Race to the Chase Rundown: New Hampshire

Race to the Chase Rundown: New Hampshire DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 10, 2006) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, the...

Race to the Chase Rundown: New Hampshire

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 10, 2006) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, the third event in the "Race to the Chase," the 10 events prefacing the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup."

The LENOX Industrial Tools 300 (1:30 p.m. EDT on TNT) is the 19th of 36 races on the series' schedule. The first 26 races of the season will determine the drivers involved in the third annual Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup contested over the final 10 races. Drivers who are in the top 10 or within 400 points of the standings' leader after those 26 races will vie for the 2006 series title in the "Chase."

No. 1 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 2,651. Johnson finished sixth at Chicagoland, padding his lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings from eight to 51 points over No. 2 Matt Kenseth. He is the only driver with 14 top-10 finishes this season. Johnson has been among the top 10 for 87 consecutive races, since March 2004. He has three victories in 2006, second to No. 5 Kasey Kahne (four). Johnson has two victories (both races in 2003) and four top-10 finishes in eight races at New Hampshire for an 8.625 average finish, second to Ryan Newman. He finished 13th in this race a year ago and eighth last September. Johnson has led in three of his races at New Hampshire, and has been running at the finish in all eight starts. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Johnson ranks second in Average Running Position (10.769).

No. 2 -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,600. Kenseth finished 22nd at Chicagoland, his worst finish in his last eight races. He has ranked in the top five since the season's second race, a victory at California. Kenseth has eight top-10 finishes in 12 races at New Hampshire, where he has been running at the finish of every event. He has seven top-10 finishes in his last seven New Hampshire races, and a 10.66 average overall finish. Kenseth finished 10th in this race a year ago and third last September. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Kenseth is top ranked in Driver Rating (105.5).

No. 3 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet). Team: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Points: 2,394. Earnhardt finished fifth at Chicagoland to retain his spot in the standings. He ranked 13th at this point last season. Earnhardt has six top-10 finishes in 13 starts at New Hampshire, where he has a 17.0 average finish. He has led in five of his 12 starts, and has been running at the finish in all but two races there. Earnhardt finished ninth in this race a year ago and fifth last September. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Earnhardt is ranked fifth in Driver Rating (106.3).

No. 4 -- Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet). Team: Richard Childress Racing. Points: 2,327. Burton finished second at Chicagoland to climb three spots in the standings. He has 11 top-10 finishes this season. Burton has a series-best four victories (the most recent in 2000) and nine top-10 finishes at New Hampshire for a 13.722 average finish. He placed 14th in this race a year ago and ninth last September. Despite his stellar New Hampshire record, Burton has not led in his last five starts. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Burton is ranked fourth in Average Running Position (11.884).

No. 5 -- Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 2,303. Kahne finished 23rd at Chicagoland, dropping one spot in the standings. He has a series-leading four victories this season (Atlanta, Texas, Lowe's Motor Speedway and Michigan), as well as 10 top-10 finishes. Kahne ranked 21st in the standings at this point in 2005. He has competed in four races at New Hampshire, finishing sixth in this race a year ago and 38th last September, his first DNF at the New England track. Kahne has a 14.0 average New Hampshire finish. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Kahne is ranked eighth in Driver Rating (93.0).

No. 6 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 AAA Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,291. Martin finished 18th at Chicagoland to retain his spot in the standings, the lowest he's been ranked since the season's second race, at California. He has had only one DNF (at Talladega in October 2005, due to an accident) in the 43 events since Dover 's June 2005 race. Martin has 12 top-10 finishes in 22 races at New Hampshire for an 11.272 average finish. He placed 15th in this race a year ago and seventh last September. Martin has led in seven races at New Hampshire, where he is one of 11 drivers who have competed in all 22 events. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Martin ranks fourth in Consecutive Passes Without Being Passed (34).

No. 7 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 2,274. Stewart finished 32nd at Chicagoland, his third showing of 28th or worse in his last four races. He dropped two spots in the standings. Stewart has two victories (in this race a year ago, and in 2000) and nine top-10 finishes (eight of which were top fives) in 14 races at New Hampshire, for a 12.62 average finish. In addition to winning this race in 2005, he finished second last September. Stewart has led in seven of his 14 New Hampshire starts. He has led 736 laps, second only to Jeff Gordon's 1,069. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Stewart ranks second in Fastest Drivers Early in a Run (6.7).

No. 8 -- Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kelloggs Chevrolet). Team: Rick Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 2,265. Busch finished third at Chicagoland, his ninth top-10 finish this season. He ranked 20th at this point in 2005. Busch has just one DNF this year, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He has run two races at New Hampshire, placing fourth in this race a year ago and 27th last September for a 15.5 average finish. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Busch is top-ranked in Consecutive Laps With a Pass (13).

No. 9 -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet). Team: Richard Childress Racing. Points: 2,253. Harvick finished fourth at Chicagoland, his ninth top-10 effort in 2006. He has five top-10 finishes in 10 starts at New Hampshire; he placed 22nd in this race a year ago and 10th last September. Harvick has a 14.6 average finish at New Hampshire, where he has led in six races. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Harvick in ranked ninth in Mile Leaders (294.71).

No. 10 -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 2,219. Gordon was the winner at Chicagoland, traveling to Victory Lane for the second time in his last three races. On the flip side, his four DNFs are tops among drivers in the top 10. Gordon has three victories (the latest in 1998) and 12 top-10 finishes in 22 races at New Hampshire. He finished 25th in this race a year ago and 14th last September. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Gordon is top-ranked in Average Running Position (10.620). <pre> Fast Facts

Top 10 following Chicagoland (race 18 of 36): 1. Jimmie Johnson 2,651 pts 2. Matt Kenseth 2,600 (-51) 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,394 (-257) 4. Jeff Burton 2,327 (-324) 5. Kasey Kahne 2,303 (-348) 6. Mark Martin 2,291 (-360) 7. Tony Stewart 2,274 (-377) 8. Kyle Busch 2,265 (-386) 9. Kevin Harvick 2,253 (-398) 10. Jeff Gordon 2,219 (-432)

Weeks at No. 1: Johnson (10).

New arrival this week in the Top 10: Jeff Gordon

Dropped out of the Top 10: Denny Hamlin*

Closing in on the Top 10: 11. Greg Biffle 2,172 12. Denny Hamlin* 2,169 13. Kurt Busch 2,087 14. Carl Edwards 2,026 15. Casey Mears 1,991

* Denotes Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate.

-nascar-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing