Top-10 Rundown 2006-04-03

A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 3, 2006) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the seventh of 36...

A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 3, 2006) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the seventh of 36 races on the series' schedule

The first 26 races of the season will determine who will be part of the third annual "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" in the final 10 races. Drivers who are in the top 10 or within 400 points of the points 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: 933. Johnson's third-place finish at Martinsville Speedway helped return him to the top of the standings after an absence of one week. He is the only driver with five top-10 finishes in six races this season. Johnson has five top-10 finishes in five career starts at Texas, the longest such streak by any driver. His 6.2 average finish also is tops among all drivers. He finished third there last spring and fifth last November. Johnson is third in the Driver Rating category of NASCAR's Loop Data season-to-date statistics, with a rating of 104.1.

No. 2 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 AAA Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 874. Martin finished 13th at Martinsville and jumped two spots in the standings -- his highest ranking since he finished as the 2002 series runner-up. Martin has one win (April 1998) and five top-10 finishes in 10 races at Texas. He finished 20th there last spring and second last November. His average finish there is 14.0. Martin is fourth in the Driver Rating category of NASCAR's Loop Data season-to-date statistics, with a rating of 99.9.

No. 3 -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWALT Power Tools Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 873. Kenseth finished 24th at Martinsville and slipped to third in the standings. It was his season-low finish to date. A year ago, he was 21st in the standings after six races. He has one win and (April 2002) and three top-10 finishes in seven races at Texas. Kenseth finished 18th there last spring and third last November, an event in which he led 149 of 334 laps. He has an average finish of 13.57 at Texas. Kenseth is second in the Driver Rating category of NASCAR's Loop Data season-to-date statistics, with a rating of 110.8.

No. 4 -- Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 832. Kahne finished 35th at Martinsville, his worst result of the season, and dropped two spots in the standings. He ranked 18th after six races last year. Kahne has one top-10 finish in three races at Texas. He finished second in his first Texas event in April 2004. He finished 35th there last spring and 42nd last November. Kahne has an average finish of 26.33 at Texas.

No. 5 -- Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 832. Busch finished fifth at Martinsville, also remaining fifth in the standings. Last year he ranked 29th after six events. Busch has four top-10 finishes through six races this season. He has only two Texas starts, finishing 21st there last spring and 40th last November. He ranks second in the Average Running Position category of NASCAR's season-to-date Loop Data statistics with an average of 9.758.

No. 6 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet). Team: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Points: 824. Earnhardt finished fourth at Martinsville, remaining sixth in the standings. He has three top-10 finishes in six races. Earnhardt Jr. has one win (April 2000) and six top-10 finishes in seven career starts at Texas. The win was the first of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. Earnhardt ranks second in two season-to-date categories of NASCAR's Loop Data statistics -- Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap (2,029 of 2,049 laps) and Quality Passes (385).

No. 7 -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 814. Gordon finished second at Martinsville to remain seventh in the standings. He has four top-five finishes in 10 races at Texas. He finished 15th there last spring and 14th last November. Gordon leads all drivers in Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap (2,047 of 2,049 laps).

No. 8 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 791. Stewart won at Martinsville -- his first victory of the season -- climbing one spot in the standings. Stewart has led 685 laps, the most of all drivers. In eight career starts at Texas, Stewart has five top-10 finishes. He finished 31st there last spring and sixth last November. He leads three season-to-date Loop Data statistics -- Average Running Position (7.226), Driver Rating (117.0) and Fastest Driver Early in a Run (2.8).

No. 9 -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford). Team: Robert Yates Racing. Points: 735. Sadler finished sixth at Martinsville, boosting him from 11th to ninth in the standings. It's his third visit to the top 10 this season. He has one win (April 2004) and three top-10 finishes in eight races at Texas. Sadler finished 28th there last spring and ninth last November. He has a finishing average of 20.13.

No. 10 -- Casey Mears (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge). Team: Chip Ganassi Racing. Points: 724. Mears finished 27th at Martinsville, dropping two spots in the standings. He opened the season with three top-10 finishes, but has finished 21st, 25th and 27th at Atlanta, Bristol and Martinsville, respectively. Mears has three top-10 finishes in four career starts at Texas. He finished fourth in both races there last year.

-nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Chip Ganassi , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing , Yates Racing