Racermetrics race-database.com

Top 200 Drivers of 2023 (Drivers 90 to 81)

by Sean Wrona

90. (39) Tomoki Nojiri

After winning back-to-back championships in Super Formula in 2021 and 2022, Nojiri only finished third in the standings this year behind Ritomo Miyata and his rookie teammate Liam Lawson. However, that wasn't really his fault this time as he had to miss the Autopolis race due to a collapsed lung. In that race, Lawson won and Miyata finished second. If you exclude the points from Autopolis, Nojiri did still outscore the other two drivers in the remaining eight races on the schedule. However, I have still rated Nojiri only sixth amongst Super Formula drivers this year. The main reason is that four of the drivers I rated higher also had great accomplishments in sports cars this year and he did not. In addition to his Super Formula title, Miyata also teamed up with Sho Tsuboi to win Japan's other major league championship in Super GT, where they won three races together. Since Miyata and Tsuboi also happened to rank first and second among Super Formula drivers in my teammate model, I had to rank both of them higher. I also had to rank Kamui Kobayashi and Ryō Hirakawa higher because they also had very strong seasons in the World Endurance Championship with Hirakawa winning the title and two races while Kobayashi won four times. Nojiri did win in Super GT, but he only won one race and finished eighth in the standings with 38 points while Miyata and Tsuboi scored 89. Finally, I had to decide between Nojiri and Lawson for my final placements of Super Formula drivers in the top 100. It is true that Nojiri and Lawson ran the same with both winning three races and Lawson beating Nojiri in the standings by half a point. Nojiri actually won the head-to-head 4-3 and he ranked higher in my teammate model with a rating of .156, ranking him 31st overall among open wheel drivers and 5th among Super Formula drivers, while Lawson's rating of .073 only ranked 40th and 7th. However, I did ultimately go with Lawson over Nojiri because again, I think rookies should be judged by a different standard. Considering Nojiri was a two-time defending champion while Lawson was a rookie, Lawson greatly exceeded expectations in pretty much matching Nojiri from the get-go while Nojiri failed to meet his higher expectations. Like I said, it wasn't his fault because of the collapsed lung, but even before that, Lawson won his debut race in Super Formula and there was just more of a wow factor with him this season (I do still have them close.)

