Richmond II: Raybestos Rookie pre-race notes

" Ryan Newman was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Newman finished second, his third second place finish of the 2002 season and fourth of his 33-race Winston Cup career. In 2002, Newman...

" Ryan Newman was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Newman finished second, his third second place finish of the 2002 season and fourth of his 33-race Winston Cup career. In 2002, Newman has also finished second at the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond and the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen. He scored his sixth top-five in the last eight races. Newman has racked up 11th top-five and 14th top-10 finishes and has been top finishing rookie honors 12 times this season.

" Newman used his good run at Darlington to take the lead in the Raybestos® Rookie point standings. He leads Jimmie Johnson by five points (305-300) entering Saturday night's Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

" Both Johnson and Newman led a lap at Darlington. Johnson held the top spot once for 17 laps while Newman led once for one lap. The Mountain Dew Southern 500 was the sixth race this season where both Johnson and Newman led a lap in the same race.

" Johnson finished ninth at Darlington, his 15th top-10 of the 2002 season. Only two rookies in the modern era have more top-10 finishes after 25 races in their rookie seasons: Tony Stewart (16 in 1999) and Dale Earnhardt (15 in 1979).

"   Both Johnson and Newman scored top-10 finishes in their first two Winston
Cup races at Darlington.  Newman scored two top-fives.

" Entering the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400, Newman has been the highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie in four consecutive races where time trials were held (Brickyard 400 through Sharpie 500). Newman has been highest qualifying Raybestos® Rookie 14 times in 2002.

" Johnson is fifth in Winston Cup points entering the race at Darlington, 167 behind leader Sterling Marlin and five behind fourth place Tony Stewart. He holds a 63 point advantage over sixth place Rusty Wallace and 98 over seventh place Bill Elliott.

" Johnson has led more miles this season than any other Raybestos® Rookie entering Saturday's race at Richmond. He has led 20 times in nine races for 818.00 miles (573 laps).

" Johnson has led the most laps in two races this season: the Coca-Cola 600 and the MBNA Platinum 400. Newman has led the most laps in one race this season, the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Entering the Michigan race both Raybestos® Rookies have led laps in the same event five times.

" Newman finished second to Tony Stewart in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond in May. Newman led twice for 48 laps and was the only first year driver to lead a lap in the race. He finished 1.484 seconds behind Stewart. Newman was also the highest qualifying rookie at Richmond, earning the 11th starting position in time trials.

" Johnson started 26th in the May event at Richmond but had a strong run in the race. He was racing Jimmy Spencer for the lead when the two made contact forcing Johnson behind the wall for repairs. He returned to the race and finished 31st.

" Kevin Harvick was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400. Harvick finished second in the race, .833 second behind race winner Ricky Rudd. He led the race once for 12 laps and was the only first year driver to lead a lap at Richmond during the 2001 season. Harvick was the only Raybestos® Rookie to finish in the top-20 and the only first year driver to finish on the lead lap.

" Five Raybestos® Rookies started the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 and four were running at the finish of the race: Harvick, Kurt Busch (24th), Casey Atwood (27th) and Jason Leffler (28th). Ron Hornaday (41st) was sidelined by an accident and failed to finish the event.

" Atwood was the highest qualifying rookie at Richmond, taking the seventh starting position in time trials. Ron Hornaday claimed the tenth starting spot, giving the Raybestos® Rookie class two members who qualified inside the top-10.

" 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
Ryan Newman             305
Jimmie Johnson          300
Shawna Robinson          81
Carl Long                30

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
Tropicana 400                           Jimmie Johnson, fourth
New England 300                         Ryan Newman, fifth
Pennsylvania 500                        Ryan Newman, fifth
Brickyard 400                           Ryan Newman, fourth
Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen      Ryan Newman, second
Pepsi 400 presented by Farmer Jack      Jimmie Johnson, seventh
Sharpie 500                             Jimmie Johnson, 34th
Mountain Dew Southern 500               Ryan Newman, second

-raybestos-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Jimmy Spencer , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Dick Hutcherson , Carl Long , Mark Martin , Davey Allison