Richmond: NWC Raybestos Rookie preview

*Jimmie Johnson won the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway, scoring his first career Winston Cup win in 13 career starts. He has now been Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in six of the season's 10 races, including the last five consecutive...

*Jimmie Johnson won the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway, scoring his first career Winston Cup win in 13 career starts. He has now been Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in six of the season's 10 races, including the last five consecutive events entering Saturday's Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Johnson is the eighth different winner in 10 races this season.

*Johnson became the fourth quickest driver to score his first victory in the sport's modern era. Kevin Harvick won in his third career race, Ron Bouchard won in his 11th start and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in his 12th.

*Johnson leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 26 points (147-121) over Ryan Newman. He scored his second top-five and seventh top-10 finish this season. His seven top-10s are most of any Raybestos® Rookie Contender.

*With Johnson's win at California, 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).

*DID YOU KNOW? Johnson's victory at California was the first win for car number 48 since James Hylton won the 1972 Talladega 500.

*Johnson is fifth in Winston Cup points, best of any Raybestos® Rookie. He is two points behind fourth place Rusty Wallace and 11 behind third place Matt Kenseth. Johnson is 163 behind point leader Sterling Marlin.

*Newman won the pole for the NAPA Auto Parts 500, establishing a track record in the process (187.432 mph). The pole was the second of Newman's 18 race Winston Cup career. His most recent pole came at Charlotte in May 2001, 15 races ago.

*For the second consecutive week, a Raybestos® Rookie won the pole for a Winston Cup race. The last time a two consecutive poles were won by a rookie driver was in 1965 when Dick Hutcherson took the top starting spot at Myrtle Beach and Valdosta.

*Entering Sunday's NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway, Johnson has been the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in four consecutive events.

*Johnson and Newman both led laps at California Speedway, the second consecutive race where both drivers have led at least one lap.

*Johnson moves up from seventh to sixth in the Winston Cup standings, six points behind fifth place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 20 behind fourth place Kurt Busch. Johnson is the only first year driver in the top-10 in Winston Cup points.

Johnson has led more miles than any other Raybestos® Rookie entering the Pontiac Excitement 400. He has led six times in three races (76 laps) for 154.28 miles. Newman has led nine times in five races (73 laps) for a total of 115.08 miles. Johnson and Newman are the only Raybestos® Rookies to lead at least one lap this season.

*Casey Atwood was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the 2001 Pontiac Excitement 400. Atwood used a provisional and started 42nd but rallied to finish 12th on the lead lap. He was the only rookie to complete all 400 laps.

*Jason Leffler was the highest qualifying rookie for last year's race at Richmond, taking the 28th starting position in time trials.

*Six Raybestos® Rookies qualified for the Pontiac Excitement 400 and five were running at the finish of the race: Atwood, Kevin Harvick (17th), Kurt Busch (18th), Leffler (26th), and Ron Hornaday (31st). The only rookie that failed to finish the race was Andy Houston, who finished 42nd after engine failure ended his night.

*In just 13 career NASCAR Winston Cup races, Johnson has two top-five and six top-10 finishes.

*In just 18 career NASCAR Winston Cup races, Newman has two top-five and four 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.

RAYBESTOS® ROOKIE CONTENDER POINT STANDINGS

DRIVER              POINTS

Jimmie Johnson 147
Ryan Newman 121
Shawna Robinson 56
Carl Long 3

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

-raybestos-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Rusty Wallace , Jason Leffler , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Sterling Marlin , Andy Houston , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Dick Hutcherson , James Hylton , Carl Long , Mark Martin