be already battling with the championship contenders at that age is very impressive. Someone get this man a Wikipedia page.

William Byron: Very similarly to Kyle Busch, he had a mixed season with some great races and some awful races; a lot of bad luck that made his season look worse than it was, but also a lot of just plain mediocre runs. Plenty of results fundamentalists viewed his season as poor because of his lack of top ten finishes even though he was substantially more dominant in the races than he was in 2021. By some metrics, he was near elite as he had 15 natural races led (most in the series), ranked 4th in speed, 7th in cumulative races led, 10th in lead shares, and 10th in my teammate model. However, I included ten Cup drivers in my top 100 and he wasn't one of them. For one thing, I think it is a bad sign that his speed ranking was greater than his rankings in these other categories, implying that his speed was greater than his passing and his leading, especially in a year when Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott were the top two drivers in speed. His cars were better than he was. Additionally, a lot of his dominance was inflated because he won at Martinsville after beating Elliott out of the pits (although he was technically the TNL because Austin Dillon beat him on a restart) and he took the lead at Richmond on pit strategy and got passed at the end. It also looks fairly bad to me that his passing ranks were so low in a year that he had the most natural races led; that implies to me that he was doing most of his leading either earlier in the race (which hurts you in lead share numbers) or only in random moments in a race rather than controlling it throughout. He was less of a dominant force than it looked by his raw laps led, and a lot of that was strategy-induced. If I didn't count his restart lead change exchange with Austin Dillon, that would drop him to 13th in lead shares so I was actually generous. Ryan's metrics also left him out of the top ten, so while we agree that he took a step back from last year's performance, it has more to do with the fact that the amount he led overrated his performance in one dimension, even if his lack of top tens underrated it in another. It was a worse season, but not because he only had 11 top tens in a year almost no one was consistent. His Atlanta win was still awesome though.

Andrea Caldarelli: He won the GT World Challenge America championship with a staggering eight wins in thirteen races despite a change of teammates. He won the first two races co-driving with Jordan Pepper before Pepper was replaced by Michele Beretta after that. Although I can't say the talent pool in that series was as deep as usual, there were some other good drivers competing there including Philip Ellis and Robby Foley. Ellis was probably better than Caldarelli overall actually as both drivers won two races in races the other driver competed (Ellis only competed part-time), but Ellis's other sports car accomplishments were greater. Caldarelli did also rank fifth of the 56 drivers in the IMSA GTD Pro class in speed and faster than any of the series regulars as well as the aforementioned Bortolotti, his IMSA co-driver. Together Bortolotti and Caldarelli won their qualifying race to determine the class pole for the 24 Hours of Daytona; later in 2022, Caldarelli also won the overall pole for the 24 Hours of Spa.

Agustín Canapino: Oh, I can feel the hot takes coming in on this one. When it was announced that Juncos Hollinger Racing was looking to hire him for their second IndyCar team alongside Callum Ilott (a move that was confirmed yesterday), a cavalcade of ignorant redditors bashed the decision repeatedly. One recent thread had people comparing him unironically to drivers like Dalton Kellett and (IndyCar-era) Jimmie Johnson. Lots of people were outraged that Juncos was looking for him instead of Marcus Armstrong, a very mediocre prospect who finished 13th in Formula 2 three years in a row and somehow got a Ganassi ride out of it. They assumed that he just had to be a ride-buyer because they'd never heard of him. I got so annoyed by the Canapino bashing that I actually defended him on Twitter. Did it ever occur to these fans that Juncos knows what he's doing? His driver Kyle Kaiser bumped Fernando Alonso out of the Indy 500. He has won the sworn allegiance of recent hot prospect Ilott despite having some of the slowest cars last year and now he has scoured his home nation of Argentina to find one of the greatest talents the Americans are ignoring. I had already included him on last year's list before any of those rumors developed, but now that I have done more research into the Argentinean racing scene, his dominance literally flabbergasted me. Since he arrived on the scene in 2008, Canapino won seven Top Race championships, four Turismo Carretera championships, and two TC2000 championships. Not only is he one of only four drivers to win all three of the premier Argentinean championships, he has won 87 races across those three series and won multiple championships in both 2016 and 2017. He beat José María López, the 2009 Top Race champion, by a large margin to win the 2010 and 2011 titles; although López did finish 3rd and 2nd in points those years, Canapino won nine races to López's zero at a time when López was actually signed to an F1 team before the vaporware USF1 team shut down. López then went on to dominate the World Touring Car Championship for years, winning three WTCC titles and two WEC titles, where he faced a lot less competition than he had in his homeland. Although López wasn't known for his open wheel pursuits, he still has a current rating of .195 in my model based on his Formula E results, basically equivalent to Pato O'Ward, and Canapino was better than him in touring cars. Canapino's closest rival Matías Rossi was also very successful winning 82 races and eight championships in a slightly longer career (he also won all three major Argentinean championships), and Rossi just switched to Stock Car Brasil this year and finished 4th in the points, where he beat among others Ricardo Zonta, Nelson Piquet, Jr., Tony Kanaan, and Felipe Massa (and Kanaan and Massa didn't even finish in the top twenty in a year Kanaan finished 3rd in the Indy 500!) This wasn't one of Canapino's best years. He won three races in TC2000 and three races in Turismo Carretera while only finishing third in points in both series, but don't get it twisted. He's a legend and the drivers he competed against have been very successful internationally. The backlash to Canapino stems from several strains of ignorance. First, there is an established bias against touring car drivers. While NASCAR and Supercars drivers seem to be pretty well respected internationally, people tend to assume drivers from other touring car series are not on the same level. Open wheel fans in particular assume drivers in open wheel feeders are better than legends elsewhere, but Scott McLaughlin proved that totally false when he broke through to IndyCar superstardom. Do I think Canapino is as good as McLaughlin? Probably not, but he's worth a shot, particularly in a year where there aren't many notable unsigned IndyCar drivers at all. The other problem is that despite how respected some of these series are (in addition to López and Rossi's recent success, freaking Juan Manuel Fangio won the Turismo Carretera title before his F1 career began) very few people have reported on them in English, so you have to go to Spanish-language sources to find out about Canapino's exploits, and most people aren't willing to do that. Juncos is probably only aware of Canapino's legend because he's from Argentina himself, but he knows what he's doing and Canapino's way more talented than Marcus Armstrong. I acknowledge Armstrong will probably win Rookie of the Year because he's driving for Ganassi and at least isn't starting from ground zero in formula cars. Since Canapino hasn't driven an open wheel car for a full season yet, there will be a learning curve just as there was for McLaughlin and he probably will look very slow especially in a Juncos car, but I think as with McLaughlin he will really impress for the equipment he is in by year 2 and a lot of IndyCar fans who are now expecting him to be an on-track menace will look really silly.