89. (NR) Kirk Kylewood

Sorry, I couldn't resist. In 2022, Kyle Kirkwood entered the season as one of the most hyped rookies in recent memory after winning all three of the IndyCar ladder championships as a rookie and tying Greg Moore's record for most Indy Lights wins in a season with ten (admittedly, Moore was two years younger and absolutely obliterated the field with 10/12 wins while Kirkwood won 10/20 races and struggled to beat David Malukas, who won 7 times and led the points for a while.) However, I started to doubt Kirkwood at times in his rookie season after he had a long string of crashes and finished 24th in the championship, only ahead of one other full-time driver (his teammate Dalton Kellett), while the other rookies like Malukas and Christian Lundgaard immediately seemed to have more polish. I knew objectively that Josef Newgarden and Dario Franchitti had both had very similar rookie seasons where they both wildly overdrove to compensate for slow cars leading to an endless string of crashes, so it certainly wasn't impossible he could follow a similar trajectory, but I was really starting to doubt it at points last year (mainly because Malukas was three years younger and already seeming to show more in terms of both consistency and speed.) Although despite his remarkable minor league record including winning the Indy Lights title for Andretti, I had skepticism that the team made the right choice when he signed him for IndyCar very early in the 2022 season. I own up to the fact that I was wrong. While matching either Newgarden or Franchitti's career would still be a big ask, I had to include him in the top 100 and leave both his talented teammates Romain Grosjean and Colton Herta out because Kirkwood exceeded his low expectations while those two failed to live up to their higher expectations. Even though all three drivers ran the same, and I'd probably say Herta ran a little better, Herta really should have crushed Kirkwood since he is in his fifth year and Kirkwood is only in his second and only in his first year with a new team, which means in context what Kirkwood did was more impressive. Although Kirkwood failed to make an on-track pass for the lead this year when all three of his teammates (including Devlin DeFrancesco shockingly) did, he was the only driver to win for Andretti and he did so twice. He did dominate IndyCar's second biggest event at the Grand Prix of Long Beach winning from the pole. Newgarden did pass him for the lead in that event but Kirkwood got the lead back later on a pit cycle. Although his second win at Nashville wasn't a natural win either, he still had the pace for it since he either passed all the drivers who started in front of him or beat them on later pit cycles (it wasn't like he benefited from goofy caution timing or anything like that.) Although Kirkwood ranked only 13th in speed with a speed percentile of 57.10, he outperformed that by a lot of metrics as he ranked 5th in CRL with 1.06 ahead of all his teammates and even Pato O'Ward. He was the only driver besides Álex Palou and Josef Newgarden to lead the most laps in multiple races, and he had a pole, a fastest lap, and a fastest race. Although Grosjean and Herta both had slightly higher speed percentiles than Kirkwood, neither of them had a fastest race this year as they tended to be faster in qualifying than in the race while Kirkwood seems to usually be faster in the race than in qualifying, which is a very good sign. Although he was still very mistake-prone a lot of the time (most notably when he wrecked Alexander Rossi in the pits at Texas), it seemed like few other drivers recovered from their mistakes better than Kirkwood as he had several races where he blasted through the field after earlier spinouts. The pace he had in the IndyCar minor leagues is really starting to show up. Kirkwood ranked 30th in my teammate model overall and 8th among IndyCar drivers with a rating of .156, winning a tiebreaker against Nojiri whose rating was exactly the same to the thousandths place. I did put them together (as well as the driver I slotted one position higher) because the identical ratings were amusing to me. But the reason I put Kirkwood over Nojiri was not because he won that tiebreaker. I put Kirkwood higher than Nojiri because he overachieved his expectations and Nojiri did not; same reason why he made my list and Herta didn't even though Herta beat Kirkwood by four points in the championship and had a higher rating in my model.

88. (90) Christopher Bell

In another funny coincidence, Bell had a teammate rating of .156 in the NASCAR Cup Series and ranked 8th overall in my model among Cup drivers this year, exactly the same rating and rank as Kirkwood in IndyCar. Once I saw that, I had to rank them together. Why did I choose Bell over Kirkwood when Kirkwood overachieved his expectations more and won more races on a shorter schedule for a weaker team? I think it comes down to speed, passing, and clutchness. First of all, Bell did make the Cup Series Championship 4 and he locked himself into the title race in style with a pass for the win on William Byron at Homestead, the most dominant but not best driver. Secondly, Bell at least made a lot of passes for the lead this year while Kirkwood made none. Bell had his best season ever in terms of natural races led (8), lead change record (14-12; this was the first time he ever had a winning record in that category, and indeed his 14 passes for the lead this year match the total number of passes for the lead he had combined in 2022 and 2023), CRL (2.32), races where he led the most laps (3; he had actually never done that until his season), poles (6), and speed percentile (75.29, where he barely beat last year's 75.03.) On the other hand, while he had more good races this year and more consistently good performance in 2023 and 2022, it seemed like he had more great races in 2022. 3 of his 6 wins came that year along with 4 of his 6 TNL and 2.31 of his 4.15 lead shares and 2 of his 5 fastest races. Additionally, he was the fastest Joe Gibbs Racing driver in 2022 and he wasn't this year. It did seem like Denny Hamlin and especially Martin Truex, Jr. both improved more than he did this year, so was he better or did he just look better because his cars were better? Ultimately, I decided his greater speed and passing this year mostly came down to faster cars so I ranked him around the same position, but I decided to bump him up very, very slightly because my two biggest criticisms last year were that he never led the most laps in a race before and that he struggled with passing and he did remedy both of those issues this year. However, what leads me to swing more in the other direction is the fact that Bell was tied with Erik Jones, the driver he replaced at JGR, for most incidents this year with 24 (last year he had 20 and there were a lot of drivers with more.) Considering I tend to stereotype Bell in my head as a driver who is better at consistency than outright dominance or blinding speed, that is fairly damning evidence to me that his season really wasn't any closer to elite than it was last year. When you weigh all these factors together (his greater speed and passing and much greater ability to dominate in exchange for greater volatility for a team that was faster this year than they were in 2022), it really does come out about the same to me. Bell was one of the absolute highest-rated drivers in my model in 2022 and he wasn't this year, but I think that comes down to the fact that both Hamlin and Truex were unusually unlucky in 2022, which made his results against them look better than they probably should have at the time. I kind of feel Bell wowed me more in 2022 than 2023 actually as I was definitely annoyed with his win in the Bristol dirt race, which was entirely based on strategy and pit stop timing in a very contrived event where essentially whoever pitted first won by default since it was almost impossible to pass (I will not miss it.) Normally, I'm more impressed by drivers whose lead shares exceed their CRL because they were leading more through their own volition and Bell did that last year with 2.31 lead shares to 1.75 CRL, but largely because he ended up dominating at Bristol and in part due to his six poles rather than as a result for his passing, the disparity was in the other direction this year by a wide margin with him scoring 1.29 lead shares and 2.32 CRL, which is not usually something I like (although again quite similar to Kirkwood's record really.) It seemed he had more consistency in results as well as passing and dominance in his best races in 2022, but he had more consistency in performance in terms of both passing and dominance over the entire schedule in 2023, so as you can see I remained really on the fence. I ultimately delegated my decision as to which season was better to Ryan McCafferty's model, which ranked Bell 11th with a rating of 126.74 last year and 7th with a rating of 128.57 this year. Okay, he had him barely better so I will too. The one thing I will say about Bell is that even though he did win his way into the Championship 4 both seasons, he has definitely never come close to being one of the top four drivers in a season.

