HOW THEY WILL
1. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Greg Biffle
5. Tony Stewart
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Jeff Burton
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Denny Hamlin
11. Kevin Harvick
12. Clint Bowyer
Finish 1ST | WINS 8 | TOP 5s 15 | TOP 10s 17 | BEST at Dover | WORST at
1. KYLE BUSCH
After waiting all year for the kid to crack, Cup rivals now recognize that the
championship is Busch's to lose. In putting together a breakthrough season he
has become the circuit's most complete driver, winning on road courses,
superspeedways and short tracks, as well as—most significantly—on the
intermediate ovals that make up five of the Chase's 10 races.
Finish 2ND | WINS 6 | TOP 5s 11 | TOP 10s 19 | BEST at Atlanta | WORST at
Nobody is hotter right now: Edwards's average finish in the last seven races of
the regular season was 4.71. He has always had a nose for the checkered flag,
but this year he has shown the focus to stay in contention even when things
aren't going his way (see California on Aug. 31). If Busch falters, the number
99 team will be there to scoop up its first Cup.
Finish 3RD | WINS 4 | TOP 5s 9 | TOP 10s 14 | BEST at Charlotte | WORST at
After winning at California on Aug. 31, when he led 228 of 250 laps, Johnson
was quick to say that the gap between his car and those of the two favorites
remains significant. Still, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus just got another
win on Sunday at Richmond and they're the best on the circuit at closing out a
season. Look for JJ to give Busch and Edwards a run for the title.
Finish 8TH | WINS 0 | TOP 5s 8 | TOP 10s 11 | BEST at Homestead | WORST at
4. GREG BIFFLE
Call him the comeback driver of the year: The Biff returns to the Chase after a
two-year absence. In his first full season with crew chief Greg Erwin, he has
had one of the most quietly successful seasons on the circuit. Quiet, of
course, means that Biffle has yet to take a checkered flag, and that makes him
a likely also-ran in the hunt for the Cup.