Keeping Pace

Race For The 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Heads To Golden State

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

Groundbreaking for California's Auto Club Speedway took place in November 1995. There have been 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the track opened in 1997 and four drivers have competed in all 18 races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Joe Nemechek.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2009) – Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top 12 going into the fourth race of the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 11.

1 - Mark Martin (No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.1
2009 Rundown
• Five wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; seven poles
• Average finish of 14.3
• Led 19 races for 786 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
• Average finish of 14.9 in 16 races
• Average Running Position of 11.7, eighth-best
• Driver Rating of 94.9, ninth-best
• 59 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
• Average Green Flag Speed of 171.103 mph, eighth-fastest
• 1,240 Laps in the Top 15 (70.7%), 13th-most

2 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 112.2
2009 Rundown
• Four wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 11.9
• Led 24 races for 1,590 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Three wins, eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 6.2 in 13 races
• Series-best Average Running Position of 5.9
• Series-best Driver Rating of 119.4
• Series-high 300 Fastest Laps Run
• Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 171.960 mph  Series-high 2,130 Laps in the Top 15 (94.5%)
• 425 Quality Passes, third-most

3 - Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.8
2009 Rundown
• Five top fives, 15 top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 12.8
• Led 8 races for 270 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Average finish of 22.0 in five races
• Average Running Position of 20.1, 21st-best
• Driver Rating of 68.4, 23rd-best

4 - Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.4
2009 Rundown
• Four wins, 14 top fives, 20 top 10s
• Average finish of 9.0
• Led 16 races for 364 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Three top fives, eight top 10s
• Average finish of 15.9 in 16 races
• Average Running Position of 10.8, fifth-best
• Driver Rating of 98.2, seventh-best
• 132 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
• Average Green Flag Speed of 171.221 mph, seventh-fastest
• 1,736 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0%), sixth-most
• 421 Quality Passes, fourth-most

5 - Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.9
2009 Rundown
• One win, eight top fives, 16 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.3
• Led 16 races for 525 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, four top fives, six top 10s; three poles
• Average finish of 12.9 in 14 races
• Average Running Position of 13.9, 10th-best
• Driver Rating of 93.1, 10th-best
• 85 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
• 626 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
• 1,565 Laps in the Top 15 (69.4%), eighth-most
• 378 Quality Passes, eighth-most

6 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.2
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, 11 top fives, 16 top 10s
• Average finish of 12.1
• Led 14 races for 1,015 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One top five, three top 10s
• Average finish of 14.0 in seven races
• Average Running Position of 14.9, 12th-best
• Driver Rating of 90.0, 11th-best
• Average Green Flag Speed of 170.924 mph, 10th-fastest

7 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.0
2009 Rundown
• One win, 13 top fives, 20 top 10s
• Average finish of 10.6
• Led 14 races for 698 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Three wins, nine top fives, nine top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 10.9 in 18 races
• Average Running Position of 9.8, fourth-best
• Driver Rating of 98.4, sixth-best
• 148 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
• 677 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
• Average Green Flag Speed of 171.232 mph, sixth-fastest
• 1,740 Laps in the Top 15 (77.2%), fifth-most
• 449 Quality Passes, second-most

8 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/Sherwin Williams Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.4
2009 Rundown
• Nine top fives, 14 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.9
• Led 12 races for 545 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, four top fives, four top 10s
• Average finish of 17.1 in 13 races
• Average Running Position of 11.1, seventh-best
• Driver Rating of 100.8, fifth-best
• 206 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
• Average Green Flag Speed of 171.393 mph, fifth-fastest
• 1,583 Laps in the Top 15 (70.2%), seventh-most

9 - Ryan Newman (No. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 82.1
2009 Rundown
• Five top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 13.9
• Led 13 races for 187 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Two top fives, four top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 19.2 in 13 races
• Average Running Position of 18.5, 18th-best
• Driver Rating of 75.1, 17th-best
• 720 Green Flag Passes, second-most

10 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.5
2009 Rundown
• Seven top fives, 12 top 10s
• Average finish of 13.8
• Led 11 races for 162 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, six top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 6.7 in 10 races
• Average Running Position of 10.8, sixth-best
• Driver Rating of 105.0, fourth-best
• 139 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
• Average Green Flag Speed of 171.512 mph, third-fastest
• 1,783 Laps in the Top 15 (79.1%), fourth-most
• 390 Quality Passes, seventh-most

11 - Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.3
2009 Rundown
• Two wins, five top fives, 12 top 10s
• Average finish of 14.3
• Led 6 races for 180 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, three top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 13.0 in 11 races
• Average Running Position of 13.6, ninth-best
• Driver Rating of 97.3, eighth-best
• 96 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
• 647 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
• Average Green Flag Speed of 171.072 mph, ninth-fastest
• 1,486 Laps in the Top 15 (65.9%), 10th-most
• 400 Quality Passes, sixth-most

12 - Brian Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.5
2009 Rundown
• One win, four top fives, 13 top 10s; six poles
• Average finish of 15.6
• Led 10 races for 101 laps
Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One top five, four top 10s; two poles
• Average finish of 16.0 in 11 races
• Average Running Position of 16.3, 15th-best
• Driver Rating of 85.8, 13th-best
• 674 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
• 1,256 Laps in the Top 15 (55.7%), 12th-most
• 343 Quality Passes, 11th-most

At Auto Club Speedway:
History

• Groundbreaking for California Speedway, as Auto Club Speedway was originally known, took place in November 1995.
• The first race there was a NASCAR Camping World Series West race won by Ken Schrader on June 21, 1997.
• The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 22, 1997 and won by Jeff Gordon.
• September 2004 was the first night race and that was also the first year there were two races a year for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series.
• The track name was changed to Auto Club Speedway in February 2008.

