A Look Back: 2005 media preseason predictions

A Look Back: Revisiting 2005 NASCAR Preseason Media Predictions Tony Stewart wins NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title; top pick Jimmie Johnson finishes fifth DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec 8, 2005) -- Just how clear were the crystal balls used by media...

A Look Back: Revisiting 2005 NASCAR Preseason Media Predictions

Tony Stewart wins NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title; top pick Jimmie Johnson finishes fifth

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec 8, 2005) -- Just how clear were the crystal balls used by media voters back in February? A comparison of 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 selections and the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings reveals that media correctly picked six of the 10 participants in this year's Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

The media's preseason choice as champion, Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet), finished fifth, while newly-crowned champion Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) was picked to finish fourth. A total of 213 votes were cast in the balloting, which began Feb. 3 at www.nascarmedia.com and ended Feb. 13.

The four Chase participants who weren't 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 selections are runner-up Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford), third-place Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford), eighth-place Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) and ninth-place Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge).

Of those, the biggest surprises were Biffle, who earned his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 finish, and Edwards, a newcomer competing in his first fulltime season. Media picked Biffle to finish 14th, Wallace to finish 15th, Mayfield to finish 18th and Edwards to finish 20th.

Four drivers picked to make the Chase didn't -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) and Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Havoline/Texaco Dodge). Gordon, picked to finish second, finished 11th, earning a point-fund payout of over $1 million, which included a $250,000 bonus. Earnhardt Jr., picked to finish third, finished 19th. Kahne, picked to finish seventh, finished 23rd, and McMurray, picked to finish ninth, finished 12th.

Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge) was the only driver to finish exactly where media prognosticators predicted -- in sixth place. Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford) finished 10th after being predicted to finish fifth this season. Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford) finished fourth rather than his predicted spot of 10th place. And Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford), picked to finish eighth, finished seventh.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , Mark Martin