Gluckometer Ratings: Measuring Crowd Noise During Driver Introductions

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Final 2010 Rankings: Which 12 Drivers Got The Most Crowd Noise This Year?

This season, SB Nation measured the crowd noise during pre-race driver introductions with a handheld decibel meter and published the rankings each week.

We took measurements from NASCAR fans at 29 races overall, so there was a decent-sized sample to work with for our cumulative season rankings.

To come up with the final list, we gave drivers points based on their finishing order in the weekly top 10. If a driver got the most noise in a given week, he was awarded 10 points; if he finished 10th, he received one point, and so on.

We totaled up the points, and the ranking below is the result.

The winner comes as no surprise. Dale Earnhardt Jr. consistently received the most crowd noise (he topped the list in 13 weeks) and was recently named the sport's most popular driver for the eighth straight year.

But this ranking may offer some insight into how the other star drivers stack up.

Does it surprise you that enough people booed Juan Pablo Montoya this season to put him in the top 10? Or that championship contender Denny Hamlin receives very little noise each week compared to other drivers?

Also, it's worth noting the dramatic drop-off after the top six. While any driver on the top half of the list was capable of getting the most noise in a given week (all but Tony Stewart topped the list at least once), none of the drivers in the bottom half ever finished higher than third.

Check out the full list below and tell us what you think.

Driver Score Typical Noise
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 249.0
Cheers
2 Jimmie Johnson 224.0
Boos
3 Kyle Busch 220.0 Boos
4 Tony Stewart 182.0 Cheers
5 Jeff Gordon 181.0 Mixed
6 Mark Martin 166.0 Cheers
7 Carl Edwards 63.5 Mixed
8 Kasey Kahne 62.0 Cheers
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 40.5 Boos
10 Kurt Busch 32.5
Boos
11 Kevin Harvick 32.0 Cheers
12 Denny Hamlin 29.5 Mixed
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At Homestead, Jimmie Johnson Wins In Both Championship And Crowd Noise

Typically, drivers are introduced to the crowd before a race in reverse order of how they qualified: The driver with the 43rd starting position comes out first, followed by 42nd, 41st and so on.

But at Homestead, NASCAR changed things up. It introduced the starting 43 drivers, but held out championship contenders Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin – saving them for last.

The result was Johnson getting the most crowd noise of anyone, and Hamlin getting what may have been his most noise of the season – even more than at his home track, Richmond.

Johnson even got a significant amount cheers to go along with his typical boos, perhaps a sign that some fans in attendance wanted to see history (he was showered with cheers after the race).

Here are the final Gluckometer ratings for this season:

Driver       dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Jimmie Johnson 92.8 Mixed Got more cheers than usual; fans hoping to see history?
2 Kyle Busch 92.5 Boos Fans not keen on seeng weekend sweep
3 Denny Hamlin 91.6 Mixed Crowd not totally embracing Hamlin
4 Jeff Gordon 91.2 Cheers A new favorite of old-school fans?
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 89.3 Cheers Trumped by title contenders
6 Kasey Kahne 88.6 Cheers Pole-sitter
7 Kevin Harvick 87.6 Mixed A few boos mixed in with the cheers
8 Tony Stewart 87.3 Cheers Lower than usual this week
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 86.9 Boos Even booed at his home track
10 Mark Martin 86.7 Cheers Less noise than normal for popular veteran
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Phoenix Crowd Noise Ratings: Fans Friendly To Most Drivers

Phoenix NASCAR fans seemed to be in a good mood on Sunday, offering more cheers than usual for drivers who normally get booed.

For example: Jimmie Johnson actually got a fair number of cheers to go along with his typical boos, and Jeff Gordon received mostly cheers instead of his usual 50/50 mix.

Who wasn't greeted as warmly? Kyle Busch led all drivers in noise and was observed to be the recipient of several Kyle-style finger salutes from the crowd (likely a regular occurrence, we just happened to be paying attention this week).

One note of interest: Though championship contenders Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick were both in the top five for most noise, points leader Denny Hamlin wasn't even in the top 10. For some reason, fans still don't get fired up about Hamlin one way or the other.

Of course, that could change after Homestead.

The full ratings from Phoenix:

Driver  dB Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Kyle Busch 93.9 Boos Some fans returned Kyle's 'salute'
T2 Jimmie Johnson 90.2 Mixed More cheers near West Coast
T2 Jeff Gordon 90.2 Cheers Warm reception for veteran
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 89.9 Cheers Bad quals spot, crowd wasn't warmed up
5 Kevin Harvick 89.1 Cheers Happy's fan base passionate out West
6 Mark Martin 87.7 Cheers Love for veteran driver
7 Tony Stewart 86.4 Cheers Smoke has gotten cheered all year
8 Carl Edwards 84.1 Cheers Pole-sitter's eventual win well-received
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 83.5 Boos Consistently booed everywhere
10 Ryan Newman 82.5 Cheers Veterans fare well at Phoenix
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Is (Of Course) Most Popular At Talladega; But Who Was Second?

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed NASCAR for more than one week that Dale Earnhardt Jr. received the most cheers at Talladega – the capital of Junior Nation.

Just how popular is Dale Jr. at 'Dega? His winning margin in SB Nation's weekly noise meter was one of the largest of the season.

