Season in review 2007-04-18

SEASON IN REVIEW -- AN ONGOING LOOK AT THE 2007 SEASON 2007 Season Highlights * Jimmie Johnson has won three races, accumulating a potential 30 bonus points toward his seeding, if he qualifies for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup ...

SEASON IN REVIEW -- AN ONGOING LOOK AT THE 2007 SEASON

2007 Season Highlights

* Jimmie Johnson has won three races, accumulating a potential 30 bonus points toward his seeding, if he qualifies for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

* The Car of Tomorrow made its debut.

* Toyota made its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut.

* Chevrolet posted its 600th victory.

* Jeff Burton became the first driver to repeat as a race winner at Texas.

* Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon has led the points for the last three weeks. The following pages contain reviews and analysis of various statistical data which impacts the ongoing standings and the eventual goal of making the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Qualifying

* There have been five different Budweiser Pole winners: Jeff Gordon (two); David Gilliland, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin (one each). Qualifying was canceled at Texas due to inclement weather.

* Ryan Newman's Budweiser Pole at Atlanta ended a streak of 20 races without a pole -- the longest of his career.

* Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with four top-10 starts this season -- all top fives.

* Joe Nemechek failed to qualify for the first race at Bristol, ending a streak of 175 consecutive starts that dated to April 2002.

First-timers

* David Ragan finished fifth in the Daytona 500, earning a top-10 ranking in the point standings for the first time in his career.

* Aric Almirola and Jon Wood both made their first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start when they qualified for the Las Vegas race. Almirola finished 40th and Wood 29th.

* At Bristol, AJ Allmendinger and Regan Smith made their first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start.

The Races

* There have been five different race winners thus far, led by Jimmie Johnson who posted back-to-back victories at Las Vegas and Atlanta and then won at Martinsville.

* Johnson's victory at Las Vegas was his third consecutive win there.

* Only two drivers have posted six top-10 finishes in 2007: Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton.

* Only three drivers have completed every lap run in 2007: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth.

Laps Led

* No driver has led in every race. Two drivers have led in six races: Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth.

* Jeff Gordon leads all other drivers in bonus points earned this season with 40.

* Tony Stewart has led 442 of the 2,383 laps -- 18.9 percent of the laps raced.

Guaranteed Starters

* A driver has made the field based on being a guaranteed starter 20 times (involving 13 teams), including the past champion provisional four times (all by the No. 44 UPS Toyota team).

* The best finish by a guaranteed starter has been fourth by Kevin Harvick at Bristol.

* The lowest finish by a guaranteed starter has been 36th, which has happened twice.

* The average finish of the drivers that have made the field by virtue of the guaranteed start has been 23.57.

Points

* Two drivers have ranked in the top 10 in points for each of the first seven races this season: Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon.

* Mark Martin led the points from California through Atlanta, becoming the oldest driver to lead the points for more than a week under the current point system. Martin, who is 48, falls behind Bobby Allison (51 in 1988) and Morgan Shepherd (49 in 1990) as the third-oldest driver to lead the points. Allison and Shepherd both led the standings for just one week at that age.

* David Ragan ranked fifth in the point standings for the first two weeks of the season, the highest point standings by a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate in 2007.

Turnaround

* Five drivers currently in the top 10 were also in the top 10 at this time last year.

* Jeff Burton, currently second, has gained 16 spots over his 2006 ranking.

* Carl Edwards has improved 14 spots and Denny Hamlin has improved 12 positions.

* David Stremme has made the largest gain over 2006 -- moving from 33rd to 12th currently.

Car Owner Points

* Sterling Marlin and the No. 14 Ginn Racing Chevrolet was the only team in the first five races of the season that had to make the field on time and do so in all five races.

* The biggest gain in car owner points over the final 2006 standings is held by the No. 01 owned by Bobby Ginn. The No. 01 ranked 28th in the final 2006 owner point standings and is currently 24 positions ahead of that ranking.

Car Owner Streaks

* Hendrick Motorsports won four consecutive races (Las Vegas through Martinsville). The last previous three times that occurred, it also was by Hendrick Motorsports (September-October 1996, July-August 1998 and March-April 2007).

Manufacturer

* Chevrolet and Dodge debuted new models for the Car of Tomorrow's inaugural race at Bristol. The new Chevrolet model was an Impala while the Dodge was an Avenger. It was the first race for the Impala model since the mid-1960s and the first-ever for the Avenger.

* Chevrolet got its 600th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race with Kyle Busch's win at Bristol. Busch's victory was the first for the Impala since Wendell Scott won in a 1962 Impala at Jacksonville (Florida) Speedway Park on Dec. 1, 1963.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jon Wood , Kasey Kahne , Morgan Shepherd , Carl Edwards , Regan Smith , Bobby Allison , David Stremme , David Gilliland , David Ragan , Denny Hamlin , Aric Almirola , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin , Wendell Scott
Teams Hendrick Motorsports