Edwards flexing his muscles
by Matt Taliaferro
1. Carl Edwards The bad news: Edwards’ finish at Dover was his worst since early April. The good news: He finished seventh. Yeah, that’s the type of year it’s been for Carl.
2. Kyle Busch Rowdy’s run at Dover was as impressive a performance as we’ve see from him all season in the Cup Series. The kid drove from 43rd to third in an uncharacteristically understated manner.
3. Jimmie Johnson Johnson has led 1,192 of the last 2,000 miles at Dover and bagged three wins. He would have had a fourth if he’d only taken two tires on Sunday.
4. Kevin Harvick Harvick’s consistency has been a little off of late, but you just know he has the capability to jump up and snag a win most any week, on most any type of track.
5. Clint Bowyer Honestly, Bowyer may be the most dangerous driver on the circuit at the moment. His last two finishes (one being a sixth at Dover) were disappointments.
6. Matt Kenseth Win No. 2 of the season for Kenseth basically punches his ticket to the Chase. Even if he were to slip out of the top 10 in points, the victories will most likely give him a wild card berth.
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior’s average finishing position is four spots higher this year than through 11 races in 2010. Of course, his issue over the last few seasons is sustained consistency, so we’ll see ...
8. Denny Hamlin The higher in the standings you get the tougher it is to make headway, but Hamlin has jumped to 13th in the standings, just 24 points out of the 10th-place Chase transfer spot.
9. Greg Biffle After averaging a fourth-place finish at Dover from spring 2006 to spring 2009, Biffle has slumped to a 14.25-place average showing. It’s tough to explain that.
10. Kasey Kahne When the equipment matches this driver’s talent, he’s a top-5 contender. When it doesn’t ... well, look no further than Dover, where a sour engine precipitated a 36th-place result.
11. Jeff Gordon Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson should be a dynamic duo. So what gives?
12. Tony Stewart Smoke taught us all a few new words while describing his Chevy over the in-car radio on Sunday.
13. Ryan Newman Finished 21st at Dover without the aid of Juan Pablo Montoya.
14. Mark Martin Martin’s second-place finish highlights why more crew chiefs should roll the dice near race’s end.
15. Brian Vickers Look who has 10th- and fifth-place runs in two of the last three races ... Welcome back, BLV.
Just off the lead pack: Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, David Ragan, Martin Truex Jr.
Follow Matt Taliaferro on Twitter: @MattTaliaferro