Ron Capps: Even in his mid-50s, the Funny Car legend is still having some of his best seasons. The NHRA driver won his second consecutive Funny Car championship and third overall despite a long drought from 1997-2015 when he was a consistent winner and championship contender without winning a championship prior to that. Capps won five races for the sixth time in 2022, which ties the second-most races he's won in a season (only behind his 8-win season in 2017) and at long last he finally claimed his first U.S. Nationals victory.

Gabriel Casagrande: When he won the 2021 Stock Car Brasil championship, I ranked him 69th on last year's list and looking back upon it a year later, I can't understand why. I think while I generally underrated the Argentinean drivers last year, I overrated the Stock Car Brasil drivers a little, and upon rereading my entry for Casagrande, it seems I ranked him so highly in part because his teammate Gustavo Lima was 25th in points. However, Lima's replacement Argentinean legend Matías Rossi immediately finished fourth in points, only one spot behind Casagrande. That made me realize that Casagrande's cars probably weren't as bad as I thought they were, and I downgraded him this time accordingly. Even though he lost the title, he still won two races just as he did the year before, so it doesn't seem like he declined that much, but it is kind of a bad look to only beat your rookie teammate by one position, even if it is a rookie as highly touted as Rossi.

Nick Cassidy: The former Super Formula champion and current Formula E star had a prolific and versatile season where he raced in many different series and had blinding speed at times, but he was wildly inconsistent both in speed and in performance. In his main role as a Formula E driver, he scored his first win on the New York street course in a controversial finish when he crashed while aquaplaning in the lead before the Formula E officials decided not to count that lap. Admittedly, several others crashed as well so it was basically a virtual replay of the 2011 IndyCar Loudon race where the officials had so much egg on their face for allowing the cars to race in unsuitable conditions that they attempted to save face by pretending it never happened. He won the pole for the second race as well but was penalized for changing his battery after the crash and didn't get to start on the pole. Regardless, those 2 TNL meant he was tied for third in lead shares for the season, and he was one of the only four drivers to score a win, TNL, race with the most laps led, pole (where he tied for the most with two), fastest lap (where he tied for the most with four), and fastest race. However, he was wildly inconsistent throughout the season and only ranked 11th in the championship and even worse in my teammate model as his teammate Robin Frijns was much more consistent in performance even though he didn't have as much in terms of top end speed. Cassidy also competed in most of the DTM races in 2022, where he did win two races and actually led the series with 2.31 cumulative races led despite running part-time, but despite his two wins and three fastest races, he finished 13th in the championship and was only barely above average in speed as well. He also competed in the WEC's LMGTE Am class where he never led but ranked sixth of 39 drivers in speed. Like a road racing Chase Briscoe but with a little more cred, his best moments show signs of greatness but they are usually outnumbered by erratic performances. He's faster than a lot of the drivers who made the top 100 (and I have not forgotten that he did beat Álex Palou to win the Super Formula championship a mere two years before Palou's IndyCar title, but I had to dock him for the lack of consistency this year. I definitely think he's on an upward trajectory though.

Tyler Courtney: The sprint car star remains one of the most underrated drivers in the world today mainly because I don't recall him ever being talked about very often for NASCAR rides and maybe the best current driver without a Wikipedia page, but he won his fourth sprint car championship in the last five years when he claimed his second consecutive All Star Circuit of Champions championship and just like last year he won a race-high eight races. However, while that series is highly regarded I don't think it is as highly regarded as the World of Outlaws or the three main USAC divisions. He's clearly capable as he already won the 2018 USAC Sprint and 2019 USAC Midget titles and in addition to his 2021 ASCoC title, he joined Kyle Larson to become only the second driver ever to win in all three USAC divisions and the World of Outlaws in the same season that year. But this year was not nearly as impressive as he seems to have focused entirely on a less competitive series and in addition to not having any WoO or USAC he wins, he also didn't dominate ASCoC nearly as much as he did last year since two other drivers Justin Peck and Anthony Macri tied him in wins, even though Macri entered less than half the number of races that Courtney did. He's still one of the best sprint car drivers out there, but this wasn't one of his best seasons.

Elfyn Evans: After finishing second to his Toyota teammate Sébastien Ogier in both 2020 and 2021, Evans seemed poised to be the overwhelming favorite to win his first World Rally Championship when Ogier retired from full-time competition at the end of the 2021 season. That did not happen. Instead, he might have been the biggest disappointment of 2022 in all of racing relative to expectations as despite facing considerably less competition after the driver who won eight of the last nine championships did not contest this one, he dropped to 4th in points and failed to win while his 22-year-old teammate Kalle Rovanperä dominated the season and became the youngest World Champion in history. The championship that at one point seemed to be an inevitability now may never happen since people tend to win championships in bunches in the WRC and Rovanperä like his predecessors Sébastiens Loeb and Ogier may likewise go on to a long streak of titles, especially since he's even younger than they were. Having said that, even though Rovanperä nearly doubled Evans in points, I still think ranking the fourth-place finisher in WRC much lower than this would be unjustified.

