Top 10 Rundown 2005-05-16

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 - May 16, 2005 A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 16, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into the May 29 Coca-Cola 600 ...

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 - May 16, 2005
A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 16, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into the May 29 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the 12th of 36 races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule (5:30 p.m. ET on FOX). The first 26 races of the season will 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: 1562. Previous ranking: 1. Johnson finished 40th at Richmond, his second DNF this season, but remained first in the standings. He is the only driver with eight top-10 finishes in 11 races in 2005; he has led the rankings since March at Atlanta. Johnson has run seven races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, winning both events last season and the Coca-Cola 600 in 2003. Johnson has six top-10 finishes in his last six races there. His worst finish at the track north of Charlotte was 39th in October 2001, his first race there.

No. 2 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1521 (-41). Previous ranking: 3. Biffle finished sixth at Richmond to climb to second in the standings, his best career ranking. He has seven top-10 finishes this season, including victories at California, Texas and Darlington. He has led a series-high 739 laps in 2005. Biffle has competed in four races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but has never cracked the top 15. Biffle finished 21st in the Coca-Cola 600 last year and 33rd last fall at LMS. He has never led or posted a DNF there. He ranked 21st in the standings at this point in 2005.

No. 3 -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). Team: Hendrick Motorsports. Points: 1438 (-124). Previous ranking: 2. Gordon finished 39th at Richmond, his third DNF of 2005. As has Biffle, he has won three races this season, at Daytona, Martinsville and Talladega. Gordon has run 24 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with victories in 1999, 1998, 1997 and 1994; he also has 15 top-10 finishes there. He has led 16 of his 24 LMS races, but has not led a lap there in his last seven events. Gordon finished 30th in the Coca-Cola 600 last year and second last fall at LMS.

No. 4 -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford). Team: Robert Yates Racing. Points: 1413 (-149). Previous ranking: 5. Sadler finished seventh at Richmond, his sixth top-10 effort in 2005. He has run 13 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with two top-10 finishes in 2004. Sadler placed a career-high fifth in the Coca-Cola 600 a year ago and seventh last fall at LMS. He has two DNFs there, both in 2003, and has led five races. Sadler was ranked 10th in the standings at this point in 2004.

No. 5 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1407 (-155). Previous ranking: 4. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion finished 17th at Richmond, his fifth finish outside the top 15 in 2005. He has six top-10 finishes this season and has ranked in the top 10 in the standings for a series-leading 46 consecutive races, since February 2004. Busch has run nine races at Lowe's Motor Speedway with one top-10 finish, a fourth last fall; he was 11th in the Coca-Cola 600 race last year. He has led four races there, with just one DNF.

No. 6 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 1397 (-165). Previous ranking: 7. Stewart finished second to winner Kasey Kahne at Richmond, his third consecutive top-10 effort. He has six top-10 finishes in 2005. Stewart has run 12 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with a victory in October 2003 and nine top-10 finishes. He placed ninth in the Coca-Cola 600 last year and 10th last fall at LMS. Stewart has never posted a DNF at the 1.5-mile track.

No. 7 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 1370 (-192). Previous ranking: 10. Newman finished third at Richmond, his best showing this season, to advance three spots in the standings. He has five top-10 finishes in 2005. Newman has run eight races at Lowe's Motor Speedway with three top-10 finishes. He was 35th in the Coca-Cola 600 a year ago. Newman was ranked sixth in the standings at this point in 2005.

No. 8 -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet). Team: Richard Childress Racing. Points: 1364 (-198). Previous ranking: 11. Harvick finished fifth at Richmond, his fourth top-10 effort this season. He has competed in eight races at Lowe's Motor Speedway with three top-10 finishes. Harvick finished 23rd in the Coca-Cola 600 last year and 36th last fall at LMS, his worst career finish there. He leads Mark Martin, 10th in the standings, by 20 points.

No. 9 -- Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge). Team: Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates. Points: 1351 (-211). Previous ranking: 8. McMurray finished 10th at Richmond, his third top-10 finish in as many races. He has five top-10 finishes this season. McMurray has run five races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, logging his first (and only) career victory there in October 2002; he also has four top-10 finishes there. He finished fourth in the Coca-Cola 600 a year ago and eighth last fall. He ranked 13th in the standings at this point last year.

No. 10 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1344 (-218). Previous ranking: 6. Martin finished 15th at Richmond to drop four positions in the standings. He has five top-10 finishes this season, but has led only 10 laps. Martin has competed in 40 races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with victories in 2002, 1998, 1995 and 1992. He has 19 top-10 finishes there overall. Martin finished 36th in the Coca-Cola 600 last year. He has not scored a top-10 LMS finish since his last victory there, in 2002. Martin has had 11 DNFs at LMS.

Fast Facts

Top 10 following Richmond (Race 11 of 36):

1. Jimmie Johnson 1,562 pts. 2. Greg Biffle 1,521 (-41) 3. Jeff Gordon 1,438 (-124) 4. Elliott Sadler 1,413 (-149) 5. Kurt Busch 1,407 (-155) 6. Tony Stewart 1,397 (-165) 7. Ryan Newman 1,370 (-192) 8. Kevin Harvick 1,364 (-198) 9. Jamie McMurray 1,351 (-211) 10. Mark Martin 1,344 (-218)

New arrival in the Top 10: Kevin Harvick.

Dropped out of the Top 10: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Closing in on the Top 10: No. 11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-11 out of 10th); No. 12 Rusty Wallace (-54); No. 13 Carl Edwards (-55); No. 14 Dale Jarrett (-80); No. 15 Kasey Kahne (-83).

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