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Keeping Pace

Several Drivers Aiming For NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase Heading To Richmond

The chase for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship gets underway in September but Richmond International Raceway’s Saturday night event could be a turning point for several drivers including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 27, 2009) – Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top 12, along with other notable drivers, going into the Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway on May 2. (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 – Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.1
2009 Rundown
• One win, three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 9.4
• Led six races for 314 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, two top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 19.1
• Finished 10th in September
• Led six of 16 races for 340 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 9.5, second-best

2 – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.7
2009 Rundown
• One win, five top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 10.4
• Led six races for a total of 394 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Two wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; five poles
• Average finish of 15.1
• Finished eighth in September
• Led 20 of 32 races for 1,065 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-high 238 Fastest Laps Run

3 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 105.5
2009 Rundown
• One win, four top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 12.6
• Led eight races for 311 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Three wins, four top fives; two poles
• Average finish of 17.5
• Won September’s Richmond race
• Led seven of 14 races for 369 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-best Average Running Position of 8.4

4 – Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.0
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 11.0
• Led four races for 53 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Three wins, eight top fives, 14 top 10s
• Average finish of 10.5
• Finished second in September
• Led 11 of 20 races for 815 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.9, fifth-best

5 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.4
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 12.3
• Led three races for 331 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Three top fives, four top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 8.8
• Finished third in September
• Led all six of his Richmond races for 452 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 9.7, fourth-most

6 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.4
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, three top fives
• Average finish of 16.4
• Led five races for 561 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Six top 10s
• Average finish of 6.8
• Finished 15th in September
• Led five of eight races for 345 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 151 Fastest Laps Run, tied for fifth-most

7 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.8
2009 Rundown
• One top five, four top 10s
• Average finish of 14.4
• Led five races for 42 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Three top 10s
• Average finish of 18.2
• Finished 13th in September
• Led one of nine races for 15 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 12.7, seventh-best

8 – Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.1
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 15.1
• Led one race for nine laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, three top 10s
• Average finish of 9.3
• Finished 12th in September
• Led two of six races for 17 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has run 78.4% of the laps on the lead lap, 13th-best

9 – Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.6
2009 Rundown
• One top five, four top 10s
• Average finish of 14.9
• Led one race for 67 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, seven top fives, 13 tops 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 15.0
• Finished sixth in September
• Led nine of 29 races for 899 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 70.3%, eighth-best

10 –Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.9
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 16.3
• Led four races for 150 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Two top fives, five top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 15.7
• Finished 14th in September
• Led four of 13 races for 71 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 15.7, 10th-best

11 – David Reutimann (No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.8
2009 Rundown
• One top five, two top 10s
• Average finish of 15.4
• Led three races for 42 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• One top 10
• Average finish of 18.3
• Finished ninth in September
• Led one of four races for 104 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 15.5, ninth-best

12 – Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.2 
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, three top fives
• Average finish of 18.0
• Led four races for 155 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• One win, three top fives, nine top 10s
• Average finish of 16.9
• Finished 39th in September
• Led eight of 18 races for 192 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 65 Fastest Laps Run, tied for 12th-most

15 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 84.9
2009 Rundown
• One win, three top 10s
• Average finish of 18.0
• Led four races for 90 laps
Richmond International Raceway Outlook:
• Three wins, eight top fives, 10 top 10s
• Average finish of 11.1
• Finished fourth in September
• Led 10 of 19 races for 427 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has run 92.2% of the laps on the lead lap, fourth-best

Chase Contenders

 

The Top 12 … And Beyond Following Race 9 of 36

 

 


                                                                            Rank     Season

 

                                                                            Last        Driver
Driver                         Points   Wins      Poles      Week      Rating

 

 

1. Kurt Busch               1,299       1           0              3           103.1

 

2. Jeff Gordon               1,294       1           0              1           108.7

 

3. Jimmie Johnson        1,235       1           0              2           105.5

 

4. Tony Stewart            1,232       0           0              4            99.0

 

5. Denny Hamlin           1,190       0           0              5           100.4

 

6. Kyle Busch               1,124       2           1              7           103.4

 

7. Carl Edwards            1,119       0           0              8            93.8

 

8. Clint Bowyer             1,098       0           0              6            79.1

 

9. Jeff Burton                1,092       0           0              11          83.6

 

  10. Greg Biffle                1,081       0           0              14         88.9

 

  11. David Reutimann       1,077       0           1                        83.8

 

  12. Matt Kenseth            1,063       2           0              12         81.2

 

        ___________________________________________________

 

 

ADDITIONAL DRIVERS

 

 

13. Ryan Newman      1,033                        34. John Andretti        676 

 

14. Kasey Kahne        1,030                        35. Robby Gordon      653 

 

15. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1,018                        36. Scott Speed          607          

 

16. J.P. Montoya        1,018                        37. David Gilliland       569 

 

17. Brian Vickers        995                           38. Regan Smith        473 

 

18. Mark Martin          971                           39. Aric Almirola         451 

 

19. Marcos Ambrose   937                           40. Joe Nemechek     371 

 

20. Kevin Harvick        918                           41. Brad Keselowski   333 

 

21. Casey Mears        911                           42. Scott Riggs          311          

 

22. David Stremme     899                           43. Scott Riggs          292          

 

23. Martin Truex Jr.     887                           44. Jeremy Mayfield   230

 

24. Michael Waltrip     883                           45. Bill Elliott             228

 

25. Reed Sorenson     881                           46. Dave Blaney         224

 

26. David Ragan         855                           47. Max Papis            222

 

27. AJ Allmendinger    847                           48. Todd Bodine         123

 

28. Elliott Sadler         845                           49. Terry Labonte       91

 

29. Jamie McMurray   825                           50. Sterling Marlin       86

 

30. Bobby Labonte     823                           51. Mike Bliss             71

 

31. Sam Hornish Jr.    775                           52. Tony Raines         34

 

32. Paul Menard         766                          

 

33. Joey Logano         753                          

 

 

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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