Runner-up Mark Martin was greeted with an even warmer reception than he gets at other tracks, perhaps indicating the Talladega fans have appreciation for the old-school drivers.

Here are the complete rankings:

Driver        dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 85.9 Cheers Was there any doubt?
2 Mark Martin 83.1 Cheers Love for old-school driver
3 Tony Stewart 82.7 Cheers Popular
4 Jimmie Johnson 81.3 Boos Boos louder as fifth title gets closer
5 Kyle Busch 81.0 Boos Cool Truck win did little to change fans' opinions
6 Jeff Gordon 80.7 Mix Actually heard some audible cheers...at Dega!
7 Juan Pablo Montoya 79.4 Boos Pole-sitter
8 Michael Waltrip 79.2 Cheers Fan favorite makes his return
9 Ryan Newman 79.1 Cheers Warm reception at track that hasn't been kind to him
10 Kurt Busch 78.8 Boos Busch Brother
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Martinsville Fans REALLY Didn't Want To See Jimmie Johnson Win

Fans at Martinsville clearly had no interest in seeing Jimmie Johnson win again, as they made their feelings toward the four-time defending Cup champion known by showering him with boos in driver introductions.

Johnson's boos registered the highest decibel number on SB Nation's noise meter, ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s cheers.

One puzzling note: Denny Hamlin got a surprising number of boos in his home state. Typically not among the top 10 in crowd noise, Hamlin tied for fourth this week – but most of the noise was negative until he took the microphone and told the fans, "Go Hokies!"

We're not sure why fans haven't embraced Hamlin – the primary alternative to Johnson this year. The other title contender, Kevin Harvick, didn't even make the top 10 in most noise at Sunday's race.

Here are the complete rankings:

Driver  dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Jimmie Johnson 91.9 Boos Fans REALLY didn't want a JJ win
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 90.5 Cheers Still most popular
3 Kyle Busch 89.3 Boos No love for Rowdy
T4 Denny Hamlin 89.2 Mostly boos Puzzling; Why boos in his home state?
T4 Mark Martin 89.2 Cheers The sentimental pick
6 Jeff Burton 88.1 Cheers Local favorite
7 Jeff Gordon 87.9 Mix Fans softening on dislike this year
8 Tony Stewart 86.9 Cheers Can do no wrong in his fans' eyes
9 Kasey Kahne 86.6 Cheers Many new Red Bull fans
10 Ryan Newman 85.6 Cheers Outside pole-sitter
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. Is Back On Top – At Least In Crowd Noise Ratings

This is somewhat unbelievable, but it had been since Daytona in July that Dale Earnhardt Jr. got the most crowd noise during pre-race driver introductions – at least in the six races where SB Nation's decibel meter was used.

That seems crazy, but look at who had gotten the loudest reaction since then:

  • Indianapolis: Local favorite Jeff Gordon got the most noise.
  • Bristol: Brad Keselowski incited the crowd with "Kyle Busch is an ass!"
  • Atlanta: Earnhardt Jr. was fifth thanks to a bad starting spot; the crowd wasn't warmed up yet when he was introduced (Busch drew the loudest reaction).
  • Richmond: Fans spent more vocal energy booing Busch than cheering for Earnhardt Jr.
  • Dover: Drivers were supposed to introduce themselves to the crowd, but Earnhardt Jr. walked right by the microphone and didn't say anything.
  • Fontana: Jimmie Johnson got the loudest reception in his native Southern California.
Measurements weren't taken at Pocono, Michigan, New Hampshire or Kansas, but it's likely Earnhardt Jr. got the most noise in one or more of those events. Still, the sport's most popular driver hasn't topped our charts in a few months.

In that respect, Charlotte marked a return to normalcy. Earnhardt Jr. heard the most noise, ahead of Busch and Johnson.

Here are the full ratings:

Driver    dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 85.8 Cheers Finally back on top
2 Kyle Busch 84.3 Boos Kyle's boos angrier than JJ's
3 Jimmie Johnson 84.0 Boos Gets Gordon's reaction from 5 yrs ago
4 Mark Martin 83.7 Cheers Most fans appreciate Martin
5 Jeff Gordon 83.4 Mix More cheers as he gets older?
6 Tony Stewart 83.2 Cheers Wildly popular now; used to get boos
7 Kasey Kahne 82.1 Cheers Fans didn't expect RPM brake failure
8 Carl Edwards 81.8 Cheers Outside pole-sitter
9 Brad Keselowski 80.8 Mix Unusual amount of noise for BradK
10 Joey Logano 80.5 Cheers Always cheered; growing popularity
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Fontana: Local Boy Jimmie Johnson Gets The Most Noise

Southern California native Jimmie Johnson got more cheers than usual at the closest track to his hometown of El Cajon, but he also got a ton of boos as well.

That added up to the most noise of any driver and the only one to top 90 decibels on our noisemeter. Even Kyle Busch, who was roundly jeered, couldn't manage that much noise.

Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. had plenty of cheers, but the crowd wasn't as vocal for him as they were for the top two.

