Top 12 - and beyond

Week 25: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 - And Beyond DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2007) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway...

Week 25: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 - And Beyond

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2007) -- Below is a look at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 12 along with some other notable drivers, going into the Sharp AQUOS 500 at California Speedway on September 2.

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
* Six poles
* Average finish of 7.8 this season
* Led 17 of 24 races for 842 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Three wins, seven top fives; two poles
* Average finish of 11.1
* Finished second at California in February
* Led eight of 14 races for 457 laps

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

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

The File:
* 36 years old from Columbus, Ind., 32 career wins
* Three wins, eight top fives, 17 top 10s
* Average finish of 12.7
* Led 15 of 24 races for 851 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Three top fives, six top 10s
* Average finish of 17.0
* Finished eighth in February
* Led five of 12 races for 213 laps

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

3 -- 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 12.3
* Led 12 of 24 races for 721 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* One top 10
* Average finish of 9.7
* Finished 11th in February
* Led one of three races for 29 laps

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

4 -- 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 12.2
* Led 14 of 24 races for 288 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Two wins, four top fives, seven top 10s
* Average finish of 10.6
* Won the California race in February
* Led eight of 11 races for 379 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Series-high 6,436 laps run on the lead lap

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

The File:
* 27 years old from Columbia, Mo., six career wins
* Two wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s
* Average finish of 12.6
* Led nine of 24 races for 318 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Four top fives, five top 10s
* Average finish of 8.5
* Finished 29th in February
* Led three of six races for 56 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 5,103 Laps in the Top 15, fourth-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 14.0
* Led 13 of 24 races for 778 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* One win, five top fives
* Average finish of 7.4
* Finished third in February
* Led five of nine races for 135 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* Series-high 585 Fastest Laps Run

7 -- Jeff Burton (No. 31 RCR Chevrolet)

The File:
* 40 years old from South Boston, Va., 19 career wins
* One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s
* Average finish of 13.6
* Led five of 24 races for 27 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Four top fives, five top 10s
* Average finish of 16.9
* Finished fourth in February
* Led three of 14 races for 77 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,255 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, 13 top 10s
* Average finish of 14.1
* Led 12 of 24 races for 177 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* One win, four top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 12.5
* Finish ninth in February
* Led four of six races for 118 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.
* Two top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 14.8
* Led eight of 24 races for 80 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* One top five, two top 10s
* Average finish of 7.7
* Finished sixth in February
* Led one of three races for two laps

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 24 races for 251 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Two top 10s
* Average finish of 20.7
* Finished 17th in February
* Led four of 10 races for 31 laps

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

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 16.1
* Led nine of 24 races for 346 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Average finish of 25.0 in three races
* Finished 42nd in February

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 294 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, eight top 10s
* Average finish of 15.5
* Led 14 of 24 races for 630 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* One win, three top fives, four top 10s; two poles
* Average finish of 11.5
* Finished seventh in February
* Led seven of 10 races for 203 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 1,297 Quality Passes, second-most

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

The File:
* 32 years old from Kannapolis, N.C., 17 career wins
* Five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
* Average finish of 16.9
* Led 12 of 24 races for 347 laps

California Speedway Outlook:
* Two top fives, three top 10s
* Average finish of 21.2
* Finished 40th in February
* Led four of 11 races for 10 laps

Season-to-Date Loop Data Highlight:
* 5,260 Laps in the Top 15, third-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