Top 12 - and beyond 2007-08-22

WEEK 24: THE NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES TOP 12 -- AND BEYOND DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2007) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway...

WEEK 24: THE NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES TOP 12 -- AND BEYOND

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2007) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 25.

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

The File:
* 36 years old, Vallejo, Calif., 79 career wins
* Four wins, 14 top fives, 20 top 10s this year
* Five poles
* Average finish of 7.3 this season
* Led 16 of 23 races for 840 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* Five wins, 12 top fives, 18 top 10s
* Five poles
* Average finish of 11.5
* Finished third at Bristol in March
* Led 23 of 29 races for 2,435 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Series-best Average Running Position of 8.8

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

The File:
* 26 years old, Chesterfield, Va., three career wins
* One win, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 11.0
* Led 12 of 23 races for 721 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* One top 10
* Average finish of 11.3
* Finished 14th at Bristol in March
* Led one of three races for 177 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 350 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most

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

The File:
* 35 years old from Cambridge, Wis., 15 career wins
* One win, eight top fives, 15 top 10s
* Average finish of 11.1
* Led 14 of 23 races for 288 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 10.7
* Finished 11th at Bristol in March
* Led seven of 15 races for 742 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Series-high 5,994 laps run on the lead lap

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

The File:
* 36 years old from Columbus, Ind., 32 career wins
* Three wins, seven top fives, 16 top 10s
* Average finish of 13.0
* Led 15 of 23 races for 851 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* One win, four top fives, five top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 17.7
* Finished 35th at Bristol in March
* Led eight of 17 races for 1,085 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 483 Fastest Laps Run, second-most

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

The File:
* 27 years old from Columbia, Mo., five career wins
* One win, five top fives, nine top 10s
* Average finish of 13.1
* Led eight of 23 races for 136 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* One top five, two top 10s
* Average finish of 17.7
* Finished 12th at Bristol in March
* Led one of six races for 16 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 4,604 Laps in the Top 15, seventh-most

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

The File:
* 31 years old from El Cajon, Calif., 27 career wins
* Four wins, 12 top fives, 14 top 10s
* Average finish of 13.7
* Led 13 of 23 races for 778 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* Two top fives, six top 10s
* Average finish of 15.5
* Finished 16th at Bristol in March
* Led three of 11 races for 29 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Series-high 584 Fastest Laps Run

7 -- 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, 11 top 10s
* Average finish of 13.7
* Led five of 23 races for 27 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* Seven top fives, 11 top 10s
* Average finish of 18.6
* Finished second at Bristol in March
* Led five of 27 races for 318 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,220 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green flag conditions), fourth-most

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

The File:
* 22 years old from Las Vegas, Nev., four career wins
* One win, five top fives, 12 top 10s
* Average finish of 14.3
* Led 11 of 23 races for 174 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* One win, two top fives, three top 10s
* Average finish of 14.4
* Won the Bristol race in March
* Led three of five races for 64 laps

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

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

The File:
* 28 years old from Emporia, Kan.
* One top five, 11 top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 15.3
* Led eight of 23 races for 80 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* One top 10
* Average finish of 25.0 in three races
* Finished eighth at Bristol in March

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Eighth-best Closer -- 28 positions improved over the last 10% of races

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

The File:
* 31 years old from Bakersfield, Calif., 11 career victories
* One win, four top fives, 10 top 10s
* Average finish of 15.9 this season
* Led nine of 23 races for 251 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* One win, seven top fives, nine top 10s
* Average finish of 10.1
* Finished fourth at Bristol in March
* Led eight of 13 races for 358 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,952 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most

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

The File:
* 27 years old from Mayetta, N.J., one career win
* One win, five top fives, nine top 10s
* Average finish of 16.3
* Led nine of 23 races for 346 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* Average finish of 31.0 in three races
* Finished 37th at Bristol in March

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 277 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most

12-- Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)

The File:
* 29 years old from Las Vegas, Nev., 17 career wins
* Two wins, five top fives, seven top 10s
* Average finish of 15.9
* Led 13 of 23 races for 628 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* Five wins, eight top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 15.2
* Finished 29th at Bristol in March
* Led eight of 13 races for 560 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,270 Quality Passes, second-most

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

The File:
* 32 years old from Kannapolis, N.C., 17 career wins
* Four top five, eight top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 17.4
* Led 11 of 23 races for 346 laps

Bristol Motor Speedway Outlook:
* One win, five top fives, eight top 10s
* Average finish of 12.1
* Finished seventh at Bristol in March
* Led five of 15 races for 742 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 4,776 Laps in the Top 15, fourth-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 , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch