Top 12 - and beyond 2007-07-08

WEEK 19: THE NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES TOP 12 -- AND BEYOND DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 9, 2007) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland...

WEEK 19: THE NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES TOP 12 -- AND BEYOND

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 9, 2007) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 15.

1 -- Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)

The File:
* 35-years-old, Vallejo, Calif., 79 career wins
* Four wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s
* Five poles
* Average finish of 6.4 this season
* Led 14 of 18 races for 764 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One win, four top fives; one pole
* Average finish of 10.2
* Won last season
* Led three of six races for 81 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Series-best Closer -- 78 positions improved over the last 10% of races

2 -- Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Chevrolet)

The File:
* 26-years-old, Chesterfield, Va., three career wins
* One win, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 11.3
* Led 12 of 18 races for 721 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* Finished 14th last season, his only start

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Average Running Position of 12.5, fourth-best

3 -- Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Ford)

The File:
* 35-years-old from Cambridge, Wis., 15 career wins
* One win, six top fives, 12 top 10s
* Average finish of 11.8
* Led 11 of 18 races for 255 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One top five, two top 10s
* Average finish of 11.5
* Finished 22nd last season
* Led four of six races for 292 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 5,085 laps run on the lead lap, second-most

4 -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)

The File:
* 31-years-old from El Cajon, Calif., 27 career wins
* Four wins, nine top fives, 11 top 10s
* Average finish of 12.6
* Led 11 of 18 races for 681 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* Four top fives, five top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 3.6
* Finished sixth last season
* Led four of five races for 79 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Series-best Average Running Position of 8.6

5 -- Jeff Burton (No. 31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet)

The File:
* 40-years-old from South Boston, Va., 19 career wins
* One win, six top fives, nine top 10s
* Average finish of 13.0
* Led five of 18 races for 27 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One top five, two top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 21.3
* Finished second last season
* Led one of six races for 60 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,057 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green flag conditions), second-most

6 -- Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford)

The File:
* 27-years-old from Columbia, Mo., five career wins
* One win, four top fives, six top 10s
* Average finish of 13.6
* Led eight of 18 races for 136 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* Average finish of 29.5 in two races
* Finished 20th last season

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 5,061 Laps in the Top 15, third-best

7 -- Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet)

The File:
* 36-years-old from Columbus, Ind., 29 career wins
* Four top fives, 11 top 10s
* Average finish of 15.6
* Led 12 of 18 races for 658 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One win, four top fives; one pole
* Average finish of 12.7
* Finished 32nd last season
* Led four of six races for 276 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 344 Fastest Laps Run, third-most

8 -- Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet)

The File:
* 22-years-old from Las Vegas, Nev., four career wins
* One win, four top fives, 10 top 10s
* Average finish of 15.6
* Led nine of 18 races for 155 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One top five
* Average finish of 8.5
* Finished third last season
* Led one of two races for two laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Third-fastest average Green Flag Speed

9 -- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet)

The File:
* 31-years-old from Bakersfield, Calif., 11 career victories
* One win, three top fives, eight top 10s
* Average finish of 15.9 this season
* Led seven of 18 races for 179 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* Two wins, three top fives, four top 10s
* Average finish of 8.7
* Finished fourth last season
* Led four of six races for 228 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,675 Green Flag Passes, eighth-best

10 -- Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet)

The File:
* 27-years-old from Mayetta, N.J., 1 career win
* One win, four top fives, seven top 10s
* Average finish of 16.4
* Led seven of 18 races for 333 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* Finished 16th last season, his only start

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 255 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best

11 -- Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet)

The File:
* 28-years-old from Emporia, Kan.
* One top five, nine top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 15.9
* Led six of 18 races for 78 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One top 10
* Finished ninth last season, his only start

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Third-best Closer -- 37 positions improved over the last 10% of races

12 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet)

The File:
* 32-years-old from Kannapolis, N.C., 17 career wins
* Three top five, seven top 10s
* Average finish of 16.2
* Led seven of 18 races for 302 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One wins, two top fives, three top 10s
* Average finish of 14.5
* Finished fifth last season
* Led three of six races for 119 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 4,010 Laps in the Top 15, fourth-most

13 -- Jamie McMurray (No. 26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford)

The File:
* 31-years-old from Joplin, Mo., 2 career wins
* One win, three top fives, seven top 10s; one poles
* Average finish of 18.6
* Led three of 18 races for 35 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One top 10
* Average finish of 20.5
* Finished 39th last season
* Led one of four races for one lap

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,574 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most

14 -- Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge)

The File:
* 29-years-old from South Bend, Ind., 12 career wins
* Three top fives, seven top 10s; four poles
* Average finish of 19.3
* Led eight of 18 races for 210 laps

Chicagoland Speedway Outlook:
* One win, two top fives; one pole
* Average finish of 21.0
* Finished 36th last season
* Led three of six races for 163 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,020 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Note: The first 26 races of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season determine which 12 drivers qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, contested over the final 10 races of the season.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch