Martinsville: Raybestos Rookie preview

News and notes from the Raybestos® Rookie Contenders * Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson finished sixth, his fifth top-10 of the 2002 Winston Cup season. He...

News and notes from the Raybestos® Rookie Contenders

* Jimmie Johnson was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson finished sixth, his fifth top-10 of the 2002 Winston Cup season. He leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by nine points (100-91) over Ryan Newman.

* Johnson is third in Winston Cup points, 49 behind second place Matt Kenseth and 119 behind leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson is the only first year driver in the top-10 in Winston Cup points.

* Three Raybestos Rookie started the Texas race: Johnson, Shawna Robinson (36th) and Newman (40th). Robinson was running at the finish of the event while Newman dropped out due to engine failure.

* Johnson was also the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie at Texas, claiming the 13th starting position.

* Robinson qualified 16th for the Samsung/RadioShack 500, the best qualifying run of her Winston Cup career. She made her fifth start of the 2002 season at Texas and has qualified on her speed for four of the five starts she has made this season. All three Raybestos Rookie entered at Texas made the race on their speed (Newman qualified 36th).

* Entering Sunday's Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, the best finish by a rookie is third by Jimmie Johnson at the MBNA America 500 in Atlanta Motor Speedway.

* Johnson has completed 99.7 percent of the possible miles this season, best among all Raybestos® Rookie Contenders. He has only 5.55 unfinished miles entering Sunday's race at Martinsville.

* Newman has led more miles than any other Raybestos® Rookie entering the Virginia 500. He has led six times in three races (67 laps) for a total of 101.10 miles. Fellow rookie Johnson has led once in one race (six laps) for 9.00 miles. Newman and Johnson are the only Raybestos® Rookies to lead at least one lap this season.

* Andy Houston was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in last year's Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, completing all 500 laps and earning a 17th place finish. It was the only time in 2001 that Houston would be the highest finishing rookie. Ron Hornaday, who finished 27th, was the only rookie to lead a lap at Martinsville, holding the top spot twice for 24 laps. Casey Atwood (26th) was the highest qualifying rookie, taking the 14th starting position in time trials. All five rookies that qualified for the race were running at the finish. The rest of the class: Kurt Busch (33rd) and Kevin Harvick (34th).

* DID YOU KNOW? Every Raybestos® Rookie Contender that started the Virginia 500 and/or the Old Dominion 500 last season was running at the finish. No rookie failed to finish either race at the tight .526-mile Virginia speedway. Surprisingly, the Raybestos® Rookie that completed the fewest number of laps in either race was 2001 Raybestos® Rookie of the Year Kevin Harvick who logged 454 laps in the Virginia 500. The last rookie that failed to finish a race at Martinsville was Stacy Compton who was sidelined after 333 laps in the 2000 NAPA AutoCare 500 and was credited with a 39th place finish.

* Three Raybestos® Rookies led a lap in last September's Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville, equaling the most rookies to lead in the same race in 2001. Busch (once for 38 laps), Harvick (once for 20 laps), and Atwood (once for one lap) all held the top starting spot during the race. Three Raybestos Rookies also led the Talladega 500 in April.

* Both Johnson and Newman will be making their first Winston Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway in the Virginia 500.

* Newman and Jimmie Johnson both led laps in the Las Vegas race, the first time this season two or more Raybestos® Rookies have led at least one lap in the same race. Newman led three times for 50 laps (second most of any driver in the race), while Johnson held the top spot once for six laps, the first time he led a lap in his Winston Cup career.

* In just 15 career NASCAR Winston Cup races, Newman has scored four top-five and six top-10 finishes.

* In just 10 career NASCAR Winston Cup races, Johnson has one top-five and five 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.

* Newman made history by becoming the first Raybestos® Rookie to compete in the Budweiser Shootout. Newman qualified for the special event reserved for pole winners by capturing the top starting position for the 2001 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Newman started eighth and finished 15th, completing all 70 laps of the special event.

<pre> RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS

DRIVER              POINTS
Jimmie Johnson         100
Ryan Newman             91
Shawna Robinson         46
Carl Long                3

-raybestos-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Sterling Marlin , Andy Houston , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Stacy Compton , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Long , Mark Martin