Chase for the Cup: Phoenix

Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup: Phoenix A look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 during the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series...

Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup: Phoenix

A look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 during the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by TECHRON at Phoenix International Raceway (3 p.m. on TNT) the ninth race of the 10 events in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup." The Checker Auto Parts 500 is the 35th of 36 races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. The first 26 races determined who would be part of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Drivers outside the "Chase" are still competing for the 11th spot, which will pay in excess of $1 million.

No. 1 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 6,255. Previous ranking: 1. Stewart finished sixth at Texas, his series-leading 24th top-10 finish this season. He has scored six top-10 finishes in the eight races in the Chase; has led the most laps (599); and has earned 50 lap leader bonus points, 15 more than any other Chase driver. Stewart has led the standings for 13 of the past 14 races. His worst showing was 25th at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Stewart has competed in seven races at Phoenix with four top-10 finishes, including a victory in 1999. He placed 33rd at Phoenix in April, his worst finish there. Stewart has a 12.428 average finish at Phoenix, fourth among drivers in the Chase.

No. 2 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 6,217 (-38 pts). Previous ranking: 2. Johnson finished fifth at Texas, his 22nd top-10 finish in 2005. He has six top-10 finishes in Chase events, including two victories. Johnson's worst Chase effort was 31st at Talladega. He has ranked among the top 10 since Las Vegas in March of 2004, or 67 consecutive races. Johnson has run four races at Phoenix with two top-10 finishes; he placed 15th in April, tying his worst effort there in his 2002 rookie season. His best Phoenix showing was second in 2003. Johnson has a 9.5 average finish at Phoenix, second among Chase drivers.

No. 3 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 6,178 (-77). Previous ranking: 4. Edwards kept his hot streak alive, winning at Texas one week after his victory at Atlanta. He has climbed from sixth to third in the rankings in the last three races on the strength of six top-10 finishes in the Chase, including two victories. He has 16 top-10 finishes in 2005. His worst Chase effort was 26th at Martinsville. Edwards finished seventh at Phoenix in April and 39th in his only other start there, in 2004. His 22.0 average finish is eighth among Chase contestants.

No. 4 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 6,133 (-122). Previous ranking: 3. Biffle spun his way to a 20th-place finish at Texas, dropping one spot in the rankings. He has 19 top-10 finishes this season, including five victories, tying Stewart for the most triumphs. Biffle, among the top five in the rankings after 31 of 34 races, has four top-10 Chase finishes. His worst Chase effort was 27th at Talladega. He has run three races at Phoenix; his best effort there was a 13th in 2004. He placed 41st in April. Biffle has a 23.0 average finish at Phoenix, ninth among Chase drivers.

No. 5 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 6,132 (-123). Previous ranking: 6. Martin came up one lap short at Phoenix, losing the victory to teammate Edwards on the final lap but securing a runner-up finish to advance one spot in the rankings. He has 18 top-10 finishes this season, including five in Chase races. Martin has competed in all 18 races at Phoenix with 13 top-10 finishes, including a victory in 1993. He placed 16th at Phoenix in April. Martin's 9.055 average finish there is first among Chase drivers.

No. 6 -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWALT Power Tools Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 6,120 (-135). Previous ranking: 7. Kenseth finished third at Texas, his 16th top-10 finish this season. He has climbed from ninth to six in the rankings in the last two races. Kenseth has five top-five finishes in the Chase, tying him with Martin for the most. He has competed in six races at Phoenix with three top-10 finishes, including a victory in 2002. Kenseth placed 42nd at Phoenix in April, tying his worst finish there in his 2000 rookie season. He has a 21.833 average finish at Phoenix, seventh among Chase drivers.

No. 7 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Mobil 1/Alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 6,081 (-174). Previous ranking: 5. Starting last in a backup car, Newman finished 25th at Texas, dropping two spots in the rankings. He has 15 top-10 finishes this season, including five in the eight Chase races to date. Newman has run six races at Phoenix with two top-10 finishes; his best effort there was a second in 2004. He placed 14th in April, his third consecutive top-15 finish there. Newman's 19.666 average finish at Phoenix ranks sixth among Chase drivers.

No. 8 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 5,974 (-281). Previous ranking: 9. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion finished 10th at Texas; he is 281 points behind Stewart, more than can be made up in a single race. Busch has 18 top-10 finishes this season. He has competed in six races at Phoenix with four top-10 finishes, including a victory in April. Busch has a 12.0 average finish at Phoenix, third among Chase drivers.

No. 9 -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 5,940 (-315). Previous ranking: 8. Wallace finished 22nd at Texas, dropping one position in the rankings. He has three top-10 finishes in Chase races. He has competed in all 18 Phoenix races with eight top-10 finishes, including a victory in 1998. Wallace finished 36th at Phoenix in April. His 16.888 average finish ranks fifth among Chase drivers.

No. 10 -- Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 5,848 (-407). Previous ranking: 10. Mayfield placed 35th at Texas to remain 10th in the rankings. He has eight top-10 finishes this season, but only in Chase events. Mayfield has run 11 races at Phoenix with one top-10 finish, a runner-up effort in 2000. He placed 13th at Phoenix in April. Mayfield has a 26.363 average finish at Phoenix, last among Chase contenders.

Fast Facts

Top 10 following the Dickies 500 (Race 34 of 36): 1. Tony Stewart 6,255 pts.
2. Jimmie Johnson 6,217 (-38)
3. Carl Edwards 6,178 (-77)
4. Greg Biffle 6,133 (-122)
5. Mark Martin 6,132 (-123)
6. Matt Kenseth 6,120 (-135)
7. Ryan Newman 6,081 (-174)
8. Kurt Busch 5,974 (-281)
9. Rusty Wallace 5,940 (-315)
10. Jeremy Mayfield 5,848 (-407)

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin
Teams Team Penske , Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing