Finish 6TH | WINS 0 | TOP 5s 9 | TOP 10s 13 | BEST at New Hampshire | WORST at
It has been more than a year since this two-time champ has won a race. The good
thing for Stewart is that he has been warming up recently, with four top fives
plus a top 10 in his last eight starts. He has gotten hot during the Chase
before—he won three of the 10 races in 2006—and if that happens again, he's the
one dark horse capable of challenging the top three.
Finish 4TH | WINS 1 | TOP 5s 8 | TOP 10s 13 | BEST at Talladega | WORST at
6. DALE EARNHARDT
It's an understatement to say that Junior has slumped after his victory at
Michigan. In the 11 races since June 15 he has just two top 10s and has
appeared out of sync at times with crew chief Tony Eury Jr.—over the final 10
races, when winning counts more than ever and there's so little room for error,
that hit-or-miss approach won't cut it.
Finish 10TH | WINS 0 | TOP 5s 9 | TOP 10s 12 | BEST at Martinsville | WORST at
7. JEFF GORDON
Along with crew chief Steve Letarte, the four-time champ has yet to figure out
the setup for his number 24 Chevy. Gordon has been fast at times, but he's also
been surprisingly slow—look no further than his no-excuses 29th on the road
course at Watkins Glen, a track on which he has routinely excelled. Only once
in the last 14 years has his average finish been worse than his 14.9 this
Finish 5TH | WINS 1 | TOP 5s 4 | TOP 10s 12 | BEST at New Hampshire | WORST at
8. JEFF BURTON
There's little doubt that he has the talent to win a Cup title. What Burton
lacks, however, is a car that's fast enough to enable him to do it. A
notoriously poor qualifier, he has still made a habit of running up front this
season. But he's led only 74 laps in 26 races, 924 fewer than Johnson, and some
1,500 fewer than Busch.
Finish 11TH | WINS 0 | TOP 5s 6 | TOP 10s 15 | BEST at Texas | WORST at
After beginning the year slowly he has been a top 10 machine since May, with 11
in the last 16 races. The cars of Roush Fenway Racing have been some of the
fastest this season and are capable of winning races. But is Kenseth? He hasn't
had a victory in 2008, and he won only once in '03, when he ground his way to
the Cup title. That won't get the job done in the Chase era.