87. (NR) Loek Hartog

Two of the drivers in this group of ten are easily the most obscure drivers in the entire top 100 and I would say they were the two most underrated drivers in the world this year: Hartog and Morris Schuring. They are so obscure that not only are they the only drivers in my top 100 that do not have English-language Wikipedia pages, Hartog only has 53 Twitter followers while Schuring has 18. Both of them do have much larger followings on Instagram, but it's definitely rare for me to cover drivers who are probably less famous than I am, even if both of them are a lot more employable. Hartog and Schuring both hail from the Netherlands, where they each had breakout seasons in Porsche Supercup this year with both drivers earning their first wins in both that series and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany, where most of the top Porsche Supercup drivers also compete simultaneously. I've long felt Porsche Supercup does not get the respect it deserves. Even though the series serves as an undercard for Formula 1 races in Europe and has spawned many of the world's best GT drivers of the last 20 years, it doesn't seem anybody talks about any of this series's drivers until they cross over to major league sports car series (as for instance Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell recently did.) It doesn't help that it's difficult to find any video footage from the series for free because of its link with F1. As a result, I think no series has a larger gap between the talent and the recognition of its drivers. Hartog ranked 45th in my touring car model this year and 4th in Porsche Supercup with a rating of .196, which actually ranked ahead of all four of the Supercars championship contenders this year. He finished 6th in Porsche Supercup with one win, but did a lot better in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany against essentially the same drivers, where he finished 2nd in the championship with four wins. In both series, he was teammates with Larry ten Voorde, the dominant Porsche Supercup driver of the last half decade and ten Voorde was certainly better in both series, as he won the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany championship with 7 wins to Hartog's 4, but shockingly, ten Voorde failed to win in Porsche Supercup when Hartog did (even though he still beat Hartog in points.) Although Hartog lost the head-to-heads to ten Voorde 5-10 in Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and 2-3 in Porsche Supercup, he had an amazing record of 47-2 this year against his other four teammates: Huub van Eijndhoven, Ghislain Cordeel, Soren Spreng, and Lucas Groeneveld and he only recently turned 21. Still, Schuring impressed me even more.

