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Keeping Pace

Week 11: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12 – And Beyond

A look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top 12, along with other notable drivers, going into the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com at Darlington Raceway on May 9.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 4, 2009) – Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top 12, along with other notable drivers, going into the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com at Darlington Raceway on May 9. (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: 109.6
2009 Rundown
• One win, five top fives, seven top 10s
• Average finish of 10.2
• Led seven races for a total of 490 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Seven wins, 16 top fives, 19 top 10s; three poles
• Average finish of 11.5
• Finished third last season
• Led 23 of 28 races for 1,604 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-high 259 Fastest Laps Run

2 – Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.7
2009 Rundown
• One win, three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 9.7
• Led seven races for 322 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• One top five, four top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 17.6
• Finished fifth last season
• Led five of 12 races for 183 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 9.1, third-best

3 – Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.8
2009 Rundown
• Four top fives, seven top 10s
• Average finish of 10.1
• Led four races for 53 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Two top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 12.5
• Finished 21st last season
• Led two of 16 races for eight laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.8, fifth-best

4 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.0
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 12.5
• Led four races for 479 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• One top five, three top 10s
• Average finish of 6.3
• Finished seventh last season
• Led two of three races for 194 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 9.1, second-most

5 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.0
2009 Rundown
• Three wins, four top fives
• Average finish of 14.9
• Led six races for 614 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• One win, two tops 10s
• Average finish of 17.0
• Won last season’s Darlington race
• Led two of four races for 170 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 181 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most

6 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.2
2009 Rundown
• One win, four top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 14.9
• Led eight races for 311 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 7.4
• Finished 13th last season
• Led seven of 10 races for 407 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.0, fourth-best

7 – Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 84.9
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 13.7
• Led two races for 67 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Two wins, eight top fives, 15 tops 10s
• Average finish of 11.5
• Finished 10th last season
• Led 11 of 26 races for 786 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 71.9%, seventh-best

8 – Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.8
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 15.4
• Led two races for 16 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• One top 10; one pole
• Average finish of 15.7
• Finished 15th last season
• Led one of three races for 16 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has run 81% of the laps on the lead lap, 11th-best

9 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.7
2009 Rundown
• One top five, four top 10s
• Average finish of 15.6
• Led five races for 42 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Two top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 12.4
• Finished second last season
• Led two of five races for 37 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 13.2, seventh-best

10 – Ryan Newman (No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.3
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 16.2
• Led five races for 87 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Five top fives, six top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 13.3
• Finished 37th last season
• Led seven of 10 races for 249 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 59 Fastest Laps Run, 14th-most

11 –Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.9
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 16.4
• Led four races for 150 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Two wins, three top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 14.8
• Finished 43rd last season
• Led six of eight races for 522 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 178 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most

12 – Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 79.6 
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, three top fives
• Average finish of 17.5
• Led four races for 155 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• One top five, six top 10s
• Average finish of 18.5
• Finished sixth last season
• Led seven of 15 races for 138 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 1,005 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most

18 – 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 18.9
• Led four races for 90 laps
Darlington Raceway Outlook:
• Three top fives, seven top 10s
• Average finish of 14.2
• Finished fourth last season
• Led five of 14 races for 170 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has run 88.6% of the laps on the lead lap, sixth-best

Chase Contenders

 

The Top 12 … And Beyond Following Race 10 of 36

 

 

                                                                          Rank        Season
                                                                          Last          Driver
Driver                        Points    Wins    Poles      Week        Rating

 

 

1. Jeff Gordon              1,441       1           0              2           109.6

 

2. Kurt Busch              1,431       1           0              1           103.7

 

3. Tony Stewart           1,402       0           0              4            99.8

 

4. Denny Hamlin          1,321       0           0              5           103.0

 

5. Kyle Busch              1,314       3           1              6           106.0

 

6. Jimmie Johnson       1,290       1           0              3           101.2

 

7. Jeff Burton               1,257       0           0              9           84.9

 

8. Clint Bowyer            1,212       0           0              8           79.8

 

9. Carl Edwards           1,204       0           0              7           90.7

 

  10. Ryan Newman         1,198       0                      13           78.3

 

  11. Greg Biffle               1,193       0           0            10           86.9

 

  12. Matt Kenseth           1,187       2                      12           79.6

 

        ___________________________________________________

 

 

ADDITIONAL DRIVERS

 

 

13. David Reutimann   1,156                        34. Robby Gordon      768 

 

14. J.P. Montoya        1,152                        35. John Andretti        743 

 

15. Mark Martin           1,126                       36. Scott Speed          671          

 

16. Brian Vickers        1,118                        37. David Gilliland       615 

 

17. Kasey Kahne        1,106                        38. Regan Smith         473 

 

18. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1,100                        39. Aric Almirola         451 

 

19. Marcos Ambrose   1,067                        40. Joe Nemechek      414 

 

20. Casey Mears        1,049                        41. Scott Riggs           348 

 

21. Martin Truex Jr.       989                         42. Brad Keselowski    333          

 

22. Reed Sorenson       984                          43. Travis Kvapil          292          

 

23. Kevin Harvick         979                           44. Jeremy Mayfield    288

 

24. Michael Waltrip      974                           45. Dave Blaney         258

 

25. Jamie McMurray    971                           46. Bill Elliott              228

 

26. David Ragan          949                           47. Max Papis            222

 

27. David Stremme      948                           48. Todd Bodine         123

 

28. AJ Allmendinger     947                           49. Mike Bliss            123

 

29. Elliott Sadler          933                           50. Terry Labonte         91

 

30. Sam Hornish Jr.     925                           51. Sterling Marlin        86

 

31. Bobby Labonte      893                           52. Tony Raines            34

 

32. Joey Logano          859                          

 

33. Paul Menard          839                          

 

 

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

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