Robby Foley: The co-driver of the Turner Motorsport IMSA GTD car with the all-time winningest IMSA driver Bill Auberlen, Foley was one of only two drivers in the class to post a 4-0 lead change record, which was tied for the second best record in any IMSA class this year. Foley led the GTD class in cumulative races led but was let down primarily due to the fact that Foley started the races and Auberlen finished them. Although Auberlen is a legend, he was 53 in 2022 and he got passed for the win four different times. If Auberlen had started the races and Foley had finished them, they might have won the championship but it seems like bad team strategy let Foley down this time. In addition to his one IMSA win at Mid-Ohio, he also won one GT World Challenge America race overall and another in the Pro class along side fellow Turner co-driver Michael Dinan. However, in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, he was pretty mediocre with yet another different teammate Vin Barletta. Regardless, it seems to be a good sign that he got stronger as the level of competition that he faced did and it seems like he is one driver who will likely improve with better team stability and tactics. Since Foley and Auberlen have been split for 2023, he will likely be a leading contender for the GTD championship this time around.

Pierre Gasly: While he still outperformed Yuki Tsunoda for the second year in a row, Gasly had a disappointing season as he posted a negative rating in my teammate model for the first time after five consecutive seasons where he rated above average. As I already mentioned in the Tsunoda entry, Tsunoda was actually a better overtaker than Gasly too, but sometimes that does advantage the slower teammate since a slower driver will usually start worse and therefore has more positions to gain. However, Gasly was only barely the faster qualifier too, beating Tsunoda 13 races to 9, which is pretty commensurate with their 8-5 difference in shared finishes indicating that their gap had significantly closed as Tsunoda gained more experience. I do think Gasly was probably better than 17th (which my model thinks) as Tsunoda is probably one of the most underrated drivers in my model but for a guy who beat every single teammate by a 2-1 margin in points except Max Verstappen, this year was mildly generic. Certainly not bad though.

Néstor Girolami: Although normally I would rank the 2nd place driver in the World Touring Car Cup in the top 100, I couldn't do it this time. Although he did win a series-high three poles in the series and won two races flag-to-flag, he was shockingly slow in the other races and only had a speed percentage of 42.12%. In a field that started with 17 regular cars and finished with 12 after the Cyan Racing cars dropped out mid-season eliminating championship contenders like Santiago Urrutia and Yann Ehrlacher, it does not say a lot for him that he finished between 7th-12th in nine of his sixteen races. Clearly he only finished second in points both because he had no DNFs or missed races while all the drivers close behind him did and also because arguably the fastest team dropped out of the series. His wins were definitely impressive, but I find it strange how somebody could be so fast in qualifying and so slow in the race. To be fair, he did have a faster speed percentile than all three of his teammates, but I can't really justify putting a driver who was below average in speed in a series that was collapsing on my top 100 list, even for an underdog team.

Kevin Harvick: Although his consistency has remained intact, his speed and dominance have significantly declined. In truth, his decline started a few years ago but it was propped up to some degree when the debut of the Next Gen car was pushed back to 2022, not to mention that the lack of practice and qualifying benefited the established stars at the expense of up-and-coming drivers. However, once the Next Gen finally arrived, it proved much easier for younger drivers to adapt to it more quickly and Harvick was one of the biggest victims. Although he still ranked fifth in my teammate model, he rarely if ever battled for the lead while his teammate Chase Briscoe did fairly often. Harvick only had three natural races led, ranked 17th in lead shares, and 21st in cumulative races led. This was Harvick's least dominant season in terms of cumulative races led of all time and 4th worst in lead shares (only ahead of 2002, 2004, and 2009.) However, the consistency of his finishes and his performance along with his wins are still enough to justify him being in this tier, albeit barely. Harvick clearly recognizes that he is fading from relevance as he just announced that 2023 will be his final season after I wrote this entry (but before I released it.)

Andre Heimgartner: The Supercars underdog had his first top ten points in the championship when he finished 10th in his first year for the Brad Jones Racing team. He made the first pass for the lead in a Supercars race this year, but unfortunately for him it was his only pass this year and he failed to win a race even though he had in 2021. Regardless, he drastically outperformed all three of his teammates (Bryce Fullwood, Macauley Jones, and Jack Smith) as they finished 17th, 19th, and 24th respectively. One could argue that this actually underrates Heimgartner's advantage over his teammates because when you look at average speed instead Heimgartner ranked 8th to Jones's 24th, Fullwood's 25th, and Smith's 29th. To rank that highly in speed when all three of his teammates ranked in the bottom four in speed among full-timers says a lot for him. I suspect if I ever do a touring car teammate model, Heimgartner's 2022 might rank as high as 2nd or 3rd and this might even be underrating him.

Laurin Heinrich: As I earlier mentioned in the Bastian Buus entry, Heinrich won the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany championship in a close battle over Larry ten Voorde and Dylan Pereira, the principal combatants for the Porsche Supercup championship. Since Pereira ranked 1st in Porsche Supercup and 3rd in the Carrera Cup, Heinrich did the reverse, and ten Voorde ranked 2nd in both championships, it's awfully hard to distinguish between them. I think Pereira should be ranked over Heinrich for sure because Porsche Supercup is the more prestigious series. When considering both series combined, Pereira won seven times to Heinrich's seven and ten Voorde's six. I'm kind of ignorant about these series and finding speed differentials would help considerably, but I've never been able to find lap times for them. However, I think comparing the three they should be ranked Pereira > Heinrich > ten Voorde. I think the distinction between Heinrich and ten Voorde is too small so I have placed them both in this tier.