86. (NR) Antonio Giovinazzi

Although Giovinazzi's disastrous Formula E season in 2022 likely ended his open-wheel career, he bounced back in the World Endurance Championship for Ferrari's Hypercar team. Despite the fact that the Toyotas were in general much faster than the Ferraris, Giovinazzi and his teammates Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado delivered the only non-Toyota win and they did so at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which many people would say is more important than the WEC championship anyway. In doing so, Giovinazzi became the first driver to score an overall win at Le Mans as a rookie since Fernando Alonso in 2018. He definitely contributed as well as he passed Miguel Molina for the overall lead in that event shortly prior to the six-hour mark, even though I think Pier Guidi was the main reason for the win (which is why I have rated him highest.) Giovinazzi also passed Mike Conway for the lead on the second lap of the Spa event before Conway repassed him shortly thereafter. He was one of only four WEC drivers this year with two natural races led and the other three (Kamui Kobayashi, Conway, and Sébastien Buemi) were all Toyota drivers. He led all Ferrari drivers in lead shares and ranked fifth in that category overall including beating two Toyota drivers (Ryō Hirakawa and José María López.) So why did I rate him this low? Mainly it's because Giovinazzi's speed percentile of 66.23 was slower than all six Toyota drivers. Although it seemed like the Ferraris were generally slower than the Toyotas, Antonio Fuoco actually had a faster speed percentile than any of the Toyotas at 88.91, which suggests that there was potentially more speed in the cars that the other five Ferrari drivers failed to deliver. While Giovinazzi was certainly very impressive, especially for a sports car rookie, the speed differential between him and his fellow Antonio was far too high for me to think he belonged much higher than this, so I decided to place him directly behind the actual best rookie in motorsports this year.

85. (NR) Liam Lawson

Lawson had the most spectacular rookie season in 2023 in the world this year. It began early when he won in his first major league open wheel start in the Super Formula opener at Fuji, where he became the first Super Formula driver to win on his debut since Masahiro Hasemi in 1974, back when the series was called Japanese Formula 2. Lawson ended up tying his two-time defending champion teammate Tomoki Nojiri for the most wins this season with three. In doing so, he became the first rookie to tie for the most wins in the series since Álex Palou in 2019, which is good company. Furthermore, in 2019, there were unique winners in all seven Super Formula races, which means Palou only won once as opposed to Lawson's three wins this year. Does that foreshadow the kind of driver Lawson might be? To be fair, the quality of the field in Super Formula has declined quite a bit since COVID because not as many hot F1 prospects from outside of Japan compete there to try to develop for potential F1 careers. But still, Lawson has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to learn new cars almost immediately. Prior to winning in Super Formula on his debut, he had also won in both his first-ever DTM and first-ever Formula 2 races in 2021. I suppose given all that, it shouldn't come as a surprise that AlphaTauri's F1 team gave him a shot after Nyck de Vries was fired and Daniel Ricciardo was injured after breaking his metacarpal bone. Although Lawson was not as fast as Yuki Tsunoda as Tsunoda had a speed percentile 32.20 to Lawson's 20.45, Lawson was the only one of the three drivers in the other AlphaTauri car to beat Tsunoda in their head-to-head this year, and he was instantly faster than the other rookie Nyck de Vries, whose speed percentile of 9.17 was the worst in F1. Although I do think he was the best rookie this year and I'm more impressed with him winning on his Super Formula debut than Giovinazzi winning on his Le Mans debut even though the series is not as prestigious, that doesn't mean I think Lawson was the best Super Formula driver this year. As I mentioned in the Nojiri entry, Lawson only ranked 7th among Super Formula drivers in my teammate model this year, and if I counted him as an F1 driver this year, he only ranked 12th and he was only barely ahead of drivers like Zhou Guanyu and Lance Stroll who I didn't even list, so that prevented me from listing him too high. All four of the Super Formula drivers who also won multiple sports car races this year (Ritomo Miyata, Sho Tsuboi, Ryō Hirakawa, and Kamui Kobayashi) also ranked above Lawson in my teammate model, so I had to take those four over him as well. It seems Lawson was inflated to some extent because he was driving for the overwhelmingly dominant Team Mugen, which won six out of nine races this year, but neither driver won the title, and Miyata beat Lawson straight up and does not have the excuse Nojiri has (the collapsed lung that caused him to miss a race.) I do think I should rank Lawson a little higher than Nojiri and Tsunoda since he matched them basically immediately with a lot less experience, but the fact that I think a number of other Super Formula drivers had stronger overall performance across all series this year than Lawson did explains why I didn't rank him a lot more highly than this. However, I can't believe that AlphaTauri decided to put Ricciardo in that car for 2024 instead of Lawson when Lawson is clearly a driver on the rise and Ricciardo has been declining for years. I think AlphaTauri may have been scared off by Nyck de Vries's struggles after he got a top ten on his debut and this is an overreaction to that. But when you consider that Lawson won his first race in three series in a row before starting in F1, it seems he can adapt to cars much more quickly than de Vries can, as it seemed to take him a couple years to get up to speed in both F2 and Formula E. This makes no sense to me.

