Top 10 Rundown A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 6, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, the 14th of 36 races...
Top 10 Rundown
A weekly look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 6, 2005) -- The following is a rundown of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 heading into Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, the 14th of 36 races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule (1:40 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: 1,912. Previous ranking: 1. Johnson, who has led the rankings for 10 consecutive races, finished fourth at Dover to remain the only driver with 10 top-10 finishes after 13 races in 2005. He has ranked among the top 10 since Las Vegas of March 2004, or 46 consecutive events. Johnson has competed in six races at Pocono, logging victories in both races last season, one of his three 2004 sweeps (the others were at Darlington and Charlotte). He has led four of his six Pocono races; his worst finish there is 15th twice, most recently in 2003.
No. 2 -- Greg Biffle (No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,866 (-46). Previous ranking: 2. Biffle won at Dover to close the gap from 71 to 46 points behind Johnson. The victory was his series-leading fourth this season; he also won at California, Texas and Darlington. Biffle has nine top-10 finishes this year, one less than Johnson. He has run four races at Pocono with one top-10 finish, a fourth-place effort last August. He finished 11th in this race last year and has one DNF there, in June 2003. Biffle ranked 25th in the standings 13 races into 2004.
No. 3 -- Elliott Sadler (No. 38 M&M's Ford). Team: Robert Yates Racing. Points: 1,681 (-231). Previous ranking: 3. Sadler finished 10th at Dover, his seventh top-10 performance this season. He has been running at the finish of all 12 of his races at Pocono, the longest streak among active drivers. He has two top-10 finishes there. Sadler finished 12th in this race last year and 10th last August. He has led in two separate races at the 2.5-mile track. Sadler ranked seventh in the standings at this point last year.
No. 4 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 1,672 (-240). Previous ranking: 4. Newman finished eighth at Dover, his fourth consecutive top-10 finish in as many weeks. He has seven top-10 finishes this season. He has run six races at Pocono, with a victory in the second race there in 2003 among his three top-five finishes. Newman finished 30th a year ago for his only Pocono DNF; he was 13th last August. He has led in four of his six Pocono outings.
No. 5 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet). Team: Joe Gibbs Racing. Points: 1,606 (-306). Previous ranking: 6. Stewart finished 15th at Dover but bruised some feelings when he bumped Jeff Gordon out of the race. He has six top-10 finishes in 2005. He has competed in 12 races at Pocono, with a victory in June 2003 among his eight top-10 finishes there. Stewart placed seventh or better in eight of his first nine races at Pocono, but has finished 27th or worse in his last three events. He was 27th in this race last year and 35th last August; he has two DNF's there overall.
No. 6 -- Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,588 (-324). Previous ranking: 12. Martin finished third at Dover to climb back into the top 10 in the rankings. He has six top-10 finishes in 2005. Martin has run 36 races at Pocono and has a series-leading 18 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes, but has never won there. His best Pocono finish is second six times, including in three of his last six events there. Martin finished 36th in this race last year, one of six DNF's there, and was second last August.
No. 7 -- Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge). Team: Penske Racing South. Points: 1,584 (-328). Previous ranking: 11. Wallace finished fifth at Dover, helping him climb from 14th to seventh in the last three races. He has six top-10 finishes this season, and has been running at the end of a series-leading 26 consecutive races, dating to Bristol last fall. Wallace has run 42 races at Pocono with four victories, his latest in July 2000. He has 16 top-10 finishes overall. On the flip side, he has not scored a top-10 finish there in his last five races, and has 11 DNF's. Wallace placed 32nd at Pocono a year ago and 17th last August.
No. 8 -- Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,579 (-333). Previous ranking: 10. The reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion finished ninth at Dover, his seventh top-10 finish this season. Busch has ranked in the top-10 in the standings for a series-leading 48 consecutive races, since February of 2004. He has competed in eight races at Pocono with two runner-up finishes. He finished fifth in this race last year and 26th last fall, which was his third DNF there.
No. 9 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford). Team: Roush Racing. Points: 1,574 (-338). Previous ranking: 8. Edwards finished 16th at Dover, bumping him one spot in the rankings, a single point ahead of 10th-place Kevin Harvick. He has five top-10 finishes in 2005. Edwards has never competed in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Pocono. He joins No. 2 Biffle, No. 6 Martin and No. 8 Busch as one of four Roush drivers in the top 10 in the rankings.
No. 10 -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet). Team: Richard Childress Racing. Points: 1,573 (-339). Previous ranking: 7. Harvick finished 25th at Dover to drop three spots in the rankings. He has four top-10 finishes this season. Harvick has run eight races at Pocono with one top-10 finish; only three of his eight finishes were in the top 15. He placed 20th in this race last year and 32nd last August.
Top 10 following Charlotte (Race 13 of 36):
1. Jimmie Johnson 1,912 pts.
2. Greg Biffle 1,866 (-46)
3. Elliott Sadler 1,681 (-231)
4. Ryan Newman 1,672 (-240)
5. Tony Stewart 1,606 (-306)
6. Mark Martin 1,588 (-324)
7. Rusty Wallace 1,584 (-328)
8. Kurt Busch 1,579 (-333)
9. Carl Edwards 1,574 (-338)
10. Kevin Harvick 1,573 (-339)
New arrivals in the Top 10: Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace.
Dropped out of the Top 10: Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray.
Closing in on the Top 10: No. 11 Gordon (-11 out of 10th); No. 12 Jeremy Mayfield (-35); No. 13 McMurray (-37); No. 14 Dale Jarrett (-73); No. 15 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-79).