Week 2: The top 12 - and beyond

Week 2: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12 -- And Beyond DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2009) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway on...

Week 2: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12 -- And Beyond

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2009) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway on February 22. (Note: Drivers listed below who are outside the top 12 are chosen based on past performances at the upcoming track and/or are within striking distance of the top 12.)

1 -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 114.0

2009 Rundown
• Won his first Daytona 500, as well as team owner Jack Roush's first Daytona 500
• Ended a 36-race winless drought
• Won the Daytona 500 from the 39th starting position, the lowest of any Daytona winner
• Led seven laps in the Daytona 500

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s
• Average finish of 9.6
• Finished fifth at Auto Club in August
• Led 10 of 14 races for 384 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Top Average Running Position of 8.6

2 -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.7

2009 Rundown
• One top five

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One top five, four top 10s
• Average finish of 17.9
• Finished fourth in August
• Led five of 13 races for 32 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• 215 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most

3 -- A.J. Allmendinger (No. 44 Valvoline Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.2

2009 Rundown
• One top five

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Average finish of 16.0
• Finished 14th in August
• Led one of two races for one lap

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.9, seventh-best

4 -- Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 87.4

2009 Rundown
• One top five

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One top five, three top 10s
• Average finish of 12.0
• Finished 10th in August
• Led one of six races for two laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• 243 Green Flag Passes, second-most

5 -- Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Stanley Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 80.5

2009 Rundown
• One top five
• Led 24 laps

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, two top 10s
• Average finish of 26.5
• Finished 34th in August
• Led two of 15 races for 67 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• 198 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most

6 -- David Ragan (No. 6 UPS Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.2

2009 Rundown
• One top 10

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Average finish of 13.8
• Finished 13th in August
• Led one of four races for one lap

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Second-best "Closer" -- 13 positions improved in the last 20 laps

7 -- Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.2

2009 Rundown
• One top 10
• Led 15 laps

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Three top fives, seven top 10s
• Average finish of 16.4
• Finished 22nd in August
• Led six of 15 races for 225 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Five Fastest Laps Run, tied for fifth-most

8 -- Michael Waltrip (No. 55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.2

2009 Rundown
• One top 10

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Two top 10s
• Average finish of 26.3
• Finished 33rd in August
• Led four of 16 races for 16 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Race-high 10 Fastest Laps Run

9 -- Reed Sorenson (No. 43 McDonald's Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 73.7

2009 Rundown
• One top 10

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Average finish of 28.3
• Finished 27th in August
• Led one of six races for eight laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 16.2, 15th-best

10 -- Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shop/Tracker Boats Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.4

2009 Rundown
• Led one lap

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Two top 10s
• Average finish of 17.7
• Finished 19th in August
• Led one of six races for four laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• 189 Green Flag Passes, 14th-most

11-- Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.4

2009 Rundown
• One top 10

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, three top fives, five top 10s; three poles
• Average finish of 13.5
• Finished 39th in August
• Led eight of 13 races for 224 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Race's best "Closer" -- 18 positions improved in the last 20 laps

12 -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.9

2009 Rundown
• Led 14 laps

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Three wins, eight top fives; two poles
• Average finish of 11.5
• Finished 15th in August
• Led 10 of 17 races for 527 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best

18 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.4

2009 Rundown
• Finished 18th in the Daytona 500

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• One win, six top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
• Average finish of 6.7
• Finished sixth in August
• Led four of nine races for 120 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• Average Running Position of 10.7, sixth-best

31 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)
• Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 68.4

2009 Rundown
• Finished 31st in the Daytona 500

Auto Club Speedway Outlook:
• Three wins, eight top fives; one pole
• Average finish of 5.9
• Won at Auto Club Speedway in August, posting a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0
• Led eight of 12 races for 523 laps

Daytona 500 Loop Data Highlight
• 123 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , A.J. Allmendinger , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Jack Roush , Elliott Sadler , David Ragan , Reed Sorenson