Robert Hight: Although he narrowly lost the NHRA Funny Car championship to Ron Capps, he was the more dominant driver as he won eight races to Capps's five. While Capps finally won his first U.S. Nationals, Hight had his all time winningest season to date with eight wins and he won the other marquee NHRA event, the Winternationals. By all rights, Hight did outperform Capps over the entire season as Capps gained 259 points on Hight when the Countdown began and the drivers were reseeded, but Hight ended up losing the playoffs by only three points to Capps. However, Capps has had the slightly more legendary career with 71 wins to Hight's 60, so perhaps it's only fair that Capps managed to tie Hight's championship tally with three this year. (MOVE UP)

Rob Huff: The World Touring Car Cup veteran finished 6th in the championship and first among drivers for non-manufacturer-backed teams and did well in a number of statistical categories, ranking tied for third in wins with 2, 5th in CRL, 1st in fastest laps, and 2nd in average speed among full-time drivers. However, while I might have considered this a top 100 season in the past, I recognize that the series has become quite a bit of a joke and it seemed like Mikel Azcona was the only driver there who was truly great, particularly after Yann Ehrlacher's team shut down mid-season. Although a lot of touring car fans assume that independent teams are automatically slower than factory-backed teams, that isn't always true, particularly for a series that issues weight handicaps to slow faster cars down. Despite his solid statistical profile, I didn't really think I should list him higher finishing 6th in points with the 2nd fastest car.

Carson Macedo: The World of Outlaws star led the way with 11 wins, matching last year's win total despite a reduction in the number of races from 2021 to 2022. Although I left him off my top 200 list last year when I probably shouldn't have, he was definitely better this year. Although he finished 3rd behind Brad Sweet and David Gravel in points in the exact same order both times, Sweet's win total dropped from 16 to 5 and Gravel's from 11 to 7. Macedo also showed greater versatility this year by claiming his first professional USAC win on the Midget tour, and WoO/USAC crossovers are rarer than you might think.

Anthony Macri: Another of this year's most prolific sprint car winners, Macri was arguably the most prolific winner in sprint cars. Macri primarily raced in the Central PA Sprint Car Point Series, where he won the championship and 22 of 65 races (that series astonishingly had 105 races in all.) In so doing, Macri set the all-time record for wins in a season on that tour, doubling the win total of 3rd place points finisher and Kings Royal winner Brent Marks, who I listed previously on the C- tier. In addition, Macri also claimed eight wins on the All Star Circuit of Champions, where he matched the champion Tyler Courtney's win total with eight wins despite only making 21 starts to Courtney's 52. He also won two World of Outlaws races as well. I have a feeling this might be underrating him slightly, especially if I'm going to put Courtney and Brad Sweet in the same tier, but I do think winning the World of Outlaws and All Star Circuit of Champions championships trumps Macri's more minor championship while dabbling and cherry-picking races in the other two series.

Gilles Magnus: Another in a gaggle of World Touring Car Cup winners who seemed similarly placed this year, the Belgian exploded to superstardom in the final WTCR season with three wins (second most in the series) while ranking 2nd in CRL, fastest laps, and fastest races. He was narrowly outperformed by his teammate Nathanael Berthon who finished 3rd in points and eked out Magnus for 4th in speed among full-timers, but the pair vastly outperformed their other teammates including this year's TCR Europe champion Franco Girolami. However, these stats probably overstate his dominance for the year. While he did win at Spain from the pole, he lucked into the Italy race, winning an inverted reverse grid race after Yann Ehrlacher's team dropped out of the series that weekend (and Ehrlacher would have been on the pole and probably would have won that event otherwise.) His third win came in another reverse grid race after Attila Tassi crashed in the season finale in Saudi Arabia. He did also earn a class win in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup's Silver class for drivers rated Silver or lower by the FIA, but I think he's better than that and the FIA's driver ratings can be arbitrary (just ask Colton Herta.) While he's a rising up and comer for sure, he has not yet risen to greatness.

Kevin Magnussen: Having signed for Peugeot's WEC Hypercar team that launched midway through the 2022 season, Magnussen expected to make a career in sports car racing as his father Jan had done after the conclusion of his F1 career, only to be randomly thrust back into the limelight after Nikita Mazepin was abruptly fired at the last minute as part of an anti-Russian backlash after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Magnussen had been showing great strides as a sports car racer having posted the fastest average speed in the 24 Hours of Daytona but now he was forced to play catch up after a year out of F1, and just like Alex Albon, he did perform admirably, shockingly earning a 5th place finish on his debut at Bahrain, giving the Haas team its best finish in four years, and even more shockingly winning a pole at Interlagos. He wasn't allowed to actually start on the pole for that race because of the stupid sprint qualifying race and I felt bad for him for that, and then he got taken out by Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap of the race. The last time a team that finished 8th or worse in the Constructor's Championship won a pole was when Pastor Maldonado won from the pole for Williams in 2012, but that gives some hint to why I think Magnussen has been overhyped this year. Nobody attempts to argue Maldonado is a legend on the basis of this race (which he actually won with an inferior car, while Magnussen did not); instead, he is routinely bashed as one of the worst drivers to win a race. So for me to rate Magnussen highly on that alone would seem to be wrong. As I mentioned in the Mick Schumacher entry, Schumacher actually beat Magnussen both in speed and in their teammate head-to-head, even if Magnussen's highlights were better. More to the point, while I did think Schumacher was worthy of listing this year, he still isn't very good overall or historically. He is rated -.221 in my teammate model, below even Mazepin, which meant that Magnussen ended up being the 2nd worst F1 driver in my teammate model this year, only barely above Nicholas Latifi. Out of respect to the pole and the Bahrain finish and the fact that I know he was one of the unluckiest drivers this season, I'm rating him better than that. Autosport ranked him in their top 50 and I believe that was misguided. He didn't have an F1 ride in 2021 for a reason and I don't think anybody would have predicted his return until it actually happened. He obviously proved he still belongs but one pole alone doesn't make him one of the top twenty open wheel drivers in the world.

