Brooklyn II: Raybestos rookie preview

Ryan Newman was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Newman finished second, equaling his career best Winston Cup finish and scoring his 10th top-five of the 2002 season (more...

Ryan Newman was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Newman finished second, equaling his career best Winston Cup finish and scoring his 10th top-five of the 2002 season (more than any other driver). His second place finish is the best ever by a Raybestos® Rookie at Watkins Glen. He scored his fifth consecutive top-five finish and his 13th top-10. Newman took highest finishing Raybestos® Rookie honors for the fourth consecutive race and 11th time this season. He has also been the highest finishing rookie in six of the past eight races.

Newman used his strong run at Watkins Glen to take the lead in the Raybestos® Rookie point standings over Jimmie Johnson. Newman holds a three point advantage (292-289) entering the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Newman became the first Raybestos® Rookie since Robert Pressley in 1995 to lead a lap at Watkins Glen. He led twice for 11 laps, the most by any rookie since the Winston Cup cars returned to Watkins Glen in 1986. Newman is only the third rookie in the history of The Glen to lead a lap in a Winston Cup race. Ted Musgrave, in 1991, is the other Raybestos® Rookie to lead a lap at The Glen.

Newman has now led 377.09 miles this season entering the Pepsi 400 at Michigan. He has led 19 times in 11 races for 249 laps.

Newman also cracked the top-10 in Winston Cup points. He is ninth, 73 behind eighth place Bill Elliott and 111 behind seventh place Ricky Rudd. Newman enjoys a 19 point advantage over 10th place Matt Kenseth.

For the fourth consecutive Winston Cup race, Newman was the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie. Newman started fifth, his 14th top-10 start in 2002 which ties him with Bill Elliott for most top-10 starts this season. He has now been highest qualifying rookie 12 times in 2002.

Jimmie Johnson is third in Winston Cup points entering the race at Michigan, closing to within just 56 of leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson is just three points behind second place Mark Martin. He holds a 48 point advantage over fourth place Tony Stewart and 50 on fifth place Jeff Gordon.

Johnson has led the most laps in two races this season: the Coca-Cola 600 and the MBNA Platinum 400. Newman has led the most laps in one race this season, the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Entering the Michigan race both Raybestos® Rookies have led laps in the same event five times.

Johnson has led more miles this season than any other Winston Cup driver entering Sunday's race at Watkins Glen. He has led 19 times in eight races for 794.78 miles (556 laps).

Both members of this year's Winston Cup rookie class competed in last year's Busch race at Michigan. Ryan Newman won last year's event, leading twice for a whopping 119 of the event's 125 laps. Jimmie Johnson enjoyed a solid run in the event, collecting a fourth place finish.

Casey Atwood was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in last year's Pepsi 400 at Michigan. He finished 10th and was the only first year driver to finish in the top-10 and complete all 162 laps of the rain shortened event.

Atwood was also the highest qualifying rookie, taking the sixth starting position. No other Raybestos® Rookie started in the top-10.

Six Raybestos® Rookies started the race at Michigan and four were running at the finish of the event: Atwood, Jason Leffler (24th), Ron Hornaday (30th) and Andy Houston (31st). Engine problems sidelined Kevin Harvick (41st) and Kurt Busch (43rd).

No Raybestos® Rookie led a lap in last year's race at Michigan.

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).

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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), and Kevin Harvick (Atlanta, 2001).

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.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Andy Houston , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Robert Pressley , Casey Atwood , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jimmie Johnson , Dick Hutcherson , Mark Martin , Davey Allison