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THE CHASE IS ON

Contenders for the Nextel Cup championship with performance data at New Hampshire International Speedway.

D. EARNHARDT JR., No. 8 Chevrolet. Points: 5210.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

9 1 3 4 1 1 11.777 15.0

Comment: One win at Dover (in nine tries) came on Sept. 23, 2001, first race after schedule resumed following terrorist attacks.

KURT BUSCH, No. 97 Ford. Points: 5210.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

8 0 0 1 3 7 13.625 22.750

Comment: Twelfth or worse in past three races at Dover; he and Elliott Sadler only drivers in Chase without a Top 10 here in past three.

JEFF GORDON, No. 24 Chevrolet. Points: 5201.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

23 4 11 15 3 1 9.26 11.13

Comment: Leads all active drivers with 2,116 laps led at Dover, running out front in 15 of 23.

MATT KENSETH, No. 17 Ford. Points: 5200.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

11 0 3 6 1 2 18.272 13.727

Comment: Sixth or better in first three Dover tries; 22nd in June broke streak of three straight Top 10s.

JIMMIE JOHNSON, No. 48 Chevrolet. Points: 5180.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

5 2 2 3 2 1 10.4 16.0

Comment: Swept Dover in 2002 for both wins in five tries.

ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 38 Ford. Points: 5172.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

11 0 0 1 0 10 16.454 19.818

Comment: Has finished 18th or worse in his past four races.

MARK MARTIN, No. 6 Ford. Points: 5139.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

36 4 16 21 9 1 10.138 14.0

Comment: Co-leads with Gordon and Ricky Rudd with four wins at Dover.

TONY STEWART, No. 20 Chevrolet. Points: 5086.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

11 2 9 10 0 1 15.181 4.09

Comment: Eleventh or better (with two wins) and nine Top 5s in 11 starts; has five Top 5s in 11 starts; has five Top 5s in his past four Dover starts.

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 12 Dodge. Points: 5074.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

5 2 3 4 0 1 10.0 7.6

Comment: Has posted four consecutive Top 5s at Dover.

JEREMY MAYFIELD, No. 19 Dodge. Points: 5068.

Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s DNFs Best Avg St Avg Fin

20 0 4 6 5 2 17.95 19.35

Comment: Won pole in spring, finished eight for consecutive Top 10s.

_ BRANT JAMES, Times staff writer

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