Ricardo Mauricio: For the second year in a row, the three-time Stock Car Brasil championship won the most races in the now-renamed Stock Car Pro series, but due to inconsistency he really wasn't a championship threat either year. In 2021, he ended up missing out on what would have been a probable third place in the championship after a COVID diagnosis put him out for the Interlagos round whereupon he was replaced by António Félix da Costa, this year he won five races but only finished sixth in points in part because he was disqualified from three races. Even though he seemed to have more speed than his teammate Daniel Serra, who finished second in the points with one win in both years, Serra was substantially more consistent and won the head-to-head both times. This is one series I still don't know enough about even with my additional research (all the winners and top ten points finishers in Stock Car Brasil history are already listed on my universal driver list, but I've never found any lap time or lead change information yet) so I may eventually reconsider some of my placements for a lot of these drivers.

Norbert Michelisz: Although he has been one of the best World Touring Car drivers over the last decade, this was not one of his better seasons as he finished 4th in the championship for the factory Hyundai team in a season where his teammate Mikel Azcona won a dominant championship. While Azcona beat Michelisz in basically every statistical category, Michelisz still performed well with one win, two TNL (tied for second most), and third in average speed among full-time drivers. The gap between Michelisz and Azcona was quite large, but admittedly so was the gap between Azcona and anyone else. Michelisz was only one of four drivers to post an undefeated lead change record in WTCR, but there were so few passes in that series that all four drivers posted a record of 1-0, which isn't really enough to justify Michelisz having a higher placement this year.

Juan Pablo Montoya: No, I'm not kidding. While he isn't really competitive anymore as an IndyCar driver, he was impressive in his IMSA starts this year. While racing in the IMSA LMP2 class, Montoya was the fastest full-time driver in the class with a speed percentile of 93.33%, which was faster than Louis Delétraz, the most dominant driver in the class. In addition to ranking second in lead shares and tying Delétraz for most TNL in the class, he also had the fastest average race speed three times in seven races. Although he doesn't really have much speed in IndyCar anymore (his speed percentile was only 32.21% there, between Kyle Kirkwood and Conor Daly), he has been reinvigorated in sports cars to some extent, perhaps because he codrove with his son Sebastián in 2022, who wasn't bad either. For the time being however, Dad was still faster.

Théo Pourchaire: Pourchaire is another driver I probably overrated last year as with most of the minor league drivers I listed, but perhaps I didn't. I temporarily added him to my open wheel driver model because I believed the rumors that he would eventually be signed to a Super Formula team for 2023, but that did not happen. Mainly due to his 2021 when he utterly dominated 2022's IndyCar Rookie of the Year Christian Lundgaard 14-2, he was rated .227, 61st out of 888 drivers in my model already even while he was still a teenager. After that performance, I really thought he'd win the Formula 2 championship this year. I wasn't far off as he did finish 2nd in the championship, but it was a distant 2nd as Felipe Drugovich, a driver I had previously mostly ignored, had an unexpectedly dominant season. It looks like he won't be racing anywhere as he settles into his role as a reserve driver for Alfa Romeo in 2023. That could be good for him as I think he's probably already better than Zhou Guanyu so I could see him replacing Zhou in 2024.

David Reynolds: Much like Andre Heimgartner, Reynolds is another Supercars driver who punched above his weight in a second-rate car, finishing eighth in the championship, giving his Kelly Grove Racing team its best championship finish in four years since the eponymous team co-owner Rick Kelly also finished 8th in 2018. However, Reynolds clearly ran better than that because he lost a lot of points when he retired from the Bathurst 1000, which awards far more points than your average Supercars race. Despite failing to win, he did manage three 2nd places and seven podiums, which was definitely a far greater consistency in performance than either Broc Feeney or Brodie Kostecki managed, even though both beat him in points. He finished 6th ahead of both Feeney and Kostecki in both cumulative races led and average speed. He also ranked fifth in poles with two and second behind only Shane van Gisbergen in fastest laps with four. I probably would have included on my top 100 list if he had made any passes for the lead at all but he had a 0-2 lead change record this year and I couldn't really justify it.

Felix Rosenqvist: After a disastrous 2021, Rosenqvist had a solid return to form and his eighth place points finish was actually the best since his 2019 rookie season, better even than his second Ganassi season in 2020 when he won a race. Although he did not really significantly factor for any race wins, he was very fast as he won two poles, ranked 6th in average speed (surprisingly ahead of Will Power), and had two fastest races. However, while he was at least competitive this year, it does seem like he also underachieved for the level of speed that he had because he failed to make a pass for the lead, finished 8th in the championship, ranked 10th in cumulative races led (although he did surprisingly beat Marcus Ericsson by that metric), and only ranked 13th among IndyCar drivers in my teammate model in a season where his teammate Pato O'Ward led the way by a large margin. Having said that, this was still Rosenqvist's highest-rated IndyCar season in my teammate model as well. Despite Rosenqvist running far better this year and O'Ward (on the surface) running worse, their head-to-head record was barely different as O'Ward beat Rosenqvist 7-3 in 2021 and 8-4 in 2022. Considering how strong Rosenqvist was in his years in Formula E and Super Formula (particularly 2017 when he ranked 8th among all drivers in my teammate model), his IndyCar career remains a disappointment, but there's a strong case to be made that this was his best year in IndyCar regardless.

