Atlanta II: Raybestos Rookie pre-race notes

* Raybestos® Rookie Contender Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson placed sixth, his 20th top-10 of the season and third top-10 in the last four races. It was his...

* Raybestos® Rookie Contender Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson placed sixth, his 20th top-10 of the season and third top-10 in the last four races. It was his first top-10 in two races at Martinsville. He collected Raybestos® Rookie of the Race honors for the 16th time this season.

* Johnson used his good run at Martinsville to chop four points off Ryan Newman's lead in the Raybestos® Rookie standings. He trails Newman by 20 points (337-317) entering the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

* Johnson is second in Winston Cup points, 82 behind leader Tony Stewart. He leads third place Mark Martin by 41 and fourth place Rusty Wallace by 92 points.

* Ryan Newman had a frustrating day at Martinsville, coming away with a 15th place finish. Newman was the only Raybestos® Rookie to lead at least one lap in the race, holding the top spot once for 33 laps.

* Newman's tough day dropped him from fourth to fifth in Winston Cup points, 177 behind leader Tony Stewart. He trails second place Jimmie Johnson by 95 entering the NAPA 500 at Atlanta. Newman leads sixth place Jeff Gordon by 114 and seventh place Kurt Busch by 140 points.

* The Martinsville race ended an impressive streak by Newman. Entering the Martinsville event, Newman had a streak of seven races where he posted a top-10 finish, which began at Darlington.

* Newman won the pole for the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville, scoring his fifth career Bud Pole in 40 NASCAR Winston Cup races. His most recent pole came at New Hampshire, five races ago. The pole is his fourth in 2002 and is his 22nd top-10 start, his seventh consecutive and his first pole in two Martinsville races. Newman became the 11th different pole winner in the last 12 races at Martinsville Speedway.

* Newman joined Johnson and Bill Elliott as the third driver to win four poles this season.

* Newman and Elliott have each started in the top-10 22 times in 2002, more than any other driver.

* Raybestos® Rookie Newman and Jimmie Johnson have both finished in the top-10 in 11 of the 32 races in 2002.

* Newman and Johnson became the third pair of Raybestos® Rookies to win in their rookie season. They joined Morgan Shepherd (Martinsville), Ron Bouchard (Talladega) in 1981 and Matt Kenseth (Charlotte), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Texas and Richmond) in 2000.

* Entering the NAPA 500 at Atlanta, Newman has been the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie in seven of the last nine races where time trials were held (Brickyard 400 through EA Sports 500). Newman has been highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie 17 times in 2002.

* Johnson has led more miles this season than any other Raybestos® Rookie entering the NAPA 500 at Atlanta. In 32 starts, Johnson has led 28 times in 12 races for 1,087.75 miles (810 laps). Newman has led 33 times in 18 races for 815.34 miles (670 laps) in 32 races.

* Johnson has led the most laps in three races this season: Coca-Cola 600, MBNA Platinum 400, and MBNA All-American Heroes 400.

* Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race at Atlanta in March, coming away with a third place finish. Newman also had a good run at Atlanta in March, coming away with a 10th place finish. He also came close to winning the pole. Bill Elliott edged Newman for the top spot by just .012 second (Elliott's lap was 28.944 seconds, 191.944 mph while Newman's lap of record was 28.956 seconds, 191.463 mph). Newman was the only Raybestos® Rookie to lead a lap at Atlanta in March, holding the top spot for 15 laps

* Johnson was the only member of this year's Raybestos® Rookie class to compete in the 2001 NAPA 500 at Atlanta. He started 21st and finished 29th, but was running at the finish of the event.

* Kevin Harvick and Casey Atwood were the only Raybestos® Rookies to compete in the NAPA 500. Harvick started 38th and finished third in the race behind winner Bobby Labonte and runner-up Sterling Marlin. Atwood finished 20th in the event but was running at the end of the race. Atwood was the highest qualifying rookie, taking the 22nd starting position. Neither Harvick nor Atwood led a lap in the race.

*   Harvick and Jason Leffler were the only Raybestos® Rookies to lead lap
last year at Atlanta.  Harvick led 18 laps while Leffler led one lap.

* A Raybestos® Rookie has posted multiple victories five times in NASCAR Winston Cup history: Davey Allison (two wins in 1987), Tony Stewart (three wins in 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two wins in 2000), Kevin Harvick (two wins in 2001, and Jimmie Johnson (two wins in 2002).

* A Raybestos® Rookie Contender has now won at least one race in each of the last four seasons dating back to Tony Stewart's win at Richmond in September, 1999. Other freshman drivers to win: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond, 2000), Matt Kenseth (Charlotte, 2000), Kevin Harvick (Atlanta, 2001) and Ryan Newman (New Hampshire 2002) and Jimmie Johnson (Charlotte and both 2002 Dover races).

* When Johnson and Newman won poles at Talladega and California in consecutive races, it was the first time since 1965 that a rookie won the pole position in back to back events. The last driver to accomplish the feat was Dick Hutcherson when he took the top starting spot at Myrtle Beach and Valdosta.

* By winning the pole for the Daytona 500, Johnson joined Loy Allen (1994) and Mike Skinner (1997) as the only drivers in their rookie season to win the pole for the Daytona 500. He is also among an elite group of modern era (since 1972) drivers who have won poles early in their careers. Johnson won his first Winston Cup pole position in just his fourth career start. Ryan Newman and Mark Martin both won a pole in their third career start, while Johnny Benson won his first career pole in his fourth start.


DRIVER                  POINTS
Ryan Newman             337
Jimmie Johnson          317
Shawna Robinson          81
Carl Long                35


EVENT                                   HIGHEST FINISHING ROOKIE
Daytona 500                             Ryan Newman, seventh
Subway 400                              Ryan Newman, 14th
UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400                Ryan Newman, fourth
MBNA America 500                        Jimmie Johnson, third
Carolina Dodge Dealers 400              Ryan Newman, fifth
Food City 500                           Jimmie Johnson, seventh
Samsung/RadioShack 500                  Jimmie Johnson, fourth
Virginia 500                            Jimmie Johnson, 35th
Aaron's 499                             Jimmie Johnson, seventh
NAPA Auto Parts 500                     Jimmie Johnson, first
Pontiac Excitement 400                  Ryan Newman, second
Coca-Cola Racing Family 600             Jimmie Johnson, seventh
MBNA 400                                Jimmie Johnson, first
Pocono 500                              Jimmie Johnson, third
Sirius Satellite Radio 400              Ryan Newman, third
Dodge/Save Mart 350                     Ryan Newman, ninth
Pepsi 400                               Jimmie Johnson, eighth
Tropicana 400                           Jimmie Johnson, fourth
New England 300                         Ryan Newman, fifth
Pennsylvania 500                        Ryan Newman, fifth
Brickyard 400                           Ryan Newman, fourth
Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen      Ryan Newman, second
Pepsi 400 presented by Farmer Jack      Jimmie Johnson, seventh
Sharpie 500                             Jimmie Johnson, 34th
Mountain Dew Southern 500               Ryan Newman, second
Monte Carlo 400                         Ryan Newman, second
New Hampshire 300                       Ryan Newman, first
MBNA All-American Heroes 400            Jimmie Johnson, first
Protection One 400                      Ryan Newman, second
EA Sports 500                           Ryan Newman, seventh
UAW-GM Quality 500                      Jimmie Johnson, sixth
Old Dominion 500                        Jimmie Johnson, sixth


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson , Dick Hutcherson , Morgan Shepherd , Carl Long , Mark Martin , Davey Allison