Long Pond: Raybestos Rookie preview

* Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover International Speedway, scoring his second career Winston Cup win. Johnson took the checkered flag by .478 second over Bill Elliott. Johnson collected top...

* Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover International Speedway, scoring his second career Winston Cup win. Johnson took the checkered flag by .478 second over Bill Elliott. Johnson collected top finishing rookie honors for the eighth time in 2002. He has racked up three top-five and nine top-10 finishes this season entering the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

* Johnson leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 26 points (203-177) over Ryan Newman.

* Johnson led the MBNA Platinum 400 four times for 188 laps, more than any other driver. Dover marked the second consecutive race where he has led the most laps.

* Johnson has led more miles this season than any other Winston Cup driver entering the Pocono 500. Johnson has led 16 times in five races for 736.78 miles (527 laps). Dale Earnhardt Jr. ranks second, leading a total of 556.00 miles. Newman has led 11 times in six races for a total of 151.08 miles (121 laps).

* 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 six races.

* DID YOU KNOW?  The last Raybestos® Rookie to lead a lap at Pocono Raceway
was Tony Stewart in June, 1999.  He led once for one lap.

* WOULD YOU BELIEVE? A Raybestos® rookie has won the pole for three of the last five Winston Cup races entering the Pocono 500.

* Johnson has been the top rookie in the seven of the last eight events entering the Pocono 500 at Dover International Speedway.

* 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.

* Johnson's second win of the season propels him to second in Winston Cup points, 136 behind leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson is the only Raybestos® Rookie in the top-10 in the Winston Cup standings. He leads third place Jeff Gordon by 24 and fourth place Matt Kenseth by 32 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.

* Kurt Busch was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in last year's Pocono 500. Busch finished 13th, completing all 200 laps of the race. More impressive was the fact that Busch used a provisional and started 41st in the race. Kevin Harvick was the only other rookie to finish on the lead lap last June, collecting a 15th place finish.

* Five rookies started last year's race at Pocono and three were running at the finish of the race: Busch, Harvick, and Ron Hornaday (35th). Engine failure sidelined Casey Atwood (38th) while an accident ended Jason Leffler's day early (41st).

* 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          203
Ryan Newman             177

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

-raybestos-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Dick Hutcherson , Mark Martin