Here are the full results from Fontana:

Driver    dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Jimmie Johnson 91.4 Mixed Hometown track
2 Kyle Busch 89.6 Boos No love despite being in West
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 87.5 Cheers Has slipped a bit in cheer volume
T4 Mark Martin 86.9 Cheers Remains sentimental favorite
T4 Carl Edwards 86.9 Mixed Fans still wary of Carl
6 Tony Stewart 86.8 Cheers Popular at most every track
7 Kasey Kahne 86.7 Cheers Popular driver
8 Ryan Newman 84.9 Cheers More noise than usual for Rocket Man
9 Juan Montoya 84.7 Boos Fans refuse to embrace JPM
10 Jamie McMurray 84.6 Cheers Pole-sitter
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Invisible Kyle Busch Gets Most Noise At Richmond; Real Kyle Busch No. 8

Who do NASCAR fans dislike more than Kyle Busch? The invisible Kyle Busch, apparently.

We're not entirely clear on what happened Saturday night, but this much we know for sure: Busch was introduced twice during driver introductions at Richmond.

First, Busch was introduced in his 32nd starting position, but no one was shown emerging from the backstage area. From the best we and other witnesses can tell, Busch never came out.

Fans booed lustily anyway at the mere sight of Busch's car on the Sprint Vision screens.

Later, when it was Kevin Harvick's turn to be introduced in the 20th spot, Busch's name was announced again instead (just after his brother, Kurt). This time, he was shown coming out onstage and fans booed again, but not as loud.

Those watching the introductions were confused. Was Busch late? Would have have to start in the back of the field? NASCAR said no, and that all drivers were present for the introductions.

To tens of thousands of fans, the situation certainly seemed less clear.

Whatever happened, we believe "Invisible Kyle" got a bad rap. What's Invisible Kyle ever done to anyone?

Here are the noise ratings from this week:

Driver      dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Invisible Kyle Busch 90.2 Boos Poor Invisible Kyle
2 Jeff Gordon 89.4 Mixed More cheers later in career?
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 89.2 Cheers Still Most Popular Driver
4 Jimmie Johnson 89.0 Boos "Please don't win again!" noise
5 Tony Stewart 87.9 Cheers Popular driver
6 Denny Hamlin 87.8 Cheers Hometown favorite
7 Carl Edwards 86.3 Mixed Pole-sitter
8 Real Kyle Busch 86.2 Boos Second chance to boo Rowdy
9 Kevin Harvick 85.7 Cheers Popular driver
10 Elliott Sadler 85.4 Cheers Hometown favorite
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Gluckometer, Atlanta: Fans Get Rowdy During Driver Introductions

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s lackluster qualifying performance left him behind several other drivers in the Gluckometer ratings this week.

The crowd always warms up and gets louder as drivers are introduced, so those toward the front of the field usually receive more noise than those in the back.

Typically, this hasn't affected Earnhardt Jr. But this week, it did.

Tony Stewart and even Mark Martin received more cheers than Earnhardt Jr., and the sport's most popular driver got only the fifth-most noise overall.

Is this a trend, or a one-week fluke? Stay tuned.

The ratings:

Driver      dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Kyle Busch 89.3 Boos Fans not so loving to Rowdy
2 Tony Stewart 88.1 Cheers Media battles don't affect his image
3 Jimmie Johnson 88.0 Boos Weary of JJ, despite slump
4 Mark Martin 87.7 Cheers Sentimental favorite for many
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 87.1 Cheers Bad starting spot, crowd not warmed up
6 Carl Edwards 86.3 Mixed Return to the site of BradK flip
7 Ryan Newman 86.0 Cheers Outside pole position
8 Jeff Gordon 85.8 Mixed Reception depends on track
9 Kasey Kahne 85.3 Cheers Popular driver
10 Denny Hamlin 85.2 Cheers Pole position
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Gluckometer, Bristol: Record-Setting Crowd Noise, Unusual Names In Top 15

Allowing drivers to speak as they were introduced to the crowd completely shook up the Gluckometer noise ratings this week, knocking Dale Earnhardt Jr. out of the top 10 and boosting names like Jeff Green and Todd Bodine into the top 15.

Brad Keselowski's "Kyle Busch is an ass!" comment recorded the loudest-ever crowd reaction since we started using the decibel meter to measure noise.

Below we have listed the quote or song which drew the loudest reactions for each driver. Some of them (Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr.) got the loudest reactions when they first walked through the curtain, not based on anything they said.

Driver    dB Type of Noise Quote/Song
1 Brad Keselowski 104.2 Cheers "Kyle Busch is an ass!"
2 Kyle Busch 94.3 Boos "Aw, y'all are SO loving."
3 Tony Stewart 90.3 Cheers "…I want to see a hell of a wreck."
4 AJ Allmendinger 89.1 Cheers "Hope I'm in front of Brad and Kyle when this all goes down."
5 Jeff Gordon 87.7 Boos "I'm Jeff Gordon…"
6 Mark Martin 87.4 Cheers "Let's have a ball tonight!"
7 Kevin Harvick 86.9 Cheers "Like he said, drink beer!"
8 Jimmie Johnson 86.8 Boos "I'm Jimmie Johnson…"
9 Kasey Kahne 86.3 Cheers Song: "Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer"
10 Carl Edwards 86.2 Mixed Song: "Why Can't We Be Friends?"
11 Elliott Sadler 85.6 Cheers "Wooooooo!" (like Ric Flair)
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 84.9 Cheers "I'm Dale Earnhardt Jr. …"
13 Jeff Green 84.5 Cheers Song: "Sweet Home Alabama"
14 Regan Smith 83.8 Cheers "Hope you drink a lot of beer!"
15 Todd Bodine 83.6 Laughter Song: Three Stooges theme song

Below: A young fan from Bristol holds a sign after Kyle Busch's victory. (Getty Images)

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Gluckometer, Daytona: Crowd Showers Dale Jr. With Cheers Despite Rain

Though a steady rain fell during driver introductions at Daytona, fans still provided plenty of noise to measure with our decibel meter.

