Preseason top ten choosen

Johnson Chosen as 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 Favorite Media predicts lineup for 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2005) -- If media voters prove accurate prognosticators, look for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup...

Johnson Chosen as 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 Favorite
Media predicts lineup for 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2005) -- If media voters prove accurate prognosticators, look for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship battle to mimic recent history.

The defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series champion, Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford), won the 2004 title by eight points over Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) -- the closest finish in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history. And while both drivers remain title candidates, Johnson has been selected as the media favorite in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10.

A total of 213 votes were cast in the balloting, which began Feb. 3 at www.nascarmedia.com and ended Feb. 13. Drivers received 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, eight points for third place, seven points for fourth place, six points for fifth place, five points for sixth place, four points for seventh place, three points for eighth place, two points for ninth place and one point for 10th place. Eight drivers in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 competed in the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Johnson received 1,765 points and 87 first-place votes. Trailing him by only 25 points in second is Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), who received 1,740 points and 65 first-place votes. Third place in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 belongs to Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), who received 1,355 points and 25 first-place votes. Only eight points separate Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) and Busch for fourth and fifth place, respectively. Stewart received 1,030 points and seven first-place votes while Busch received 1,022 points and five first-place votes.

As for the rest of the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10, sixth-place Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) received 844 points and nine first-place votes. In seventh place is Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), the defending Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Kahne, who received 707 points and one first-place vote, didn't make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but he has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10.

In eighth place is 2003 series champion Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWALT Industrial Tools Ford). Kenseth received 657 points and no first-place votes. Behind Kenseth, in ninth place, is Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge), the second driver who didn't make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10. McMurray received 546 points and two first-place votes.

Tenth in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 media voting is Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford), who's beginning his final fulltime season. He received 453 points and four first-place votes.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports