Top 10 at a glance -- A weekly look at NASCAR Winston Cup's Top 10 drivers. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2003) -- The following is a glance at the NASCAR Top 10 in the championship as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series enters an off weekend. The ...
Top 10 at a glance -- A weekly look at NASCAR Winston Cup's Top 10 drivers.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 23, 2003) -- The following is a glance at the NASCAR Top 10 in the championship as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series enters an off weekend. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will resume next week with Saturday evening's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Race 17 of 36 on the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule.
No. 1 -- Matt Kenseth
(No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford), Roush Racing.
Points: 2396. Previous ranking: 1. Kenseth finished 14th in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, marking just the third time this season he was been unable to secure a top-10 finish. It also snapped a six-race streak of top-10 performances, his first outside the top 10 since finishing 22nd at Martinsville. Kenseth remains at No. 1 for the 13th consecutive week and only had 11 points shaved off his points lead as a result of Sunday's effort. Overall, he has been in the NASCAR Top 10 for 15 of the 16 weeks.
No. 2 -- Jeff Gordon
(No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), Hendrick Motorsports.
Points: 2222. Previous ranking: 3. Gordon finished runner-up to Robby Gordon at Sonoma and the performance allowed him to unseat Dale Earnhardt for the No. 2 ranking. It is a season-best ranking and marks his ninth consecutive week among the top five in the championship race. Gordon, the NASCAR Top 10 preseason No. 1 as voted by media, slipped past Earnhardt Jr. by two points and trails No. 1 Kenseth by 174. The runner-up finish was his third top-three effort in the last four races (2nd at Dover, 3rd at Michigan) and sixth top-five finish of the season.
No. 3 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
(No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Points: 2220. Previous ranking: 2. Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th at Sonoma, but despite the solid effort on a road course he was unable to maintain the No. 2 ranking. He fell to No. 3, two points behind No. 2 Gordon and 176 behind No. 1 Kenseth, and it ended an eight-week run at No. 2, which was a career-best ranking. He does, however, remain among the top five in the championship chase for the 10th week in a row.
No. 4 -- Bobby Labonte
(No. 18 Interstate Batteries
Chevrolet), Joe Gibbs Racing.
Points: 2136. Previous ranking: 4. Labonte finished ninth at Sonoma -- his seventh top-10 finish in the last eight races -- to remain at No. 4 and also close the gap to 84 points on No. 3 Earnhardt Jr. and 86 on No. 2 Gordon. Overall, he trails No. 1 Kenseth by 260. Labonte has been ranked No. 4 for four consecutive weeks and in the NASCAR Top 10 for seven straight weeks.
No. 5 -- Michael Waltrip
(No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Points: 2024. Previous ranking: 6. Waltrip finished 13th at Sonoma to move up to No. 5 following three weeks in a row at No. 6. It marks his first time among the top five in the championship since being ranked No. 4 following Texas. Overall, he has been situated in the NASCAR Top 10 for the entire season, one of only two drivers to do so (Jimmie Johnson is the other). He also held the No. 1 ranking on two different occasions during the season, joining No. 1 Kenseth as the only drivers to hold that lofty ranking for multiple weeks. Waltrip is 112 points behind No. 4 Labonte and 372 behind No. 1 Kenseth.
No. 6 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford), Roush Racing. Points: 2012. Previous ranking: 5. Following his series-leading third win of the season last week at Michigan, Busch was 28th at Sonoma and the finish cost him a position in the NASCAR Top 10. Busch fell one slot to No. 6, ending a run of 10 consecutive weeks among the top five in the championship. The last time he was outside the top five was when he was ranked sixth following Darlington. He is just 12 points behind No. 5 Waltrip and 384 behind No. 1 Kenseth.
No. 7 -- Jimmie Johnson
(No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), Hendrick Motorsports.
Points: 1965. Previous ranking: 7. Johnson finished 17th at Sonoma -- his fourth consecutive performance outside the top 10 -- but maintained the No. 7 ranking for the fourth consecutive week. He and No. 5 Waltrip are the only drivers to be ranked in the NASCAR Top 10 every week this season. He has been ranked as high as third -- which was his position during the first three weeks of the season -- and has not dipped lower than eighth. Johnson trails No. 6 Busch by 47 points and No. 1 Kenseth by 431.
No. 8 -- Rusty Wallace
(No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge), Penske Racing South.
Points: 1940. Previous ranking: 8. Wallace finished eighth at Sonoma for his sixth top-10 finish of the season, five of which have come in the last eight races. He has been in the NASCAR Top 10 for six consecutive weeks and has spent the last four ranked a season-best eighth. He has closed to 25 points of No. 7 Johnson and 72 of No. 6 Busch.
No. 9 -- Kevin Harvick
(No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet), Richard Childress Racing.
Points: 1901. Previous ranking: 11. Harvick finished third at Sonoma to return to the NASCAR Top 10 following a one-week absence. He improved two positions this week to No. 9 for his 13th week in the NASCAR Top 10 overall. The performance at Sonoma ended a slide of four consecutive weeks of finishes outside the top 10 and was his best effort since taking sixth at Richmond. He is 39 points behind No. 8 Wallace and 64 behind No. 7 Johnson.
No. 10 -- Sterling Marlin
(No. 40 Coors Light Dodge), Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
Points: 1892. Previous ranking: 9. Marlin, who had three top-seven finishes in his last four races, finished 18th at Sonoma and the result cost him one position in the NASCAR Top 10. He is ranked No. 10 and has been in the NASCAR Top 10 for three consecutive weeks and five out of the last six. Despite the slip, he is just nine points behind No. 9 Harvick and 48 behind No. 8 Wallace.
NASCAR Top 10 this week:
1. Matt Kenseth 2396 points 2. Jeff Gordon 2222 (-174) 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2220 (-176) 4. Bobby Labonte 2136 (-260) 5. Michael Waltrip 2024 (-372) 6. Kurt Busch 2012 (-384) 7. Jimmie Johnson 1965 (-431) 8. Rusty Wallace 1940 (-456) 9. Kevin Harvick 1901 (-495) 10. Sterling Marlin 1892 (-504)
Weeks at No. 1: Kenseth, 13; Waltrip, 2; Busch, 1.
New arrivals in the NASCAR Top 10 this week: No. 9 Harvick.
Most weeks in the NASCAR Top 10: Waltrip, Johnson, 16; Kenseth, Busch, 15.
Largest gain among the NASCAR Top 10: No. 9 Harvick, 2 positions.
Dropped out of the NASCAR Top 10 this week: No. 10 Mark Martin.