And there was no surprise who received the most noise: Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the Nationwide Series race in the No. 3 car a night earlier.

The loudest cheers of the night may have come after driver introductions, though: Fans in the stands went crazy when Kyle Busch wrecked (though we didn't measure it).

Driver      dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88.9 Cheers Fans loved 3's win
2 Jimmie Johnson 88.2 Mix Almost topped Dale Jr.
3 Kyle Busch 86.9 Boos Heard cheers when he crashed
4 Jeff Gordon 85.3 Mix Aggressiveness draws attention
5 Tony Stewart 84.8 Mix Defending race winner
6 Mark Martin 83.9 Cheers Fell out of Chase afterward
7 Carl Edwards 83.8 Cheers Popular despite tough season
8 Jamie McMurray 83.4 Cheers Daytona 500 winner
T9 Kasey Kahne 82.5 Cheers Popular driver
T9 Kurt Busch 82.5 Boos Recent cheers disappeared
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Gluckometer, New Hampshire: Dale Jr. Gets Knocked From No. 1, Logano Gets Warm Reception

For the first time since Dover, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not at the top of the prerace driver introduction noise rankings.

At New Hampshire, the decibel meter used to calculate the Gluckometer measured Jeff Gordon with a larger crowd reaction than Earnhardt Jr. – although not by much. It was likely a product of fans reacting to Gordon's aggressive driving at Sonoma.

Though Earnhardt Jr. was second, the other highly notable crowd reaction was for Joey Logano. The crowd showered the driver from nearby Connecticut with cheers, and he received the most noise yet in his young career.

Here are the complete rankings:

Driver     dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Jeff Gordon 87.6 Mix Likely Sonoma-related
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 87.4 Cheers Most popular driver
3 Joey Logano 87.3 Cheers Home track
4 Tony Stewart 86.9 Mostly cheers Popular driver
5 Mark Martin 86.4 Cheers Most recent NH winner
6 Kyle Busch 86.3 Boos Nationwide winner
7 Jimmie Johnson 86.1 Boos JJ fatigue
T8 Carl Edwards 85.9 Cheers Popular driver
T8 Kasey Kahne 85.9 Cheers Popular driver
10 Kurt Busch 85.2 Mix Former NH winner
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Gluckometer, Sonoma: Positive Reception For Hometown Favorite Gordon

As expected, Jeff Gordon was given a rousing ovation at Infineon Raceway, which is mere miles from his hometown of Vallejo.

But it wasn't enough to top Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Still, Gordon received all cheers and no audible trace of boos – which is rare at nearly every other track except for Sonoma.

The Gordon love spilled over to fellow Californian Jimmie Johnson as well, who heard far more cheers than usual.

One note: Because the crowd was so spread out, there weren't enough fans to record a decibel reading on the device we used to measure the Gluckometer's sound. So we relied on the traditional ear method this week.

Driver   Rating Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8.0 Cheers Most Popular Driver
2 Jeff Gordon 7.5 Cheers Warm reception in hometown
3 Kyle Busch 7.0 Boos Many fans' least favorite
T4 Jimmie Johnson 6.5 Mostly cheers California crowd
T4 Tony Stewart 6.5 Cheers Frank Stoddard later booed
6 Mark Martin 6.0 Cheers Popular driver
7 Kasey Kahne 5.5 Cheers High-pitched cheers
8 Kevin Harvick 5.0 Mix Firesuit fallout
T9 Jamie McMurray 4.0 Cheers Intro'd as Daytona 500 champ
T9 Juan Pablo Montoya 4.0 Boos No love for former winner
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Gluckometer, Michigan: Unexpected Reactions For Kurt Busch, Harvick/Logano

Michigan may perhaps be the place where the majority of NASCAR fans finally separated Kurt Busch from his younger brother Kyle.

Busch, the pole-sitter, recorded a sizable amount of cheers as he was introduced to the crowd before the race.

This was surprising in that Busch had never received cheers in any of the previous Gluckometer ratings since 2004. But that's exactly what happened. Kurt got a positive welcome, while the typical negative reaction for a member of the Busch family was reserved solely for Kyle.

Another surprise was the reactions for Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano following their Pocono incident. It wasn't surprising that fans would cheer for them (everyone likes to pick a side), but it was expected that those cheers for at least one of the drivers would be mixed in with boos.

For example, a Harvick fan who didn't appreciate Logano would figure to boo for the young driver, and vice versa.

But that wasn't what happened: Both got cheers.

