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Keeping Pace

Week 25: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12 – And Beyond

With his win on Saturday night Kyle Busch sits just 34 points behind the 12th and final chase spot in the run to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.


Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 24, 2009) – Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top 12, along with other notable drivers, going into the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 6. (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 – Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.2
2009 Rundown
• Three wins, 13 top fives, 18 top 10s
• Average finish of 8.7
• Led 14 races for 275 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Two wins, eight top fives, 13 top 10s
• Average finish of 12.0
• Finished eighth in March’s Atlanta race
• Led 12 of 21 races for 790 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-best Pass Differential of 286 (passes minus times passed)

2 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 111.3
2009 Rundown
• Three wins, nine top fives, 15 top 10s
• Average finish of 11.8
• Led 20 races for 1,235 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three wins, nine top fives, 11 top 10s
• Average finish of 9.1
• Finished ninth in March
• Led nine of 16 races for 386 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-best Average Running Position of 8.1

3 – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.8
2009 Rundown
• One win, 11 top fives, 16 top 10s
• Average finish of 11.4
• Led 12 races for 571 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Four wins, 14 fives, 22 top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 12.4
• Finished second in March
• Led 21 of 34 races for 1,098 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 407 Fastest Laps Run, third-most

4 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.7
2009 Rundown
• One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.1
• Led 10 races for 670 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One top five, two top 10s
• Average finish of 16.5
• Finished 13th in March
• Led three of eight races for 74 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 12.5, sixth-best

5 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.7
2009 Rundown
• Seven top fives, 11 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.0
• Led nine races for 159 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three wins, six top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 10.7
• Finished third in March
• Led seven of 10 races for 299 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 13.0, seventh-best

6 – Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.1
2009 Rundown
• One win, six top fives, 13 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.5
• Led 13 races for 391 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Two wins, six top 10s
• Average finish of 18.6
• Won March’s Atlanta race
• Led eight of 17 races for 526 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.8, third-best

7 – Ryan Newman (No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.4
2009 Rundown
• Five top fives, 10 top 10s
• Average finish of 14.4
• Led 10 races for 156 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One top five, four top 10s; seven poles
• Average finish of 18.5
• Finished 22nd in March
• Led 10 of 15 races for 162 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has run 84.5% of the laps on the lead lap, 11th-best

8 – Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.6
2009 Rundown
• Eight top fives, 11 top 10s
• Average finish of 14.8
• Led 10 races for 431 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 15.9
• Finished 34th in March
• Led seven of 13 races for 289 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 387 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most

9 – Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.4
2009 Rundown
• One top five, 11 top 10s
• Average finish of 14.0
• Led five races for 133 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One top five
• Average finish of 24.4 in five races
• Finished 27th in March
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 2,119 Green Flag Passes, third-most

10 – Mark Martin (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.4
2009 Rundown
• Four wins, seven top fives, 12 top 10s
• Average finish of 16.5
• Led 16 races for 704 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Two wins, 13 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 17.2
• Finished 31st in March
• Led 18 of 47 races for 929 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has been passed 986 times, fewest in the series

11 – Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 87.2
2009 Rundown
• One win, four top fives, nine top 10s
• Average finish of 14.5
• Led five races for 120 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One win, four top fives, six top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 18.5
• Finished seventh in March
• Led four of 11 races for 93 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 174 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most

12 – Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.3 
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, four top fives, nine top 10s
• Average finish of 15.2
• Led 10 races for 194 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Seven top fives, 11 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.8
• Finished 12th in March
• Led five of 19 races for 188 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 1,962 Green Flag Passes, tied for 10th-most

13 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.6
2009 Rundown
• Four wins, six top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 16.9
• Led 13 races for 892 laps
Atlanta Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One win, two top fives
• Average finish of 18.2
• Finished 18th in March
• Led three of 10 races for 254 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 314 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most

Chase Contenders

 

The Top 12 … And Beyond Following Race 24 of 36

 

 

                                                                           Rank       eason
                                                                           Last        Driver
Driver                        Points    Wins      Poles     Week      Rating

 

 

1. Tony Stewart            3,564       3           0              1           103.2

 

2. Jimmie Johnson        3,344       3           1              3           111.3

 

3. Jeff Gordon               3,310       1           0              2           98.8

 

4. Denny Hamlin           3,141       1           0              5           98.7

 

5. Carl Edwards            3,110       0           0              4           92.7

 

6. Kurt Busch               3,103       1           0              6           100.1

 

7. Ryan Newman          2,995       0           1              9           81.4

 

8. Greg Biffle                2,986       0           0              10         90.6

 

9. Juan Pablo Montoya 2,975       0           1              7           88.4

 

  10. Mark Martin             2,971       4           0              12         97.4

 

  11. Kasey Kahne           2,963       1           0              8           87.2

 

  12. Matt Kenseth           2,945       2           0              11         95.3

 

        ___________________________________________________

 

 

ADDITIONAL DRIVERS

 

 

13. Kyle Busch           2,911                        34. Michael Waltrip      1,874

 

14. Brian Vickers        2,906                        35. Scott Speed           1,718

 

15. Clint Bowyer         2,833                        36. John Andretti          1,644       

 

16. David Reutimann   2,785                        37. David Gilliland         1,276

 

17. Marcos Ambrose   2,639                        38. Regan Smith          1,071

 

18. Jeff Burton            2,568                        39. Joe Nemechek        884 

 

19. Joey Logano         2,487                        40. Brad Keselowski     878 

 

20. Casey Mears        2,478                        41. Dave Blaney           844 

 

21. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,416                        42. Bill Elliott               737          

 

22. Jamie McMurray    2,403                        43. Max Papis             644          

 

23. Martin Truex Jr.     2,314                        44. Aric Almirola          451

 

24. Kevin Harvick        2,300                        45. Scott Riggs            448

 

25. AJ Allmendinger    2,258                        46. Tony Raines           426

 

26. Elliott Sadler         2,255                        47. Patrick Carpentier   351

 

27. Sam Hornish Jr.    2,234                        48. Travis Kvapil           292

 

28. Reed Sorenson     2,193                        49. Mike Bliss             292

 

29. David Ragan         2,186                        50. Jeremy Mayfield     288

 

30. Bobby Labonte     2,120                        51. Sterling Marlin        258

 

31. David Stremme     2,083                        52. Terry Labonte         198

 

32. Paul Menard         2,010                        53. Mike Skinner         166

 

33. Robby Gordon      1,900                        54. Ron Fellows           158

 

 

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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