Chase for the Cup: Talladega

Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup: Talladega A look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 during the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 26, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10...

Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup: Talladega

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

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 26, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 (1:30 p.m. on NBC), the third race of the final 10 events in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup."

The UAW-Ford 500 is the 29th 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" will still compete for the 11th spot, which will pay in excess of $1 million. They will continue to be ranked under the standard points system.

No. 1 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 5,362. Previous ranking: 6. Johnson finished first at Dover to catapult from sixth to first in the rankings. He has 17 top-10 finishes and has led the standings after 17 of 28 races in 2005. Johnson has ranked among the top-10 since Las Vegas in March 2004, or 61 consecutive races. He has competed in seven races at Talladega with two top-10 finishes, a fourth in 2004 and seventh in 2002. He placed 37th in this race last year and 20th in May. He has a 14.4 average finish in restrictor-plate races and an average finish of 22nd at Talladega.

No. 2 -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 5,355 (-7). Previous ranking: 4. Wallace finished third at Dover to advance to second in the rankings. This is his highest spot in the standings since he ranked first in February of 2001. This is also Wallace's first time competing in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, ironically during his final year of competitive driving. Wallace has run 44 races at Talladega with 12 top-10 finishes. He finished 26th in this race last year and 22nd in May. He has an 18.8 average restrictor-plate finish and a 20.454 average finish at Talladega.

No. 3 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 5,350 (-12). Previous ranking: 3. Newman finished fifth at Dover to remain third in the rankings. He is the only driver who has scored top-five finishes in the first two races of the "Chase." He has 12 top-10 finishes. Newman has competed in seven races at Talladega with two top-10 finishes, a fourth in 2003 and seventh in 2002. He placed 16th in this race last year and 39th in May. He has a 22.33 average finish in restrictor-plate races and a 22.71 average finish at Talladega.

No. 4 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 5,341 (-21). Previous ranking 7. Martin finished fourth at Dover to climb three spots in the rankings. He has 14 top-10 finishes this season. More and more it appears Martin will stay in the No. 6 Ford one more season, as Roush has not filled the seat. Martin has competed in 39 races at Talladega with 21 top-10 finishes, including victories in 1997 and 1995. Martin finished 15th in this race a year ago and 33rd in May. He has a 15.25 average finish in restrictor-plate races and a 14.5 average finish at Talladega.

No. 5 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 5,339 (-23). Previous ranking: 1. After several outstanding months of racing, Stewart finished 18th at Dover, dropping from first to fifth in the rankings. Stewart ended a seven-week streak atop the standings and a 13-race streak of top-10 finishes that included five victories. He has run 13 races at Talladega with eight top-10 finishes; four of those top-10 efforts were second-place finishes. Stewart finished sixth in this race last year and second in May. He has a 15.14 average finish in restrictor-plate races and a 12.69 average finish at Talladega.

No. 6 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard-Post It Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 5,339 (-23). Previous ranking: 2. Biffle finished 13th at Dover, ending a 26-race streak of ranking among the top five. Biffle, a first-time "Chase" contestant, has five victories this season, the same number as Stewart. He has 16 top-10 finishes this season. Biffle has run five races at Talladega and has yet to score a top 10 there. He finished 28th in this race last year and 13th in May, his best finish there to date. Biffle has a 20.72 average finish at restrictor-plate races and a 20.4 average finish at Talladega.

No. 7 -- Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 5,281 (-81). Previous ranking: 8. Mayfield placed seventh at Dover to advance one spot in the rankings. He has eight top-10 finishes this season. Mayfield, the final driver to make the 2004 "Chase," has competed in 22 races at Talladega with two top-five finishes. He finished 38th in this race last year and was fourth in May. He has a 21.34 average finish in restrictor-plate races and a 23.09 average finish at Talladega.

No. 8 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 World Financial Group Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 5,259 (-103). Previous ranking: 9. Edwards finished ninth at Dover to climb one spot in the rankings. He has 11 top-10 finishes this season. Edwards finished 42nd in this race last year and 32nd in May. Edwards has run four restrictor-plate races with a career-best 12th-place finish in February at Daytona. He has a 29.75 average finish in restrictor-plate races and a 37.0 average finish at Talladega, highest among the "Chase" drivers.

No. 9 -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWALT Power Tools Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 5,238 (-124). Previous ranking: 5. Kenseth finished 35th at Dover, a serious setback for a driver who had zoomed up the rankings during the last month. He has 12 top-10 finishes in 2005. Kenseth has competed in 11 races at Talladega with three top-10 finishes. He placed 14th in this race last year and 11th in May. He has a 19.95 average finish in restrictor-plate races and 18.45 average finish at Talladega.

No. 10 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie Ford). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 5,192 (-170). Previous ranking: 10. Busch finished 23rd at Dover just a week after an early exit at New Hampshire, putting a damper on his chances of clinching a second consecutive championship. He has 14 top-10 finishes this season. Busch has competed in nine races at Talladega with four top-five and six top-10 finishes. He placed fifth in this race last year and was seventh in May. Busch has a 16.57 average finish at restrictor-plate races and a 12.44 average finish at Talladega, best among drivers in the "Chase."

<pre> Fast Facts

Top 10 following the MBNA 400 (Race 28 of 36): 1. Jimmie Johnson 5,362 pts. 2. Rusty Wallace 5,355 (-7) 3. Ryan Newman 5,350 (-12) 4. Mark Martin 5,341 (-21) 5. Tony Stewart 5,339 (-23) 6. Greg Biffle 5,339 (-23) 7. Jeremy Mayfield 5,281 (-81) 8. Carl Edwards 5,259 (-103) 9. Matt Kenseth 5,238 (-124) 10. Kurt Busch 5,192 (-170)

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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 , Joe Gibbs Racing