Here's how Busch, Logano and Harvick stacked up according to a handheld decibel meter:

Driver     dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 86.4 Cheers Most Popular Driver
2 Jimmie Johnson 85.4 Mix Not all boos, for once
3 Kurt Busch 83.8 Cheers Stunning turnaround
T4 Jeff Gordon 83.3 Mix Reaction varies by track
T4 Mark Martin 83.3 Cheers Defending race winner
6 Tony Stewart 81.7 Cheers Popular driver
7 Kyle Busch 81.5 Boos Least noise in weeks
8 Joey Logano 80.7 Cheers Firesuit fallout
9 Kasey Kahne 80.5 Cheers Popular driver
10 Kevin Harvick 79.3 Cheers Firesuit fallout
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Gluckometer, Charlotte: The Usual Suspects Rule

The Gluckometer had a slight malfunction this week, as the decibel meter typically used to measure the crowd noise was affected by the BOOM BOOM BOOM bass beat of the music playing as the drivers came across the stage.

So we had to resort to a backup system: The old-fashioned ears. With the help of Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel, here are the ratings for driver intros on a 1-10 scale.

 

Driver  Rating Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 9.5 Cheers Most Popular Driver
2 Kyle Busch 9 Boos All-Star Race didn't help win over fans
3 Jimmie Johnson 8.5 Boos Fans enjoying JJ's slump
4 Jeff Gordon 8 Mostly boos Some cheers, but mostly boos
5 Tony Stewart 7.5 Cheers CMS always seems friendly to Smoke
6 Mark Martin 7.5 Cheers Has had a quiet season so far
7 Carl Edwards 7 Cheers Popular driver
8 Kasey Kahne 6 Cheers L.L. Cool K
9 Kurt Busch 5.5 Mix Acutally heard some rare cheers
10 Ryan Newman 5 Cheers Pole-sitter
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Gluckometer, All-Star: Sprint Showdown And All-Star Rankings

Since there were two races on Saturday, we're doubling your pleasure with two editions of the noise ratings, which are taken by a decibel meter every week during driver introductions to see which drivers get the most noise.

You'll notice the All-Star edition of the rankings features an unusual entry at No. 5: Brian Vickers and Casey Mears.

Mears was subbing in the All-Star race for Vickers, who is out for the season due to blood clots. At the sight of Vickers walking across the stage, fans gave a rousing ovation for the driver(s) of the No. 83 car. We assume the cheers were meant to welcome Vickers, but since Mears happened to be standing there, we're including him as well.

Here are the rankings, starting with the top five for the Sprint Showdown:

 

Driver    dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Bill Elliott 86.6 Cheers 16-time Most Popular Driver
2 Carl Edwards 85.6 Cheers Won Sprint Fan Vote
3 Juan Pablo Montoya 85.3 Boos Never been loved in NASCAR
4 Jeff Burton 85.2 Cheers Fan Vote finalist
5 Michael Waltrip 85.0 Cheers Fans still fond of MW

 

Now, onto the Sprint All-Star Race ratings. A note about these numbers: If you notice, they are lower than the Sprint Showdown numbers. This is because I had to take the measurement from further away (on pit road, actually) for the All-Star race, lest the fireworks and loud music mess up the decibel meter from being too close. 
Driver    dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 85.8 Cheers Most Popular Driver
2 Kyle Busch 84.4 Boos 'Old Kyle' showed up after race
3 Tony Stewart 83.9 Mix Won All-Star Race last season
4 Jimmie Johnson 82.6 Boos Fans thrilled when he spun out
5 B.Vickers/C.Mears 82.4 Cheers Vickers heard cheers in nice moment
6 Jeff Gordon 81.9 Boos Reception varies by track
7 Mark Martin 80.5 Cheers Cheers aren't as loud this year
8 Kasey Kahne 80.3 Cheers L.L. Cool K
9 Denny Hamlin 78.3 Mix Becoming a polarizing driver
10 Matt Kenseth 78.2 Cheers Crew wore crowns, purple robes
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Gluckometer, Dover: Busch Booed, Then Wins

As Kyle Busch has said in paraphrasing the late Dale Earnhardt, it doesn't matter if he gets booed. He just wants the most noise.

He got both at Dover, topping the Gluckometer ratings for the second time this season (he earlier got the most noise in his hometown of Las Vegas).

Surprisingly – perhaps because Philadelphia-area fans are so used to booing loudly – three of the top four drivers in the noise ratings had boos. Often, the most-cheered drivers have the most noise.

The full ratings (ranked by decibels) below:

 

Driver      dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Kyle Busch 85.5 Boos Heard cheers when he won
2 Jimmie Johnson 85.3 Boos Heard cheers for speeding penalty
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 84.5 Cheers Wasn't much else to cheer about
4 Jeff Gordon 83.9 Boos No love from the First State
5 Mark Martin 81.3 Cheers Popular driver
6 Tony Stewart 81.2 Cheers Popular driver
7 Juan Pablo Montoya 80.8 Boos Says he doesn't know why fans boo
8 Carl Edwards 79.2 Cheers Fans wanted 'Concrete Carl' victory
9 Martin Truex Jr. 79.1 Cheers Home track favorite
10 Kasey Kahne 78.8 Cheers L.L. Cool K
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Gluckometer, Darlington: Old-School Fans Have A Strong Presence

If there's any track that attracts old-school fans, you'd think it would be Darlington.

That might help explain a shakeup in the Gluckometer ratings this week: According to our decibelmeter, Jeff Gordon got the most noise in pre-race introductions for the first time this season – mostly on the strength of some loud boo-birds.