Notebook
• There have been 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the track opened in 1997.
• Four drivers have competed in all 18 races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Joe Nemechek.
• Joe Nemechek won the pole for the inaugural race in 1997.
• There have been 12 different pole winners, led by Kurt Busch (three). Brian Vickers and Jeff Gordon each have two poles.
• 12 different drivers have posted victories. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth each have won three races.
• Rick Hendrick has won seven races, more than any other car owner.
• Nine of the 18 races were won from starting positions outside the top 10; only one has been won from the pole (Jimmie Johnson in 2008).
• Matt Kenseth won the 2006 spring race from the 31st starting position, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started.
• Four active drivers have averaged a top-10 finish: Kyle Busch (9.2), Carl Edwards (6.7), Jimmie Johnson (6.2) and Matt Kenseth (9.0).
• Kyle Busch won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole (2/05) and first race (9/05) at Auto Club Speedway.

NASCAR in California
• There have been 125 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in California:
• 406 NASCAR drivers have their home state recorded as California.
• There have been 32 race winners from California in NASCAR’s three national series. Below are those winners, and a breakdown of wins by national series:

Driver

 

NCSC

 

  NNS

 

NCWTS

 

Jimmie Johnson

 

44

 

1

 

0

 

Marvin Panch

 

17

 

0

 

0

 

Ernie Irvan

 

15

 

3

 

0

 

Dick Rathmann

 

13

 

0

 

0

 

Kevin Harvick

 

11

 

34

 

4

 

Dan Gurney

 

5

 

0

 

0

 

Eddie Gray

 

4

 

0

 

0

 

Eddie Pagan

 

4

 

0

 

0

 

Parnelli Jones

 

4

 

0

 

0

 

Robby Gordon

 

3

 

1

 

0

 

Danny Letner

 

2

 

0

 

0

 

Marvin Porter

 

2

 

0

 

0

 

Ray Elder

 

2

 

0

 

0

 

Casey Mears

 

1

 

1

 

0

 

Bill Norton

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Danny Graves

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Danny Weinberg

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Dick Brooks

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Jim Cook

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

John Soares

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Johnny Mantz

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Lou Figaro

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Marvin Burke

 

1

 

0

 

0

 

Ron Hornaday Jr

 

0

 

4

 

45

 

Jason Leffler

 

0

 

2

 

1

 

Mike Skinner

 

0

 

1

 

28

 

Joe Ruttman

 

0

 

1

 

13

 

David Gilliland

 

0

 

1

 

0

 

Boris Said

 

0

 

0

 

1

 

Brandon Whitt

 

0

 

0

 

1

 

Matt Crafton

 

0

 

0

 

1

 

Scott Speed

 

0

 

0

 

1

 

The Chase Is On

 

The Top 12 Following Race 29 of 36

 

 

Rank Season
Last Driver
Driver                         Points Wins   Poles        Week       Rating

 

 

1. Mark Martin              5,551    5           7              1           100.1

 

2. Jimmie Johnson        5,533    4           2                        112.2

 

3. Juan Pablo Montoya  5,500    0           2              3           92.8

 

4. Tony Stewart            5,484    4           0              5           102.4

 

5. Kurt Busch               5,460    1           0              4           100.9

 

6. Denny Hamlin           5,452    2           0              6           101.2

 

7. Jeff Gordon               5,448    1           0              8           101.0

 

8. Greg Biffle                5,437    0           0              9            90.4 

 

9. Ryan Newman          5,387    0           1              7            82.1

 

  10. Carl Edwards           5,386    0           0              11          90.5

 

  11. Kasey Kahne           5,361    2           0              12          89.3

 

  12. Brian Vickers           5,301    1           6              10          85.5

 

        ___________________________________________________

 

 

ADDITIONAL DRIVERS

 

 

13. Kyle Busch           3,522                        34. Michael Waltrip     2,204

 

14. Matt Kenseth        3,475                        35. Scott Speed          2,104

 

15. David Reutimann   3,417                        36. John Andretti         2,026       

 

16. Clint Bowyer         3,411                        37. David Gilliland        1,524

 

17. Marcos Ambrose   3,180                        38. Regan Smith         1,181

 

18. Jeff Burton            3,062                        39. Joe Nemechek       1,099

 

19. Casey Mears        2,993                        40. Brad Keselowski    1,056 

 

20. Joey Logano         2,921                        41. Dave Blaney          1,044

 

21. Kevin Harvick        2,898                        42. Bill Elliott               843          

 

22. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,849                        43. Max Papis             806          

 

23. Jamie McMurray   2,822                        44. Aric Almirola          527

 

24. AJ Allmendinger    2,801                        45. Tony Raines          494

 

25. Martin Truex Jr.     2,745                        46. Mike Bliss             452

 

26. Elliott Sadler         2,739                        47. Scott Riggs           448

 

27. Sam Hornish Jr.    2,680                        48. Patrick Carpentier  351

 

28. Reed Sorenson     2,588                        49. Travis Kvapil           292

 

29. David Stremme     2,532                        50. Jeremy Mayfield     288

 

30. Bobby Labonte      2,529                        51. Sterling Marlin       258

 

31. David Ragan         2,527                        52. Terry Labonte         244

 

32. Paul Menard         2,447                        53. Mike Skinner         166

 

33. Robby Gordon       2,228                        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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Keeping Pace

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






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