Dover: Raybestos Rookie preview

News And Notes From The Raybestos® Rookie Contenders *Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson placed seventh, collecting top finishing rookie honors for the ...

News And Notes From The Raybestos® Rookie Contenders

*Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson placed seventh, collecting top finishing rookie honors for the seventh time in 2002. Johnson has racked up two top-five and eight top-10 finishes this season entering the MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

*Johnson led the Coca-Cola Racing Family 600 six times for a whopping 263 laps. Ricky Rudd led the next highest number of laps, holding the top spot twice for 49 laps.

*Johnson has led more miles this season than any other Raybestos Rookie, holding the top spot 12 times in four races for 548.78 miles. Johnson's total puts him second on the miles leader list just 7.22 miles behind leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. Johnson has just 63.96 unfinished miles out of a possible 5131.50.

*Johnson won the pole at Charlotte, his third of the 2002 season. His lap of 28.960 seconds, 186.464 mph established a new track record at the 1.5-mile speedway. Johnson has more poles than any other Winston Cup driver this season and has been highest qualifying rookie in five races.

*DID YOU KNOW? Dave Blaney is the most recent Raybestos® Rookie to lead a lap at Dover International Speedway. He led once for four laps in the September, 2000 MBNA.COM 400.

*WOULD YOU BELIEVE? A Raybestos® rookie has won the pole for three of the last four Winston Cup races entering the MBNA 400.

Johnson has been the top rookie in the six of the last seven events entering the MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

*Johnson used his strong run at Charlotte to stretch his lead in the Raybestos® Rookie standings. He leads Ryan Newman by 23 points (182-159) entering the MBNA 400.

*Newman became the first rookie this season to surpass the $1 million mark in single season earnings. Newman's second place finish at Richmond pushed him over the mark.

*Johnson is fifth in Winston Cup points, best of any Raybestos® Rookie. He is just six points behind fourth place Jeff Gordon and 54 behind third place Mark Martin. Johnson leads sixth place Rusty Wallace by two points and seventh place Tony Stewart by 34 points.

Raybestos® Rookie Contender Jimmie Johnson won the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway becoming the fourth quickest driver to score his first victory in the sport's modern era. Kevin Harvick won in his third career race, Ron Bouchard won in his 11th start and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in his 12th.

*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.

*2001 Raybestos® Rookie of the Year Kevin Harvick was the highest finishing rookie in last year's MBNA 400 at Dover. Harvick finished eighth, completing all 400 laps. He was also the highest qualifying rookie, taking the eighth starting position in time trials.

*Jason Leffler had one his most competitive runs of the 2001 season last June at Dover. Leffler started 38th but finished 13th, the final car to finish on the lead lap.

*A total of six Raybestos Rookies started the Dover race last June and four were running at the finish of the race: Harvick, Leffler, Andy Houston (23rd), and Casey Atwood (29th). Ron Hornaday parked his car with rear-end problems (35th) while Kurt Busch was sidelined by an accident (39th).

*In 15 career NASCAR Winston Cup races, Johnson has one win, two top-five and eight top-10 finishes.

*In 20 career NASCAR Winston Cup races, Newman has five top-five and seven top-10 finishes.

*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.

<pre> Raybestos® Rookie Contender Point Standings

Driver                  Points
Jimmie Johnson          182
Ryan Newman             159
Shawna Robinson          65

Highest Finishing Raybestos® Rookies By Race

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


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Andy Houston , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Dick Hutcherson , Dave Blaney , Mark Martin