84. (NR) Morris Schuring

Morris Schuring

— Sean Wrona (@racermetrics) December 2, 2023

I didn't realize how easy it was to embed posts on a website. Anyway, I meant what I said. While most other people responded to Motorsport.com's tweet by picking underrated drivers from more famous series like Yuki Tsunoda or Callum Ilott (which I don't intrinsically disagree with either), Schuring was so underrated that I have to imagine most of the people who replied had never even heard of him. While I think he and his compatriot Loek Hartog were the two most underrated drivers in the world this year, I think Schuring was even better than Hartog despite the fact that he seems to be even more obscure than his Dutch compatriot. Hartog and Schuring have been competing against each other for years: in 2020, Hartog won six races to claim the minor league Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux championship while Schuring finished second in the championship and won twice. However, while both drivers are extremely young, Hartog is 21 and Schuring at age 18 is even younger. Schuring became the youngest driver ever to win in both Porsche Supercup (which I consider a major league even though it seems like most other people don't) and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. I first really took notice of him when I built my touring car model and I observed that despite being so young, he was actually the highest-rated Porsche Supercup driver in my touring car model at that point this year. As it turned out, Alessandro Ghiretti ended up overtaking him to become the highest-rated Porsche Supercup by a very narrow margin, but Schuring still ranked 2nd in the series and 22nd overall in my touring car model, and not only did he beat the likes of Porsche Supercup champion Bastian Buus and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion Larry ten Voorde (both of whom I decided had better seasons anyway), he beat numerous other touring car stars in my model this year including Tom Ingram, Rob Huff, Colin Turkington, Josh Cook, and all the top Supercars drivers. Even though I do think he was this year's most underrated driver, I honestly think I might still be underrating him here. I do think Schuring and Hartog were close but I ranked Schuring higher because 1) he is younger; 2) he was higher in my teammate model; 3) he seems to be more obscure; 4) Schuring was the leader of his teams while Hartog was not; 5) although Hartog did beat Schuring by a larger margin in Porsche Carrera Cup Germany (2nd in points with 4 wins vs. 5th in points with 1 win) than Schuring beat Hartog in Porsche Supercup (4th with 2 wins vs. 6th with 1 win), Porsche Supercup should count more because it is the major league series. Much like we shouldn't criticize Carl Edwards for running worse in the Nationwide Series than he did in the Cup Series in 2008 because his focus was obviously on Cup, the Porsche Supercup races should simply count more than the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany races in my opinion. But they were still very close and I do think together, they were definitely the two most underrated drivers in the world this year. Somebody get these guys some Wikipedia pages!

83. (65) Sébastien Bourdais

In the hypercompetitive IMSA GTP class this year, there were seven teams that were particularly evenly matched as the gap between the championship team of Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims and the seventh-place team of Bourdais and Renger van der Zande was a mere 60 points, so it was particularly difficult to rate IMSA drivers this year. How much parity was there in the class? No full-time drivers had a speed percentile of greater than 70 this year, but Bourdais was the second-fastest driver with a speed percentile of 69.51 and he beat van der Zande, who had a speed percentile of 46.34, which ranked only 12th in speed among the 14 drivers on the top seven teams. Bourdais was also the only driver besides Mathieu Jaminet who had 3 natural races led in the GTP class and his 3-1 lead change record was the second-best in the class, but in most other categories, van der Zande and Bourdais were pretty evenly matched, with van der Zande actually beating Bourdais in lead shares (0.80 to 0.72) and CRL (0.68) despite having a much slower average speed. Ultimately, I think I have to dock him for the championship finish as well as the fact that his win came at Laguna Seca and not one of the four marquee endurance races (which tend to have much stronger fields.) Despite his speed and passing in his IMSA starts, there were six other regulars in the class who impressed me more.

82. (C-) Christopher Buescher

I guess I'm a year too late on that, huh? Oh well. Chris Buescher was arguably this year's breakout driver in NASCAR as he won three races (the most for Roush since Matt Kenseth left in 2012), advanced to the Round of 8, and earned by far his best points finish in the NASCAR Cup Series, ultimately finishing 7th in the championship and I must admit I have mixed emotions. I've been one of the biggest Buescher boosters for a while after I noticed his initial rating of .064 wasn't far behind the likes of William Byron, Alex Bowman, and Ross Chastain at the end of 2021, and all those drivers were clearly on the rise at the time while Buescher didn't seem to be getting the same hype. In the two years since, he has risen to .094 in my model and has overtaken Bowman, Chastain, and even Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne. He's only barely behind both William Byron and Christopher Bell at the moment. I'm happy to see some vindication for my model. When I stuck my neck out for Buescher and ranked him in the top 200 in 2021, it was debatable to be sure but it looks better in retrospect than it did at the time. Buescher remains one of my model's favorite drivers in general as he one of only three drivers along with Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick who has been one of the top ten rated drivers in my model for five straight years. This year, he was second behind only Chase Elliott and just nosing out William Byron and Kyle Larson in a close battle for second. Buescher was also the fastest Ford driver this year with a speed percentile of 64.66 and he even led the Cup Series with the best lead change record at 11-7 and he was remarkably clutch with a 3-0 record on the final lead change of the race, behind only Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick who were both 4-0 by that metric. With all that, there was no doubt he was going in my top 100 but I still think there was something wanting about his season regardless. I think part of it is that he now has five wins but I'm not sure whether he has actually been the best driver in a race yet. Despite five wins, he has only led the most laps twice. One of those was in the 2022 Bristol Night Race, where his boss/teammate Brad Keselowski was dominating until he popped a tire; the other came in his Michigan win this year, where he was nowhere near the front until he went off pit sequence. Even after that, it looked like Tyler Reddick beat him out on the final pit cycle of the race (for the second week in a row) before Reddick had a loose wheel and had to pit again. It seems like Buescher needs some kind of deus ex machina to win every time, and late this summer, it was starting to get old even for me. While I do think Buescher outran Keselowski both this year and last year, it certainly wasn't by much and the main difference is both that Buescher was luckier and also more clutch. He just hasn't convinced me yet he can blast through the field and have blindingly dominant stints as he usually needs strategy to put himself in position to win, but this is admittedly still a team that is slowly recovering from a decade-long "Dork Age" and maybe Buescher has never had a car fast enough to dominate, which is why he has to be reliant on strategy. As I mentioned in the Keselowski section, it is easy to imagine Keselowski winning at Bristol and Daytona instead of Buescher if the luck had shaken out even slightly differently. Although I find it amusing that Buescher has now won four times while Keselowski has not won since he bought into Roush Fenway Racing, it really doesn't reflect the performance and to some extent Buescher did have an overrated season even though he was impressive in a lot of the categories I track, especially if you're a results fundamentalist who cares only about the finishes. A lot of people on the Discord where I post have been comparing this to Alex Bowman's 2021 where he got an inexplicable number of wins despite not really showing dominant speed anywhere, and I placed Bowman in the C tier that year. This season is better than that because Buescher was the team leader, the fastest driver for his manufacturer, a lot higher rated in my model, he had the best lead change percentage, and he was helping revive a team that's been in the doldrums for a while as opposed to Bowman doing that in a year when Kyle Larson won ten races. But I can see the comparison.

