* Resume The Position: Jimmie Johnson Once Again Leads Series Points * 2005 RIR Loop Data Statistics Show Why Kahne, Busch Were Winners * NASCAR on FOX Laps All Live Sports Series with Three Emmys NEWS AND NOTES Resume The Position:...
* Resume The Position: Jimmie Johnson Once Again Leads Series Points
* 2005 RIR Loop Data Statistics Show Why Kahne, Busch Were Winners
* NASCAR on FOX Laps All Live Sports Series with Three Emmys
NEWS AND NOTES
Resume The Position: Jimmie Johnson Again Leads Series Standings ... Fueled by his victory Monday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway, Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) leads the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 this week. He should feel right at home. This is the 35th week Johnson has led the standings since he joined the series full time in 2002. Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford), the 2003 series champion and last week's points leader, has dropped to second. The new arrival in top 10: 1999 series champion Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford), in 10th place.
Chevrolet Ups Lead In Manufacturers' Standings ... Johnson's victory at Talladega gave Chevrolet a little breathing room in the increasingly tight Manufacturers' Championship standings. Chevy (65 points) now has a 12-point lead over Dodge and Ford, which are tied for second (53). ... Chevrolet has won the championship 29 times; Ford has won it 15 times. Dodge has won twice, the last time coming in 1975. Dodge returned to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2001 after an absence of almost 20 seasons.
"In The Loop" -- Data From Last Year At RIR Supports Results ... Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) won last season's two Richmond events and NASCAR's insightful "Loop Data" -- gleaned from electronic scoring loops placed around race tracks -- shows why. Start with the definitive key category: Driver Rating. Busch came out of Richmond last year with a series-best Driver Rating of 126.2, while Kahne was second at 123.6. As for some other Loop Data highlights from last year at RIR:
• Kahne led in Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green-flag conditions), with a total of 46 in two races.
• Busch was Fastest on Restarts (average speed during first two laps under green after a restart) with an average speed of 121.026 mph.
• Of the 25 Fastest Laps run during the two events, Busch had the fastest at 124.964 while Kahne was second at 124.914. Those two recorded 21 of the fastest 25 laps.
• Busch also led two other key categories: Fastest Early in a Run (speed during first 25% of a green flag runs) and Fastest in the Frontstretch.
Also illustrative: Passing Breakdown data. Everyone knows Richmond is one of most exciting tracks in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Loop Data from 2005 underscores that perception; RIR's two races produced 2,798 passes, with 1,016 -- 36% -- taking place on the frontstretch. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) had the most passes, a total of 136. Earnhardt finished 14th and 20th, respectively, in the two events.
Setting The Field: Top 35 In 2006 Owner Points 'Locked In' ... Each week in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, teams ranked in the top 35 of the current car owner point standings are guaranteed starting positions, creating a "bubble" consisting of teams on the downside of 35th, trying to reach that position.
This week at Richmond, the No. 14 Waste Management Chevrolet team -- owned by Nelson Bowers, with Sterling Marlin driving -- has the 35th and final locked-in spot. On the outside looking in: Michael Waltrip, who drives the No. 55 NAPA Dodge he and Doug Bawel co-own. The team sits in 36th position, 46 points behind the No. 14, meaning Waltrip will have to get into the field based on his qualifying speed this week.
FOX Sports Leads All Broadcast Networks With Five Sports Emmy Awards ... FOX Sports was honored with five Sports Emmy Awards, including two in major categories, to lead all broadcast networks during the 27th Annual Sports Emmy Awards announced last night by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at ceremonies held in New York City. FOX Sports earned more awards than NBC, CBS and ABC combined, and was second only to HBO Sports' six statuettes for an individual network.
Now in its sixth season, NASCAR on FOX took home three new pieces of hardware for: Outstanding Technical Team Remote, Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound and Outstanding Live Sports Series. Last night's honor marked the second time that NASCAR on FOX earned a "major" for Outstanding Live Sports Series and raises the series' Emmy total to an incredible nine awards through five years of coverage. No other live sports series on television has been honored with more Emmys during the same stretch of time. The awards for Technical Team Remote and Live Event Audio/Sound were accepted by Jerry Steinberg, VP, Field Operations, while NASCAR on FOX Director Artie Kempner accepted the trophy for Outstanding Live Sports Series.
FOX Sports has now earned 68 Emmy Awards in its twelve years of existence. David Hill and Ed Goren are the executive producers of FOX Sports.
Jarrett In Top 10, Title Contention ... Dale Jarrett is talking confidently, and backing it up on the race track. Jarrett is 49 years old but instead of talking retirement, he's talking about his chances of winning a second series title, to go with the one he captured in 1999. A 12th-place finish Monday at Talladega -- he started fourth -- helped return Jarrett to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10. He's 10th this week; the lowest he's been all season is 13th.