The old-school fans also probably don't like Jimmie Johnson (perhaps for some of the same reasons they dislike Gordon) and Kyle Busch, but they do like drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Tony Stewart.

Juan Pablo Montoya draws boos every week, but he heard a larger-than-normal amount for the Southern 500. We're not sure why, but could it be because some Darlington fans are xenophobic? Feel free to leave your comments below if you agree or disagree.

Driver dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Jeff Gordon 98.7 Mostly boos Stirs strong emotions in old-school fans
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 97.2 Cheers Most popular driver
3 Jimmie Johnson 95.4 Boos Anybody But Jimmie crowd
4 Kyle Busch 94.7 Boos Busch Brother
5 Mark Martin 94.6 Cheers Old-school fans, old-school driver
6 Tony Stewart 92.1 Cheers Popular driver
7 Kasey Kahne 87.7 Cheers L.L. Cool K
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 87.3 Boos Dislike for foreigners?
9 Carl Edwards 86.8 Cheers Popular driver
10 Denny Hamlin 86.7 Cheers Popular driver
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Gluckometer, Richmond: Hamlin Finally Gets Some Love

One of the biggest ongoing mysteries in the Gluckometer ratings every week is the surprising lack of noise for Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin was anointed as the top preseason threat to Jimmie Johnson, was in the headlines for his clash with Brad Keselowski and has become a regular presence at the front of the field.

And yet, when he's introduced to the crowd every week, the noise barely registers.

Hamlin has cracked the Gluckometer top 10 just once all season – at Martinsville, his best track. But finally, he got some love from his home fans at Richmond to move him to a season-high sixth in the noise ratings.

Here's how Hamlin stacked up, along with the rest:

 

Driver dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 86.6 Cheers Most popular driver
2 Jimmie Johnson 86.2 Boos Boos dominate cheers
T3 Kyle Busch 85.9 Boos Busch Brother
T3 Tony Stewart 85.9 Cheer/boo mix Popular driver
5 Jeff Gordon 85.7 Boos Surprising amount of boos
T6 Mark Martin 85.3 Cheers Lowest Hendrick driver
T6 Denny Hamlin 85.3 Cheers Hometown favorite
8 Kurt Busch 85.2 Boos Busch Brother
9 Carl Edwards 85.1 Cheers Popular driver
10 Kasey Kahne 84.9 Cheers Popular driver
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Gluckometer At Talladega: No Surprise In The No. 1 Spot

The Talladega crowd wasn't quite as loud as expected, but the result was certainly predictable: Dale Earnhardt Jr. got the most noise in the capital of Junior Nation.

There weren't too many surprises this week, other than David Reutimann almost making the top 10 (he was driving a University of Alabama car) and Carl Edwards receiving more boos than normal since the Brad Keselowski incident (Keselowski typically gets mildly booed every week, but this week was mildly cheered).

Another trend: Mark Martin, who was either No. 1 or No. 2 in noise almost all of last season, has been in the bottom half of the top 10 recently. We aren't sure why.

Driver dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 87.2 Cheers Most popular driver
2 Jimmie Johnson 86.6 Boos Got cheers when he wrecked
3 Tony Stewart 85.6 Cheers Popular driver
4 Jeff Gordon 85.4 Cheer/boo mix Fans like threat to Jimmie
5 Kyle Busch 84.6 Boos Least-favorite for many fans
6 Mark Martin 84.0 Cheers Dropped since first few weeks
7 Kurt Busch 82.4 Boos Busch Brother
8 Carl Edwards 82.0 Cheer/boo mix More boos than usual
9 Kevin Harvick 81.9 Cheers Popular driver
10 Kasey Kahne 81.4 Cheers Popular driver
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Gluckometer at Texas Motor Speedway: The Boo Birds Win

They say everything is bigger in Texas – including the boos, apparently.

In a rare example of boo power, a negative crowd reaction won for the first time since the Gluckometer went to the more scientific decibel meter (as opposed to using ears).

What does it mean? Well, perhaps fans in Texas aren't as shy as others about expressing their distaste for certain drivers.

Not only did Jimmie Johnson top the list with boos, but Kyle Busch was third and Jeff Gordon received more boos than he had all season.

Other notables: Ryan Newman makes an appearance in the top 10 for the first time all year, and Mark Martin almost fell out of the top 10 for the first time this season.

The full rankings:

 

Driver dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Jimmie Johnson 96.7 Boos Vocal "Anybody But JJ crowd"
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 95.9 Cheers Most popular driver
3 Kyle Busch 95.5 Boos Most disliked driver overall
4 Tony Stewart 93.9 Mostly cheers Popular driver, pole-sitter
5 Jeff Gordon 90.6 Mostly boos More boos than normal
6 Kevin Harvick 89.9 Cheers Higher than usual for KH
7 Ryan Newman 89.4 Cheers Won at Phoenix
8 Kasey Kahne 89.1 Cheers First race since Hendrick news
9 Carl Edwards 89.0 Cheers Post-Keselowski boost
10 Mark Martin 88.2 Cheers Lowest noise of the season
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Gluckometer (And Friends): Phoenix

There was no Gluckometer in Phoenix – at least the actual decibelmeter itself. So in lieu of measuring the crowd noise scientifically last weekend, SB Nation asked some aspiring NASCAR writers to help out: Toby Christie of RubbingsRacing.com, Michael Myers of Queers4Gears.com and Farrah Kaye, who contributes to several sites.