Alexander Rossi: Rossi too bounced back from a mediocre 2020 and 2021 by winning his first race in over three years at the Indy road course. He also was the highest-finishing Andretti Autosport driver in points for the first time in 2019, but he wasn't the best performer. By almost all other metrics apart from the actual points system and wins, Colton Herta significantly outperformed Rossi but Rossi was somewhat luckier, as he inherited the win at Indy after Herta had a mechanical breakdown. Apart from that, his season was very similar to Felix Rosenqvist's, as he too won a pole at Road America before Josef Newgarden beat him out of the pits. He was slightly above average by all metrics, ranking 10th in speed, 11th in my teammate model, tied for 5th in lead shares, and 9th in cumulative races led, but he definitely remained second-fiddle to Herta in a year that was not especially good for him. Having said that, while he definitely improved a little from 2020 and 2021, this was still one of his weaker seasons as he posted his second-lowest rating in my model since his rookie season in 2016 and he really ran far closer to his 2020-2021 performance than his 2017-19 performance. It remains to be seen whether he will gain from his move from Andretti to McLaren. While my gut instinct is that he will see a downgrade in performance, the teams do seem similarly placed right now and McLaren did have more speed in 2022, with Rosenqvist surprisingly actually having a faster average speed than Herta. However, since Pato O'Ward is at least as good as Colton Herta, it'd be hard to imagine Rossi as team leader there either.

Matías Rossi: As I already mentioned in several other entries, the Argentinean legend switched to Stock Car Brasil and finished fourth in points, although I misspoke in my previous column in referring to Rossi as a rookie as it was actually his third season on the tour. However, he did drop out of regular competition in the Argentinean series to commit solely to Stock Car Brasil this year and he was richly rewarded in the results. In claiming his first win at Mogi Guaçu he became the first non-Brazilian to win in the series since António Felix da Costa the year before and he claimed another win at Interlagos nearly matching teammate and defending champion Gabriel Casagrande in his first year with the team.

Daniel Serra: You can pretty much review the Ricardo Mauricio entry because I pretty much covered it there, but for the second consecutive year Serra beat Mauricio pretty solidly in the Stock Car Brasil points system placing second in the championship despite only one win both years while Mauricio won the most races in both 2021 and 2022. Although Serra did beat Mauricio in both the points standings and the championship both years, I can't really determine which of them ran better in the races because I've been unable to find lap leaders or lap times (although the video footage from the series is probably available somewhere, and this might be something I look at in the future.) Since I can't really easily determine which of them ran better, I placed them both in the same tier.

Marco Sørensen: One of the top World Endurance Championship GT drivers, he probably was one of the closest misses from the top 100 in this entire tier. He and teammate Ben Keating won the LMGTE Am championship with two class wins including the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside teammate Henrique Chaves, who did not share in the championship because he did not start the first race with Sørensen and Keating. Additionally, Sørensen was the fastest full-time regular in the class and fifth of 76 drivers in overall speed, beating some drivers I have already included on this list including Matteo Cairoli, Nick Cassidy, and Jan Heylen. He was the TNL for the WEC race at Spa but not for his Le Mans win, where it seems like pit strategy allowed him to beat the team led by Julien Andlauer (the TNL and second fastest driver in that race, whom I maybe should have considered more seriously for the list.) Ultimately even though he was both the champion and fastest driver in the class, I decided there were too many similar drivers in most of the other metrics to rank him higher. For instance, he was tied for 6th in lead shares and tied for 7th in CRL, and the LMGTE Am class is not considered as prestigious as the Hypercar, LMP2, or LMGTE Pro classes, so I think this placement is correct.

Will Stevens: The Formula One reject probably had the best year of his career to date. Much like Marco Sørensen, Stevens won both the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, only Stevens was entered in the LMP2 class, which had a far deeper roster of talent than the LMGTE Am class. Although the Le Mans race was Stevens's only win, he was very fast, placing 2nd in average speed out of 45 drivers, but he was not the leader of his team as his co-driver António Felix da Costa was the fastest driver in the class in addition to clearly being one of the major Formula E stars. Clearly it seems like while Stevens was fast (and beat a lot of major drivers in speed including Ferdinand Habsburg, René Rast, Robin Frijns, Filipe Albuquerque, Sébastien Bourdais, Louis Delétraz and Nicklas Nielsen), da Costa was doing most of the heavy lifting for the team. One of the deciding factors that led me to not list Stevens in the top 100 was that he did not make an on-track pass for the lead in the class (and shockingly, neither did da Costa but at least he had a TNL.) Despite winning the title and seemingly having the fastest car, it seems like the drivers who actually dominated in the LMP2 class the most were Robin Frijns and Filipe Albuquerque. Every single pass in the LMP2 class at Le Mans after the opening lap happened in the pits so it seems like it was mostly their speed and strategy that carried them to victory there. Even with the title and Le Mans win, I probably wouldn't say da Costa was the best driver in the class, and since da Costa was clearly better than Stevens, that explains this placement.

Kody Swanson: One of the most consistent drivers in American motorsport, the USAC Silver Crown driver won his record seventh championship on the tour and extended his all-time win record to 37 races. He has finished in the top two of the championship every year since 2014 and has won 3-5 races every single year except for 2020 when the season was significantly shortened due to the COVID lockdowns. However, while the Silver Crown tour is clearly the most prestigious of the three USAC Series, I've rarely thought he was USAC's best driver and I again didn't this year. Most of the top USAC drivers compete and win in all three of the major divisions: Silver Crown, Sprint, and Midget, but Swanson for the most part does not compete in the last two tours: he has only won one USAC Sprint race and two USAC Midget races. It seems the best USAC drivers are the drivers who compete and win a lot in all three tours simultaneously, since those are the drivers who go on to prove to be the most versatile (and frequently go on to become NASCAR stars and so on.) As a result, I usually think there are a couple better USAC drivers each year even though he perpetually wins the most prestigious series and I did so again this year but Swanson does seem like he's going to be a permanent fixture on my C lists when I go back and cover earlier years.

