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A glance at the Sprint Cup Chasers

Kyle Busch

There seems to be little the 23-year-old can't do in his first season at Joe Gibbs Racing. He has won on superspeedways, 1.5-mile ovals, short tracks and road courses. He's the favorite to take his biggest bow to the fans with the Sprint Cup trophy at his side and join brother Kurt as champ.

2008 wins: Eight

Carl Edwards

He has been the one to consistently challenge Busch. He followed his remarkable 2005 rookie campaign (four wins, third in points) with two lesser seasons, but now he's the clear leader at Roush Racing. He has been at his best on 1.5- and 2-mile tracks, a good omen for the Chase.

2008 wins: Six

Jimmie Johnson

The two-time defending series champion was second at Texas and first at Phoenix in the spring, and those are two of the final three tracks on the schedule. And with victories in the past two weeks, he has reminded the field that he will be in the hunt and hungry.

2008 wins: FOUR



Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Though he has been in the top five since mid March, a run of seven straight finishes outside the top 10 before Sunday doesn't inspire much confidence. But he's always a favorite at Talladega, race No. 4 in the Chase; if he can hang close to the leaders and win there, he could become one to watch.

2008 wins: ONE

Jeff Burton

The veteran led the points for a few weeks early in the season but gradually lost touch with the top two. His lone win came at Bristol, which the series has already revisited, and his best finish at a Chase track was third in Martinsville. He has just two top-10 finishes since the first Pocono race in June.

2008 wins: One

Denny Hamlin

He has made the Chase in each of his three full-time seasons, an impressive feat marred a bit by his poor form in the Chase last year (he finished 12th) and the fact that he barely scraped in this time. But he has four top fives at Chase tracks this year, including a win at Martinsville.

2008 wins: ONE

Clint Bowyer

Bowyer was the surprise of last year's Chase and he rode a win at Loudon, his first in the series, to a third-place final finish. This year a poor midseason run saw him drop from fifth to 13th in seven weeks, and he hovered around the cut line from there. Still, he has five top 10s at Chase tracks this year.

2008 wins: ONE

Greg Biffle

His second place at Charlotte was his best at a Chase track this season. His six-win season of 2005, in which he barely lost out to Tony Stewart, must seem long ago. Yet if he can stay in the hunt he's a major threat at the finale; he has three wins at Homestead.

2008 wins: ZERO

Kevin Harvick

This is his third consecutive year in the Chase, but he will have to change his form fast at the Chase tracks. His seventh place at Atlanta was his lone top 10 — worst among the Chasers — on the eight tracks at which the series raced already this season.

2008 wins: ZERO

Tony Stewart

The two-time Cup champ is in his final season with Joe Gibbs before becoming a part-owner as well as a driver. If recent history among owner-drivers is any indication, he might be waiting a while for his next chance to be in the Chase. He has nine top-five finishes in 2008.

2008 wins: ZERO

Matt Kenseth

Looking for someone to zoom out of the middle of the pack to contend? This might be the man. Last year, after a bad start to the Chase, he ended with five consecutive top fives. In 2006 he was second in points. This year a run of eight top 10s in nine races vaulted him from 22nd in May to Chase status.

2008 wins: ZERO

Jeff Gordon

The fact that Gordon has yet to win this season is news in itself. He has at least two victories in each of the past 14 seasons and his 31-race winless streak ties his longest since his first two seasons in the series. After last year, his fifth crown seemed to be around the corner. It's unlikely to come now.

2008 wins: ZERO

18

Toyota

5,080

points

99

Ford

5,050

points

48

Chevy

5,040

points

9

Dodge

5,020

points

88

Chevy

5,010

points

31

Chevy

5,010

points

11

Toyota

5,010

points

07

Chevy

5,010

points

16

Ford

5,000

points

29

Chevy

5,000

points

20

Toyota

5,000

points

17

Ford

5,000

points

24

Chevy

5,000

points

6

Ford

5,000

points

A glance at the Sprint Cup Chasers 09/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:12pm]
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