We asked each of them to rate the drivers on a 1-10 basis using an old-fashioned tool: Their ears. After receiving their rankings (1 being the least, 10 being the most), the scores were added up and averaged out, which gives us this week's Gluckometer ranking.

Phoenix-area native Michael McDowell, in the No. 10 position, appears on this list for the first time ever thanks to a hearty reception from his hometown fans.

Driver    Avg Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 9.7 Cheers Most popular driver
2 Jimmie Johnson 8.3 Cheer/boo mix Four-time champ
3 Kyle Busch 8.2 Boos Busch Brother
4 Mark Martin 7.5 Cheers Popular driver
5 Tony Stewart 6.5 Mostly cheers Popular driver
6 Juan Montoya 6.2 Boos Still hasn't won over fans
T7 Kurt Busch 6.0 Mostly boos Busch Brother
T7 Carl Edwards 6.0 Cheer/boo mix Keselowski fallout
T7 Jeff Gordon 6.0 Mostly cheers Popular driver
10 Michael McDowell 5.2 Cheers Hometown driver
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Gluckometer: Martinsville

Despite the terrible weather on Sunday (the day the Martinsville race was originally scheduled to run), there were enough fans who braved the bone-chilling temperatures and rain to fill the Gluckometer with noise ratings.

The stands may have only been half-full at the time, but the fans in attendance made their voices heard.

This week, the top two drivers remained the same – though they got dramatically different receptions.

Here's who got the most noise in prerace driver introductions, along with what kind of noise they received:

 

Driver       dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 92.1 Cheers Most popular driver
2 Jimmie Johnson 88.5 Boos Tired of him winning
3 Tony Stewart 87.6 Cheers Popular driver
4 Kyle Busch 86.9 Boos Most disliked by some fans
5 Jeff Gordon 86.7 Cheer/boo mix Fans still split by Gordon
6 Carl Edwards 85.7 Cheer/boo mix Keselowski fallout
7 Mark Martin 85.3 Cheers Popular driver
8 Kevin Harvick 84.5 Cheers Resides nearby
9 Denny Hamlin 84.0 Cheers Virginia native
10 Kasey Kahne 83.9 Cheers Popular driver
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Gluckometer: Bristol

The Gluckometer was ready to rock and roll at Bristol – along with the drivers' theme songs – but unfortunately prerace introductions were a big letdown.

Bristol had fans introduce the drivers via prerecorded video, which was played on the Sprint Vision screens. Instead of a public address announcer hyping up the drivers' names, fans read the names – often in unexcited voices – and drew little reaction from the crowd.

It was likely a good idea gone bad, and the whole prerace intros lacked juice.

That's a major factor why Brad Keselowski, who received a noise rating of 85.6 decibels in the Nationwide race (mostly boos), didn't even rate for the Sprint Cup race. He got about the same reaction as Terry Cook, who didn't even show for intros.

Unfortunately, the crowd just wasn't into it, and only nine Cup drivers moved the needle.

The ratings:

Driver dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 90.3 Cheers Most popular driver
2 Jimmie Johnson 89.2 Mostly boos Won't stop winning
3 Carl Edwards 87.5 Cheer/boo mix Atlanta wreck controversy
4 Jeff Gordon 87.4 Cheers Fans hope he can stop JJ?
5 Mark Martin 87.0 Cheers Popular driver
6 Tony Stewart 86.3 Cheers Popular driver
7 Kyle Busch 85.2 Boos Polarizing figure
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 84.7 Boos Not embraced by fans
9 Kasey Kahne 84.2 Cheers Popular driver
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Gluckometer: Atlanta

I had to do a double-take during driver introductions in Atlanta.

Despite a less-than-stellar crowd, the noise level recorded by the Gluckometer had been outstanding. Fourth-place starter Mark Martin had received a thunderous cheer, followed by loud boos for Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch.

Now it was time for the pole-sitter, who just so happened to be the sport's most popular driver. Surely, this was one week where Dale Earnhardt Jr. dominate the noise rankings.

The cheer was loud, but not loud enough according to my decibel meter. I kept staring at the numbers, but they weren't higher than Martin's.

Is this thing on?

How to explain Earnhardt Jr. winning the pole but not the noise meter? Here's my theory: The track P.A. announcer had one of the longest introductions in history.

It went something like this (I'm paraphrasing): 

Annnnnnd on the polllllllllle, from Kannapolis, North Carolinaaaaaaaaaaaa, the driver of the Number. Eighty. Eight. Amp. Energy. National Guard. Chevrolettttttttttttttttt. From Hendrick Motorsporrrrrrrrrrrts. It's Dallllllllllllllllllle Earnhardtttttttttttttt JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNIOR!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, really. By the time it was the crowd's turn to give its biggest cheer, perhaps they were a bit cheered out.

Either that, or Mark Martin is just that popular these days.

