Hamlin, Johnson, Keselowski separate from the pack
1.âJimmie Johnson Denny Hamlin may be the hottest driver on the Cup circuit at the moment, but Johnsonâs team will still be the one everyone keeps an eye on going into the Chase.
2.âDenny Hamlin Became the first driver since Tony Stewart in last seasonâs playoffs to score consecutive wins on the Cup circuit, with victories at Bristol and Atlanta. This is not the Denny Hamlin of 2011, folks.
3.âBrad Keselowski Throw out Keselowskiâs disastrous night in Bristol (which is a real rarity) and youâll find a driver with eight straight runs of ninth or better. Along with Johnson and Hamlin, he has to be a title favorite.
4.âDale Earnhardt Jr. Persevered for a respectable seventh-place showing on what was shaping up to be an off night in Atlanta. The consistency is unquestioned, but can Junior post a couple wins in the Chase?
5.âGreg Biffle Was expecting more out of the points leader at the fast and slick Atlanta track. That said, his team of intermediate-track specialists will be ready for the Chase kickoff at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway.
6.âMartin Truex Jr. Victory slips through Truexâs fingers once again. He and the No. 56 teamâs performance in the closing laps at Atlanta are what separate the âtitle contendersâ from the âplayoff participants.â
7.âMatt Kenseth One has to wonder how his Roush Fenway bunch will react now that Kenseth has walked the halls and officially announced his Joe Gibbs Racing relationship.
8.âClint Bowyer Moved into the top 10 from a rear-of-the-field starting spot at Atlanta before battery issues cost him three laps. Could Bowyer be a guy who breaks up the Kyle Busch/Jeff Gordon battle royal in Richmond?