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THE LOOK OF A CHAMP
Lars Anderson
December 05, 2007
CAN JIMMIE JOHNSON WIN IT ALL AGAIN? OR WILL ONE OF HIS CHALLENGERS GRAB THE CUP? HERE'S HOW NASCAR'S BEST WILL FARE IN 2008
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December 05, 2007

The Look Of A Champ

CAN JIMMIE JOHNSON WIN IT ALL AGAIN? OR WILL ONE OF HIS CHALLENGERS GRAB THE CUP? HERE'S HOW NASCAR'S BEST WILL FARE IN 2008

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THE HARD ROAD AHEAD

THE SCHEDULE FOR THE 2008 CUP
RUNNETH OVER 36 WEEKS IN 22 CITIES ACROSS THE USA

2/17

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Daytona Beach, Fla.

2/24

CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY

Fontana, Calif.

3/02

LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Las Vegas, Nev.

3/09

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Hampton, Ga.

3/16

BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Bristol, Tenn.

3/30

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

Martinsville, Va.

4/06

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Fort Worth, Texas

4/12

PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Avondale, Ariz.

4/27

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

Talladega, Ala.

5/03

RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Richmond, Va.

5/10

DARLINGTON RACEWAY

Darlington, S.C.

5/25

LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Concord, N.C.

6/01

DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Dover, Del.

6/08

POCONO RACEWAY

Long Pond, Pa.

6/15

MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Brooklyn, Mich.

6/22

INFINEON RACEWAY

Sonoma, Calif.

6/29

NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Loudon, N.H.

7/05

DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Daytona Beach, Fla.

7/12

CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY

Joliet, Ill.

7/27

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Indianapolis, Ind.

8/03

POCONO RACEWAY

Long Pond, Pa.

8/10

WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL

Watkins Glen, N.Y.

8/17

MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Brooklyn, Mich.

8/23

BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Bristol, Tenn.

8/31

CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY

Fontana, Calif.

9/06

RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Richmond, Va.

9/14

NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Loudon, N.H.

9/21

DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Dover, Del.

9/28

KANSAS SPEEDWAY

Kansas City, Kans.

10/05

TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

Talladega, Ala.

10/11

LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Concord, N.C.

10/19

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

Martinsville, Va.

10/26

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Hampton, Ga.

11/02

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Fort Worth, Texas

11/09

PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Avondale, Ariz.

11/16

HOMESTEAD- MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Homestead, Fla.

1 Jimmie JOHNSON

2007 FINISH:
1st place; 10 wins; 24 top 10s
NO DRIVER since Cale Yarborough in 1978 has won three straight titles, but Johnson is primed for a three-peat. He returns the key personnel on his team—most significantly, Chad Knaus, who must now be regarded as one of the top crew chiefs in NASCAR history—and he's as fast in the CoT, the full-time car of today in '08, as any driver on the circuit. One potential pitfall: Johnson won't have many friends on the track next season because no one likes getting whipped all the time.

2 Dale EARNHARDT JR.

2007 FINISH:
16th place; 0 wins; 12 top 10s
IN THE number 88 Hendrick Chevy in '08 Junior will have the best car, personnel and resources of his Cup career. Longtime crew chief Tony Eury Jr. is moving with him from DEI, easing the transition. The key to the season? A fast start. Struggle early, and the question of why he's not winning will arise.

3 Matt KENSETH

2007 FINISH:
4th place; 2 wins; 22 top 10s
HE WAS oddly inconsistent last year and as a result wound up playing second fiddle to teammate Carl Edwards for much of the season. But a strong Chase finish (five top fives in his last six starts) and Roush Fenway's improving CoT program make the '03 champ a title threat once again.

4 Jeff GORDON

2007 FINISH:
2nd place; 6 wins; 30 top 10s
WHAT does Gordon, the '07 regular-season points leader, have to do to win a fifth Cup? First, peak in October, not in June, as he did this season. Gordon and crew chief Steve Letarte should do more to use the first 26 races to prepare for the Chase—just as Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus do.

5 Tony STEWART

2007 FINISH:
6th place; 3 wins; 23 top 10s
STEWART struggled at the end of the regular season and was never a title contender. But with a determined Toyota now pouring its money and resources into Joe Gibbs Racing, the two-time champion could be the '08 X factor. When Smoke heats up, he can be nearly unstoppable.

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