Brad Sweet: Very similarly to Swanson, Sweet won his fourth World of Outlaws championship in a row but he probably wasn't the best driver in the series this time around. While he did win the most races in 2019 and 2021 and he won the most races excluding Kyle Larson in 2020 after his suspension, Sweet ranked only tied for fourth in WoO wins this time around with five wins while Carson Macedo won 11, Sheldon Haudenschild won 9, and David Gravel won 7. The aforementioned Larson along with Brent Marks and Anthony Macri all had higher winning percentages too. Having said that, I do think there is something to be said to consistency. Obviously it seems like Sweet is going for championships rather than maximizing his win count, because people care far more about World of Outlaws championships than wins so I'm not going to dock him too much particularly when he keeps winning the championship every year.

Nick Tandy: The Vette vet switched from full-time competition in IMSA to WEC's equivalent class in 2022. Although he did win at Monza and actually ranked second in speed even over both of the champions in the WEC LMGTE class (Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado), he only ranked 6th in the championship perhaps because Tommy Milner (the slowest full-time driver in the class) did not give him much of an assist. Considering he hadn't competed on the other side of the Atlantic for five years, he did an admirable job on his return, although he, like everyone else, was no match for Kevin Éstre.

Jordan Taylor: On the American side of the Atlantic, Tandy's corporate Corvette teammate had a weirdly inconsistent and disappointing season but probably still remains leader of his team. While he extended his streak of consecutive winning IMSA seasons to twelve, an impressive streak for someone who is still only 31 years old, he only scored one class win at the 12 Hours of Sebring, where his co-driver Nicky Catsburg was clearly the team leader, and failed to win an overall race for the first time since 2012. He also failed to make an on-track pass for the lead and was barely above average in speed in his IMSA class. However, he was still lowkey impressive and probably best in the GTD Pro class other than the championship duo of Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell, as he ranked both 3rd in lead shares and cumulative races led behind only the champions. Taylor was the only driver to have a win, a TNL, a race with the most laps led, a pole, a fastest lap, and a fastest race (he led the class with two.) However, he also was the slowest of the six Corvette drivers at Le Mans. As you can see, his season was a very mixed bag, but I still think he had enough highlights and skills in a wide variety of categories to justify a place on the list and he outperformed Antonio García significantly in most categories.

Larry ten Voorde: I struggle with determining how prestigious the Porsche Supercup championship is because it doesn't seem to be connected with much of anything else. I now see that I vastly overrated ten Voorde at 7th place last year because he won half the races in both Porsche Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and I weighted winning multiple championships in the same season too highly, especially considering the same drivers are usually the championship contenders in both series. I know Porsche Supercup is a frequent support race for F1 and the premier series atop a large number of individual nations' Porsche Carrera Cups and it has spawned some great sports car or touring car drivers like Richard Westbrook, Jeroen Bleekemolen, René Rast, and Earl Bamber amongst its champions (the IMSA GTD Pro champions Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell are two of the most successful recent alumni.) However, most of the drivers still in the series have not made crossovers to other series very often and it seems the better drivers leave the series quickly. I am probably going to need to include Porsche Supercup drivers in a touring car model since it is historically linked to touring car series even though it technically bills itself as a stock car series, and then maybe I'll have a better grip on how to evaluate these drivers. I do think ten Voorde should be in the same tier with Bastian Buus and Laurin Heinrich this year though, as I already explained.

José Manuel Urcera: He won his first championship in Turismo Carretera, the most prestigious Argentinean championship and one of the longest-running championships in the world (this is the championship Fangio won before his F1 career) but he and second place finisher Mariano Werner only won twice while Agustín Canapino won three races and dominated most of the other statistical categories as he usually does. I do think this is probably the most prestigious and competitive of the three main Argentinean championships, but he doesn't seem to be one of the most dominant drivers on the scene and he rarely competes in the other two series while many of the other dominant drivers do, thereby explaining this placement.

Santiago Urrutia: He was yet another of the seemingly equally matched World Touring Car Cup drivers in 2022. While driving for the powerhouse Cyan Racing operation alongside two-time defending champion Yann Ehrlacher, he arguably had the measure of him in the races they competed together. Although Ehrlacher was the fastest driver in the series when the team shut down mid-season, Urrutia beat him in almost all other statistical categories with 2 wins and 2 TNL while ranking tied for 2nd in lead shares and 6th in CRL and also scoring a pole, fastest lap, and two fastest races. Since he only ran part-time, he had the highest average and/or percentage in several of these categories and had a four-point lead over Ehrlacher when the team shut down. However, his first win came in a reverse grid race while his second win was fairly controversial. Although he did win the pole for the Portugal race, he was forced to give up the lead after two laps due to something called a joker lap (I believe this was something like Formula E's attack mode where the leading driver gets a boost in exchange for being forced to drive through an access road and giving up the lead, in order to artificially increase the excitement.) After Ehrlacher was handed the lead in this race, he was forced to give the lead back to Urrutia by team orders (or perhaps as an attempt to counteract the blatant gimmickry, whichever.) Much like Marcus Ericsson's 2021 IndyCar season, both of these wins seem way too cheesy for top 100 consideration, although he was certainly very impressive considering his team shut down mid-season.

