Race to the Chase Rundown: Michigan

Race to the Chase Rundown: Michigan A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10, as the 'Chase' approaches DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's...

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

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 15, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway (1:30 p.m. on TNT), the seventh event in the "Race to the Chase," the 10 events prefacing the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup."

The GFS Marketplace 400 is the 23rd 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 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 3,113. Previous ranking: 1. After reaching his dream at Indianapolis, Stewart kept smoking at Watkins Glen, winning his fifth event in the last seven races. With eight top-10 finishes in the last eight races, he has scored all but 89 of the 1,520 championship driver points available in those races. Stewart has made up 455 points in the last seven races, climbing from 10th to first in the rankings. Stewart has competed in 13 races at Michigan with eight top-10 finishes, including a victory in 2000. He has finished in the top 10 in five of his last six races there. Stewart finished ninth in this race a year ago and second in June. He has a 13.1 average finish at Michigan.

No. 2 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 3,008 (-105). Previous ranking: 2. Johnson finished fifth at Watkins Glen, and like Stewart has logged 14 top-10 finishes this season. Johnson, a two-time winner this year, has ranked among the top-10 since Las Vegas in March 2004, or 55 consecutive races. He has run seven races at Michigan with two top-10 finishes, but has yet to win there. Johnson finished 40th in this race last year, his worst effort at Michigan and his only DNF there. He placed 19th in June. Johnson has an 18.1 average finish at Michigan.

No. 3 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,861 (-252). Previous ranking: 3. Biffle finished 38th at Watkins Glen but remained third in the rankings on the strength of five victories this season. Biffle has 11 top-10 finishes, three less than Stewart and Johnson. He has competed in five races at Michigan, finishing first in his last two races there; he has top-five finishes in three of his five starts. Biffle, who has led in four of his five Michigan starts, has a 12.0 average finish there.

No. 4 -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 2,855 (-258). Previous ranking: 4. Wallace finished sixth in his final appearance at Watkins Glen to give him 12 top-10 finishes this year. He has been running at the finish of a series-leading 35 consecutive races, since Bristol last fall. He has competed in 43 races at Michigan with 21 top-10 finishes, including five victories, his most recent in 2000. He has led 854 laps at Michigan, fifth highest at the Irish Hills superspeedway. He finished 36th in this race last year, his sixth DNF there. His 10th-place effort in June marked his first top-10 finish there in his last six races. Wallace has a 14.2 average finish at Michigan.

No. 5 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,782 (-331). Previous ranking: 6. Martin finished seventh at Watkins Glen, his 12th top-10 effort this season. He has competed in 39 races at Michigan with 26 top-10 finishes, including four victories, his most recent in 1998. Martin has led 872 laps at Michigan for third place on the laps-led list. He finished second at Michigan a year ago and third in June. Martin has an 11.6 average finish there.

No. 6 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,692 (-421). Previous ranking: 5. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, who startled the racing world with his announcement that he has signed with Penske Racing South beginning in 2007, finished 39th at Watkins Glen, dropping one spot in the rankings. He has run nine races at Michigan with three top-10 finishes, including a victory in June 2003. He finished sixth in this race a year ago and 12th in June. Busch has a 20.3 average finish at Michigan.

No. 7-- Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 2,684 (-429). Previous ranking: 8. Mayfield finished 11th at Watkins Glen; he has five top-10 finishes this season. Mayfield has competed in 23 races at Michigan with three top-10 finishes, but has yet to win there. He finished 11th in this race last year and 22nd in June. Mayfield, who has a 19.1 average finish at Michigan, has not scored a top-10 finish in his last eight races there.

No. 8 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 2,646 (-467). Previous ranking: 7. Newman finished 30th at Watkins Glen to drop one spot in the rankings. He has 10 top-10 finishes this season. Newman has competed in eight races at Michigan with four top-10 finishes, including back-to-back victories in 2003 and 2004. He finished 14th in this race a year ago and 15th in June. Newman has a 13.9 average finish at Michigan.

No. 9 -- Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge). Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Points: 2,599 (-514). Previous ranking: 11th. McMurray finished 13th at Watkins Glen to climb back into the top 10 in the rankings. He has seven top-10 finishes this year. He has run five races at Michigan with one top-10 finish, a fourth-place effort in this race a year ago. McMurray, who finished 13th at Michigan in June, has a 20.8 average finish there.

No. 10 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 AAA/Office Depot Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,593 (-520). Previous ranking: 10. Edwards finished 19th at Watkins Glen to retain his spot in the rankings. He has eight top-10 finishes this season. Edwards, whose first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start came at Michigan one year ago, finished 10th in his first outing there. He finished fifth at Michigan in June.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates , Mark Martin
Teams Team Penske , Joe Gibbs Racing