Race to the Chase Rundown: Daytona

Race to the Chase Rundown: Daytona A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10, as the 'Chase' approaches DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Saturday's...

Race to the Chase Rundown: Daytona
A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10, as the 'Chase' approaches

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Saturday's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the first event in the "Race for the Chase," the 10 events prefacing the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup."

The Pepsi 400 is the 17th of 36 races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. The first 26 races of the season determine who will be part of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup in the final 10 races. Drivers who are in the top 10 or within 400 points of the leader after those 26 races will vie for the series title in the "Chase."

No. 1 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,250. Previous ranking: 2. Biffle finished 14th on Sunday at Infineon Raceway, good enough to take the lead in the standings for the first time in his career. A five-race winner this season (California, Texas, Darlington, Dover and Michigan), Biffle has 10 top-10 finishes this year, and has led a series-high 961 laps. He has run five races at Daytona, his only top-10 finish was his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory, in July 2003. Biffle finished 31st in this race last year and was 25th in the 2005 Daytona 500. He has one victory (at Daytona) in 10 restrictor-plate races.

No. 2 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 2,228 (-22). Previous ranking: 1. Transmission woes dogged Johnson at Infineon, where he finished 36th and dropped out of the lead in the rankings for the first time since March at Atlanta. He is the only driver with 11 top-10 finishes in 2005, and the lone driver ranked in the top 10 after every race this year. He has been in the top 10 in the standings a series-leading 49 consecutive races. Johnson has run seven races at Daytona, with top-five finishes in his last three races there. His best Daytona effort was a second-place finish in this race a year ago. He has yet to win a restrictor-plate race.

No. 3 -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford). Team: Robert Yates Racing. Points: 2,073 (-177). Previous ranking: 3. Sadler finished sixth at Infineon, his 10th top-10 effort this season. He has competed in 13 races at Daytona with three top-10 finishes; his best showing was second in the 2002 Daytona 500. Sadler, who has yet to win at Daytona, placed 26th in this race last year; he was 11th in the 2005 Daytona 500. Sadler has five top-10 finishes in 25 career restrictor-plate races.

No. 4 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 2,052 (-198). Previous ranking: 6. Stewart clinched his first victory of the season at Infineon, helping him jump from 10th to fourth in the rankings in the last two races. He has eight top-10 finishes this season. Stewart has run 13 races at Daytona with six top-10 finishes; his best effort there was second in the 2004 Daytona 500. He finished fifth in this race last year and was seventh in the 2005 Daytona 500. Stewart has 14 top-10 finishes in 26 restrictor-plate races, but has yet to log a victory at Daytona or Talladega.

No. 5 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,022 (-228). Previous ranking: 5. Martin finished 15th at Infineon to keep his lock on fifth place in the standings; he ranked 15th after 16 races last year. He has competed in 40 races at the Florida superspeedway, with 15 top-10 efforts. His best Daytona finish was third in the 1995 Daytona 500. Martin finished sixth in this race last year and sixth in the 2005 Daytona 500. He has two victories (at Talladega) in 70 restrictor-plate races with 34 top-10 finishes overall.

No. 6 -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 2,013 (-237). Previous ranking: 8. Wallace finished fourth at Infineon, his eighth top-10 effort this season. He has been running at the finish of a series-leading 29 consecutive races, since Bristol last fall. Wallace has competed in 44 races at Daytona with 17 top-10 finishes, but has yet to win a restrictor-plate race. His best Daytona finish was second in July 2002. Wallace placed 27th in this race last year and 10th in the 2005 Daytona 500. He has 23 top-10 finishes in 70 restrictor-plate races. Wallace ranked 16th in the standings at this point last year.

No. 7 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 1,994 (-256). Previous ranking: 7. Newman finished ninth at Infineon, his eighth top-10 effort this year. He has competed in seven races at Daytona with one top-10 finish, a seventh-place effort in his first Daytona 500 in 2002. Newman has finished 12th or worse in his last six races there. He placed 12th in this race a year ago and 20th in the 2005 Daytona 500. Newman has three top-10 finishes in 14 career restrictor-plate races. He has never won at Daytona or Talladega.

No. 8 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Smirnoff Ice Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,978 (-272). Previous ranking: 9. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion finished third at Infineon, his ninth top-10 effort this season. He has run nine races at Daytona with four top-five finishes. Busch finished fourth in this race last year and second in the 2005 Daytona 500. He has been running at the end of all his races there. Busch has 10 top-10 finishes in 18 career restrictor-plate races, but has yet to win at Daytona or Talladega.

No. 9 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 Pennzoil Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,963 (-287). Previous ranking: 4. Edwards finished 38th at Infineon to drop five spots in the rankings. He has two victories this season, at Atlanta and Pocono. Edwards has seven top-10 finishes in 2005. He has competed in one race at Daytona, finishing 12 in this year's Daytona 500. Edwards joins points leader Biffle, No. 5 Martin and No. 8 Busch as one of four Roush Racing drivers ranked in the top 10.

No. 10 -- Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Home 123 Dodge). Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Points: 1,923 (-327). Previous ranking: 11. McMurray finished 13th at Infineon, helping him climb from 13th to 10th in the rankings in the last three races. He has six top-10 finishes this season. McMurray has competed in five races at Daytona, finishing 31st or worse in each. He finished 37th in this race last year and 32nd in the 2005 Daytona 500. McMurray has three top-10 finishes in 11 restrictor-plate races; his best effort was a fifth at Talladega this May. He has never won a race at Daytona or Talladega.

Fast Facts

Top 10 going into the Pepsi 400
1. Greg Biffle 2,250 points
2. Jimmie Johnson 2,228 (-22)
3. Elliott Sadler 2,073 (-177)
4. Tony Stewart 2,052 (-198)
5. Mark Martin 2,022 (-228)
6. Rusty Wallace 2,013 (-237)
7. Ryan Newman 1,994 (-256)
8. Kurt Busch 1,978 (-272)
9. Carl Edwards 1,963 (-287)
10. Jamie McMurray 1,923 (-327)

New arrival in the Top 10: Jamie McMurray.

Dropped out of the Top 10: Kevin Harvick.

Closing in on the Top 10: No. 11 Jeremy Mayfield (-21 pts. out of 10th); No. 12 Dale Jarrett (-53); No. 13 Kevin Harvick (-68); No. 14 Jeff Gordon (-87); No. 15 Michael Waltrip (-96).

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Chip Ganassi , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Felix Sabates , Mark Martin
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske , Joe Gibbs Racing , Yates Racing