81. (31) Tom Blomqvist

For many people, Blomqvist has a reputation as the best IMSA prototype driver or at least close to it. Autosport's top 50 ranked him 32nd, not far behind Filipe Albuquerque as the top IMSA driver. I do not agree as I'm starting to think he's one of the most overrated drivers in racing at the moment. I was definitely really impressed in 2022, particularly by his 24 Hours of Daytona, where he seemed to will the team to victory by way of a 3-0 lead change record. Outside of that race, I haven't been as impressed by him as you might think though. In his full-time 2021 season in the WEC LMP2 class, he and teammates Sean Gelael and Stoffel Vandoorne did finish second in the championship, but he had an 0-2 lead change record. In all the IMSA races after Daytona in 2022, he was 1-4. This year, he did pass Renger van der Zande at the 24 Hours of Daytona, but that was only one out of six passes for the winning Michael Shank entry in that race, and four of them were made by a rapidly-declining Simon Pagenaud, including the pass that ultimately decided the race. And then after the race, it was revealed that the Shank team was cheatin' by lying about the tire pressures they were using so they could pretend they were meeting the required tire pressure thresholds but in actuality running tire pressures well below the mandatory minimums to gain speed. They were allowed to keep their Rolex win but were stripped of 200 points and $50,000, which ultimately cost them the title although Blomqvist and teammate Colin Braun won a class-high three races. You can be certain the cheating was no accident because Shank didn't even try to appeal it, so I don't think any of the team's six passes for the lead in that race should count. For the rest of the season, Blomqvist had zero passes for the lead, which is continuing what seems to be a long-term trend for him. Additionally, his speed in IMSA hasn't been stellar either. His speed percentile in 2022 was only 62.61 even in the year he won the title, and he basically repeated that with a speed percentile of 63.59 this year. Yes, he was still faster than both of his teammates as Oliver Jarvis last year was far behind him at 43.46 while Braun was narrowly behind him this year at 61.59, but for the level of hype he gets, you'd expect more, right? I think not including him in my top 100 this year would be too contrarian. He was still very good this year, but there is something about his career that seems pretty hollow: only two races with a pass for the lead in a legal car in the last three seasons, questionable speed, and so on. I think part of the reason he gets hype is the wins and part of it is because his father Stig won the World Rally Championship, but aside from the 2022 24 Hours of Daytona (which was definitely enough to lead to a high ranking last year), he hasn't lived up to the hype for me. Don't get me wrong: he had a very good year but several other IMSA drivers impressed me more, even his teammate. With Hélio Castroneves aging and Pagenaud suffering a career-ending injury at Mid-Ohio, it was inevitable that Blomqvist would move to Shank's IndyCar team for 2023, especialy because he did have a strong open wheel pedigree back in the day, including finishing second in European Formula 3 behind only Esteban Ocon but ahead of a prepubescent Max Verstappen. He's certainly not on their level as an open-wheel driver as Ocon and Verstappen were both rookies in that series while Blomqvist was in his third year, but he did blow out all his teammates including Antonio Giovinazzi, Jordan King, Ed Jones, and most notably this year's Formula E champion Jake Dennis. Largely as a result of that year, when he made his IndyCar debut at Toronto, he actually entered as the highest-rated IndyCar driver in my open wheel model despite having a best finish of 24th in his three IndyCar starts and not really contending at all. That won't last. In next year's IndyCar Rookie Qvist, I'm certain Linus Lundqvist will beat him in the championship substantially, and I think Felix Rosenqvist, the series's third -qvist who will be Blomqvist's teammate, will also dominate him and restore his cred from a few years ago. I know he was strong in his minor league formula starts in Europe, but when considering his slow progression in Europe, his negligible Formula E results, his uninspiring first three IndyCar starts (as compared to Lundqvist, whose races in that same car were a lot more impressive than Blomqvist's), and his lack of passing and speed (which will matter even more in IndyCar than it does in IMSA), Blomqvist seems to have bust written all over him. I hope I'm wrong 'cause he does seem like a nice guy, but right now I think he's one of the most overrated drivers in the world. But just remember, to be overrated, you have to be rated highly in the first place.

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.