We'll see what happens at Bristol. Here are the Gluckometer rankings for Atlanta:

 

Driver   dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1 Mark Martin 90.5 Cheers Remains extremely popular
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88.2 Cheers Most popular driver
3 Kyle Busch 86.5 Boos Hasn't won over the fans yet
4 Tony Stewart 85.9 Mostly cheers No controversies lately
5 Jeff Gordon 85.1 Mostly cheers Getting more cheers this year
6 Jimmie Johnson 84.7 Mix Either loved or hated
7 Juan Montoya 84.2 Boos Never any cheers for JPM
8 Bill Elliott 83.9 Cheers Hometrack favorite
9 Kasey Kahne 83.8 Cheers Ladies love him
T-10 David Ragan 83.1 Cheers Hometrack favorite
T-10 Carl Edwards 83.1 Cheers Will he get booed at Bristol?
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Gluckometer: Las Vegas

As Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s philosophy went, it doesn't matter if the crowd boos or cheers, as long as they're making noise.

Kyle Busch has paraphrased that comment before to explain his thunderous boos over the last few seasons. And he may be relying on it again this week after he got the loudest reception at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

Why? Because while Busch got the most noise, more than half of it was boos – at his hometown track, at that.

Here are the top 10 drivers who received the loudest welcome in Vegas, according to the "Gluckometer" – a decibel meter.

 

Driver         dB Type of Noise Comment/Explanation
1. Kyle Busch 83.3 Mixed Hometown track
2. Jeff Gordon 83.2 Cheers Rare not to get some boos
3. Kurt Busch 82.5 Mixed Hometown track; pole-sitter
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 82.0 Cheers Most popular driver
5. Jimmie Johnson 81.9 Mixed Champion; JJ fatigue
6 (tie). Mark Martin 81.8 Cheers Popular driver
6 (tie). Tony Stewart 81.8 Cheers Popular driver
8. Kasey Kahne 81.7 Cheers Mostly female screams
9. Kevin Harvick 80.8 Cheers Early-season momentum
10. Jamie McMurray 80.3 Cheers Still riding Daytona 500 wave

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Gluckometer: Auto Club 500

A funny thing happened to the Gluckometer in California: The music played during driver introductions messed it up.

The music was some kind of funky new-age tune, and it featured a steady bass beat. But when the bass dropped out of the song midway through the intros, it completely changed the measurement.

Due to the weird measurement, this week's ratings will be how much each driver moved the needle from the ambient noise level at the time they came onstage.

Sounds confusing, but here goes:

 

            Driver           (+dB from ambient)     Type of noise       Notes/Explanation

  1. Jamie McMurray              + 4.7                                 Cheers                          Daytona 500 winner, pole-sitter
  2. Mark Martin                      + 4.4                                  Cheers                          Popular driver
  3. Tony Stewart                    + 4.2                                  Cheers                         Typically gets cheer/boo mix
  4. Jeff Gordon                      + 4.2                                   Cheers                         Popular in California
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.           +4.1                                   Cheers                         Most popular driver
  6. Jimmie Johnson               +4.1                                   Cheers                         From Southern California
  7. Robby Gordon                 +3.3                                    Cheers                         From Southern California
  8. Kasey Kahne                   +3.0                                    Cheers                         Popular driver
  9. David Gilliland                 +2.9                                    Cheers                         Local driver; hometown track
  10. Kyle Busch                       +2.2                                    Boos                             Not disliked as much in CA
Note: The California crowd gave dramatically less boos than are heard at other tracks. Drivers who are normally booed (Johnson) or receive mixed receptions (Gordon, Stewart) got all cheers

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Gluckometer: Daytona 500

Here they are: The Gluckometer Ratings for the Daytona 500.

As a reminder, I used to estimate these based on my ears and using a scale between 1-10. Now I have a decibel meter to help me accurately measure the crowd noise during driver introductions each week.

            Driver                Noise in dB         Type of noise

  1. Mark Martin*                    92.1                    Cheers
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.          89.0                    Cheers
  3. Tony Stewart                   86.1                     Mixed
  4. Jimmie Johnson             85.7                     Mixed
  5. Kyle Busch                      84.6                     Boos
  6. PA Announcer**             82.1                     Crowd roar
  7. Jeff Gordon                     81.8                      Mixed
  8. Kasey Kahne                 80.4                      Cheers
  9. Juan Pablo Montoya    78.7                      Boos
  10. Kurt Busch                      78.3                     Boos

* – Most crowd noise recorded (in two-race history of using decibel meter)

** – PA Announcer said, "ARE YOU READY TO MEET THE TOP 10 DRIVERS?" Crowd roared.

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Gluckometer Ratings: Bud Shootout

As often as possible, I try to measure fan reaction to the drivers during pre-race introductions.

In the past, I've done it on a 1-10 scale using my ears. This year, I enlisted help using a new decibel meter.

Here are the drivers who got the most noise prior to tonight's Budweiser Shootout:

            Driver                Noise in dB         Type of noise

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.        90.5                      Cheers
  2. Kyle Busch                     88.1                      Boos
  3. Mark Martin                    87.5                      Cheers
  4. Jimmie Johnson            87.1                      Boos
  5. Tony Stewart                  86.8                      Cheers
  6. Matt Kenseth                  85.9                      Cheers
  7. Juan Pablo Montoya    85.5                      Boos
  8. Ken Schrader                85.5                      Cheers
  9. Kasey Kahne                 85.3                      Cheers
  10. Carl Edwards                85.0                      Cheers
Continue
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