Joliet: Raybestos Rookie pre-race notes

* Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Johnson finished eighth, his 11th top-10 of the season. He has now been highest finishing rookie in 10 races in 2002, including the...

* Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Johnson finished eighth, his 11th top-10 of the season. He has now been highest finishing rookie in 10 races in 2002, including the last two consecutive restrictor plate races (Daytona and the April race at Talladega).

* Johnson stretched his lead in the Raybestos® Rookie standings to 27 points (256-229) over Ryan Newman entering Sunday's Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

* For the second consecutive Winston Cup race, neither Newman nor Johnson led at lap.

* Johnson was the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie Daytona, taking the 16th place starting position.

* Shawna Robinson competed in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. She started 27th and finished 40th after being sidelined by drivetrain problems. It was her first Winston Cup start since the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway. Robinson plans to enter this weekend's Tropicana 400.

* Johnson moved from fourth to third in the Winston Cup points chase, 37 behind second place Mark Martin and 114 behind leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson holds a 30 point advantage over fourth place Rusty Wallace and 36 over fifth place Jeff Gordon.

* Newman and Johnson have both finished in the top-five in the same race just once this season: The MBNA 400 at Dover. Johnson won while Newman finished fourth.

* Johnson has led more miles this season than any other driver. He has led 17 times in six races for 786.78 miles (552 laps). Tony Stewart (502) is the only other driver to lead more than 500 laps.

* 2001 Raybestos® Rookie Champion Kevin Harvick won the 2001 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the inaugural event at the 1.5 mile track located in Joliet, Illinois. He took the checkered flag .649 second ahead of second place finisher Robert Pressley. Harvick led five times for 113 laps (more than any other driver). He was the only rookie to lead the race.

* Kurt Busch had a strong run at Chicagoland. Busch rallied from his 31st starting position to finish eighth, completing all 267 laps of the race. He and Harvick were the only Raybestos® Rookies to finish on the lead lap.

* Harvick was also the highest qualifying rookie at Chicagoland, earning the sixth starting position. He was the only freshman driver to start inside the top-10, however, three other first year drivers qualified in the top-20: Andy Houston (14th), Jason Leffler (15th), Ron Hornaday (16th), and Casey Atwood (17th).

* Four of the six Raybestos® Rookies that started the Tropicana 400 were running at the finish of the event: Harvick, Busch, Leffler (24th) and Atwood (28th). Engine problems sidelined both Hornaday (40th) and Houston (43rd).

* Newman became the first rookie this season to surpass the $2 million mark in single season earnings. His fourth place finish at Dover pushed him over the mark. Newman was also the first rookie to win over $1 million this season when he finished second at Richmond.

* Raybestos® Rookie Contender Jimmie Johnson won the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway, becoming the fourth quickest driver (13th career race) 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.

*   Newman became the first Raybestos® Rookie since Kenny Irwin in 1998 to
finish in the top-10 at Sonoma.  Irwin, like Newman, finished ninth.

* 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), 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.

<pre> RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS

DRIVER                  POINTS
Jimmie Johnson          256
Ryan Newman             229
Shawna Robinson         73

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
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

-raybestos-

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