Ricky Cravens has a bona-fide good method for rating NASCAR drivers. After retiring from racing and now working in the media, he needed a system. He is always being asked to rate drivers. What Ricky came up with is an excellent way to categorize past and present drivers. It definitely is performance based. There is even wiggle room for the mandatory exceptions. Ricky even rates himself using his system. I like it. What do you think?

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Rating drivers is a five-tier process, plus one more level

By Ricky Craves at ESPN

A common question in my travels from people I meet; How would you rank this driver, or that driver? What do you think of Danica? Can she win, how good is she?

Is Dale Earnhardt Jr. capable of winning a title? Who is better, Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson?

The answer to these and many more like them get answered as objectively as possible.

I try desperately to answer based on my experience on the track, or what I’ve witnessed off it. At times I lean on drivers, current, and past, for their view of one’s ability.

But my go-to formula when analyzing for ESPN, SportsCenter, etc., is my five-tier system, with one exception.

Every driver I’ve competed against, those that competed since I retired, and several I studied historically fall into one of six categories. They are as follows.

*Tier 1: This is the group that win annually and they also have championship rings. They represent the best the sport has to offer in the past decade. Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart are four obvious members.

Tier 2: These are drivers who have won many races and are perennial Chase members. They threaten for titles, but have yet to break through. Best examples are Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Earnhardt.

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