TOP 10 RUNDOWN A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 31, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway, the 13th...
TOP 10 RUNDOWN
A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 31, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway, the 13th of 36 races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule (1:35 p.m. ET on FX). The first 26 races of the season will 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 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 1,747. Previous ranking: 1. Johnson, who has led the rankings for nine consecutive races, won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway for his second victory in 2005 (he also won at Las Vegas). He is the only driver with nine top-10 finishes in the season's first 12 races. Johnson has ranked among the top 10 since Las Vegas in March of 2004, or 45 consecutive events. He has competed in six races at Dover with victories in both races in 2002; he has four top-10 finishes there overall. Johnson's worst Dover finish was 38th in June 2003. He placed 32nd there a year ago and 10th last fall.
No. 2 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,676 (-71). Previous ranking: 2. Biffle finished sixth at Charlotte, his third top-10 finish in three races, to maintain his highest career ranking. His eight top-10 finishes this season include victories at California, Texas and Darlington. Biffle has run five races at Dover with one top-10 finish in 2003. He placed 26th in this race in 2004 and 11th last fall. He has never led at the one-mile track and has one DNF, in 2002. Biffle was 21st in the standings after 12 races last year.
No. 3 -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford). Team: Robert Yates Racing. Points: 1,542 (-205). Previous ranking: 4. Sadler finished 13th at Charlotte to climb one rung in the standings. He has six top-10 finishes in 2005. Sadler has competed in 12 races at Dover with one top-10 finish there, a 10th in this race in 2002. Sadler finished 18th at Dover a year ago and 20th last fall. He has led one lap in two separate races there, and has never posted a DNF.
No. 4 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 1,530 (-217). Previous ranking: 7. Newman finished fifth at Charlotte, his third top-five finish in his last three races, during which he climbed from 15th to fourth in the standings. He has six top-10 finishes in 2005. Newman has run six races at Dover, with back-to-back triumphs in 2003 and a victory last fall. He has five top-10 finishes there overall. Newman finished 24th in this race last year, his worst outing at the Delaware track and his only finish there lower than eighth. Newman ranked ninth in the standings at this point last season.
No. 5 -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 1,516 (-231). Previous ranking: 3. Gordon finished 30th at Charlotte, his fourth DNF this season. His victories in 2005 came at Daytona, Martinsville and Talladega; he and Biffle lead the series with three triumphs apiece. Gordon has led 16 of his 24 races at Dover, posting victories in 2001, twice in 1996 and in this race in 1995. His 2,117 laps led there are tops among active drivers. On the flip side, Gordon hasn't led a lap in five of his past 10 Dover races, including last June. Gordon finished 36th in this race a year ago and third last fall.
No. 6 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevy). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 1,488 (-259). Previous ranking: 6. Stewart finished 24th at Charlotte, ending a streak of three consecutive top-10 results. He has six top-10 finishes in 2005. He has run 12 races at Dover with victories in both events in 2000; his lone finish outside the top 10 was an 11th--place effort in June 2002. Stewart has finished sixth or better in his last five Dover races, including second a year ago and sixth last fall. He has led in 10 of his 12 outings there, and has never posted a DNF.
No. 7 -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet). Team: Richard Childress Racing. Points: 1,485 (-262). Previous ranking: 8. Harvick finished 14th at Charlotte. He has four top-10 finishes this season, including a victory at Bristol in April. Harvick has competed in eight races at Dover with four top-10 finishes. He placed 10th in this race last year and 19th last fall. Harvick ranked 10th in the standings 12 races into 2004.
No. 8 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,459 (-288). Previous ranking: 13. Edwards finished third at Charlotte to climb five spots in the rankings. He has five top-10 finishes this season, including a victory at Atlanta in March. He joins Biffle and Kurt Busch as one of three Roush drivers in the top 10 in the standings. Edwards has run one race at Dover, finishing 18th last September.
No. 9 -- Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge). Team: Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates. Points: 1,451 (-296). Previous ranking: 9. McMurray finished 21st at Charlotte, ending a string of three consecutive top-10 efforts. He has five top-10 finishes this season. McMurray has competed in four races at Dover with two top-10 finishes; a sixth in the fall of 2003 and an eighth last September. He finished 15th in this race a year ago. McMurray ranked 12th in the standings at this point in 2004.
No. 10 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,441 (-306). Previous ranking: 5. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion finished 43rd at Charlotte, dropping five spots in the standings. His last-place showing didn't end his series-leading streak of 47 consecutive races in which he has ranked in the top 10 in the standings, dating to February of 2004. He has six top-10 finishes this season. Busch has run nine races at Dover with two top-10 efforts. He placed 12th in this race last year and a career-best fifth last fall. Busch has led two races at Dover and has three DNFs there. He ranked eighth in the standings at this point in 2004.
Top 10 following Charlotte (Race 12 of 36):
1. Jimmie Johnson 1,747 points
2. Greg Biffle 1,676 (-71)
3. Elliott Sadler 1,542 (-205)
4. Ryan Newman 1,530 (-217)
5. Jeff Gordon 1,516 (-231)
6. Tony Stewart 1,488 (-259)
7. Kevin Harvick 1,485 (-262)
8. Carl Edwards 1,459 (-288)
9. Jamie McMurray 1,451 (-296)
10. Kurt Busch 1,441 (-306)
New arrival in the Top 10: Carl Edwards.
Dropped out of the Top 10: Mark Martin.
Closing in on the Top 10: No. 11 Rusty Wallace (-12 out of 10th); No. 12 Mark Martin (-18); No. 13 Jeremy Mayfield (-24); No. 14 Dale Jarrett (-35); No. 15 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-44).