Indianapolis: Raybestos Rookie pre-race notes

* Ryan Newman was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, the second consecutive race where he has taken the honors. Newman placed fifth at Pocono and collected his eighth top-five of the season. He has...

* Ryan Newman was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, the second consecutive race where he has taken the honors. Newman placed fifth at Pocono and collected his eighth top-five of the season. He has now been Raybestos® Rookie of the Race nine times this season entering the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

* Newman used his good run at Pocono to chop into Jimmie Johnson's lead in the Raybestos® Rookie standings. Newman trails Johnson by 13 points (285-272) entering the Brickyard 400.

* Johnson was the only Raybestos® Rookie to lead a lap at Pocono. He held the top spot once for two laps.

* Johnson was the highest qualifying rookie at Pocono, claiming the seventh starting position. Johnson has now been the highest qualifying rookie nine times in 2002.

* Johnson remains third in the Winston Cup points chase, 38 behind second place Mark Martin and 144 behind leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson holds a 44-point advantage over fourth place Jeff Gordon and 51 over fifth place Kurt Busch.

* Johnson has led the most laps in two races this season: the Coca-Cola 600 and the MBNA Platinum 400. Newman has led the most laps in one race this season, the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Entering Sunday's race at Pocono, both Raybestos® Rookies have led laps in the same event five times.

* Johnson has led more miles this season than any other Raybestos® Rookie. He has led 19 times in eight races for 794.78 miles (554 laps).

* Johnson is tied with Tony Stewart for most top-10s by a Raybestos Rookie in NASCAR's modern era. Johnson has 12 top-10 finishes entering the Brickyard 400.

* Ryan Newman became the first Raybestos® Rookie since Tony Stewart in 1999 to lead a lap at Pocono. Newman led once for 19 laps in June at the Pocono 500.

* Newman is the only member of this Raybestos® Rookie class to start last year's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newman qualified an impressive fifth and led the race once for three laps. He finished 31st, one lap down, and was running at the finish of the race.

* Kurt Busch was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race last year at Indianapolis, scoring a fifth place finish. Busch also led the race once for one lap.

* Kevin Harvick also had a solid run at Indianapolis, scoring an 11th place finish. He, like Busch, also led the race (once for 18 laps). Busch and Harvick were the only freshman drivers to complete all 160 laps of the race.

* Five Raybestos® Rookies started the race at Indianapolis and three were running at the finish of the race: Busch, Harvick, and Ron Hornaday (34th). Overheating problems sidelined Casey Atwood (41st) while an accident put Andy Houston (43rd) out of the race after just one lap.

* Casey Atwood was the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie at Indianapolis, taking the third starting position in time trials. Atwood was the only Raybestos® Rookie to start inside the top-10.

*   Newman became the first Raybestos® Rookie since Kenny Irwin in 1998 to
finish in the top-10 at Sonoma.  Irwin, like Newman, finished ninth.

* A Raybestos® Rookie has posted multiple victories five times in NASCAR Winston Cup history: Davey Allison (two wins in 1987), Tony Stewart (three wins in 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two wins in 2000), Kevin Harvick (two wins in 2001, and Jimmie Johnson (two wins in 2002).

* A Raybestos® Rookie Contender has now won at least one race in each of the last four seasons dating back to Tony Stewart's win at Richmond in September, 1999. Other freshman drivers to win: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond, 2000), Matt Kenseth (Charlotte, 2000), and Kevin Harvick (Atlanta, 2001).

* When Johnson and Newman won poles at Talladega and California in consecutive races, it was the first time since 1965 that a rookie won the pole position in back to back events. The last driver to accomplish the feat was Dick Hutcherson when he took the top starting spot at Myrtle Beach and Valdosta.

* By winning the pole for the Daytona 500, Johnson joined Loy Allen (1994) and Mike Skinner (1997) as the only drivers in their rookie season to win the pole for the Daytona 500. He is also among an elite group of modern era (since 1972) drivers who have won poles early in their careers. Johnson won his first Winston Cup pole position in just his fourth career start. Ryan Newman and Mark Martin both won a pole in their third career start, while Johnny Benson won his first career pole in his fourth start.

<pre> RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS

DRIVER                  POINTS
Jimmie Johnson          285
Ryan Newman             272
Shawna Robinson          81
Carl Long                28

HIGHEST FINISHING RAYBESTOS® ROOKIES BY RACE

EVENT                           HIGHEST FINISHING ROOKIE
Daytona 500                     Ryan Newman, seventh
Subway 400                      Ryan Newman, 14th
UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400        Ryan Newman, fourth
MBNA America 500                Jimmie Johnson, third
Carolina Dodge Dealers 400      Ryan Newman, fifth
Food City 500                   Jimmie Johnson, seventh
Samsung/RadioShack 500          Jimmie Johnson, fourth
Virginia 500                    Jimmie Johnson, 35th
Aaron's 499                     Jimmie Johnson, seventh
NAPA Auto Parts 500             Jimmie Johnson, first
Pontiac Excitement 400          Ryan Newman, second
Coca-Cola Racing Family 600     Jimmie Johnson, seventh
MBNA 400                        Jimmie Johnson, first
Pocono 500                      Jimmie Johnson, third
Sirius Satellite Radio 400      Ryan Newman, third
Dodge/Save Mart 350             Ryan Newman, ninth
Pepsi 400                       Jimmie Johnson, eighth
Tropicana 400                   Jimmie Johnson, fourth
New England 300                 Ryan Newman, fifth
Pennsylvania 500                Ryan Newman, fifth

-raybestos-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Dick Hutcherson , Carl Long , Mark Martin , Davey Allison