Top-10 rundown 2006-06-12

Top 10 - June 12, 2006 A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2006) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's 3M Performance 400 presented by ...

Top 10 - June 12, 2006
A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2006) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it-Picture Paper at Michigan International Speedway, the 15th of 36 races on the series' schedule (1 p.m. ET on FOX).

The first 26 races of the season determine the drivers competing in 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 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: 2,145. Johnson finished 10th at Pocono to retain his spot atop the standings. He is the only driver with 11 top-10 finishes this season; Johnson and fifth-ranked Kasey Kahne are the series' only three-race winners in 2006. He has been among the top 10 for 83 consecutive races, since March 2004. Johnson has three top-10 finishes in eight races at Michigan. He placed 19th in this race a year ago and 10th last August. Johnson has a 17.125 average finish at Michigan. He has finished on the lead lap in five of his eight starts, including both events last year. Johnson led the most laps at Michigan once, in August 2003. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Johnson is the second best Closer gaining 39 positions over the final 10 percent of races.

No. 2 -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,097. The 2003 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion finished fifth at Pocono, closing to 48 points behind Johnson in the standings. He has 10 top-10 finishes this season, including top-five performances in his last five races. At this point in 2005, Kenseth was 24th in the standings. He has ranked in the top five since the season's second race, a victory at California. Kenseth has one victory in 13 races at Michigan, in June 2002. He placed fourth in this race a year ago and third last August. He has logged top-10 finishes in his last six races at Michigan, tops among drivers there with more than three starts. Kenseth has led in five of his 13 Michigan starts, but has yet to lead the most laps. He has failed to finish on the lead lap in only two of his 13 outings. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Kenseth is first in Driver Rating at 107.9.

No. 3 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 AAA Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,907. Martin finished 17th at Pocono to remain third in the standings. Martin has four victories in 40 races at Michigan; his most recent triumph there came in June 1998. He finished third in this race a year ago and 17th last August. Martin has an 11.75 average finish at Michigan. He has led in 24 of his 40 starts, and has led the most laps in four events. Martin has finished on the lead lap in seven of his last eight races at Michigan. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Martin ranks second in Average Running Position.

No. 4 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 1,888. Stewart, driving his first full race since breaking his shoulder at Lowe's Motor Speedway, finished third at Pocono to advance one spot in the standings. He has eight top-10 finishes in 2006. Stewart has one victory (June 2000) in 14 races at Michigan; he has six top-10 finishes in his last seven Michigan races. Stewart placed second in this race a year ago and fifth last August. He has a 12.5 average finish at the two-mile track. Stewart has led in four of his 14 starts, and led the most laps in this race once, last June. He has finished on the lead lap in his last seven races at Michigan. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight. Stewart ranks second in Miles Led with 744.83.

No. 5 -- Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 1,866. Kahne finished seventh at Pocono, his ninth top-10 finish this season. He was 19th in the standings at this point last season. Kahne has two top-10 finishes in four races at Michigan, both top fives during his rookie season in 2004. He placed 18th in this race a year ago and 29th last August. Kahne has a 13.5 average finish at Michigan. He has been running at the finish in his four Michigan starts. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Kahne ranks fifth in Driver Rating at 97.3.

No. 6 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet). Team: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Points: 1,850. Earnhardt finished 14th at Pocono, dropping from fourth to sixth in the standings. He has two top-10 finishes in 13 races at Michigan. Earnhardt finished 17th in this race a year ago and 18th last August. His best Michigan performance was seventh in June 2003. Earnhardt has finished outside the top 15 in his last five Michigan races. He has a 20.538 average finish at Michigan. Earnhardt has led in five of his 13 races at Michigan, but never for more than 37 laps in a single race. He has finished on the lead lap in three of his last four Michigan races, including both events last year. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Earnhardt ranks first in Percentage of Laps run on the Lead Lap with 96.39 percent.

No. 7 -- Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet). Team: Richard Childress Racing. Points: 1,758. Burton finished ninth at Pocono to retain his spot in the standings. He has nine top-10 finishes this season. Burton has climbed from 21st to seventh in the standings since Martinsville; his has seven top-10 finishes in those eight races. He has eight top-10 finishes in 24 races at Michigan, his most recent a fourth-place effort in August 2002. Burton finished 11th in this race a year ago and 26th last August. He has led in seven races at Michigan, but has yet to lead the most laps in an event. Burton has a 14.875 average Michigan finish. He has finished on the lead lap in his last seven races at Michigan. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Burton ranks first in Quality Passes with 948.

No. 8 -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet). Team: Richard Childress Racing. Points: 1,715. Harvick finished 13th at Pocono to retain his spot in the standings. He has six top-10 finishes this year. Harvick has ranked among the top 10 in the last eight races, since Texas in April. He has three top-10 finishes in 10 races at Michigan. Burton finished 25th in this race a year ago and 22nd last August. He has an 18.1 average finish at Michigan. Burton has led in two races at Michigan, and has one DNF there. He has finished on the lead lap in four of his last five Michigan events. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Harvick ranks ninth in Miles Led with 222.26.

No. 9 -- Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 1,682. Aided by excellent work in the pits, the series rookie clinched his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points victory at Pocono. The triumph vaulted him to his first appearance in the top 10 in his 21-race career. He is the highest-ranking NASCAR Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate. Hamlin, who spun through the infield early at Pocono after cutting a tire, is the only rookie with top-15 finishes in nine races this year. He is the highest finishing rookie in eight races this season. Hamlin will be making his first Michigan start. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Hamlin ranks tenth in Driver Rating at 90.1.

No. 10 -- Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 1,669. Busch finished 22nd at Pocono to remain 10th in the standings. He has seven top-10 finishes this season. Busch ranked 18th in the standings at this point last season. He has run two races at Michigan, finishing ninth in this race a year ago and 43rd (a DNF) last August. He has a 26.0 average Michigan finish. Busch has led in one of his two Michigan starts. Season-to-date Loop Data highlight: Kyle Busch ranks 10th in Fastest Drivers Early in a Run.

Fast Facts

Top 10 following Pocono (race 14 of 36):
1. Jimmie Johnson 2,145 pts
2. Matt Kenseth 2,097 (-48)
3. Mark Martin 1,907 (-238)
4. Tony Stewart 1,888 (-257)
5. Kasey Kahne 1,866 (-279)
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1,850 (-295)
7. Jeff Burton 1,758 (-387)
8. Kevin Harvick 1,715 (-430)
9. Denny Hamlin* 1,682 (-463)
10. Kyle Busch 1,669 (-476)

Weeks at No. 1: Johnson (6).

New arrivals this week in the Top 10: Denny Hamlin*

Dropped out of the Top 10: Jeff Gordon

Closing in on the Top 10:
11. Jeff Gordon 1,644
12. Greg Biffle 1,642
13. Carl Edwards 1,547
14. Jamie McMurray 1,530
15. Casey Mears 1,508

*Denotes Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate.

-nascar-

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