Keeping Pace

THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2009, 12:02 A.M.

Week 8: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12 – And Beyond

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 National Guard GED Plus Chevrolet, celebrates his first career win in 17 starts at Texas Motor Speedway following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) (Jonathan Ferrey / The Spokesman-Review)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 National Guard GED Plus Chevrolet, celebrates his first career win in 17 starts at Texas Motor Speedway following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung 500. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) (Jonathan Ferrey / The Spokesman-Review)

A look at Week 8 as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads into an off weekend before heading to Phoenix International Raceway and the season's first race run under the lights.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 6, 2009) – Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top 12, along with other notable drivers, going into the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 18. (Note: Drivers listed below who are outside the top 12 are chosen based on past performances at the upcoming track and/or are within striking distance of the top 12.)

1 – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 121.6
2009 Rundown
• One win, five top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 4.6
• Led six races for a total of 394 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, eight top fives, 15 top 10s; three poles
• Average finish of 10.2
• Finished 41st in November
• Led eight of 20 races for 247 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-best Average Running Position of 5.2

2 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.5
2009 Rundown
• One win, three top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 11.3
• Led six races for 308 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• Three wins, six top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 5.5
• Won the last three Phoenix races
• Led six of 11 races for 505 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 7.9, second-best

3 – Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.5
2009 Rundown
• One win, two top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 10.9
• Led four races for 238 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 13.3
• Finished second in November
• Led five of 12 races for 508 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 135 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most

4 – Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.6
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 10.1
• Led one race for nine laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• Two top fives
• Average finish of 15.3
• Finished 12th in November
• Led one of seven for 21 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 520 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most

5 – Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.8
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 10.6
• Led three races for 34 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, six top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 10.6
• Finished 22nd in November
• Led four of 14 races for 293 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.5, fifth-best

6 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.1
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, three top 10s
• Average finish of 11.9
• Led two races for 303 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• Four top fives; one pole
• Average finish of 11.0
• Finished fifth in November
• Led two of seven races for 93 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 9.7, third-most

7 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.2
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, three top fives
• Average finish of 15.1
• Led four races for 519 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, six top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 14.5
• Finished eighth in November
• Led three of eight races for 78 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has been passed 281 times, the fewest on the series

8 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.5
2009 Rundown
• One top five, three top 10s
• Average finish 13.7
• Led four races for 40 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• Four top fives, six top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 13.3
• Finished fourth in November
• Led one of nine races for 87 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-high 379 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green)

9 – Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.3 
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, three top fives
• Average finish of 16.9
• Led three races for 146 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, five top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 18.5
• Finished 15th in November
• Led five of 13 races for 154 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Ranks eighth in average Green Flag Speed

10 – Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 80.8
2009 Rundown
• One top five, two top 10s
• Average finish of 14.6
• Led one race for one lap
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• One top five, three top 10s
• Average finish of 20.2 in nine races
• Finished 13th in November
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 15.8, 12th-best

11 – David Reutimann (No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.8
2009 Rundown
• One top five
• Average finish of 15.0
• Led two races for 41 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• Average finish of 25.0 in three races
• Finished 25th in November
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 62.9%, ninth-best

12 – Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.6
2009 Rundown
• One top five, three top 10s
• Average finish of 15.6
• Led one race for 61 laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• Two wins, five top fives, 11 tops 10s
• Average finish of 11.0
• Finished ninth in November
• Led four of 19 races for 215 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 68 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most

14 – Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 77.7
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives
• Average finish of 17.7
• Led one race for nine laps
Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
• Two wins, three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 13.2
• Finished seventh in November
• Led three of 12 races for 316 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Fourth-best “Closer,” improving 19 positions in the final 10% of races

Chase Contenders

 

The Top 12 … And Beyond Following Race 7 of 36

 

 

                                                                                       Rank         Season
                                                                                       Last           Driver
Driver                            Points         Wins      Poles        Week        Rating

 

 

1. Jeff Gordon                  1,154              1           0              1              121.6

 

2. Jimmie Johnson              992              1           0              4              108.5

 

3. Kurt Busch                     974              1           0              3              100.5

 

4. Clint Bowyer                   967              0           0              2              85.6

 

5. Tony Stewart                  963              0           0              7              100.8

 

6. Denny Hamlin                 938              0           0              5              100.1

 

7. Kyle Busch                    914              2           1              6              105.2

 

8. Carl Edwards                 889               0           0              8              99.5

 

9. Matt Kenseth                 864               2           0              12            81.3

 

  10. Kasey Kahne                851               0           0              9              80.8

 

  11. David Reutimann           845               0           1              11            82.8

 

  12. Jeff Burton                    835               0           0              13            81.6

 

        ___________________________________________________

 

 

ADDITIONAL DRIVERS

 

 

13. J.P. Montoya        819                           34. Robby Gordon      531 

 

14. Kevin Harvick       796                           35. Joey Logano         510 

 

15. Greg Biffle           775                           36. David Gilliland       462          

 

16. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 768                           37. Aric Almirola         451 

 

17. Ryan Newman      743                           38. Scott Speed          386 

 

18. Mark Martin           742                           39. Travis Kvapil        292 

 

19. Brian Vickers        737                           40. Regan Smith         276 

 

20. AJ Allmendinger    731                           41. Bill Elliott              228 

 

21. Michael Waltrip      721                           42. Scott Riggs          216          

 

22. David Stremme     720                           43. Joe Nemechek      205          

 

23. Casey Mears        688                           44. Dave Blaney        187

 

24. Martin Truex Jr.     672                           45. Jeremy Mayfield   158

 

25. Elliott Sadler         667                           46. Brad Keselowski    143

 

26. Bobby Labonte      663                           47. Todd Bodine          123

 

27. Jamie McMurray    658                           48. Max Papis            113

 

28. Marcos  Ambrose  656                           49. Terry Labonte       91

 

29. David Ragan        626                            50. Mike Bliss             71

 

30. Reed Sorenson     624                           51. Sterling Marlin       43

 

31. Sam Hornish Jr.    571                          

 

32. Paul Menard          543                          

 

33. John Andretti        540                          

 

 

Note: The first 26 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season determine which 12 drivers qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, contested over the final 10 races of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.






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