Jarrett has two victories at Richmond, in the 1997 fall race and the '99 spring event
"It's always been a great race track," Jarrett said. "You can't argue with the success that they've had there with having fantastic finishes, so we'll look forward to going there in hopes that we'll be able to take a little of what we learned at [the recent Richmond test session] and apply it to this weekend. The things this team has been good at this year are completing laps and avoiding attrition, whether that is from accidents or part failures. So we have to keep that up."
Testing Continues At Lowe's ... More than 40 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams are expected to test at Lowe's Motor Speedway today and Wednesday (May 2-3). NASCAR implemented a new test policy this season; this week is the fourth of six tests scheduled for this year.
Cars are testing 1--9 p.m. each day on the newly repaved 1.5-mile oval. For media attending the tests, a driver interview availability schedule is available on nascarmedia.com.
The new test policy is part of some recent, comprehensive changes NASCAR has made -- including the single engine rule and gear ratio rule -- to improve competition, maintain competitive balance and contain costs.
Previous NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tests this season took place at Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. Other tests scheduled: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 10-12) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 16-18).
Raybestos Rookie Update ... This year's Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition has been heralded as one of the best in series history, because of the talent level involved. Now, with 25% of the races run, the battle is also gaining attention because of its closeness.
Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet) leads the rookie standings this week with 91 points, only four ahead of Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Chevrolet).
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and J.J. Yeley (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet) follow, with 81 points apiece.
Reed Sorenson (No. 41 Target Dodge; 75 points), David Stremme (No. 40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge; 63 points); and Brent Sherman (No. 49 Serta Dodge; 39 points) round out this week's standings.
Pit Crew Spotlight: Darian Grubb ... Darian Grubb has taken a step back in recent weeks, out of the spotlight, but that doesn't mean a diminished importance. Grubb is team engineer for Hendrick Motorsports' No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet operation. When crew chief Chad Knaus was suspended earlier this season Grubb stepped in as interim crew chief and led driver Jimmie Johnson to victory in the Daytona 500, then another victory three weeks later at Las Vegas. The Richmond race is a bit of a homecoming for Grubb; he's from Floyd, Va., (230 miles southwest of Richmond) the birthplace of legendary NASCAR driver Curtis Turner.
Where In The World Is Ken Schrader? ... If it has gas, four tires and faces a green flag, Ken Schrader (No. 21 Little Debbie Ford) will hop in the cockpit and drive it. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' oldest -- and arguably the busiest -- competitor just can't resist racing, driving in a variety of series each season, despite the inherent demands of NASCAR's top series.
The chart at left illustrates the hectic nature of Schrader's schedule thus far this year. This week, though, he takes a relative break, as he's slated to race "only" in the Crown Royal 400 on Saturday night.
Schrader's 2006 race totals to date
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series -- 9
NASCAR Busch Series -- 6
Budweiser Shootout -- 1
Copper World -- 2
Short track (dirt, late-model, etc.) -- 17
From The Archives ... One of the more amazing records in NASCAR history is the seven straight Richmond wins for Richard Petty. The string began in September 1970 with a win from the pole and extended to September 1973. Two of Petty's victories came from the third starting spot with one each coming from the fifth, eighth and eleventh position. The deepest starting spot in the pack for Petty during this period was the spring Richmond race of 1971 when he began the race in 28th position to take the win. Adding impact to this statistic is the fact that from April 1967 to February 1975 a total of 17 races were held at Richmond International Raceway. Richard Petty and the Petty Enterprises team won 12 of those events.
On Deck: Dodge Charger 500 At Darlington Raceway ... Race No. 11 on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule will be Saturday, May 13 (6:30 p.m. ET, FOX) -- the Dodge Charger 500 at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' oldest track, the venerable 1.366-mile Darlington Raceway. Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford) is the defending champion.
Next race: Crown Royal 400 (Race No. 10 of the 36-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season)
The track: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway
The date/time: Sat., May 6, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: FOX, 7 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite
Posted awards: $4,931,502
Race length: 400 laps, 300 miles
Track layout: Three-quarters mile oval
2005 winner: Kasey Kahne
2005 polesitter: Kasey Kahne
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Jimmie Johnson 1,394. 2. Matt Kenseth 1,373. 3. Tony Stewart 1,316. 4. Kasey Kahne 1,213. 5. Mark Martin 1,210. 6. Jeff Gordon 1,173. 7. Kevin Harvick 1,138. 8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1120. 9. Kyle Busch 1,077. 10. Dale Jarrett 1,066.
Practice/Qualifying Schedule: Friday -- Practice, 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Qualifying, 6:10 p.m.