Rinus VeeKay: He started the year off with a bang by posting the 2nd fastest average speed in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Daytona in a field that included some superior IndyCar drivers like Colton Herta and Pato O'Ward, both of whom were slower than him. However, he seemed to struggle with slow cars this year in his actual IndyCar starts, as he was only 13th in speed (behind both Romain Grosjean and Graham Rahal, which I would not have guessed) while his teammate Conor Daly was the 5th slowest full-timer (behind even Kyle Kirkwood) and Ed Carpenter was slower than all regulars except Jimmie Johnson and Dalton Kellett. I think all three drivers are better than that so clearly the engineering has declined. When you consider all that, VeeKay has possibly improved. He beat Daly in speed percentile by over 23 percentage points (54.24%-30.77%) and had a lot of strong moments, especially at Barber where he won the pole and led the most laps before Pato O'Ward eventually passed him. He did run better than his 13th place speed rank and 12th place points finish as he ranked 11th in lead shares (although he was the absolute lowest-ranked driver in this category among all IndyCar drivers who made a pass for the lead) and an impressive 8th in cumulative races led (ahead of Alexander Rossi and shockingly only barely behind Pato O'Ward.) Even though it seemed watching the races that he had regressed a little from 2021, when you look a little deeper, it seems he's continuing to improve but it's being counteracted by the fact that his cars are getting slower.

Sebastian Vettel: His final season in F1 began on a sour note as he missed the first two races at Bahrain and Saudi Arabia after a positive COVID test, but he had a very consistent season for the Aston Martin team, ranking 12th in points and losing a tiebreaker to Daniel Ricciardo who ran the entire season and had a much faster car. He ranked 10th in speed to Stroll's 13th and I can definitely understand some analysts rating him in the top ten on that basis, even though I think F1Fanatic ranking him 7th was a little over the top. In a year when only nine drivers in F1 had above average speed, it was difficult for me to justify ranking any of the others in the top 100 but I did make one exception. It didn't help that this year Vettel was only narrowly better than Lance Stroll in both teammate head-to-heads and almost exactly tied with him in overtake percentage, but as I also revealed, he did have a fairly significant speed advantage at 6% and crashed less and maintained a solid consistency. However, when you look at head-to-head speed comparisons in each race, Vettel and Stroll were tied 10-10 with regard to which teammate was faster. It seems like the only advantage Vettel had was consistency and mistake avoidance, which is definitely enough to put him in a higher tier, but I think a lot of people overrated him this year for sentimental reasons.

Bubba Wallace: While I've acknowledged for a while that he is one of the best superspeedway drivers and drafters in NASCAR, I admit I never really saw him as much of a threat on the other tracks. That changed in 2022 when he started showing speed all over the place and leading at a bunch of other kinds of tracks for the first time. In the first half of the season, he had a lot of speed particularly on the flat-banked intermediate tracks like Kansas, where he rivaled his teammate Kurt Busch in speed but only finished 10th in the race after a series of bad pit stops. However, that presaged a real uptick in speed on those tracks over the second half of the season, when he suddenly started having top ten runs on ovals as often as not. He broke out shortly before the concussion that ended Busch's full-time career, which suddenly thrust him in the role as team leader alongside pre-rookie Ty Gibbs, and he handled that task with alacrity. When the series returned to Kansas, he finally got his first win in a traditional race with no rain or particular luck or randomness. His stock probably rose more than the vast majority of Cup drivers this year, especially when he was beating Gibbs almost every week while Gibbs was en route to winning the Xfinity championship, which is not something I expected to happen. I honestly thought Gibbs was better than Wallace even entering the 2022 season and I was wrong. Although he hurt his reputation somewhat when he intentionally wrecked Kyle Larson at Las Vegas and was then suspended, it really didn't make an impact on his season as like Daniel Suárez, he started the year as a mid-packer and emerged as a real threat, but unlike Suárez, I think Wallace gets more credit for the elevation of 23XI than Suárez does for the rise of Trackhouse, and he finished the year as team leader while Suárez did not. Wallace still only ranked 18th this year in speed, but that was actually only narrowly behind Kurt in 15th (the speed difference from 60.00% to 55.15% was a lot closer than I thought it would be.)

Pascal Wehrlein: Wehrlein was my last cut from the top 100. Although he ranked a very high 15th in my teammate model with a rating of .244, that only ranked 8th in a very top-heavy Formula E season and I realized he had much more in common with Nick Cassidy than any of the drivers in the original C+ tier. He did outperform his legendary but aging teammate André Lotterer by almost all metrics, and definitely outperformed his equipment in general when he only ranked 13th in speed but ranked 5th in lead shares. Having said that, it was the fact that he seemed to be dead even with Cassidy that really made me push him down. Although Wehrlein eked Cassidy out for 10th in points and had a substantially higher teammate rating because he beat Lotterer in the head-to-head while Cassidy lost to Robin Frijns, Cassidy was faster, did a lot better on all the speed metrics (particularly because he tied for the most fastest laps in 2022), and he was a lot more versatile competing in a bunch of different series. Having said that, Wehrlein overachieved the level of his equipment more and made a couple passes of the lead while Cassidy did not (and Cassidy's win was certainly gimmickier.) Really, even though they were not teammates, they looked dead even. Additionally, I really had to cut a Formula E driver from the top 100 when I otherwise would have listed as many FE drivers as F1 drivers in the top 100, so Wehrlein it is.

Sean Wrona is the Managing Editor of racermetrics.com, the Webmaster of race-database.com, the winner of the 2010 Ultimate Typing Championship at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, and the ratings compiler and statistician for the Mensa Scrabble-by-Mail SIG. He earned a master's in applied statistics from Cornell University in 2008 and previously digitized several seasons of NBA box scores on basketball-reference.com. He is the author of Nerds Per Minute: A History of Competitive Typing. You may contact him at sean@racermetrics.com.