All right, after about a month or so of not updating this, and now with an extra 15 drivers having made the jump to Tier 2, it is well past time to re-visit some driver pages and see how everyone compares. When I wrote my getting to know the teams article, I assumed that the best T1 driver (Spark Spencer III) would probably come in about 21st or so compared to the drivers already in T2. The Season Two drivers will be delighted to hear that they are actually closer than I expected. How much closer are they? Let’s find out!
#1 Danny Vandoorne/Robert Phelps (333 attribute points) – Okay. One of those names I expected. Danny Vandoorne was the champion of T1 and T2, so seeing that he has risen to the top of the rankings shouldn’t be that surprising. Robert Phelps, conversely, finished 16th in S1 and 7th in S2, so while I was expecting him to have moved up, I wasn’t expecting that much.
#3 Jack Stevens (330.6) – This is a name that has consistently shown up as one of the top earners/spenders. However, that high rate of improvement has not exactly translated to success. Stevens finished 10th in S1, and 9th in S2. Over both seasons, he has yet to win a race, though he has finished in the top 5 seven times and led 38 laps. Stevens has invested more TPE into driving stats than any other driver.
#4 Alex Light (323.03) – This driver’s identity has changed a lot since the beginning of S1. Having started off a balanced driver focusing slightly more on driving, he has evolved into the highest-invested in the car of anyone else in the league. The change appears to have helped, as Light has gone from 8th in S1 to 5th in S2.
#5 Kevin Keselowski (319) – Despite an extremely dominant start to S2, winning 6 races, Keselowski ended up finishing 2nd in prize money. His biggest change this season has been learning all the new tracks, now having spent the most on track knowledge. Keselowski finished 4th in S1, 2nd in S2.
You may have noticed that all 5 moved up from S1 to S2 (except Vandoorne, who was already #1). I credit that to there being less randomness in T2. Between buggy tracks and drivers being very close together in S1, results were seemingly completely random in S1. This last year, results have been a bit more predictable, which ztevans made some great points about in his podcast.
I’ll release the rest of the list later, but let’s look at the top T2 “rookies.”
#14 Spark Spencer III (242) – This is a lot better than I thought the S2 creates would do. Already Spark, last year’s T1 champion, has passed over half of last year’s T2 drivers, which is a little terrifying for some of the middle of the pack S1 drivers. I would say he has a very good chance of hitting top 10 this year if he continues at this rate.
#17 Kyle Yelkrab (220) – Yelkrab actually had a pretty disappointing rookie season, finishing 9th in the STSC. Looking for a reason why he underperformed? Well, he did invest the most TPE into driving, 14.5 attribute points more than the next-closest. If he can focus on his car and track knowledge, Yelkrab can easily manage a top 20 finish.
#19 Cooter Bigsby (211) – You were probably expecting Cooter to be several spots higher on the list. Well, he would be, but he pumped a lot of points into Engine, raising it all the way to 80. Only one other driver (Alex Light) has as high a value. Between spending past the cap and investing early in other tracks, Bigsby dropped off toward the end of the season, finishing 3rd. Expect him to move up the ranks as the season goes on, however, as his future purchases will be cheaper.
Finally, let’s look at the entire list, ordered by attribute rank.
|Luis Cabrera Perez||1||278|
|Spark Spencer III||2||242|
|Cal Naughton, Jr||2||112|
|Niki Lauda, Jr||1||85|