Race to the Chase Rundown: New Hampshire

Race to the Chase Rundown: New Hampshire A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10, as the 'Chase' approaches DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 11, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into...

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

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 11, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, the third event in the "Race for the Chase," the 10 events prefacing the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup." The New England 300 is the 19th 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 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 2,548. Previous ranking: 1. Johnson finished third at Chicago to become the only driver with 13 top-10 finishes in the first 18 races of 2005. A winner this year at Las Vegas and Lowe's, he has ranked among the top 10 since Las Vegas in March 2004, or 51 consecutive races. Johnson has run six races at New Hampshire, scoring back-to-back victories in 2003; he finished 11th in both events there last year. He has led in three races at New Hampshire, and his 8.0 average finish is the best among drivers there with two starts.

No. 2 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,440 (-108). Previous ranking: 2. Biffle finished 11th at Chicago; he has 10 top-10 finishes this year, three fewer than Johnson. A series-high five-race winner in 2005 (California, Texas, Darlington, Dover and Michigan), Biffle has competed in five races at New Hampshire, finishing 27th or worse in four of his five events. His only top-10 finish at the one-mile oval was a 10th in July 2003. Biffle finished 35th in this race a year ago and 28th last September. He has yet to lead a lap at New Hampshire.

No. 3 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 2,397 (-151). Previous ranking: 3. Stewart came from the rear of the field in a backup car to place fifth at Chicago, completing a streak of finishing second, first, first and fifth in his last four races. He has 10 top-10 finishes this season. Stewart has run 12 races at New Hampshire with seven top-10 finishes, including a victory in July 2000. He finished fifth in this race last year and 39th in September, one of two DNFs at the track. Stewart has led 331 laps in five races there, fifth among all drivers.

No. 4 -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 2,300 (-248). Previous ranking: 5. Wallace finished 12th at Chicago to continue a streak that has seen him climb from 14th to fourth in the rankings in the last eight races. He has nine top-10 finishes this year, and has been running at the finish of a series-best 31 consecutive races, since Bristol last fall. Wallace has run 20 races at New Hampshire with 11 top-10 finishes, including a victory in July 1993. Wallace placed 30th in this race last year and 14th in September. He has led in five of his 20 New Hampshire starts.

No. 5 -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford). Team: Robert Yates Racing. Points: 2,230 (-318). Previous ranking: 4. Sadler finished 37th at Chicago, his worst showing of 2005, when a tire problem left him in the wall. He has nine top-10 finishes this year, but has finished 20th or worse in six events. Sadler has run 12 races at New Hampshire with three top-10 finishes. He placed 15th there a year ago and eighth in September, tying his best finish there in September 2003. Sadler has led in two of his 12 New Hampshire starts.

No. 6 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,202 (-346). Previous ranking: 8. Martin finished 10th at Chicago, bouncing back from a 39th-place showing the previous week at Daytona. He has nine top-10 finishes this season. Martin, who ranked 15th in the standings at this point last year, has competed in all 20 races at New Hampshire, scoring 11 top-10 finishes. His has placed second there three times, most recently in both races in 1998. Martin finished 14th in this race last year and 13th in September. He has not logged a top-10 finish in his previous six races there, but with Bobby Labonte has been running at the end of all 20 of his New Hampshire starts.

No. 7 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 2,196 (-352). Previous ranking: 6. Newman finished 29th at Chicago with tire woes to drop one spot in the rankings. He has eight top-10 finishes in 2005. Newman has competed in six races at New Hampshire with five top-10 finishes, including a victory in September 2002. He finished third in this race a year ago and 33rd last September, his only DNF at the track. Prior to last September, Newman had scored five consecutive finishes of ninth or better. He has led in all of his six New Hampshire starts.

No. 8 -- Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge). Team: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Points: 2,190 (-358). Previous ranking: 7. McMurray, who announced he will jump to the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford in 2007, finished 22nd at Chicago. He has seven top-10 finishes this season. McMurray has competed in four races at New Hampshire, scoring three top-10 finishes. He placed seventh in this race last year and was fifth in September, his best New Hampshire finish.

No. 9 -- Jeremy Mayfield (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Team: Evernham Motorsports. Points: 2,179 (-369). Previous ranking: 11. Mayfield finished sixth at Chicago to crack the top-10 in the rankings. He has four top-10 finishes this season. Mayfield, the final driver to make the 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, has competed in 18 races at New Hampshire with two top-10 finishes. He placed 10th in this race a year ago and 35th last September.

No. 10 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 2,172 (-376). Previous ranking: 9. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion finished eighth at Chicago; he has nine top-10 finishes this season. Busch has competed in eight races at New Hampshire, logging back-to-back victories there in 2004. Busch led 110 laps in his July victory a year ago and 155 laps in September. He has four top-10 finishes overall at New Hampshire.

Fast Facts

Top 10 following the USG SHEETROCK 400 (Race 18 of 36):
1. Jimmie Johnson 2,548 pts.
2. Greg Biffle 2,440 (-108)
3. Tony Stewart 2,397 (-151)
4. Rusty Wallace 2,300 (-248)
5. Elliott Sadler 2,230 (-318)
6. Mark Martin 2,202 (-346)
7. Ryan Newman 2,196 (-352)
8. Jamie McMurray 2,190 (-358)
9. Jeremy Mayfield 2,179 (-369)
10. Kurt Busch 2,172 (-376)

New arrival in the Top 10: Jeremy Mayfield.

Dropped out of the Top 10: Dale Jarrett.

Closing in on the Top 10: No. 11 Dale Jarrett (-33 pts. out of 10th); No. 12 Carl Edwards (-99); No. 13 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-115); No. 14 Kevin Harvick (-120); No. 15 Jeff Gordon (-126).

-nascar-

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