I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.
If the lead car is off on its own at the front but there is an NPC car directly in front of it (the last car). Is that car 'the closest' or do you go back in the pack to find the closest car in race order?
"Closest to the lead" means in 2nd, 3rd, 4th position and so on. Not the last car in the race (even if it is just in front of the current leader).