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Keeping Pace

Mon., May 11, 2009, 6:53 a.m.

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

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

NASCAR returns "home" to Charlotte, N.C. this week for their annual All-Star Race Weekend. Most teams are based in the Charlotte area and while many will be racing most drivers and crews will have the chance to sleep in their beds this weekend.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 11, 2009) – Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top 12, along with other notable drivers, going into the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 24. (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: 109.8
2009 Rundown
• One win, six top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 9.7
• Led eight races for a total of 496 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Five wins, 15 top fives, 18 top 10s; seven poles
• Average finish of 16.1
• Finished eighth in October
• Led 21 of 32 races for 579 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Series-high 291 Fastest Laps Run

2 – Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.9
2009 Rundown
• Five top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 9.5
• Led five races for 54 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.1
• Finished 11th in October
• Led 11 of 20 races for 595 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.4, fourth-best

3 – Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.7
2009 Rundown
• One win, three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 10.3
• Led seven races for 322 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three top fives
• Average finish of 20.8
• Finished third in October
• Led eight of 17 races for 238 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 9.8, second-best

4 – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.7
2009 Rundown
• One win, five top fives, seven top 10s
• Average finish of 13.7
• Led nine races for 313 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Five wins, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 8.9
• Finished sixth in October
• Led 14 of 15 races for 1,236 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.4, fifth-best

5 – Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.3
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 12.5
• Led four races for 479 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three top 10s
• Average finish of 16.3
• Finished 16th in October
• Led four of seven races for 28 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.3, third-most

6 – Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 84.9
2009 Rundown
• Two top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 13.5
• Led two races for 67 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three wins, eight top fives, 15 tops 10s
• Average finish of 14.4
• Won October’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway race
• Led nine of 30 races for 428 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 70.5%, seventh-best

7 – Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.1
2009 Rundown
• Three wins, four top fives
• Average finish of 16.6
• Led seven races for 616 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three top fives, four tops 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 21.4
• Finished fourth in October
• Led seven of 10 races for 146 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 186 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most

8 – Ryan Newman (No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.7
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 15.1
• Led six races for 135 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three top fives, five top 10s; seven poles
• Average finish of 21.9
• Finished 21st in October
• Led 10 of 16 races for 254 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 66 Fastest Laps Run, 15th-most

9 – Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.7
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 15.6
• Led five races for 267 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Two top fives, five top 10s
• Average finish of 18.3
• Finished seventh in October
• Led five of 12 races for 43 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 255 Fastest Laps Run, second-most

10 – Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 80.7 
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, three top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 16.8
• Led five races for 171 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One win, five top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 16.6
• Finished 41st in October
• Led 14 of 19 races for 253 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• 1,038 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most

11 – Mark Martin (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.1
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 17.8
• Led five races for 215 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Four wins, 17 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 15.9
• Finished ninth in October
• Led 22 of 48 races for 1,168 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has run 85.3% of the laps on the lead lap, eighth-best

12 – Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.4
2009 Rundown
• One top five, four top 10s
• Average finish of 17.1
• Led five races for 42 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• Three top fives, six top 10s
• Average finish of 10.8
• Finished 33rd in October
• Led four of eight races for 34 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 13.8, seventh-best

13 – Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 77.9
2009 Rundown
• Three top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 17.4
• Led two races for 16 laps
Lowe’s Motor Speedway Outlook:
• One top five
• Average finish of 18.3
• Finished 12th in October
• Led two of six races for 82 laps
Season-To-Date Loop Data Highlight
• Has run 78.9% of the laps on the lead lap, 12th-best

Chase Contenders

 

The Top 12 … And Beyond Following Race 11 of 36

 

 


                                                                          Rank     Season
                                                                          Last        Driver
Driver                        Points   Wins      Poles     Week      Rating

 

 

1. Jeff Gordon              1,601       1           0              1           109.8

 

2. Tony Stewart           1,572       0           0              3           100.9

 

3. Kurt Busch              1,546       1           0              2           100.7

 

4. Jimmie Johnson       1,465       1           0              6           100.7

 

5. Denny Hamlin          1,445       0           0              4           100.3

 

6. Jeff Burton               1,384       0           0              7             84.9

 

7. Kyle Busch              1,380       3           1              5           104.1

 

8. Ryan Newman         1,363       0           0              10            81.7

 

9. Greg Biffle               1,345       0           0              11            90.7

 

  10. Matt Kenseth          1,326       2           1              12            80.7

 

  11. Mark Martin             1,316       2           3              15            97.1

 

  12. Carl Edwards           1,271       0           0              9              88.4

 

        ___________________________________________________

 

 

ADDITIONAL DRIVERS

 

 

13. Clint Bowyer         1,264                        34. Robby Gordon      847 

 

14. J.P. Montoya        1,255                        35. Scott Speed          756 

 

15. David Reutimann   1,232                        36. John Andretti        743          

 

16. Kasey Kahne        1,205                        37. David Gilliland       649 

 

17. Brian Vickers        1,188                        38. Regan Smith         573 

 

18. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1,182                        39. Brad Keselowski    479 

 

19. Martin Truex Jr.     1,144                        40. Aric Almirola         451 

 

20. Marcos Ambrose   1,131                        41. Joe Nemechek      414 

 

21. Kevin Harvick         1,109                        42. Scott Riggs          394          

 

22. Casey Mears         1,104                        43. Dave Blaney         298          

 

23. Reed Sorenson      1,090                        44. Travis Kvapil         292

 

24. Jamie McMurray    1,068                        45. Jeremy Mayfield    288

 

25. AJ Allmendinger    1,059                        46. Max Papis             280

 

26. Elliott Sadler         1,059                        47. Bill Elliott               228

 

27. David Stremme      1,039                        48. Todd Bodine          123

 

28. Michael Waltrip      1,017                       49. Mike Bliss             123

 

29. Bobby Labonte      1,007                        50. Sterling Marlin        123

 

30. Joey Logano         1,002                        51. Tony Raines           122

 

31. Sam Hornish Jr.       998                        52. Terry Labonte           91

 

32. David Ragan            998                          

 

33. Paul Menard            957                          

 

 

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.