Race to the Chase Rundown: Bristol

Race to the Chase Rundown: Bristol A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10, as the 'Chase' approaches DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 22, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's ...

Race to the Chase Rundown: Bristol
A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10, as the 'Chase' approaches

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 22, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (7:40 p.m. on TNT), the eighth event in the "Race for the Chase," the 10 events prefacing the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup."

The Sharpie 500 is the 24th of 36 races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. The first 26 races of the season determine who will be part of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup in the final 10 races. Drivers who are in the top 10 or within 400 points of the leader after those 26 races will vie for the series title in the "Chase."

No. 1 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 3,268. Previous ranking: 1. Stewart stayed out of victory lane for a change, finishing fifth at Michigan and adding 21 points to his lead over Jimmie Johnson. He has nine top-10 finishes, including five victories, in his last nine races, and has 15 top-10 finishes overall. Stewart has competed in 13 races at Bristol with four top-10 finishes, including a victory in August 2001. He has placed outside the top 10 in six of his last seven Bristol races, including 19th in this race last year, but was third in April. Stewart has a 17.2 average finish at Bristol Motor Speedway.

No. 2 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 3,142 (-126). Previous ranking: 2. Johnson finished 10th at Michigan, and with Stewart has 15 top-10 finishes this year. The two-race winner has ranked among the top 10 since Las Vegas in March 2004, or 56 consecutive races. Johnson has run seven races at the Tennessee short track, logging five top-10 finishes. He has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five Bristol races. Johnson placed third in this race last year and sixth in April. He has an 11.31 average finish at Bristol.

No. 3 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 3,016 (-252). Previous ranking: 3. Biffle finished sixth at Michigan, his 12th top-10 finish this season. He has ranked among the top five since the season's second race, at California. The five-race winner has run five races at Bristol, finishing in the top 15 in four of his five starts. Biffle finished 11th in this race last year and sixth in April. He has an 11.8 average finish at Bristol.

No. 4 -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 2,979 (-289). Previous ranking: 4. Wallace finished 13th at Michigan to retain his spot in the rankings. He has 12 top-10 finishes this year, and has been running at the finish of a series-leading 36 consecutive races, dating to this race last year. He has competed in 43 races at Bristol with 28 top-10 finishes, including nine victories, the most recent in 2000. He finished 26th in this race a year ago and 13th in April. Wallace has led an average of 87 laps per race at Bristol, and has a 9.7 average finish.

No. 5 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,899 (-369). Previous ranking: 5. Martin finished 17th at Michigan to remain fifth in the standings. He has 12 top-10 finishes this season. Martin has run 37 races at Bristol with 20 top-10 finishes, including victories in 1998 and 1993. He has failed to score a top-10 finish in his last nine races there. Martin finished 13th in the race a year ago and 31st in April. He has a 12.5 average finish at Bristol.

No. 6 -- Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 2,869 (-399). Previous ranking: 7. Mayfield was triumphant at Michigan, which bumped him one spot up in the rankings. He has six top-10 finishes this season. Mayfield, who made the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup last year when he won at the Richmond cutoff point, has competed in 21 races at Bristol with five top-10 finishes. He placed 22nd in this race last year and 17th in April. He has just one top-10 finish in his last eight Bristol races, and has an 18.7 average finish there.

No. 7 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,848 (-420). Previous ranking: 6. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion finished seventh at Michigan, but dropped one spot in the rankings. He has 12 top-10 finishes this year. Busch has competed in nine races at Bristol with six top-10 finishes, including four victories. He won the spring race in 2004, both events in 2003 and the first race of 2002. He placed eighth in this race last year and 35th in April, ending a six-race streak of top-10 finishes dating to March 2002. Busch has a 13.3 average finish at Bristol.

No. 8 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 2,773 (-495). Previous ranking: 8. Newman finished 12th at Michigan to retain his spot in the rankings. He has 10 top-10 finishes this season. Newman has run seven races at Bristol with three top-10 finishes. His four other finishes were 22nd or worse. Newman finished a career-best second in this race a year ago and 30th in April. He has a 20.0 average finish at Bristol.

No. 9 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 AAA/Office Depot Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,758 (-510). Previous ranking: 10. Edwards finished fourth at Michigan, site of his inaugural NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start a year ago. He has nine top-10 finishes this season. Edwards has run two races at Bristol, finishing 26th or worse in both. He placed 33rd in this race last year and was 26th in April. Along with Biffle, Martin and Busch, Edwards gives Jack Roush four drivers in the top 10 in the rankings.

No. 10 -- Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge). Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Points: 2,702 (-566). Previous ranking: 9. McMurray finished 20th at Michigan, dropping one spot in the rankings. He has seven top-10 finishes this season. McMurray has competed in five races at Bristol with three top-10 finishes, but has yet to win there. He placed seventh in this race last year and 24th in April, his worst career Bristol finish. McMurray has a 10.6 average finish at the half-mile track.

Fast Facts

Top 10 following the GFS Marketplace 400 (Race 23 of 36):
1. Tony Stewart 3,268 pts.
2. Jimmie Johnson 3,142 (-126)
3. Greg Biffle 3,016 (-252)
4. Rusty Wallace 2,979 (-289)
5. Mark Martin 2,899 (-369)
6. Jeremy Mayfield 2,869 (-399)
7. Kurt Busch 2,848 (-420)
8. Ryan Newman 2,773 (-495)
9. Carl Edwards 2,758 (-510)
10. Jamie McMurray 2,702 (-566)

New arrival in the Top 10: None.

Dropped out of the Top 10: None.

Closing in on the Top 10: No. 11 Dale Jarrett (-51 pts. behind 10th); No. 12 Jeff Gordon (-58); No. 13 Elliott Sadler (-66); No. 14 Kevin Harvick (-82); No. 15 Matt Kenseth (-104).

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Chip Ganassi , Elliott Sadler , Felix Sabates , Mark Martin
Teams Team Penske , Joe Gibbs Racing